30 march 2012, 13:20
Press conference of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan was held
After the signing of documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev held a press conference.
First, the Presidents made statements.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
Distinguished guests, dear ladies and gentlemen!
Mr. President, I would like warmly welcome you to the land of Azerbaijan again. We very much appreciate that you are paying one of your first official visits as President to Azerbaijan. It is a sign of friendship, a sign of brotherhood. I am confident that your visit will open a new page in the relations between our countries. Our peoples, our brotherly peoples have lived in peace and friendship over the centuries and always treated each other with great love and sympathy.
Today, as two independent states, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan remain true to the traditions of our ancestors. Today we are embarking on a new stage in the development of our relations. We have always sought to develop the relations between our two countries dynamically and efficiently. But, unfortunately, some time was missed.
Since you became President of Kyrgyzstan, we have observed positive dynamics, a real and serious determination to develop our relations. And most importantly, we are faithful to our pledges and agreements. Our first meeting took place only a few months ago and has already led to the intensification of our relations. There are already contacts between our institutions and companies. And your visit to Azerbaijan is evidence of our attitude to the development of bilateral ties.
Today we are defining the ways for the development of our relations over the decades to come – politically, economically and in the field of investments. We have identified the main directions for the development of our relations. We will continue to strengthen our political cooperation, work actively in international organizations, support each other in all international organizations and thus further strengthen our unity.
We have identified the main avenues for the development of economic relations, agreed to hold the first meeting of the Kyrgyzstan-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission next month. We have given specific instructions to our institutions on the areas of cooperation and considered specific projects on potential economic, investment and energy cooperation.
Of course, the crucial role is played by humanitarian cooperation. Our common language, culture and historical past are strengthening our ties. We are committed to a large-scale, efficient and dynamic development of our relations, to the transformation of our relations into a partnership. I am sure the agreements we have reached will produce specific results because there is a positive mutual attitude. Most importantly, there is a commitment to implement the decisions we have defined.
The documents signed today also show our intentions. We have probably signed more documents than were signed over the 20 years of independence of our countries. This is, first of all, an indicator of the time lost in our relationship, but also of the attitude with which we are building our relations now.
I am sure that our relations have a great future. We will continue to work hard at the bilateral and regional levels. We have also agreed to further strengthen the unity of the Turkic world, to participate actively in the integration processes, to support all the initiatives aimed at bringing the Turkic peoples of our planet closer together. We have a complete convergence of views on that. And we are very pleased that in President Almazbek Atambayev the Turkic world has obtained a very active supporter and conductor of the unity of our peoples and convergence of independent states that are united by a common history and a common culture.
I am sure that your visit will be very successful, efficient and produce good results. As you have mentioned, you visited Azerbaijan 20 or more years ago. So this is also an opportunity to get acquainted with the present-day realities of our country and to determine, as I said before, the future directions of our relations.
I wish you and your delegation all the best and a good stay in Azerbaijan.
Statement by President of Almazbek Atambayev
First of all, I want to thank you for this warm and fraternal welcome we have enjoyed since yesterday. This is indeed a brotherly attitude. For me, it is perhaps the imperative of fate, but it is very significant. I am proud to be the first President of Kyrgyzstan to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan in 20 years. As you rightly pointed out, we have lost 20 years. But I think we will make up for these 20 years very quickly. We have already signed, as you said, more documents, quite specific documents in fact, than were signed over the 20 years. We will conduct a meeting of the intergovernmental commission next month, which will consider specific tasks in the fields of energy, investment, the task of establishing an investment fund, etc. So I think we will make up for the time lost.
You are right to say that we have a common history. Those who tend to forget about it should keep in mind that the peoples inhabiting the vast territory from Siberia to the Black Sea have always tried to unite under the name of a khanate – Turkic, Kyrgyz, Uighur, under the names of the Golden Horde, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union. Because this entire territory is inhabited by fraternal peoples. I think even in Russia the share of the Turkic-speaking population is about 20 per cent. Russian history, both military and cultural, is rich in brilliant representatives of the Turkic world, such as Turgenev, Aksakov, Kuprin, etc. So I think this unifying theme, the theme that we shouldn’t forget the past is, of course, very relevant. Because there is a saying that if someone shoots at the past with a gun, the future will shoot at him with a cannon.
I am very pleased with the meetings today. I am glad that very important documents, both political and economic, have been signed. I want to announce that we have invited distinguished Ilham Heydar oglu to pay an official visit to Kyrgyzstan in August this year. Mr. President has promised to come. Apparently, we will be hosting the summit of Turkic-speaking countries at that time.
I think that our relations are entering an entirely different stage. And representatives of both delegations saw this in the talks. I think that with God's help our countries will have completely different relations and we will make up for what was lost during the 20 years.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I had visited Baku only once, in 1991, i.e. 21 years ago. Of course, I can’t even recognize it now. It is a completely different country. It is a country whose representatives have won the Eurovision song contest. One can only envy Baku in a good sense and hope that our Bishkek also becomes like this. We will learn from this. There is so much to learn. Of course, I think Azerbaijan has been very lucky to have such Presidents – esteemed Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijan is progressing very confidently and strongly. We've got a lot to learn from. And, most importantly, we have something to do together. I think we will not deviate from this path this time and will work hard.
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Then the Presidents answered questions from journalists.
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Bermet Kurmanbekov (Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation of the Kyrgyz Republic): I have a question for Almazbek Sharshenovich. You and the president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, Rovnag Abdullayev, reached an agreement earlier on commissioning an oil refinery. Has this issue been discussed and how feasible is this initiative?
President Almazbek Atambayev: Of course, it has been discussed. In April, as esteemed First Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Abdullayevich has promised to me, we will try to make the final decision in Bishkek on the construction of the refinery in Kyrgyzstan. We are feeling strong support of the President of Azerbaijan. It was on the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan that this work began. God willing, we will decide to build a refinery with a capacity of 2-2.5 million tons. Of course, it will be a major step towards real independence for Kyrgyzstan. If there is a production of petroleum, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in Kyrgyzstan, it will be a huge step forward. We are very grateful to the President and other leaders of Azerbaijan for this support.
Albina Atlikhanova (Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency AzerTAg): I have a question for the President of Kyrgyzstan. Mr. President, what specific areas of economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan do you think would have a future?
President Almazbek Atambayev: You know, we have actually lost 20 years. This is destiny, God has decided so. But today we discussed issues of cooperation ranging from a refinery to the banking sector, from the sphere of tourism to the establishment of the Azerbaijan-Kyrgyzstan investment fund, so that we could move forward in all directions. We have a lot to learn from, there are areas we could invest in together. It is no secret that Azerbaijan has invested billions in many countries – from Georgia to Europe. So I said it would be good to invest a billion in Kyrgyzstan too. I think Ilham Heydar oglu will support that.
We have many common interests, up to the air service. We have talked about the possible construction of an airport in Tamchi in Issyk-Kul. I think there is very active and fruitful work ahead of us, we have a lot to work on together.
Balbak Tulebaev (Ayat-Press newspaper): I have a question for President Ilham Aliyev. Turkic summits have been conducted since 1992. A council of Turkic-speaking countries has been set up. These countries are very active in some issues – culture, education, parliamentary ties. But they have been rather weak in political matters. For instance, on the developments in Osh, on the Armenian-Azerbaijani issue. In this context, can this visit by the President of Kyrgyzstan signal the establishment of a strong union?
President Ilham Aliyev: I believe that the active position of the President of Kyrgyzstan on uniting the efforts of the Turkic world will strengthen our unity. For our part, we have always sought to make real initiatives to strengthen the unity of the Turkic world. Baku has hosted a variety of activities in this direction, including the summits of Turkic states in Baku and Nakhchivan. We have always sought to fill our unity with a concrete content. For example, the energy projects linking Azerbaijan with Turkey go far beyond the region and are highly important energy projects worldwide. Azerbaijan also provides transit services to our friends in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as regards oil, oil products and other goods. We are investing tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which will link Azerbaijan with Turkey and, therefore, Europe with Asia. This railway will serve all of the Turkic-speaking states. So these are specific areas of our investment policy, which strengthens the unity of the Turkic world.
In political terms, I think a lot has been done. The summits of Turkic-speaking states have always expressed an unequivocal position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, supported Azerbaijan’s just cause in the settlement of this conflict and voiced support for the international decisions and resolutions of international organizations to resolve this conflict.
So, we are satisfied with the position of fraternal countries on the most important issue for us – the speediest settlement in order to put an end to the Armenian occupation which has lasted for 20 years now. As you know, Armenia continues to occupy 20 per cent of our territory, has driven more than a million Azerbaijanis from their historical homeland, conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing and does not want to fulfill the decisions of international organizations, including the most important one – the UN. The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions calling for an immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from our territories, but they have yet to be implemented.
So I want to reiterate that we are pleased with the position of Turkic-speaking states, which manifests itself in the decisions made at Turkic summits.
Of course, mutual support of Turkic states should be expressed in all matters. This means economic and political support, cooperation in international institutions and voting for each other in international organizations. We have always maintained this position, the position of solidarity among Turkic states and the position of solidarity of the entire Islamic world. We are working in this direction and making initiatives. Numerous activities of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have been conducted on our initiative. In 2009, Baku was elected the capital of the Islamic world culture. In 2018, this honorary title will be awarded to another ancient city of Azerbaijan – Nakhchivan.
So we are working hard in this direction, and I am very pleased to see that the President of Kyrgyzstan is committed to his historical roots. I have said this in a personal conversation with Almazbek Sharshenovich and now I want to say it publicly that this inspires further optimism in developing our bilateral relations and strengthening the unity of the Turkic world. The Turkic world has a huge potential – human resources, good demographics. We are rich in natural resources – oil, gas, metals and water. We have a huge geography which brings together the entire Turkic world via the Caspian Sea. Thus, the strengthening of our positions can only lead to the strengthening of our unity. This visit is also a contribution to the strengthening of our unity. We are viewing it also from this perspective and hope to continue this positive trend in the future.
Jeyhun Aliyev (ATV television channel): I have a question for the President of Kyrgyzstan. Mr. President, what is your assessment of the documents signed between the two countries from the standpoint of a further development of bilateral relations?
President Almazbek Atambayev: I think these are groundbreaking documents. I want to say again that Kyrgyzstan supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. And our appeals to the roots are not accidental, because there have been two attempts to separate Kyrgyzstan in the past 20 years – in 1990 and in 2010. And this was also caused by the very fact that people forgot about their roots. The Kyrgyz and Uzbeks are Turks. And a reminder of the past will only contribute to the cause of peace. Of course, we oppose any separatist trends, we support the territorial integrity of our countries. I think the documents signed, both economically and politically, are groundbreaking documents that were not signed for 20 years.
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