As part of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s official visit to Azerbaijan, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has been interviewed by a correspondent of Vietnam News Agency in Europe.
Correspondent: What is your assessment of the relations between Azerbaijan and Vietnam?
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Bilateral relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are developing successfully. These relations have a long history. The Azerbaijani people have always treated Vietnam with great love and affection. In the most difficult times for your country Azerbaijanis have expressed their solidarity with Vietnam. These feelings of friendship, cooperation and mutual support determine the nature and shape of our current bilateral relations.
The level of political ties between our countries is encouraging. I want to emphasize the importance of mutual high-level visits in the strengthening of our ties. In May last year, I paid a very successful official visit to Vietnam. I remember with great pleasure the hospitality extended to me and the Azerbaijani delegation during the visit. This visit has undoubtedly played a major role in elevating the bilateral relations between our countries to a new stage. During this visit we extensively discussed different spheres of Azerbaijan-Vietnamese relations.
The Embassy of Azerbaijan was opened in Vietnam a few years ago. I think that this is an important step forward in the development of our relations. I do hope that the Embassy of Vietnam will also be opened in Azerbaijan in the near future, which will contribute to the further advancement of relations between our countries. The expansion of our cooperation within the framework of international organizations is also of great importance, and I am sure that this cooperation will be further strengthened in all international organizations our countries are members of.
Of particular importance to the development of our relations is inter-parliamentary cooperation. The inter-parliamentary group of friendship between Azerbaijan and Vietnam operates in the Parliament of Vietnam and there is inter-parliamentary friendship group Azerbaijan-Vietnam in the parliament of Azerbaijan. The consultations between the two countries and the relationship between various structures are contributing to the further development of bilateral relations.
Correspondent: Given the potential of Azerbaijan and Vietnam, what areas are there prospects for cooperation in?
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan and Vietnam are countries undergoing dynamic and sustainable development. I want to emphasize that despite the financial and economic crisis unfolding in the world, the economic development of our countries is continuing.
I should note that Azerbaijan and Vietnam have a lot of experience and success in the oil and gas sector. From this perspective, the Agreement "On the strategic cooperation between the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation – PetroVietnam" ushers ample opportunities for the development of cooperation in this field.
Substantial legal framework for cooperation in the economic sphere was also laid by the document "On trade and economic, scientific and technical cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam". It is important that Azerbaijan and Vietnam have held business forums with the participation of a large number of business people. This is an excellent opportunity to establish business contacts. It is no coincidence that Vietnamese companies keenly participated in the 11th Azerbaijan International Exhibition "Tourism and Travel" in Baku and in the 19th International Exhibition and Conference "Caspian Oil and Gas: Refining and Petrochemicals" for the first time.
There are good opportunities for mutual investments in oil, gas and other sectors. There is sufficient potential for cooperation in trade and business. In January-March 2015, the share of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade increased significantly compared to the corresponding period of 2014 and export operations resumed. We need to step up efforts in this field. In short, the directions for the development of bilateral relations are very broad. These must be studied and new areas of cooperation identified and developed.
There are good prospects for a successful development and deepening of our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. The basis of our humanitarian relations was laid by citizens of Vietnam who at one time received their education in Azerbaijan and spent their youth in our country. It is gratifying that today they work in various national, governmental and public positions in the country and contribute to the progress of Vietnam. Our meeting with these people during my official visit to Vietnam and the kindness and hospitality displayed during these meetings are a good memory. There are excellent opportunities for the development of cooperation in the spheres of education, culture and tourism.
Correspondent: Could you say what issues will be discussed during Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s forthcoming official visit to Azerbaijan?
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: I want to note again that mutual high-level visits are of particular importance for the development of bilateral relations. Today, both Azerbaijan and Vietnam are on the path of sustainable development. They make a valuable contribution to economic development in their regions and in the wider area. The leadership of both countries demonstrates the political will to strengthen the friendly relations. All this creates a huge potential for the expansion and deepening of our relations.
The forthcoming visit of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to our country is important in terms of discussing the issues of further development of relations in political, economic, humanitarian and other spheres, and definition of specific plans for the expansion of economic cooperation with the existing potential. I am pleased to note that both parties are showing great interest in the development of relations. I can say with full confidence that this visit will open a new page in the history of international relations based on the principles of mutual respect, friendship and cooperation.
Correspondent: Thank you, Mr. President!