Ilham Aliyev received delegation led by Vice-President of Italian Chamber of Deputies

07 december 2020, 14:05

President Ilham Aliyev received a delegation led by the Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Ettore Rosato.

Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Welcome! My warm greetings. I am glad that you are visiting Azerbaijan. You are the first European delegation to visit Azerbaijan after the war. And this is probably no coincidence because the relations between Azerbaijan and Italy are developing rapidly and are at the highest level today. I think that political relations are at the highest level. My state visit to Italy earlier this year is a clear example of this. Many important documents were signed during that visit, including the Multidimensional Strategic Partnership document. That document reaffirmed our strategic partnership. A wide array of important matters were discussed during my meetings with both the President and the Prime Minister. At the same time, my meetings with the Senate leaders and the House of Representatives were very positive.

As you know, two years ago, President Mattarella was on an official visit to Azerbaijan. Those visits demonstrate that our bilateral relations stand on very solid ground. Today, Azerbaijan-Italy relations are developing very successfully in political, economic, and all other spheres. You also know that Italy is Azerbaijan's primary trading partner. Last year, our trade turnover reached $6 billion. Most of it is related to energy resources, but I think that the non-oil sector will also have a special place in the coming years. As for the energy sector, as you know, the TAP project will be launched soon, which will undoubtedly further strengthen Azerbaijan-Italy relations.

We also have significant plans concerning the humanitarian field and already have many ongoing projects. During my state visit to Italy, cooperation in the field of education was also discussed. We have agreed to establish an Italian-Azerbaijani University. Upon my return to Baku, I gave relevant instructions on this issue. I think that a building for the university will be built in the near future. I keep this issue in the spotlight and am regularly informed about it. I must also say that based on the information provided to me, there will be several faculties in the university. When I viewed the list, I saw that there was no faculty of architecture, so I suggested that it be added. After all, Italian architecture is a universal human asset, and the construction sector, which is widespread in our country, must undoubtedly have a modern appearance. Of course, young people studying at Italian-Azerbaijani University will contribute to the relations between the two countries.

At the same time, I would like to thank you for visiting both Ganja and Aghdam and witnessing the war crimes committed by the Armenian state. War crimes committed by Armenia are apparent. While suffering a defeat on the battlefield, Armenia fired on civilians. They fired at Ganja with ballistic missiles from the territory of Armenia. This is a war crime, and the Armenian leadership will be held accountable for that crime. During the war, 94 civilians were killed, and more than 400 were injured. The attack with ballistic missiles was not accidental. It was deliberately targeted civilians at night so that there would be more casualties. You also saw the city of Aghdam. As a matter of fact, there is nothing left of the city, all the buildings have been destroyed. This is a crime that shows the ugly face of Armenian fascism. They thought that the Azerbaijanis would never return to those lands. Yet, we returned and drove them out of our lands in a battle. We brought them to their knees.

Now a new era is beginning for our country. We will rebuild all those regions. Preliminary steps have already been taken, and initial infrastructure projects have been launched. But the scenes you witnessed in Aghdam are there in almost all the liberated lands. There is not a single safe building left in Fuzuli and Jabrayil cities. Zangilan and Gubadli are in the same situation. The Armenian state has pursued a policy of illegal resettlement in Kalbajar and Lachin districts. It is a war crime that runs counter to Geneva Conventions. Some houses remain in some settlements in these districts. Armenians inhabited them. However, from 10 November to 1 December, when they had to vacate those districts, they also committed atrocities there, burning and demolishing houses. Those houses were not built by them, but by the Azerbaijanis who lived there 30 years ago. They burned the forests and cut down trees. In other words, they committed atrocities right in front of the eyes of the whole world. International media have also reported on this. The whole world saw what vandals Azerbaijan was facing, and managed, on its own, to restore its territorial integrity by waging war against these savages.

A restoration period now commences. Large-scale construction work will be carried out. Of course, first of all, Azerbaijani companies will take part in this work, and we will invite companies from countries that are friendly to us. We have already invited them. I would very much like Italian companies to take an active part in this work, i.e., in the restoration and reconstruction work. These proposals have already been made to the Italian side. Preliminary contacts will be established via a videoconference in the coming days. Of course, I want to say again that companies from friendly countries will take part in this work. And true friendship manifests itself in difficult times. For us, this war also showed who the real friends of Azerbaijan are, which countries. We are people who value friendship. Your visit to Azerbaijan once again shows that Italy is a true friend of Azerbaijan. Welcome again!

Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Ettore Rosato said:

- Mr. President, thank you for receiving us. We are pleased to be here at such a time of great importance to your country. In fact, we have been preparing for this visit for a long time to express our feelings of friendship to you. We said that we should definitely come to your country at such a critical time. Your Excellency, as you said, the friendship between us, its signs have been especially manifested in recent years. As for the visits between our countries, these visits were organized at a very high level. The official visit of the President of the Italian Republic to your country was a significant step in the development of our relations. We also view your state visit to Rome as an event of strategic importance. We also know as your friends that many agreements, in particular, an essential document on strategic partnership was signed during the visit. In fact, these are the agreements that reflect particular obligations and a fundamental essence.

Azerbaijan is the primary exporter of energy to Italy. In such turbulent times, we can entrust energy security to a country with amicable relations with us. We want to strengthen this friendship and diversify our relations.

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Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Ettore Rosato in offered his condolences over Azerbaijani civilians who lost their lives in the conflict and touched upon his visits to Ganja and Aghdam. He noted the delegation had witnessed the devastation committed in Aghdam during the 30-year occupation. “It is actually hard to believe that people used to live there before,” he said.

Ettore Rosato conveyed greetings on behalf of the presidents of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Italian Senate to President Ilham Aliyev.