Presidents of Azerbaijan and Serbia made statements for the press

08 february 2013, 16:45

After the ceremony of signing documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic made statements for the press.

Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. President!

Dear guests!

Let me warmly welcome you, Mr. President, to Azerbaijan, welcome you to our country again. This is your first visit to Azerbaijan. I am very glad that it has been successful. I am confident that the results of the visit will be very positive and contribute to a further development of our relations.

In the course of today we have had an extensive exchange of views, discussed all aspects of our bilateral relations and are seeing again that the relations between Serbia and Azerbaijan are based on friendship and strategic partnership. We will continue to step up our political relations and make a contribution to the strengthening of our partnership in all fields.

Also very positive is our cooperation within international organizations. In all international organizations we traditionally support each other, and this support is very important. In particular, we always stand by you on the issue of territorial integrity. Azerbaijan's position is that all conflicts must be resolved in accordance with international law and based on the decisions and resolutions of international organizations. The internationally recognized borders of any country can not be changed without its consent. I am confident that in the coming years too – as we confirmed in our discussions again today – we will support each other in all the international organizations we are members of.

With regard to international issues, I can say that the most painful issue for our country, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, unfortunately remains unresolved. Azerbaijani lands have been under Armenian occupation for many years. As a result of this occupation and the ethnic cleansing committed against our people, more than a million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and internally displaced in their native land. Although 20 per cent of our land is under occupation, Armenian occupying forces have yet to abandon their aggressive policy. All the influential international organizations have adopted decisions and resolutions on the issue. Among them, of course, a special place belongs to the four UN Security Council resolutions. These resolutions contain very precise expressions regarding the unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from Azerbaijani lands.

The European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, NATO and other international organizations have adopted similar decisions and resolutions. In other words, there is a fairly broad legal framework for resolving the issue. This issue must be resolved in the near future in accordance with international law and on the basis of historical justice. Nagorno-Karabakh is native Azerbaijani land. The international community has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. I am sure that Azerbaijan will restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity and, thus, this injustice will be brought to an end. Of course, we want to express our gratitude to all the countries supporting Azerbaijan in this issue, including Serbia.

I want to note that the Joint Declaration we have just signed contains quite precise expressions on the subject, as well as Azerbaijan’s support for Serbia on the issue of Kosovo.

At the same time, we have extensively discussed cooperation in the economic sphere. There is also a wonderful experience in this area. The first project is being implemented. I am sure that it will be followed by other projects. Serbia's economy is very attractive for Azerbaijani investors. I am confident that on the basis of agreements reached during the visit, we will continue our efforts both in terms of even greater Azerbaijani investment in Serbia and other joint projects in the future. I would very much like to see some work done on new concrete projects in the coming months so that these projects can be successfully implemented.

At the same time, you and I have had an exchange of views on the ongoing projects initiated by Azerbaijan and talked about Serbia’s involvement in them. Among them, particularly important are the projects on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. There are excellent opportunities for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Serbia in the transport and energy sectors. At the same time, there are great opportunities for cooperation in other areas – in the sphere of communications, tourism and infrastructure.

Of course, an important role in our bilateral agenda is played by humanitarian cooperation. I believe that we have made great strides in this area in recent years. A good example of this is the erection of monuments to outstanding personalities of our nations in both countries. Today, a monument to prominent Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla will be unveiled in Baku. During my visit to Serbia, monuments to nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev and great composer Uzeyir Hajibayli were unveiled there. And this, of course, binds our countries even more closely together.
I am sure that after your visit, the friendship and partnership relations between us will rise to a new level and, therefore, we will continue to cooperate as friends and partners in the future.

I sincerely welcome you, Mr. President, and your delegation to Azerbaijan again. I say to you: You are welcome!


Statement by President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic

- Dear Mr. President!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Your Excellencies!

In fact, we had reached an agreement that only one of us could make a statement here. I subscribe to every word you have said here. Essentially, these words are spoken about the unbreakable friendship between Azerbaijan and Serbia. This friendship emerged several years ago. After coming to power in Serbia, we intend to further strengthen these relations. Azerbaijan is a friend of Serbia. I want to note that by their way of life and human nature, the peoples of our countries have a lot in common.

Azerbaijan supports Serbia. This proves again that people practicing different religions, regardless of the geographic distance between them, can work to strengthen mutual understanding between them. We are very grateful to Azerbaijan for the fact that your country supports us in the issue of restoring justice. We also support Azerbaijan. When it comes to justice, other interests have to stay aside. We demand that all other interests be discarded. When it comes to Serbia and Azerbaijan, justice must be restored. We have often fought and sustained losses. But we have always come out on top of these ordeals.

In terms of the size of its population, Azerbaijan is close to Serbia. As for the standard of living, your people live better. We would also like to provide the same standard of living for our people. Of course, we would like to create conditions that would serve the interests of both peoples. I also want to express this idea: if there are attractive cities for business people, the distance does not matter.

Mr. President, we understand that from this point of view you do not need the help of other countries, including Serbia. But in spite of this, we want to do this free of charge. We would like to provide our people with jobs, to have production, we want them to sell their products and live better.

I want to note that we will support you even in the organizations of which your country is not a member. And Azerbaijan will represent us in the organizations we are not involved in.

In the near future, we will establish ongoing communication with the business community of Azerbaijan and with ordinary people. We will see how important it is for our bilateral cooperation. This will benefit not only our regions, but also the continent as a whole. This closeness between us is a very good phenomenon. In fact, this started back when we were in opposition. But now we are in power. This suggests that the whole of Serbia is on the side of Azerbaijan. The former opposition is now in power. We may disagree on many issues. But when it comes to Azerbaijan, we always demonstrate a united position.

Azerbaijan has a rich religious and cultural heritage. Azerbaijan has financed two projects, has reconstructed an Orthodox church and a mosque. The Serbian state also plays a similar role. Our country is inhabited by representatives of many religions and more than 30 ethnic minorities. They study at universities in their native languages. I also want to say that we have the same attitude to our own citizens and to representatives of other religions.

As you know, authorities change, people come and go. But I want our peoples to take the work we have started forward.

Thank you very much!