The President of Azerbaijan made the statement first.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President.
Ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, Mr. President, I would like to sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan. Welcome to Azerbaijan! We met in Bucharest last month and I am glad that a month later you are paying an official visit to Azerbaijan. This shows that the high-level political dialogue between our countries is very active and the issues being discussed meet the interests of both countries.
Romania and Azerbaijan have been developing their relations on the basis of strategic partnership for many years. Two documents on strategic partnership have been signed. The issues we have discussed and resolved today are indeed of strategic importance. Our political relations are at a very high level, and mutual visits show this once again.
At the same time, there are results in commercial and economic fields. Although the trade turnover has more than doubled, it is still not at the desired level because much of our turnover is made up of crude oil exported from Azerbaijan to Romania. We will take further steps to diversify our trade, and I hope that the activity of the intergovernmental commission will pursue this goal. The commission met in Baku last year, and will meet again in Bucharest this year. Thus, there can be good results in the commercial and economic field.
Energy, of course, is not only the issue of Romanian-Azerbaijani relations, but one at the center of the global agenda as a whole. For many years, the Azerbaijani oil company SOCAR has been operating in Romania, with more than 70 gas stations and several fuel depots. That is, SOCAR's activity in Romania already has a very good history.
Now our cooperation is entering a new stage. While I was in Bucharest, an agreement was signed on the delivery of natural gas to Romania. Thus, Azerbaijani gas will reach a new destination in Europe. In parallel, using Romanian facilities, Azerbaijani gas will be transported to other European countries.
Two years ago, we successfully implemented the TAP project, the last segment of the Southern Gas Corridor, and became a reliable energy partner for the European Union. This is acknowledged by the leaders of the European Union. The Strategic Partnership Memorandum on natural gas signed between the European Union and Azerbaijan in Baku last year shows this again. We are rapidly increasing our gas exports, primarily to Europe.
Our distinguished guest will participate in the opening ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council meeting to be held in Azerbaijan tomorrow. The participation of President Iohannis in the opening demonstrates the great importance of this event. Of course, our main event in Bucharest was about green energy. A very important step has been taken in this direction, and the first Advisory Council meeting on green energy will be held tomorrow. This is a very strategic project, a project that requires huge investments, a project that connects several countries, two seas. Of course, we hope that tomorrow's first steering committee meeting will also offer a roadmap for future joint activities.
In short, based on a very important strategic partnership platform, we have taken a very important step towards modernity, towards development, towards energy security. At the same time, other areas can be prioritized, including the transport sector. There are very good opportunities for deepening the cooperation between the ports of Baku and Constanta. I am sure that both gas and green energy corridors will lead to great results, including those in the field of transport.
Dear Mr. President, I once again sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan. You are welcome!
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Then, the President of Romania made the statement.
Statement by President Klaus Iohannis
- Mr. President, thank you.
I am very honored to be here today. This is my first official visit to your country. The South Caucasus region is of great importance for both Romania and the European Union. I am thankful to Mr. President Aliyev for the invitation and hospitality.
Azerbaijan is the first country in the South Caucasus region with which Romania raised its cooperation to the level of strategic partnership. This happened in 2009. In addition, our country is the first member of the European Union to sign such a document on strategic partnership with Azerbaijan.
Today, we held important political consultations with President Ilham Aliyev. Tomorrow, together with Mr. President, I will participate in the 9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting.
Romania and Azerbaijan have had good diplomatic and political relations for 30 years. In 2022, a very strong impetus was given to this and Mr. President visited Bucharest. During that visit, on December 17, we signed the Agreement on a strategic partnership in the field of green energy development and transmission between the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary.
We in Romania are ready to deepen the strategic partnership between our countries and implement regional projects of strategic importance. We are ready to cooperate in the fields of energy, trade, investment, digitization and agriculture.
I thank Mr. President for the fact that Azerbaijan has started transporting additional gas volumes to Romania in January. Tomorrow, the state oil companies of both countries, "Romgaz" and SOCAR, will sign a new agreement. According to that agreement, additional gas will be transported to our country in 2023-2024. Both the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as the future submarine transportation cable of electric energy produced in Azerbaijan from renewable resources, projects which are sustained by the European Commission will significantly contribute to ensuring the energy security in the European Union. We discussed these issues with President Aliyev today.
Digitization projects are also of interest to us. Romania and Azerbaijan intend to develop this cooperation and strategic initiatives in the direction of Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. We discussed this with Mr. President in Bucharest.
Mr. President, Romania is a sincere and true friend of Azerbaijan. Romania's position has always been clear. We have always supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries.
One of the last issues we discussed with Mr. Aliyev was Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the situation in the Black Sea region. We emphasized the importance of solidarity in such a complex situation and highly appreciated Azerbaijan's position on these issues. Thus, regional cooperation, diversification of sources and routes are based on the basic principle of projects like the Southern Gas Corridor. We are sure that Azerbaijan, as a reliable partner, will advance such projects in the future.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.