Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President!
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen!
Mr. President, let me salute you in Azerbaijan. Welcome to our country! We are attaching great importance to your visit. This is the first visit of the President of Austria to Azerbaijan in the history of our relations. I am very pleased that the visit has been successful. I am sure that your visit will produce very good results.
Today we have discussed a broad agenda of our bilateral relations. This discussion shows that Austrian-Azerbaijani relations are at a very high level. Political ties are strengthening, and your visit to Azerbaijan is a good example of that. Political consultations are ongoing, there is cooperation at different levels. In short, the high level of political ties certainly gives an impetus to the development of relations in all other areas.
Today we have also discussed issues of regional cooperation. Regional security issues are very important to us. I informed you about the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the current situation. I want to reiterate that the Azerbaijani side hopes that the conflict will be resolved soon and Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity recognized by the international community will be restored. As a result of the conflict, 20 per cent of our land has been occupied. Nearly one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs in their native land. We have been exposed to a policy of ethnic cleansing.
International organizations, in particular the UN Security Council, have adopted very important resolutions. There are four UN Security Council resolutions calling for an unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied lands. Similar decisions have been passed by the OSCE, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and other international organizations. I hope that the conflict will be resolved in the near future and Azerbaijan's territorial integrity will be restored.
Today we also touched upon economic issues. Cooperation in this area has also been successful. There are 40 Austrian companies operating in Azerbaijan. Their activities are very successful. We are very pleased with their work. The upcoming Austrian-Azerbaijani business forum will also contribute to the development of ties in this area. I have no doubt about that. Austrian companies are involved in various projects here, and the Azerbaijani side is very satisfied with their participation.
We have also touched upon energy cooperation. There are good results in this area too. Particularly important among the documents signed is the one between OMV and SOCAR. Azerbaijan is successfully pursuing its energy policy. Our oil and gas fields serve the energy security of both our own country and partners.
Earlier this year, the European Union and Azerbaijan adopted a very important declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor. As a result of this declaration favorable conditions and opportunities will emerge for energy cooperation between the European continent and Azerbaijan. We have rich natural gas deposits. Our proven gas reserves constitute 2.6 trillion cubic meters. I am sure that this figure will increase even more in the future. Currently, there are excellent opportunities for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project. The source, i.e. Azerbaijan’s gas resources, and the attention of European institutions to the issue are at a high level. This issue has a special place on the agenda of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. I do hope that all the other issues, including transit, will soon be resolved. Thus, new major markets will open for Azerbaijani gas.
There is excellent co-operation in the sphere of culture. Today we will conduct a wonderful event. A statue of world famous composer Mozart will be unveiled in Baku. This will have a positive impact on our cultural cooperation and contribute to the communication between people.
In other words, Mr. President, your visit is very important for a further development of Austrian-Azerbaijani relations. Let me warmly welcome you to Azerbaijan again and wish you and your delegation a good mood during your visit to Azerbaijan.
Statement by President Heinz Fischer
- Dear Mr. President!
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I want to thank you again for this hospitality and for the invitation. During this visit I am accompanied by many government members. I have come here with a large delegation. The delegation includes scientists. This shows that we are paying a lot of attention to relations with your country and that the development of relations is in our interests too. Thank you again for your hospitality. I also want to thank you for an open and interesting exchange of views. You have created these conditions. We have held negotiations in both bilateral and expanded formats, face-to-face and then with the participation of delegations.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Azerbaijan’s state independence. You will celebrate this anniversary on 18 October. I am sure that every observer and visitor of your country can witness the progress you have achieved, especially in the last decade. These achievements are obvious. They can be clearly seen in the streets of Baku. This rapid development is evident. During the visit this was shown and explained to us.
Austria was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with you, to recognize your country. The path of independence, this 20-year road also means 20 years of our diplomatic relations. We have made certain progress in recent years.
Economic issues, as you have pointed out, were in the foreground of our negotiations. These were issues relating not only to bilateral relations but also to our relations with Europe. For example, Nabucco. In this project, we see the expression of important interests and positions of both the European Union and Austria.
We want to be sure that European energy security is in safe hands. A reliable cooperation with you contributes to that and covers different areas. The implementation of various projects is a great foundation. During our conversations we were further convinced that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to these relations. We consider your thoughts about this very important and we want to interpret them correctly. Nabucco is not the only project in this cooperation. We are witnessing a collaboration with a number of companies and there is no need to enumerate them. But I must say that you support their activities. There is excellent cooperation particularly in the areas of construction, laying of streets and the technological sphere. Cooperation in the areas of health, infrastructure and management is also at a high level. These are the topics we have exchange views on, and the good cooperation with you is showing itself.
Thank you very much again for the information provided and for your opinion.
We are in favor of a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We are urging all parties to be ready for talks and return to the negotiating table. We support the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, so that it shows a strong will to resolve the conflict.
We also talked about human rights, freedom of the press. I am pleased with some fair remarks and the discussion of our attitudes to this area. We have assumed certain obligations within the UN framework to demonstrate good things in the right areas and offer our services. Let me also note that UN resolutions in this area must also be executed.
We have exchanged views on the current developments, in particular the development of the European Union. We have expressed optimism and confidence that our political and economic relations will develop, that the European Union will secure its own future in the political and economic terms. Our relationship and cooperation, our proximity have a positive impact on the relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union. And Austria supports that.
Mr. President, thank you very much. If there are any questions, we will be happy to answer them. We are open for questions.