09 june 2011, 21:50
Joint press conference of Azerbaijani and Slovenian Presidents was held
After the documents signing ceremony, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Slovenian President Danilo Turk held a joint press conference.
Prior to that, the heads of state made statements.
Statement by Slovenian President Danilo Türk
- The President of the friendly Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, who is paying an official visit to our country, is a distinguished guest of the Republic of Slovenia today. In essence, this is a reciprocal visit because in 2009 I paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. And now a reciprocal visit is being paid. This visit is a good opportunity for examining our bilateral relations. We have just signed two documents on cooperation between our countries. We have also reviewed other issues pertaining to Slovenia and Azerbaijan.
I want to note that we have good bilateral relations. Our cooperation is successful, economic relations are also developing. At present, our turnover has increased 10 times. This is already a good result. A number of agreements are due to be signed. We may establish cooperation in the energy sphere, in the construction of power stations, in the area of information technologies, in the insurance sector. We expect Azerbaijani companies to invest in Slovenia. Our cultural cooperation is also expanding. I think there are still many cooperation opportunities ahead of us.
I think that this approach in the spirit of multilateral cooperation may lead us to success. There can be no competition here, cooperation is of particular importance.
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Statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President!
Our agenda with the European Union is very broad. Of course, energy security issues are top of the agenda and cooperation in this direction is expanding. Azerbaijan is ready to contribute to European energy security. Our abundant gas resources are already transported to world markets through different routes. Thanks to the establishment of a gas infrastructure, we have diversified our export opportunities. Today we have four pipelines transporting Azerbaijani gas to world markets. These pipelines are in operable condition. Of course, the delivery of our gas resources to world markets via reliable routes requires new contracts. Azerbaijan has confirmed gas reserves of 2.2 trillion cubic meters, which already shows that we are a very important exporter of gas.
Talks on the southern gas corridor are under way. I am sure the negotiations will produce good results. The success of the talks depends on the sincerity of relations and the ties between three parties: producer – Azerbaijan, consumers – the European side, and transit countries. So the interests of all three parties must be secured and every party must contribute to the realization of the project. This cooperation is now emerging. I hope that we can talk about more specific results shortly. But I want to add that this process is very important not only to Azerbaijan but also to Europe. We are interested in expanding our export opportunities and increasing our gas exports to world markets, while consumers are interested in expanding the geography of their gas supplies, and our interests overlap in that.
Good conditions are now emerging for a fair settlement of the issue. The joint statement made by Minsk Group co-chairmen in late May is already a very serious signal. It says that the current status-quo is unacceptable. We have been saying for many years that the status-quo must be changed and occupying forces must leave the captured territories. Of course, such a clear statement is very inspiring for us as it raises our hopes. Another important aspect is that it refers to the Helsinki final act. The Helsinki final act says there is no contradiction between the principle of territorial integrity and the principle of self-identification of nations. So these two principles must become part of one and the same agreement, and I think that this is also a very positive phenomenon.
At the present stage, the Armenian side should demonstrate a constructive and sincere approach. For many years Armenia was holding talks only for the sake of talks, was imitating them. It is now time to give a concrete answer to the proposals made. And if that doesn’t happen, we think Azerbaijani lands will be liberated from occupiers soon.
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Then questions were taken from journalists.
The sides have already identified these areas, and there are already specific results. The Korona company, the leader in the area of telecommunications, has already signed an agreement with partners in Azerbaijan. Agreement has also been reached to conduct a feasibility study in the area of hydro power stations. I think I have answered your question.
Let me also say that we are interested in mutual investments. The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is also studying investment opportunities in Slovenia. Our delegation, our minister for economy will also tackle this issue and many more cooperation opportunities will emerge.
President Ilham Aliyev: As you know, every country has the right to defend itself. This right of every country is recognized by the UN Charter. It is no secret that the consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have not emerged in a peaceful way, but through the use of force. As a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing and Armenia’s policy of grab against Azerbaijan, hundreds thousands of people have become refugees and IDPs in their native country. Azerbaijanis have been driven out of seven districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, from places that have never been inhabited by Armenians. All the structures there have been destroyed. Several months ago, an OSCE fact-finding mission completed a visit to occupied lands. Suffice it to look at its report to see that there is not a single sound building there. All the buildings have been destroyed. All our religious temples have been destroyed. All our assets have been looted. So one side has used force to bring about such a situation.
We are in favor of a negotiated settlement. We want the issue to be resolved peacefully, which is why the talks have been under way for 19 years. The Minsk Group was set up in 1992. The talks held since then have not produced any tangible results. As soon as there was some rapprochement in the positions of parties, the Armenian side backed down, which effectively disrupted the talks. Under such circumstances public hopes for a peace process inevitably dwindle. I think that the option being discussed at the current stage is the last chance. Different options were discussed and tried over the course of 19 years. I want to repeat that as a result of Armenia’s non-constructive position now we have been unable to achieve a peace agreement. Now we must use the last chance.
I can say that the statement by presidents of the countries co-chairing the Minsk Group has elevated our hopes for a negotiated settlement. So this positive trend must be stepped up and even more serious messages sent to the aggressor and occupier, so that we could have the status-quo changed as soon as possible. In my remarks I emphasized that this is a very important issue. Over the course of 19 years we had never heard the mediators say that the status-quo must be changed.
The statement that has been floating around for the last several months is bolstering our hopes. We hope that the issue may be resolved as a result of the hard work of mediators. But at the same time, no other option is ruled out. Azerbaijan does not have claims on the territorial integrity of other countries. We did not occupy anyone’s lands. We have both the opportunities and the strength to restore our territorial integrity. At the same time, such opportunities are provided to us by international law. I can say again: suffice it to look at the UN Charter which says everything explicitly. But I certainly wouldn’t want the peace process to be called into question. I want very much the issue to be resolved peacefully and our territorial integrity to be restored.
President Danilo Turk: Slovenia believes that the strategically important “Eastern partnership” program is extremely important. It is a priority for us. In essence, the future of Europe is reflected in this very document. Within this program we intend to expand cooperation with our closest neighbors. This is essentially a new phenomenon, a new project within which we determine the content of specific cooperation. It gives the description of our cooperation with any partner country. What does it mean specifically? Cooperation priorities are determined by the European Union and Azerbaijan, and this applies to the country participating in the “Eastern partnership” program. Let’s suppose that visa regulations are to be simplified. We hope we can make headway in this area too. We must further liberalize people’s travel. The relations between people are of special importance. Within the “Eastern partnership” program we must also talk about economic cooperation. We agree that Azerbaijan is a rich country. Azerbaijan is a country of economic power and opportunities, it is capable of benefiting the European Union.
Let me specifically answer the previous question. You have asked which project we would choose – Nabucco or the Southern Stream. Is this what you asked? There should be no choice here. We need both because the demand for energy will only increase in the future, and both sides should be interested in other forms of cooperation. This is a sphere of cooperation where there are competition issues involved. This, of course, involves certain competition between organizations. But this is a natural phenomenon. But I also want to point to another aspect. As President Aliyev said, cooperation should cover three sides – producers, transit countries and consumers. There are rights and interests of all three sides. This is the main and pivotal factor. This factor applies to the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union within the “Eastern partnership” program. We should view our cooperation from this angle.
I think it would be good to use this cooperation as an example and spread it to other spheres. So that relevant agreements are signed between Azerbaijan and the European Union in other spheres too. I am convinced that these agreements should be of individual nature, they should consider Azerbaijan’s specific economic opportunities. Also, taking into consideration other aspects and spheres, new touches should be introduced. This is my answer to your previous question and to the question on the development of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. What do we need? We must have mutual understanding at a high level.
We know that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an important issue. If we want to be active in this region, it is an important issue. Even though we are not the biggest power in Europe or a country of huge strength, we must work hard. We must strive for a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Your colleague has asked here: what is your optimism based on? I would add to the answer to that question that I have been following the talks on this conflict for over 10 years. I used to work within the system of the United Nations, while now I am President of the Republic of Slovenia.
We are already in a situation when things have changed. We know exactly that current issues did not exist earlier. Three main sides and participants – Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation – can now determine the principles for resolving the conflict more clearly. This opportunity must not be wasted. I think that this is the understanding of anyone who is familiar with this conflict. We must be more precise in this area. I have provided a lengthy answer. But if this conflict is resolved, it will facilitate the cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan. We must support each other. We must not simply provide examples and models to each other. We must try to reflect real priorities and values in our cooperation.
19 october 2017, 09:50Ilham Aliyev received delegation led by first vice prime minister of Ukraine
18 october 2017, 18:10Ilham Aliyev received participants of 78th session of CIS Council of Border Troops Commanders
18 october 2017, 10:40Ilham Aliyev received Polish Foreign Minister
18 october 2017, 10:00Ilham Aliyev received delegation of Cooperation Council for Arab States of Gulf
17 october 2017, 15:25Ilham Aliyev received credentials of incoming Greek ambassador
16 october 2017, 14:20Meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia held in Geneva
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