The Azerbaijan State News Agency

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Presidents of Azerbaijan and Albania made press statements VIDEO

Baku, July 7, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Albania Bajram Begaj have made press statements.

The President of Azerbaijan made the statement first.

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

- Esteemed Mr. President.

Dear guests.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Mr. President, welcome to Azerbaijan. I’m very glad to have an opportunity to host you on an official visit. We met many times in Baku, in Tirana, and now again in Baku on an official visit.

We pay very big importance to the official visit of the President of Albania. I am sure the visit will strengthen close bilateral relations between our countries. I’d like also to use this opportunity to express gratitude to you, Mr. President, for hospitality shown to me and my delegation during my last year`s visit to Albania. Also I would like to say that last year we hosted twice the Prime Minister of Albania and this March the President was on a working visit to Azerbaijan. So, only these visits demonstrate how close our relations are and how active our dialogue is.

We created a very special dynamism in our bilateral ties based on friendship and mutual support. We are actively working in international organizations, supporting each other, primarily in the United Nations and Islamic Cooperation Organization. At the same time, we are very grateful to Albania for supporting Azerbaijan in the organizations where Azerbaijan is not present. I already expressed my gratitude to Mr. President and the Government of Albania for support to Azerbaijan during the last year's Francophonie Summit, where there was an attempt by one member state of Francophonie to pass the paragraph and to include the paragraph into a final document - a paragraph of anti-Azerbaijani substance.

Albania was the country, which blocked that. And that was the demonstration of friendship, demonstration of strong commitment to basic principles of international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries. So even in the organizations, where Azerbaijan cannot defend itself, we have brother like Albania who did it. We're very grateful for that.

We discussed today, of course, the future political relationship between our countries, our joint activity in international organizations. At the same time, definitely, on our agenda were issues related to trade, economy and investment opportunities. Once again, I reiterated that Azerbaijani investors are ready to seriously consider investment projects in Albania, whether it's in tourism or agriculture, or in any other area. I think that in the coming months, we will have more information about that and that will open also a new page in our relations. Because so far, the main factor of our cooperation was related to the energy sector. And this cooperation is important not only for our countries, but for a big number of countries, particularly TAP, which is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which crosses Albanian territory, now is a source of energy security. Taking into account that active work of Azerbaijan and the European Union on gas supply issues and the document, which was signed between the European Union and Azerbaijan on strategic partnership in the energy area - all these, of course, are important factors for close cooperation between our countries. Because energy security for many European countries is provided also through the Southern Gas Corridor. The number of these countries is growing, Azerbaijan's gas export to European Union market is growing, the volumes are growing, and the geography is being expanded.

By the end of this year, we expect more EU member countries to start receiving natural gas from Azerbaijan. Also one of the topics of discussions during our previous communications was the project of gasification of Albania, and the pilot projects have been selected. And as we were informed today by members of the delegations, everything goes according to the schedule, and by the end of the year, we will have already the feasibility study of that. And after that, I hope we will start immediately the investment that will be purely Azerbaijani investments in Albania to build a gas distribution network. And also we discussed how we can extend our infrastructure from Albania to the neighboring countries.

I'm also very glad that we have now embassy in Tirana. That was also a decision, which was made during my visit to Albania. And as soon as I returned back to Baku the next day, the decision was made. And now our embassy in Tirana already started its activity. So, it demonstrates that there is a very strong mutual political will to develop our bilateral ties and also those decisions, which we adopted, all of them are being implemented.

I'm sure the same will be with respect to today's visit of Mr. President. We agreed to have regular meetings, and at every meeting we will review what has been done and plan our future steps.

Once again, Mr. President, welcome. Wish you a pleasant stay in Azerbaijan.

X X X

Then, the President of Albania made the statement.

Statement by President Bajram Begaj

- Thank you, dear President.

Honorable President Aliyev, thank you for the warm welcoming and for the hospitality. It's a great pleasure to be in Azerbaijan and to meet again with my friend, President Aliyev. This year marks 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. I think we have many reasons to be proud of these relations, which today are better than ever. Therefore, I express my appreciation to President Aliyev, for his essential contribution to further strengthening them. Last year, President Aliyev visited Tirana marking the first visit of an Azeri President to Albania.

I'm satisfied that the impact of that visit was instantly reflected. It didn't take long and the Parliament of Azerbaijan made the decision to open the embassy in Tirana. Albania, likewise, made the same decision to have an embassy in Baku in 2023. Both decisions will bring our countries even closer, will further strengthen the already excellent relationship, excellent political dialogue as well as promote economic cooperation and beyond.

We have many reasons to celebrate our the 30th anniversary of friendship. So, I brought to the President's attention some of other successful steps taken toward the rapprochement of the two countries. A meeting of the joint working group on economic, industrial and technological cooperation between Albania and Azerbaijan took place in May. This working group marks an important step to further deepen relations in other spheres of vital importance. Therefore, the argument to create a joint inter-governmental commission based on this working group to be held in Baku in 2024 is a clear indication of the constructive spirit and understanding that exists between two countries. In addition, in the first month of this year, I had the opportunity to be part of the Global Baku Forum and other very important initiative for the exchange of experiences and best vision for the future of our countries and the planet. President Heydar Aliyev’s extraordinary vision of developing and empowering Azerbaijan, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, is easily felt by anyone who comes and visit your country. The historical memory of what he has done for Azerbaijan will remain present and will serve the development of the future of your country.

Dear President Aliyev, Albania and Azerbaijan are closely linked through cooperation in the energy sector. TAP is already a consolidated success story. Albania's benefits from the TAP have been numerous from both economic point of view but also in terms of strengthening the Albanian strategic weight as a gateway and the regional hub for the energy. The Ionian Adriatic Gas Pipeline will contribute even more to Albanians role as a gas distributor in the region. I reiterated to President Aliyev Albania's willingness to take quick steps in the framework of gasification of the country in close cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Albania as a gas transit country is already a reality. We set ourselves an objective to make Albania the country, which transmits and receives gas. Our country is committed to achieving it and deepening the cooperation. I emphasize to President Aliyev that Albania welcomes the increased attention of Azerbaijan in the development of regional energy projects, which will bring the countries of the Western Balkan even closer, and at the same time, will strengthen their energy security position.

Earlier, we also touched upon important issues in our foreign policy. I told the President that I closely follow the talks of the last few weeks in Washington between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Albania has supported and will support long-term peace in the South Caucasus region, mediated by reliable partners and international organizations. I reiterated to President Aliyev that Albania has always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. Even in the Western Balkan region, a dialogue is very important. So that we can see each other not through the grudges of the past, but through the possibilities of the future. I express my conviction that regional stability in Western Balkans is a necessary element. Kosovo and Serbia are negotiation parties in order to resolve any dispute and to build a new spirit of cooperation between each other. Respecting the argument both between themselves and then in international forums must be points of orientation toward sustainable peace. Prosperity, not conflict ought to be the guiding compass for bilateral and regional progress. The sooner something like this happen, the more beneficial it becomes for our people.

With President Aliyev, we also discussed the war in Ukraine. The presence of our countries at the Ukraine Recovery Conference is an indication of our will to look at developed and peaceful Ukraine. On this occasion, we once again share our support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The help in this critical moments is a gesture that peoples and states do not forget. That is how it was when Azerbaijan supported Albania after the tragic earthquake of November 2019. So, I once again express my gratitude to President Aliyev for being by our side in those difficult days. A friend in need is a friend in deed.

The cooperation between Albania and Azerbaijan is best reflected also within international organizations. I expressed my conviction to President Aliyev that this very good pace of cooperation will continue to be maintained in the future. The culture week of Azerbaijan will soon take place in Albania. So, as the cities in Albania are filled with tourists from all over the world this month, I'm convinced that the Azerbaijani culture week will be a real celebration and an indication of how culture will bring people and societies closer together.

Since I mentioned tourism, both our countries consider this sector a priority and a very important sector for the economy. For this reason, the deepening of cooperation as well as the presence of Azeri investment also in terms of tourism are welcomed. The abolition of the visa regime is another way to bring our people closer together. And as I said, President Aliyev is a man who brings his promises to the reality. He told me today that that will be achieved very soon. Thank you. President.

Dear President, I believe, it's obvious that since your visit to Tirana, our countries with mutual goodwill and cooperation have succeeded in translating the promises and commitments made into concrete actions. My present visit, your visit and all the high-level visits that our respective officials have exchanged recently give another positive impetus to strengthening the relation between our countries.

In conclusion, allow me, Mr. President, to thank you once again for the warm hospitality. It’s truly a pleasure to be here in Baku. Thank you very much.

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