Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.22 / Trend, A.Badalova /
A roundtable dedicated to Azerbaijan's role in the international arena, as well as urgent global political issues was held in Trend International News Agency.
The discussions were attended by Chief Executor of influential British magazine Total Politics Shane Greer, Azerbaijani MPs Asim Mollazade and Rasim Musabeyov, heads of English, Arab and Persian services of Trend Agency Aynur Gasimova, Rufiz Hafizoglu and Dalga Khatinoglu, Editor-in-Chief of the Azernews newspaper Sevil Mikayilova and others.
Greer said that his current visit to Baku is associated with Europe's interest to the region, particularly Azerbaijan. Increasing interest is caused by two factors, one of which is energy, which is of great importance for Europe, he said.
"Europe consumes incredible amount of oil and gas. And we expect that our consumption will only go up, even we are obviously focusing on renewable energy sources as well," Greer said.
He also stressed that Azerbaijan is major oil and gas producer, gas pipelines that run from Azerbaijan down to Georgia, Turkey and beyond are in the spotlight.
General regional security is the second issue that is of great interest, Greer said.
Azerbaijan's role in international arena was the key topic of the discussions.
According to Rasim Musabeyov, today Azerbaijan is a major player in the region. The country's economy today accounts for 75 percent of entire South Caucasus's economy compared to 35-35 per cent 20 years ago, he said. Some 90 percent of financial assets and export potential of the region accounts for Azerbaijan, he added.
Musabeyov said Azerbaijan seeks open relations with the West.
"That's where up-to-date technology and advanced management is concentrated. The region is also a major consumer of Azerbaijani products," Musabeyov said.
According to Asim Mollazade, the West and East met historically here in Azerbaijan. Importance of Azerbaijan to Europe does not link only to energy, he said. Azerbaijan now plays very important role in building a new strategy, which gives a chance to make South Caucasus the centre of the cooperation and partnership. This strategy, in particular, also includes turning of Azerbaijan into a link between Central Asian countries and Europe.
"It is time to start win win partnership and cooperation," he said.
According to Mollazade, conflicts which exist in the region, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, are the only obstacle in this regard. He also said that in this situation, Azerbaijan expects serious political help from its Western friends in order to protect its independence and to have a chance for political and economic integration to the Western Europe.
Head of the English Service of Trend Agency Aynur Gasimova spoke about Azerbaijan's role in ensuring European energy security.
"Azerbaijan is a tolerant country, which is open to the world, turning into an important energy and transportation center," she said.
According to Gasimova, the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict creates obstacles to the region's development.
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