Azerbaijan, Baku, Jun. 26 /Trend/
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today attended the 20th anniversary summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Istanbul.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul welcomed President Ilham Aliyev and other Heads of State and Government.
Opening the summit, Abdullah Gul said "it is a great honor for Turkey to host this gathering".
The Turkish leader spoke of the history of BSEC. He said the 20-year activity of the organization saw its member states become closer to each other politically and economically.
Abdullah Gul stressed BSEC`s role in the international economic system. The Turkish leader said the organization was committed to expanding economic relations in the region and cooperation among the member states, as well as to developing the private sector, trade, culture and tourism.
Abdullah Gul said "located in central Eurasia and linking the Black Sea countries, BSEC plays an important role in restoring the historic Silk Road and ensuring the exports of local energy resources".
The Turkish President said "the main task facing the organization today is to outline the priorities of economic cooperation for the coming 10 years".
President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic stressed the importance of the summit, saying it is held amid the global economic crisis. He said considerable steps were made towards boosting the economic development in BSEC member states during the Serbian presidency of the organization.
The Serbian leader emphasized the significance of BSEC`s relations with leading international organizations, including the European Union and the European Commission.
Tomislav Nikolic said he was happy that the chairmanship of BSEC passed to Turkey.
Turkey will take over the organization`s rotating chairmanship from July 1.
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the summit.
The Azerbaijani leader said the history of BSEC`s founding coincided with Azerbaijan`s independence history.
"Our country had gone through a difficult and important path during those years. Fundamental reforms were carried out in Azerbaijan, and the country has successfully implemented economic and infrastructure projects in the last few years."
President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan`s achievements had been confirmed by world rating agencies.
The Head of State noted the exploitation of oil and gas pipelines made Azerbaijan both an exporter of energy resources and a transit country.
"The launch of another important project, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, will help us restore the ancient Silk Road. These are concrete projects," he added.
President Aliyev said: "These projects will open new opportunities for bringing BSEC member states closer to each other and increasing their economic potential."
On the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Head of State said the dispute was a major barrier to the expansion of regional cooperation and the deepening of economic relations.
He said the fact that "the conflict has not yet been resolved is a threat not only to economic cooperation but, in general, to peace and stability in the region".
The Azerbaijani leader thanked the Turkish President for "hospitality and excellent organization of the summit".
Other Heads of State and Government of BSEC member states also addressed the event.
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