Joint press statements of Presidents of Azerbaijan and Greece
16 june 2014, 16:15
Statement by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias
- I am sincerely glad to welcome President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Athens. Today's visit is a new sign of the excellent relations between Greece and Azerbaijan and opens up new paths and horizons for our cooperation.
President Aliyev and I have had the opportunity to review all aspects of our bilateral agenda. This refers to our ties in political, energy, economic, trade and cultural spheres. We have also had the opportunity to exchange views on major international and regional issues.
Political relations between our countries are developing. This is evident from the very important visits of state and political levels carried out between our two countries. Our cultural relations have also markedly intensified. This, in particular, refers to the opening of a center of modern Greek language and civilization at the University. In addition, Greek is taught at Baku Slavic University.
Indicating that economic cooperation between the two countries was deepening, President Karolos Papoulias touched upon the importance of the TAP gas pipeline which will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Greece. Hailing the acquisition on the part of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan of most of the shares of Greek company DESFA as a positive development, the President of Greece said:
- Today we have signed three documents opening up new opportunities for the expansion of bilateral relations between our countries - a memorandum between Greece and Azerbaijan on issues of the European Union, an agreement on cooperation in the field of agriculture and a memorandum on cooperation in youth affairs.
At the same time, we have examined the relationship between the European Union and Azerbaijan. These relations are part of the European Neighborhood Policy. During our presidency in the Council of the European Union, we paid special attention to such issues. Over the past six months we have actively encouraged such issues.
President Karolos Papoulias emphasized that negotiations on the status of Cyprus had entered into an important phase. The President of Greece concluded his statement with the following words:
- In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the President of Azerbaijan for the very fruitful and multifaceted negotiations and wish a successful visit to Greece.
Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you, dear Mr. President.
First of all, I want to thank you for the invitation and the hospitality extended to me and the delegation.
This is my second official visit to Greece. President Papoulias also paid an official visit to Azerbaijan three years ago. These visits show that Greek-Azerbaijani relations are at a high level, and I am confident that my visit will give them a further impetus.
As President Papoulias has noted, our political relations are strengthening with every day, and I am sure that they will become even stronger in the future. We cooperate successfully within international organizations. In particular, our delegations to the Council of Europe have established a very active cooperation. Last month Azerbaijan took over chairmanship in the Council of Europe and will act in this capacity until the end of the year. During its presidency of the European Union Greece has made a great contribution to the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union. The relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan are at a very high level and have acquired a strategic character. The successful visit of European Commission President Barroso to Azerbaijan two days ago has reaffirmed the strategic nature of these relationships.
President Papoulias and I have also widely discussed regional security. The greatest threat to regional security is posed by the unresolved status of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. For more than 20 years Armenia has held 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory under occupation. A speedy settlement of the conflict would bring peace and cooperation to the region. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions in connection with the conflict. They demand an unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories. I do hope that a settlement of this conflict will be possible in the near future, which, as I said, will open up new opportunities for cooperation in the region.
An important part of our relationship is associated with energy security. Greek-Azerbaijani relations are of strategic importance here. The TAP project is not only a project of energy security. At the same time, it has raised the friendly ties between our two countries to an even higher level. The Shah Deniz, TANAP and TAP projects initiated by Azerbaijan are currently the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. As a result of these projects, Azerbaijan will export its natural gas to European markets for decades to come.
Today, we have also discussed issues of mutual investment and exchanged views on cooperation in the field of culture. In other words, our relations are very broad, and I am sure that they will develop even more rapidly in the future.
Mr. President, I want to thank you for your hospitality again. I am confident that the results of the visit will bring our countries even closer together. Thank you.