After the signing ceremony, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev made statements for the press.
Statement by President Nursultan Nazarbayev:
- Our two countries have very good and brotherly relations. We consider Azerbaijan our major economic and political partner in the Caucasus, and these relations have been maintained throughout the years of our independence.
Azerbaijan has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its independence. On behalf of our people we sincerely congratulate you, because despite the difficulties that have arisen in connection with the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Karabakh, a million of refugees, occupied territories, despite all these difficulties Azerbaijan has achieved outstanding successes over the 20 years. Economic indicators, the improving well-being of your people, economic reforms suggest that Azerbaijan is in one of the leading positions. We watch and admire this.
We are neighbors across the Caspian Sea. We share the problems of the Caspian Sea, and together with our neighbors, littoral countries, we are working on the status of the Caspian Sea. The contacts we have in energy, oil transit areas and the use of the Caspian as a transport artery for Kazakhstan to access the Caucasus, Black Sea and Europe – these are the most important aspects of our cooperation. Considering the vast experience of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani specialists in the field of oil and gas, our experts have to use it. We can also cooperate with Azerbaijan in manufacturing oil production and oil and gas processing equipment.
In agriculture, we have talked about the supply of vegetables, fruits and other agricultural produce to Mangistau and Atyrau regions of our country. Therefore, western regions of Kazakhstan should have close relations with Azerbaijan, sign appropriate agreements on mutually beneficial terms.
The fact that our turnover grew almost 60 per cent last year is, of course, gratifying. But the total volume of it, 350 million, does not correspond to the potential, so in the future we expect that Azerbaijan and Baku will become one of the most important transportation arteries for Kazakhstani oil and other products. The construction of a new railway from Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan to the Caspian Sea and the possibility of transshipment of Caucasian goods through us to China and in the opposite direction is a very big task and a great benefit in the future.
Our two countries have common roots. We are part of the Turkic world. We have common roots – linguistic, cultural, common traditions. All this should be used to enable closer cooperation.
For different reasons, a considerable number of Azerbaijanis have come to Kazakhstan, the Diaspora includes 130,000 people. This is a good bridge for our cooperation. Our citizens of Azerbaijani origin are involved in economic development, cultural and political life of Kazakhstan. So there is a basis for cooperation.
At the international level, within the framework of the UN, OSCE, the CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia), we have identical positions. That is, we share our approaches to the role of the United Nations in matters of war and peace. We are in favor of developing cooperation with the European Union. We would like cooperation and integration to be continued on mutually beneficial terms in our region, in post-Soviet countries.
I would like to thank Ilham Heydarovich for his visit, for our talks. I think that they will give a new impetus to the development of our relations. We already have 60 signed documents that form the legal framework. The documents signed in your presence today suggest that our cooperation is developing dynamically and steadily.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you, dear Nursultan Abishevich, for your kind words about our country, for your congratulations on the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and the entire brotherly people of Kazakhstan in advance on the upcoming anniversary of your independence.
Over these years, Kazakhstan has covered a long road under your leadership. In 20 years you have achieved what other countries may not achieve in a century. This is evident when one visits Kazakhstan, your cities. We rejoice in your successes and admire Kazakhstan’s achievements. Over the years your country has developed as a dynamic state, successfully resolved the issues of economic policy, industrialization, social matters. Your cities are improving, your capital Astana is an example of unique experience of establishing beautiful and fascinating cities in a very short period of time.
I would also like to thank you for inviting me to visit fraternal Kazakhstan again. I visit your country annually. Over the past seven years this is my third official visit. Also, we are very pleased that Nursultan Abishevich regularly visits Azerbaijan. These mutual contacts are clear evidence of the attention and importance we attach to the development of bilateral relations.
Our relations have a solid historical foundation. The relations between our two peoples have a centuries-long history. And today, as two independent and fraternal states, are we building the relations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on the basis of partnership and friendly ties. Our political interaction is very effective. Also, as Nursultan Abishevich has noted, we are actively cooperating in international organizations.
We are grateful to Kazakhstan for its stance on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. I know that the President of Kazakhstan always keeps the subject in focus and raises this issue in important meetings with world leaders. It is necessary to put an end to the conflict, end the occupation and finally ensure the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security Council is the highest international authority, and the resolutions adopted by this organization must be implemented. There are four resolutions of the Security Council on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the territory of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, they remain unfulfilled. Our territorial integrity has been violated, and one can only imagine what Azerbaijan would have achieved if it hadn’t been for such a difficult problem.
We are committed to resolving the issue within the framework of international law, the Helsinki Final Act which clearly defines the principles and priorities, namely, the priority of the principle of territorial integrity.
With regard to bilateral economic ties, Nursultan Abishevich has spoken extensively about that and I would not like to repeat anything. I want to say, however, that we attach great importance to the development of these relations in all directions. Specific instructions were given to our delegations today to actively address the issues that need to be addressed. The growing turnover is, of course, gratifying, but we cannot be pleased with the volume, especially if we consider the huge economic and industrial potential of our countries. The intergovernmental commission is working, it has recently held a meeting. Business forums are conducted on a regular basis, the Azerbaijani consulate has been opened in Aktau. So we do attach great importance to the multi-faceted cooperation in all areas.
We have discussed transportation issues in detail. By completing the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, we will open a new Iron Silk Way which will link Asia with Europe. And our countries will be able to deliver goods in different directions and serve as transit states for large volumes of cargo.
Our traditional relations in the oil industry are strengthening, there are new ideas, new proposals on cooperation and interaction, joint initiatives. This is natural because our goals are objectively the same and because we are producers. Of course, we have common goals, common objectives, and our future cooperation in this field will continue to grow. We already have a sufficient transit capacity and infrastructure to receive main Kazakh oil and hope that when the volume of production in Kazakhstan increases we can provide our transit opportunities, so that this also becomes part of our effective bilateral cooperation.
I would also note that a street in Baku has recently been named after the great son of the Kazakh people, educator, philosopher and public figure, Abai Kunanbaev. This is a sign of our friendship and our attitude to the historic personalities of our peoples. This is yet another contribution to the strengthening of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
Overall Kazakhstan is a close strategic partner, friend, brother for us, and I am confident that the future of our relations will be as beautiful as they are now.
Thank you again for the warm reception and hospitality, and I want to take this opportunity to invite you, Nursultan Abishevich, to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan at your convenience.