President Ilham Aliyev made the statement first.
Statement of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President!
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, Mr. President, I sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan again - welcome to Azerbaijan! We attach great importance to your visit, and I am glad that it has been very successful. The negotiations held today show again that there are excellent opportunities and prospects for further cooperation.
I am very glad that you paying an official visit to Azerbaijan a few months after being elected as President. This is a manifestation of your attention to our country. We also attach great importance to the development of Ukrainian-Azerbaijani relations. During the negotiations today, both in a one-on-one format and with the participation of delegations, various aspects of Ukrainian-Azerbaijani bilateral relations were widely discussed and a very fruitful exchange of views took place.
Our political ties are at a high level. This is confirmed by the President’s official visit to Azerbaijan. Today we talked about the upcoming steps aimed at increasing trade. True, this year our turnover grew by almost 20 percent, but we can’t be pleased with absolute figures, and specific issues related to further cooperation were discussed today.
I am sure that the Ukrainian-Azerbaijani business forum, which will take place a little later today, will be a very important step in the economic sphere, in the field of joint activities of business circles. This business forum is of great interest to business circles of both Ukraine and Azerbaijan. I am sure that specific issues will be discussed.
Naturally, a lot depends on the activities of the Ukrainian-Azerbaijani bilateral intergovernmental commission. Unfortunately, over the past few years, the commission practically did not operate. However, by a joint decision, we are giving a new impetus to the commission. We agreed that the commission would meet next month and the instructions issued by the presidents would be discussed in detail.
Along with an increase in turnover, joint investment projects are of great interest. We had a wide exchange of opinions about this. There are specific proposals regarding both Ukraine’s investments in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan’s investments in Ukraine. I believe that these proposals may be implemented. Joint investment projects in many areas will further strengthen our cooperation.
Energy cooperation has been discussed as well. SOCAR has been operating in Ukraine for many years, has more than 60 gas stations and four oil terminals. Discussing this issue again today, we agreed that SOCAR would expand its activities in Ukraine and take specific steps.
In previous years, cooperation was carried out in the agricultural sector. We have purchased more than 400 units of agricultural machinery in Ukraine and want to continue this cooperation.
Another important issue, and we spent a lot of time on this issue today, is the development of tourism. Both Azerbaijan and Ukraine have ample tourist opportunities. Cooperation, exchange of experience and joint projects in this area have been discussed, a broad exchange of views has taken place and specific instructions have been given.
Both Ukraine and Azerbaijan have modern transport logistics and infrastructure. The Caspian and Black Sea transport corridors operate with the participation of our countries. I informed the President that very large investments had been made in this sector in Azerbaijan in recent years. The East-West and North-South transport corridors passing through the territory of Azerbaijan are already contributing to international cooperation and ushering opportunities for cooperation. Therefore, the East-West transport corridor, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the Viking project, implemented in this area – all these projects will further strengthen our countries and, in a broader sense, regional cooperation. They will benefit our countries.
Of course, we have also paid attention to humanitarian cooperation. Azerbaijan has great respect for Ukrainian culture. The Ukrainian language is being studied. Baku Slavic University has a Ukrainian center. At the same time, a fairly large place is allocated in higher educational institutions of Ukraine to the history and literature of Azerbaijan. Naturally, humanitarian cooperation has a positive effect on overall cooperation.
Of course, in this statement for the media we cannot list all the issues discussed because it will take a long time. But I can say that although the visit is still ongoing, it can already be assessed as very successful in general. I am sure that it will open a new page in the development of Ukrainian-Azerbaijani relations. We discussed specific issues and gave specific instructions. I hope that these instructions will be successfully implemented by relevant bodies.
Mr. President, welcome to Azerbaijan. Once again, I wish you and the Ukrainian people continued success. Thank you!
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Then President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky made the statement.
Statement of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
- Dear Mr. President, dear media representatives!
Mr. President, first of all, let me express my gratitude to you for this invitation. We are paying a visit to your beautiful country. Thank you for your hospitality!
Our relations have stood the test of time. We have always been a support to each other in difficult times. Azerbaijan has always been a reliable friend and an important strategic partner for Ukraine, and it is still the case now.
Mr. President, as you have already noted, we completed our discussions. Both in our one-on-one meeting and in the expanded meeting, our conversations were very warm. Mr. President and I discussed ways of strengthening of our partnership not in words but in deeds. Particular attention was paid to the economic sphere. I am sure that the opening of trading houses in both countries will also give this impetus. It is known that the Trade House of Azerbaijan has been operating in Ukraine since 2018, and today I will participate in the opening of the Trade House of Ukraine in Azerbaijan. Congratulations to all of you on this occasion!
Along with this, an Azerbaijani-Ukrainian business forum will be held in Baku today. I am sure that the business circles of our countries will discuss various issues of mutual interest and achieve specific results.
I am sure that mutual investments serve the interests of both countries. We can talk about various joint projects here. For example, a good example is the acquisition by Azerbaijan’s mobile operator “Bakcell” of Vodafone Ukraine shares. This will help us increase the level of our services in this area. Along with this, I also invite Azerbaijani companies to actively participate in the privatization process in Ukraine. SOCAR has been successfully operating in Ukraine for 10 years. And we will do our best to provide all possible support for the production and transportation of oil and gas products.
Our country also monitors the Southern Gas Corridor project. We discussed our contribution to expanding this project and bringing it to European consumers. In particular, I believe that both Ukraine and Azerbaijan have incredible transport potential. We decided to strengthen our contacts and cooperation in the field of transport and air transportation. Before the end of January next year, we will organize a meeting of the bilateral intergovernmental commission in Kiev.
Particular attention was paid to cooperation in the aerospace field. We discussed issues in various fields, in the aircraft industry, as well as in the humanitarian sphere. Days of Ukrainian cinema will be organized in Azerbaijan. You, too, have witnessed the fact that several documents have been signed here – documents related to business development, protection of confidential data and encouraging cooperation between various regions of Ukraine and the regions of Azerbaijan.
Of course, the focus of our conversation today was on issues of national and regional security. We discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We support each other in the issue of restoring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our countries. We are talking about the restoration of internationally recognized borders. From this point of view, this principle covers our cooperation both at the bilateral level and within the framework of international organizations. This is an indicator of the level of relations between our countries. We advocate a single position both at the regional and global levels. I wish Azerbaijan a successful presidency in GUAM in 2020.
Mr. President, as you noted, this is my first official visit to your country. This visit has just begun, but I am already sure that it will be an indicator of a new level of our cooperation. I am sure that the visit will serve the further development of our potential. Thank you!