Ilham Aliyev and Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic made statements for the press

18 october 2012, 12:30

After the signing ceremony, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic made statements for the press made statements for the press.

Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Mr. Chairman!

Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen!

I am pleased to welcome our friends from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the delegation headed by Mr. Chairman, to Azerbaijan.

This is a historic visit. This is the first high-level visit in the history of our relations. Our ties have a great potential, a great future. I hope that your visit will be an important step in the development of bilateral relations. In addition, our cooperation has historical roots. Forty years ago, Sarajevo and Baku signed an agreement to become twinned cities. I think that now we are reviving these historical ties. Certainly, at a new stage - at the level of two independent states.

We have had an extensive discussion on our bilateral agenda. Undoubtedly, the political dialogue is expanding. We are grateful to Bosnia and Herzegovina for its support in our election as a member of the UN Security Council. We, for our part, also support your country in international organizations and at international forums.

At the same time, we have extensively discussed the prospects for economic cooperation. We are convinced that this area of our cooperation has a bright future because we will now work hard on the economic field and fully determine the investment opportunities of our business circles.

I am sure that our joint projects will serve the prosperity of our countries and peoples.

Azerbaijan actively invests outside the country. Investment in friendly countries, of course, is highly appreciated. I think that this visit will give an impetus to the development of economic ties. We will get to know each other better. We are now at a stage when we discover each other.

We have also discussed the regional situation. Of course, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the main issue for us. For many years, our country has suffered from Armenian aggression. This has led to the fact that one million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their native lands. We were faced with ethnic cleansing and occupation. For over 20 years, 20 per cent of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan has been under Armenian occupation. International organizations, including the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, have adopted many resolutions on an unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani lands. Unfortunately, these resolutions remain unfulfilled. The speediest resolution of the conflict within the framework of international law and the principle of territorial integrity will benefit all countries.

Our countries have a lot in similarities. Both countries were part of another country. Our independence was fraught with a number of serious challenges, problems and aggression against our countries. We have suffered from aggression, occupation and destruction. This also unites us. We are also united by good memories of the past and events of 20 years ago. So we understand each other perfectly well. We understand each other's problems, we feel each other's pain. The active cooperation between our countries is a natural call that comes from our civil societies. As I said, we need to rediscover each other. I am sure that we will establish a partnership that will be an example of regional cooperation.

The Caspian and Balkan regions are getting closer to each other. We are implementing new infrastructure projects, pipeline and railway projects that will link our regions more closely. Azerbaijan is very interested in developing this regional cooperation.

Mr. Chairman and I have discussed the possibilities for energy cooperation, particularly in the field of natural gas. Azerbaijan has large resources and capacity. We are implementing important pipeline projects. In short, I am sure that the visit by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be one of the most important chapters in the history of our relations and open up opportunities for cooperation. As a result, our countries will get even closer and we will be doing important things in the future. Once again, Mr. Chairman, welcome to Azerbaijan! I wish you a pleasant stay in our country.

Statement by Chairman President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic

- Thank you, Mr. President!

I am very grateful for the hospitality, the kind and encouraging words and the support your country and people provided us at the most difficult period in our history. We have experienced a similar history. Even the momentous years for us coincide: the fact that we first lived under the communist regime, then in 1990 we began to develop democracy, in 1992 we had difficulties, and other dates. Our states and peoples were faced with the problem of genocide, aggression, assault aimed at splitting the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina will never support those trying to change the borders by force. You can rely on us in this matter.

As you said, it is time to move on from intention to action in our ties. For example, the establishment of economic relations, the exchange of visits, investment, etc. Bosnia and Herzegovina is interested in Azerbaijan. You have high-quality natural gas which you offer at a reasonable price. We are a major consumer of gas, so we have to look for alternatives. At the same time, we are interested in your investment.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is interested in developing agriculture and various industries. We have opportunities for tourism development. But we first need to carry out reciprocal visits. Today we signed a number of documents that will facilitate the establishment of relations between our countries, make possible the mutual visits of delegations, businessmen and other issues. I am sure that, as you said, our relationship has a great future.

I would like to invite you to pay a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina again. I know that you and your esteemed father paid a visit to our country about 14 years ago. I believe that it is time for you to visit our beautiful country again. I think that the Bosnians and Herzegovinians who will come to Azerbaijan will be as impressed as I am with the beauty of your country and the capital.

Members of our delegation and myself are impressed with the beauty of Baku. Thank you again.