Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
Dear Mr. President!
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
Mr. President, first of all, I would like to welcome you to Azerbaijan. I am very glad that you have come to our country with a large delegation and representatives of business circles. We will have a meeting with them today. I am sure that this visit will play an important part in the development of our relations and in the expansion of our bilateral ties.
The relations between our countries are developing very successfully. As I mentioned in our discussion earlier, Croatia was the first country of your region in which Azerbaijan opened its Embassy. This attests to the fact that the relations between our countries are developing well. I am very pleased with the positive dynamic and potential of our relations. Our political relations are excellent. We cooperate within the framework of international institutions. Azerbaijan takes an active part in the programs being implemented with the participation of NATO and cooperates with the European Union. I would like to congratulate you on the issue of your country’s membership in the European Union. I am sure that even as a member of the European Union Croatia will continue supporting Azerbaijan in its integration into European institutions.
We have discussed issues pertaining to our bilateral relations, political and economic ties. I am sure that our delegations will continue their discussions. There is a strong relationship between us. We should also note that economic cooperation between us is not yet at the desired level. The same holds true for our trade. I think it is the energy sector that may contribute to increasing the volume of our trade. I am sure that our business people can help us achieve these goals. From this standpoint, we encourage Azerbaijani companies to invest in Croatia. I do hope that other members of the delegation will also hold consultations in this respect.
We will have a broad economic and political cooperation. This may take place largely after our plans are implemented.
With regard to some traditional areas, we have conducted discussions, the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company intends to buy vessels from Croatia. We are aware that you have such opportunities. And this is yet another measure of our relations. Also, I think we need to continue thinking what other areas we can work together in. Azerbaijan is seeking new investment markets – both public and private investment markets. We would welcome the operation of Croatian companies in Azerbaijan as investors and contractors, as our partners. Azerbaijan’s business opportunities will be presented in an event due to be held today. Information will be provided about the implementation of the state investment program.
In other words, all these components will support our common ideas and partnership between our countries. This partnership is important not only for our countries but also for our regions. The Caucasus, Caspian and Balkan regions have good opportunities for a close economic and political cooperation and integration. From this standpoint, Azerbaijan can play a very important part.
We have also discussed regional security issues. I have briefed Mr. President on the talks over the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani territories have been under occupation for 20 years now despite four UN Security Council resolutions demanding an immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territory. The Armenians have carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijanis. As a result, more than a million of our fellow countrymen have become refugees and IDPs. We have made it clear to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries that this status quo is unacceptable. We hope that an end will be put to the occupation of our lands and the aggressor will be forced to stop the aggression.
We have also discussed our energy cooperation. In essence, it is contributing a lot to our trade. We have also discussed our future gas cooperation. I am sure that members of your delegation will continue these discussions. Because Azerbaijan is diversifying its gas transit routes and European markets are very important to us in this sense.
Mr. President, let me express my gratitude to you and your delegation again. My greetings to all of you and thank you very much for accepting our invitation to come to Azerbaijan. I am sure that your visit will be interesting and productive.
Statement by President Ivo Josipović
Thank you very much, Mr. President!
Dear members of delegations, distinguished guests!
The Croatian side is very grateful to you for this warm welcome. We feel very much at home and among friends here. As indicated earlier, the political relations between our countries are excellent. So our objective now is to develop our economic cooperation. This is why we have come to Azerbaijan with such a broad delegation. Mr. Čačić is a member of our government and First Deputy Prime Minister. He deals specifically with economic affairs. I am also very pleased that we will attend a forum of our investors, contractors and business managers. These people want to cooperate and some of them are already negotiating cooperation opportunities with the government of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani enterprises.
All the issues you have identified reflect the fruitful nature of our talks and discussions. I want to emphasize that we need to advance our economic cooperation from a regional standpoint. We can cooperate in energy, shipbuilding, agriculture, defense industry, fortification operations and a number of other areas.
You have also touched upon the issue of conflicts in the present-day world. The Nagorno-Karabakh is not the only conflict, there are many others. In Croatia, we also experienced the occupation of our lands during war. I am very pleased that your approach is focused on a negotiated settlement to the conflict. I am well aware that there can be no relationships, trade or economic, in the absence of peace. Our delegations will examine a number of issues, not just those related to economic cooperation but also others.
The three agreements we signed today are highly important for our future cooperation. We hope they will contribute to the strengthening of our relations. We are very interested in cooperating in the tourism sector. We are currently witnessing a tourist inflow not only from Europe, but also from Eastern Europe and the East. We would be happy to see our Azerbaijani friends in Croatia too.
The highly important issues we have discussed relate not only to economic cooperation but also to cultural ties. Mutual understanding in the cultural sphere is important for the development of both political and economic ties.
I was very interested in your statement regarding investment in the region. This is very important for us. Because both our countries have a huge potential in different spheres. I was also interested in your statement concerning social responsibility. This is also very important because Croatia is a socially-oriented state. In essence, we are interested in developing the economy that rests on people’s talent.
Thank you very much for your hospitality. I appreciate your efforts to further improve our relations and develop our economic cooperation.
Thank you very much!