Joint press statements of Presidents of Azerbaijan and Austria
13 may 2013, 16:40
Statement by President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer
- Mr. President, I am exceedingly pleased to welcome you and your delegation here on an official visit to Austria.
I remember my visit to Azerbaijan, to Baku in autumn 2011. We had very fruitful discussions in Baku then and in Vienna now. There are many areas for our cooperation. The declaration we have just signed reflects the friendly relations and partnership between our two countries. For example, the declaration emphasizes our commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and the promotion of the rule of law in both countries. The document also notes the importance of a negotiated settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the principles of international law.
I am very grateful to you for your opinion and information about the next possible steps to achieve improvements related to this protracted problem, to this conflict.
Of course, the main topic of our discussions was economic cooperation. It is very significant that one year after my visit to Baku, the negotiations we conducted and the Baku Business Forum, the export-import operations between the two countries have dramatically increased. This is a very good indicator. We are committed to the continuation of this. The Austrian side has provided the President and his staff with a list its companies have compiled, which covers various areas and proposals. There are proposals regarding the oil sector, healthcare, technology, the new airport, and cooperation in the field of tourism. Also reflected on it are railway equipment, infrastructure, the hospitality business, consulting and other issues. We have a lot of common projects and proposals for them. We are very pleased with that.
While in Azerbaijan, I informed the President about the Anti-Corruption Academy established on an international basis in Austria and Luxembourg. And I was very happy to receive information about Azerbaijan's accession to the Anti-Corruption Academy a few months later. This organization conducts training courses in public administration to conduct successful fight against corruption. All countries of the world to some extent feel the need to do so to ensure and improve the transparency of the economy. We are very pleased with our cooperation in this area.
We have reached agreement on the candidates within the UN framework. Austria supports Azerbaijan's candidacy for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Azerbaijan supports a female candidate from Austria to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Our meeting was held in a very positive, friendly and constructive atmosphere. Of course, we have also discussed the issue of "Nabucco". On this issue we share the same position, because we have common and shared interests. The next decision will be made in a few weeks. This may happen in June.
No matter what project will be given preference to, "Nabucco West" or TANAP, any decision will open up opportunities for our effective cooperation in the energy sphere.
This is all I wanted to say. Thank you very much.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you, Mr. President!
First of all, let me express my deep gratitude to you for the warm hospitality. We are very happy to visit your country and continue our dialogue.
We all remember your visit to Azerbaijan and the discussion we carried out. As you noted, we have experienced accelerated development in all areas of cooperation since then. I believe that the signing of the Declaration has been an important milestone in our bilateral relations. It holds a special place among all the documents signed between the two countries, as it reflects the essence of our cooperation and the history of our relations, and covers many areas. This is a very important declaration. This document confirms that our relations and partnership are at an excellent level.
In fact, these words describe the level of our cooperation. We have established strong political connections and are constantly in contact. We support each other and, as Mr. President has said, we will continue this support in international organizations.
At the same time, as far as economic cooperation is concerned, we have very good results. The turnover is growing and there is great potential. At the present time, many Austrian companies act as contractors performing major projects in Azerbaijan. These are projects in the fields of the tourism infrastructure, arts and architecture. Austrian companies are highly respected in Azerbaijan. They help us with many infrastructure projects Azerbaijan is currently implementing.
After a while today, we will have a meeting with representatives of the business community. I believe, Mr. President, that this event will also provide regular support for our cooperation. We also want even more Azerbaijani companies to work in Austria. We do hope that this will happen too.
From the point of view of investments, Austria is a very attractive country for Azerbaijani companies.
The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan, which is one of the most transparent oil funds of the world, is looking for opportunities to invest. It is starting investment projects in Europe, hopefully, in Austria too.
As the President has said and as is mentioned in this declaration, we have discussed the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict should be resolved on the basis of international law, decisions and resolutions of international organizations. Among them I would like to highlight four UN Security Council resolutions calling for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories. Unfortunately, these resolutions have not been executed for 20 years and the occupation continues. More than a million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and internally displaced persons, subjected to a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Unfortunately, Armenia ignores the statements by the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries regarding the unacceptability of the status-quo.
The change of the status quo means the start of the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the occupation. I believe that the sooner this happens, the faster the negotiation process will go and the atmosphere observed in the process of negotiations can change from negative to positive. The immediate commencement of the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the occupation is the moment we are waiting for. We hope that the international community will play a more active role in this.
Of course, we have also discussed energy cooperation. This cooperation has good prospects.
Azerbaijan is a country which has not only supported the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor. In fact, we have started it. Since the last meeting with Mr. President in Baku we have made an important achievement. I am talking about the agreement reached with Turkey on the construction of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. This opens the doors for the Azerbaijani gas to the European continent. The discussions conducted with the European institutions and the European Union on the subject are always in the focus of our attention.
Azerbaijan has signed an Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the energy sector with the European Union. It describes Azerbaijan as the main force and initiator of the Southern Gas Corridor. I think that the Southern Gas Corridor will be successfully implemented.
Currently, the "Shah Deniz" consortium is evaluating the commercial aspect of the proposals. We do hope that the decision will be made in the near future and Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to the European continent as a result.
As we can see, both sides have a desire to expand the excellent relations, the relations of mutual understanding, and to strengthen high-level cooperation. I think that from this point of view this visit will play a role.
Dear Mr. President, thank you very much for your hospitality. I want to say that I loved the city of Vienna and this majestic palace, which reflects the rich history and heritage of your people.