Presidents of Azerbaijan and Croatia made statements for the press
11 march 2013, 16:00
After the signing ceremony of the Zagreb Declaration, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipovic made statements for the press.
Statement by President Ivo Josipovic
- Mr. President Aliyev,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to warmly welcome the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, and the delegation accompanying him again.
Today we have signed the declaration of the two presidents, which is evidence of the excellent relations between our countries. We have specifically expressed our interest in further expanding our economic relations. There is a great potential for that. Both sides are interested in that and there are good prospects for the future development of economic relations.
From this point of view, there are opportunities in the energy sector, in the areas of infrastructure projects, tourism and agriculture.
At the same time, there are other areas such as science and education. The agreements and the memorandum to be signed between our governments today are an indication of the practical implementation of the declaration. And I congratulate you on this occasion. At the same time, the opening of a permanent diplomatic representative office of Croatia in Azerbaijan is highly important, as it will have a direct positive impact on the successful operation of the companies of the two countries.
I am very pleased that President Aliyev and I will have the opportunity to meet with the Croatian business people interested in working in Azerbaijan. President Aliyev is accompanied by representatives of the Azerbaijani business community and I am confident that this meeting is a good opportunity for the strengthening of our economic cooperation. All these companies have achieved important business successes in the areas of their expertise and have relevant international experience.
The documents signed are very important. I would like to particularly highlight the agreement on economic cooperation. At the same time, a number of other agreements have been signed to forge closer relations between our citizens and to help us get to know each other better.
Of course, we have also discussed the situation in our region. Both Azerbaijan and Croatia are located in a region with serious problems. Both our countries are interested in the establishment of peace and security in the Caucasus and in the south-east of Croatia. Croatia is in favor of a negotiated settlement of the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories. We are in favor of the application of international legal norms and a peaceful settlement. For this reason, we make effort to be constructive and are in favor of a dialog, compromise and regional cooperation. By this approach we want to contribute to the further stabilization of the situation in the future.
I would also like to note that the process of expansion of the European Union is highly important for Croatia. We fully support our neighbors. We also see Azerbaijan as a friendly and partner country with which Croatia wants to work more closely.
Mr. President, thank you very much for your visit to Croatia.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President!
Dear representatives of the media!
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I would like to thank you very much, Mr. President, for the hospitality my delegation and I have enjoyed. I am very pleased to come to your beautiful country again. I am very glad that Croatia has been developing successfully in recent years.
I first visited Croatia in 2005. Your country has covered a long and successful road since that time and will become a member of the European Union soon.
We have extensively discussed all directions of our cooperation. We can see again that the relations between Croatia and Azerbaijan are successfully developing. Your visit to Azerbaijan last year and the results it produced, our talks today and this important document we have just signed have further emphasized the strategic nature of these relations. There is an extensive political dialog between us. Our political relations are perfect. This visit and the talks we have held today confirm that. We must definitely build a powerful economic cooperation on this strong foundation. Important steps are already being taken in this direction. I am sure that even broader economic cooperation will be possible in the coming years.
Energy issues, an important element of our economic cooperation, are also being successfully resolved. Azerbaijan is one of the countries supplying Croatia with crude oil. Our share in your market is gradually increasing. As a result of the delivery of Azerbaijan’s ample reserves of natural gas to Europe in the future, Croatia will definitely become our partner in this area.
As you know, we have vast resources. The projects initiated by Azerbaijan, in particular the TANAP project and its successful implementation, will create suitable conditions for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe. Of course, Croatia will be our close partner in that.
We have also discussed the issue of Azerbaijani investments in Croatia. I am sure that there will be specific results in the coming months. The documents we have signed today envisage the establishment of a joint intergovernmental commission. All economic issues will be resolved in the coming years as a result of the activities of this commission.
We have also exchanged views regarding cooperation in the areas of tourism, transport and high technologies. There are excellent opportunities in each direction. Of course, humanitarian cooperation is very important. Both sides are interested in cooperating in the sphere of culture. I am sure that cooperation in this area will complement our overall cooperation landscape.
At the same time, we have discussed regional issues, issues of regional security, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and ways of resolving it. Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the state of Croatia for its stance on the issue. This position is also reflected in the document signed today.
All international legal norms must be applied. The four UN Security Council resolutions must be unconditionally executed and Azerbaijani lands freed from the aggressor. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in the solution of such issues prevail. A solution to the conflict is possible only on the basis of these principles.
We can see yet again that our positions overlap on all issues. Croatian-Azerbaijani relations are at the same time part of the relations between Azerbaijan and NATO. There are excellent prospects for the development of NATO-Azerbaijani relations and Croatia has always supported Azerbaijan in that.
In short, the talks we have held and the documents we have signed during the visit, as well as the other documents to be signed today, will further strengthen our relations. Croatian-Azerbaijani relations have a bright future. We are very optimistic of the future and are moving forward successfully.
Mr. President, thank you very much again for your hospitality and attention.
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Azerbaijan TV correspondent Yunis Orujov: I have a question for both Presidents. Your Excellencies, you have mentioned the issue of mutual investment. Can I find out what specific investment projects are planned to be implemented in the near future between the two countries?
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, we talked about that today and more specific negotiations will be carried out in the future. First of all, the plan is to channel Azerbaijani investments in the tourism infrastructure. Preliminary studies have already been held in this field for. Croatia has a very rich tourist potential, beautiful nature and, of course, this area is very attractive.
In the course of the negotiations today we came to the view that we should not limit our activity only to this sphere. I think that Azerbaijani investments in other areas can be very important. In particular, we may invest in the high-tech sector, as this sphere is developing very fast in Azerbaijan now. Investment may be made in the manufacturing sector and in real estate. Of course, there is the energy sector. In particular, as I noted earlier, the results of the projects on the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe will provide this opportunity. In other words, Azerbaijan can invest in many areas. I want to say again that all of these issues will form the scope of work for the joint intergovernmental commission being set up. These investments will be made on the basis of mutual consent.
President Ivo Josipovic: I fully agree with President Aliyev. I would like to add that Croatia is very interested in the cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sectors. At the same time, Croatia has a lot to offer to Azerbaijan. This includes, first and foremost, our ship building and repair yards, and the implementation of the agreements signed in this area will begin soon. On the other hand, there are infrastructure projects involving the railway. Croatia produces excellent railway carriages. This was also one of the subjects in our negotiations. I would like to note that a lot of work has been done during preparations for this meeting and the meeting organized at the Parliament of Croatia, as well as the meeting with representatives of the business community. I would like to express my gratitude to the governments and ministries for the program they have prepared. I am confident that this program will produce effect in terms of specific areas of cooperation.
Correspondent of Radio "Free Europe" Eni Sebic: My question is both Presidents, first of all, to the President of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is represented in Croatia by large investments. What is the main interest of Azerbaijan in terms of investing in this region of Europe?
President Ilham Aliyev: I believe that by answering the first question, I have partly answered this question too. Once again I want to say that Azerbaijan is now investing both inside and outside the country. If we look at the volume of investment made in Azerbaijan, we can see that in the last few years it accounts for nearly $15-20 billion. Last year, $22 billion was invested in the Azerbaijani economy, of which $15 billion was domestic investment.
Now Azerbaijan has a very effective and sophisticated means of investment in other countries. It is the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. I can say that of the sovereign funds the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan deserves the highest attention and evaluation, as it is the most transparent fund, which is confirmed by all international organizations. Through this fund Azerbaijan has already started to invest in different countries. This investment is also diversified. This includes investments in real estate, stocks, creation of industrial enterprises, etc.
With regard to matters relating to the investments that are and will be made in Croatia, these issues are being studied now. As I have said, attention is drawn to the tourism industry, infrastructure, high technology, and industrial production.
I would also like to note that Azerbaijan invests in friendly countries. It is our policy. The same position is probably shared by any country. For us Croatia is a friendly country and our friendship is strong. Investments will be made with the consent of both parties. I am confident that in the coming years this investment will reach large volumes.