Azerbaijani, Serbian presidents made press statements21 may 2018, 14:20
Statement of President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President!
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen!
Mr. President, first of all let me cordially welcome you to Azerbaijan again. Welcome to our country! We attach great importance to your visit. I am sure that this visit will usher ample opportunities for the development of Serbian-Azerbaijani friendly relations and strategic partnership.
We are strategic partners, and the documents signed today include is a Joint Action Plan on Strategic Partnership. This is a very detailed and important document. It reflects all the important issues related to our further cooperation.
We always support each other within the framework of international organizations. We support each other on all important issues. In all international organizations, we always support each other on matters related to territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders. The conflicts we have faced must be resolved on the basis of the and principles of international law and within the territorial integrity of our countries. They must be resolved within the framework of relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. We are providing and will continue to provide each other with mutual support on this issue.
Among the issues discussed today, those of economic cooperation were high on the agenda. We are giving a high assessment to the steps taken in this direction. But at the same time, we are absolutely sure that the current trade turnover does not reflect our economic potential. There is growth, but absolute figures are still very low. Therefore, I am convinced that the issues discussed during this visit and those still to be discussed will lead to an increase in trade turnover in the future. There are good opportunities for this.
There are encouraging prospects for cooperation in the field of energy. This issue is reflected in the Action Plan signed today. Azerbaijan has initiated and is heavily involved in giant energy projects. A special place among them belongs to the South Gas Corridor project. In the coming days, we will celebrate completion of the Shah Deniz-2 project. The TANAP project will be commissioned next month. Thus, the key projects of the Southern Gas Corridor will be completed. This is yet another contribution of Azerbaijan to energy security. This giant energy project has had a positive impact on addressing issues of broad international cooperation. At present, cooperation in the energy sector in our region is rising to a new level.
Last October, a ceremony associated with the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway took place in Baku. This line is also of great importance. As a result of the launch of this railway, Asia and Europe have been connected to each other through Azerbaijan and other countries. It is the shortest route from Asia to Europe and back. Cargo is already being transported along this railway and their volume will gradually increase. Of course, we see Serbia as an active participant in this railway. I believe that our relevant agencies can already begin talks on this issue, so we could increase the freight traffic. So the energy and transport projects implemented at the initiative of our country open up new opportunities for broad cooperation. This will give an impetus to the development of tourism and increase mutual trade turnover, thereby consolidating stability and ensuring security in our region and in Eurasia.
Humanitarian sphere holds a very important place in the relations between Serbia and Azerbaijan. Mr. President, I am aware that you will also attend the opening of the "Center for Serbian Language and Culture" at the Azerbaijan University of Languages. I am sure that you already know and will see again that there is a great interest and great respect in Azerbaijan for your people, culture and literature. Our relations in the humanitarian sphere occupy an important place in the development of ties between our peoples.
I believe that the mutual development of the tourism industry will bring income to our countries. At the same time, people will get to know each other better and become friends like our countries. Our countries are friendly countries and, as I have already mentioned, strategic partners. I am sure that this visit will provide a further momentum to our ties, a new impetus, so that Serbia and Azerbaijan can carry out their activities as countries always supporting and helping each other.
We think very highly of your policy in connection with the work being done in Serbia. You defend the independent policy of Serbia and confidently run the country. The people provide you with a lot of support. Your policy is highly appreciated by the Serbian people. We, as your friends, are happy about this. We are sure that Serbian-Azerbaijani relations will continue to hold an important place on your agenda. Our relations with Serbia are of great importance to us. I am sure that there are all the opportunities and conditions for a successful development of these ties in the future. The main thing is that there is a firm and mutual interest. I believe that we will continue to live with these wishes in the coming years and develop Serbian-Azerbaijani relations. Thank you.