Following face-to-face meeting, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Lithuania Madam Dalia Grybauskaitė made press statements.
Statement of President Ilham Aliyev
Dear Madam President:
I would like to welcome you once again in Azerbaijan. I am sure that the visit will be very successful. We just had a very interesting discussion about various issues of our bilateral relations, regional dimension and I am sure that the discussions will create better understanding about what is happening in the region, the challenges, the problems and how we are going to move forward.
Speaking about our bilateral relations, I would like to say that they are very good. We have a very active political dialogue. We actively co-operate in international organizations. Also, Lithuania always supported Azerbaijan in its European integration policy and I am sure that the visit of Madam President will strengthen political relations between our countries. In economic area, I think that we have a good potential to develop economic ties, especially business to business contacts. I know that now the mutual interest is growing. And, there are various investment opportunities in Lithuania which are being evaluated by our business community. And, I think that we will concentrate in the future on how to expand economic ties because our economies are not competing economies. Our economies are complementary to each other. Therefore, I am sure that having good political relations also will be a good signal to business community to be more active. There are good opportunities in transportation sector. Azerbaijan is implementing various transportation projects which will create new infrastructure, railroads, highways, air transportation and also transportation across Caspian Sea. That could be a part of broader transportation co-operation between Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions and that will strengthen the policy of regional integration where both of our countries are playing a very active role each in its own region.
We also discussed today the issues of energy security. You know that Azerbaijan is playing more active role in this respect. This January we signed a Joint Declaration between EU and Azerbaijan on Southern Gas Corridor which is a very important step forward and which will allow to have a very broad co-operation in this area. Azerbaijan has huge oil and gas reserves, already existing transportation infrastructure, numerous pipelines which transport our hydrocarbons in various directions. The co-operation between Europe and Azerbaijan in this area is mutually beneficial. And, I am sure that in the coming years we will see many more good results.
Energy co-operation, of course, is one of the major elements of our relations with the European Union. We are grateful to Lithuania for support in Eastern Partnership Program which Azerbaijan is part of.
Of course, today we discussed regional security issues. This is also a part of our bilateral agenda. At the same time, Lithuania is chairing the OSCE now. Conflict resolution was part of our discussions. For many years, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not resolved. Minsk Group exists for more than twenty years. But so far we do not have practical results. Just recently OSCE field assessment mission visited the occupied territories in Azerbaijan and issued the report which clearly says that all the infrastructure on the occupied territories was destroyed. There are signs of illegal settlements in the occupied areas. There are attempts to change historic names and administrative boundaries of the regions. And, many other evidences of occupational policy of Armenia. Seven regions of Azerbaijan beyond the administrative borders of Nagorno Karabakh are under occupation. We suffered from policy of ethnic cleansing. One million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons on their own land. And, almost twenty percent of our territory, internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under occupation. Nagorno Karabakh is integral part of Azerbaijan. Of course, the conflict must be solved on the basis of norms and principles of international law. I informed Madam President about the current status of negotiations and the issues which are being discussed. We hope that showing the constructive approach to the proposals of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Armenia will make a step forward and start liberating the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the peace will come to the region. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a major threat to the regional security and stability. The soonest resolution of this conflict based on international law norms is in the interest of all the parties.
I would like once again to express my gratitude to Madam President for receiving my invitation and visiting us today. I hope that you will have a pleasant and successful visit. Thank you.
Statement of President Dalia Grybauskaitė
- Thank you very much. Of course, I am very satisfied of the visit from the very beginning. We had very open conversation with President on every issue he mentioned before on bilateral relations, European-Azerbaijani relations, of course, OSCE framework of problems which we all face. All these problems and possible areas of co-operation are very important not only for your country, but of course for Europe and of course for OSCE organization that means all over the world.
If starting from bilateral relations between Lithuania and Azerbaijan, of course, we are very satisfied that our economic ties are improving, our business people find good opportunities on both sides to co-operate. We have very active ambassadors in our country and Lithuanian ambassador in your country. So I want to thank them that they are very active and are doing very good job. Our business people are satisfied about possibilities working here. They have good chances.
Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed the readiness of Lithuania to share with Azerbaijan the experience obtained in membership negotiations with the European Union. Assessing positively the implementation of anti-corruption program in Azerbaijan, head of Lithuanian state noted the presence of this issue also in the agenda of her country by saying:
- Here some positive steps we can see, especially in the program which you adopted as a new one in fighting corruption. This is also on my personal agenda in my country also. Every country has it more or less and it is a very good sign that your country and President have started such a program.
At the same time, President of Lithuania noted in particular that Azerbaijan is the important country for Europe by saying:
- For Europe, of course, your country is very important for diversification of supply of gas and other energy resources. For Europe, it is a very future oriented relationship. And, I just wish your country to use it in full pace as much as you can. That also guarantees very good relations in future for all European member states.
Touching upon the most painful problem of our country – Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Dalia Grybauskaitė noted that she stands only for peaceful resolution of the problem by saying:
- Such kind of conflicts are taking place with huge losses. Making huge bad impact on morality, relations, economy which are very difficult to be solved. For that, you need patience, open mind and of course, peaceful mind. What Europe and the world are looking for both countries is the conflict to be solved peacefully. We are ready as OSCE organization as the European Union member and bilaterally Lithuania is ready to help you in any way to help the solution as much as we can.
Noting in particular the fast development of Azerbaijan and the implementation of large scale projects in our country, President of Lithuania said:
- We and I saw a lot of buildings being constructed and under restoration. A lof of infrastructure is going to be built. That is a very good sign for the country and I am very satisfied that your country is growing so fast.
Touching upon the co-operation in the field of education, head of Lithuanian state expressed their readiness to implement several projects in this regard.