Ilham Aliyev received in a video format delegation led by Italian Marie Tecnimont Group chairman

03 february 2021, 12:00

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received in a video format a delegation led by Chairman of the Italian Maire Tecnimont Group Fabrizio Di Amato.

The head of state welcomed the delegation.

President Ilham Aliyev: Good morning.

Members of delegation: Good morning Mr. President,

President Ilham Aliyev: Very glad to see you.

Chairman of Maire Tecnimont Group Fabrizio Di Amato said:

- Good morning, Mr. President. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us this morning. After the opening ceremony in 2018, we are visiting Azerbaijan again. We are honored to be in Baku today along with our Ambassador and the team staff of Maire Technimont. I would like to congratulate you on leaving behind the tense period in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. We are very close to Azerbaijan, and at that important time the attention of all Italians was here. As you know, we have been operating in Azerbaijan for more than seven years. We are contributing to the industrialization of your country. We are happy to be here today because we are already involved in new projects. On behalf of myself personally and the entire staff of Maire Technimont, I want to assure you that we are determined to expand our relations with your country and contribute to the development of industry.

As you know, about 200 of our staff currently work in the country. We consider Azerbaijan a native country and 72 percent of our workforce is Azerbaijanis. Initially, our staff consisted entirely of Italians, but gradually the number of local staff increased. This is another important achievement.

Another topic is our cooperation with local university students and young people in general. Our staff here today attaches special importance to cooperation with students. This is our general approach. But there are good opportunities for the development of this approach in your country. Another issue is the local content of the industrial chain. We are cooperating with more and more Azerbaijani companies in our supply chain. In the last project, our participation in Azerbaijan in terms of investment exceeded 400 million euros. This is another important issue. As you know, we are promoting Italy abroad and have very strong relations with Azerbaijan. Together with you, we want to continue this cooperation and expand our long-term activities in your country. I want to emphasize again that we consider Azerbaijan a native country. This is our principle in every country we operate in.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

-Thank you very much. Thank you for your kind words, thank you first of all for your congratulations with respect to the restoration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan last year. After that, after we resolved this major issue which was creating a lot of difficulties for our people, for our country and also was one of the biggest injustices in the world, Azerbaijan’s development will be even more rapid. Though, even during the years of occupation Azerbaijan successfully developed and developed the industry, developed modern technologies. By the way, our close cooperation with your company and projects which you implemented in Azerbaijan demonstrate that country’s economic and industrial development was really very impressive. Now, it’s a new page in our history. Azerbaijan will implement all what is necessary in order to restore life on the territories which we have liberated. It will be not easy, because everything is destroyed and visiting the liberated territories one can see the total destruction. All the buildings, all the factories, all the historical monuments, social infrastructure is leveled to ground. So, we will have to do everything from zero. Therefore, of course, we will need good partners also for that part of our activity. Of course, your activity in Azerbaijan and projects which you implement help us to increase the non-energy related sector of our industry. And by the way, I can tell you despite the pandemic, and despite the economic decline in Azerbaijan last year which was 4.3%, our non-energy related industry grew 12.5%. This is a real demonstration of industrialization program. Cooperation with such leading international companies as Maire Tecnimont of course helped us and will help us in the future. I was looking at the information with respect to your activity in Azerbaijan, and of course, I remember ceremony of inauguration in Sumgayit, when President Mr. Mattarella was attending with me that important remarkable event. In general, your company involved in the projects worth more than 1.6 billion euros in Azerbaijan, and I think it will continue because you have already demonstrated your commitment to our country. And what you say about the composition of local nationals in your activities also demonstrates your commitment and your long-term strategy in Azerbaijan. Because, if you were not planning to stay for a long time you wouldn’t have done it. In the beginning there have been only Italians and now more than 70% are locals. So, you contributed to trainings. That’s also very important. I would like to say that relations between Italy and Azerbaijan are developing very successfully and my official visit a year ago to your country once again demonstrated that. And I remember meetings, discussions with leaders, with business community and we always keep our word and we implement all what we agreed. And also, during the difficult times in our history last year we witnessed the solidarity from the Italian people. We witnessed objective approach from Italian media, and we witnessed that what we have signed and articulated, we transformed it into reality. Because Italy and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. The documents signed on strategic partnership and reality also demonstrate that we are strategic partners. So, we hope that the Italian companies will be very active in the projects related to restoration of our territories. I can tell you that already we have few Italian companies which have been invited into issues related to restoration and related to construction. And actually there will be more, because I many times already publicly said, want to say once again, we will invite only companies from friendly countries. There is a good English saying: the friend in need is a friend indeed. So, in these difficult moments you really understand who are your friends. And this is very important and very valuable. One more thing I want to tell you about our plans, I am sure you know, but it is moving. The creation of Italian-Azerbaijani University in Baku. We have already allocated the site, already issues started with respect to creation of university. This issue was also agreed on the governmental level. I hope maybe this year if we work hard, we can start, because that will also be a good reflection of our friendship and also the preparation and the training of young Azerbaijani people in the specialties which our economy needs for the future, so they are able to run these enterprises, these industrial sites, will be very important. It will also help to strengthen our close friendly relations between our countries. I wish you success and I am glad to see you in Baku. Hopefully next time we will not make through the video format but personally.

Chief Executive Officer Pierroberto Folgiero said:

- Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, I am very pleased to have been of assistance to you in the development of cooperation with the university because when it comes to Maire Tecnimont, you first think about a technology-based company. We have great faith in new technologies and would be very happy to contribute to its development. In particular, I know that SOCAR cooperates with other companies in the field of chemistry. This cooperation will enable the university to start operating. This is one of the most important values we have in the field of chemistry.

First of all, let me say that we are leading and we would like to develop what we call a “green chemistry”. In our opinion, Azerbaijan has an important role to play in this region of the world. We would be happy to share these ideas. This is the first issue.

As for the second issue, we are very interested in expanding cooperation, for example, in the field of energy production. Our approach is long-term and, most importantly, is based on human capital, involving young people in employment. Let me tell you about one fact. We hold regional meetings around the world, and one of them was attended by our young Azerbaijani colleague from Tecnimont, who spoke to the world community about the benefits of cooperation and intercultural cooperation. His speech aroused great feelings in all our people. Any great success makes both of us happy. Let me say that we would be very happy to develop new technologies and use your agility and entrepreneurial opportunities. These qualities underlie the approach of Italian businessmen and, to some extent, pave the way for a leading position in the field of “green chemistry”.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

-Thank you very much. I fully support your ideas and views of our future partnership. Of course, involvement of Turin University in our common activity will be highly welcomed. Also, you mentioned about “green chemistry” which is new, as far as I know, in technological development. This is also fully in line with our agenda, because in previous years we had to do a lot in order to improve. The quality of life and particularly, to clean all the polluted areas especially here in Baku and Absheron Peninsula, which have been contaminated for more than 100 years. So, we did a lot of investments, a lot of recultivation of land, a lot if issues related to protection of environment and it will continue. Therefore, green energy concept basically for Azerbaijan is a way forward all around the country and in particular, in the liberated territories. I already announced that all liberated territories and this is a big part of Azerbaijan and the great energy zone. At the same time, we will apply modern technologies there like, smart city technologies, even smart village technologies. So, that will be a good example also for other part of Azerbaijan, where we also need renovation, modernization, technological progress. The most advanced technologies we want to apply in Azerbaijan because country must be modern, must be intellectually capable, and industrially strong so that we do not depend on price of oil and gas. And that will provide the sustainable development for our country. Of course, in the process of industrial development as you mentioned the strategic alliance between your company and Azerbaijan will be highly welcomed. We need such a strong partner in order to help us to modernize, to go forward, and to train. I particularly once again want to refer to you comment about composition of local employees in your company. This is really a sign of friendship, this is a demonstration of friendship. I would like to express my gratitude to you and express my assurance that we will continue to work together with your company, with your partners. I am sure that the more Italian business community knows about opportunities here and very cordial relations to Italy, the more Italian companies will come. That’s what we want.