Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to Montenegrin newspaper "Pobjeda"
13 march 2013, 15:30
President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to the editor of Montenegro's Pobjeda newspaper, Srdan Kusovac.
- Mr President, you will soon pay an official visit to Montenegro. What do you expect from your visit to Montenegro?
- This is my first official visit to Montenegro. As you know, President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic paid a visit to Azerbaijan. Other mutual visits were also paid at various levels. High-level visits are of special importance for the development of our relations. I hope that my visit to Montenegro will be important for the expansion of bilateral relations. I think that negotiations at the level of heads of state and meetings between members of delegations, as well as the documents to be signed will further strengthen relations between our two countries and help to identify new areas of cooperation.
- Your country has a great interest in this region. Over the last two years, the presidents of Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia have visited Azerbaijan. How did it happen and what caused such a big interest in the region?
- Yes, as you mentioned, along with Montenegro, the presidents of Serbia and Croatia also visited Azerbaijan. At the same time, the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Macedonia also visited Azerbaijan. These visits to our country by heads of state show their interest in expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan. Of course, the strengthening of relations with the countries of this region is important to Azerbaijan too. The strengthening of relations between these countries and the region’s leading state Azerbaijan may contribute to the development of bilateral relations and regional cooperation.
- How do you assess the development of bilateral relations between the two countries in various fields?
- Bilateral relations between the two countries in various fields continue to grow rapidly. Political relations are satisfactory. The documents signed between the two governments have created a solid legal basis for the expansion of cooperation. I hope that the activity of the intergovernmental joint commission will be of major importance in strengthening bilateral relations. The role of inter-parliamentary relations in the development of our relations should also be noted. Our economic relations are also developing successfully. Joint projects are successfully being implemented in different fields of the economy, including the energy and tourism sectors. The government of Montenegro has created a favourable investment climate for state and private companies of Azerbaijan to operate in the country. The tourism project carried out by Azerbaijani investors is a good example of it. Our cooperation is also at a good level in the humanitarian sphere. There are good opportunities for the further strengthening of bilateral relations between our two countries.
- You country is investing not only in Montenegro, but also in other countries of the region, as well as in projects to reconstruct cultural and religious monuments. Azerbaijan also supports Montenegrin athletes. What is the purpose of these investments?
- As you know, the Azerbaijani economy is developing rapidly in recent years and is now one of the world's most dynamic economies. As a result of successful reforms, our country has become a leading state in the region. Our country has made great achievements in the field of energy. Azerbaijan takes an active part in global economic and energy projects. Our country is contributing to Europe's energy security. Even during the severe financial crisis in the world, our economic development continued. In recent years, we were able to treble the gross domestic product, i.e. increase it by 300 per cent. We have managed to diversify our economy. The development of the non-oil sector is always in the centre of attention. This sector grew by 9.7 per cent last year.
The information and communication technology sector is one of the priority sectors in Azerbaijan. This year, the country's first artificial satellite was put into orbit. Azerbaijan has already become a cosmic country. The development of our economy is highly valued by reputable international financial institutions. According to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Azerbaijani economy takes 46th place in economic competitiveness worldwide and first place in the CIS. Today Azerbaijan is starting to invest in foreign countries. This is a new process for us. We put a lot of investment in the economy of regional countries. Large amounts of capital have been invested in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia. We expand the geography of foreign investment. We have already started to make some investments in European countries. Of course, investment strengthens economic ties and plays an important role in making these relations long-term. I think that Azerbaijan has good potential to invest in the economy of Montenegro. I hope that my visit will open new opportunities for investment in your country.
- There are no changes related to the Nagornyy Karabakh region, which is part of your country and is under occupation. Moreover, two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed last month. What will the future of this region be like and how do you see the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict?
- As you know, the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan has been going on for a long time. Along with being the greatest danger to peace and stability in the region, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, which arose as a result of this aggression, is also a serious obstacle to the development of the region. As a result of the conflict, 20 per cent of Azerbaijani land was occupied by the Armenian armed forces. More than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons. A policy of ethnic cleansing was carried out against the people of Azerbaijan. The entire infrastructure in the occupied territories was destroyed, and our historical and religious monuments, artifacts of ancient material culture and cemeteries were ruined.
Due to the non-constructive position of the Armenian side, no headway has been made in the negotiations and the cease-fire is often violated by the Armenians on the contact line, and this causes losses both among the Azerbaijani military and civilians. Armenia still ignores the four UN Security Council resolutions and the decisions and resolutions of other authoritative international organizations on the unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories and the statement by the leaders of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group regarding the inadmissibility of a "status quo" in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. I think that the international community should increase efforts to resolve the conflict fairly. Our firm position is that the conflict can be resolved only on the basis of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and norms and principles of international law. Only after that, can long-term stability and cooperation be achieved in the region.