Azerbaijan, Baku, September 13 /Trend, E. Mekhtiyev/
Since gaining independence over 20 years ago, Azerbaijan's development has been remarkable especially in two respects. First of all, its economic development has allowed modernization and has significantly increased the quality of the people's life, French Senator, Jean-Marie Bockel, member of the Energy Study Group and France-Caucasus Friendship Group of the French Senate said in his interview to the European Azerbaijan Society on the importance of Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region, Trend reported.
Jean-Marie Bockel noted that as the world's fastest growing economy, the economic growth of Azerbaijan was 25-35 per cent between 2005 and 2007.
"The poverty rate dropped from 45 percent in the late 1990s to 7.6 per cent in 2011. Following the development of the oil and gas sector, non-energy sectors such as agriculture and construction industries, Azerbaijan has attracted French investors.
Moreover, Azerbaijan has become France's largest economic partner in the South Caucasus. In addition, France is the second largest foreign direct investor in Azerbaijan after the United Kingdom".
According to French MP, on the second hand, Azerbaijan is significant in regional security matters. By pursuing its courageous foreign policy with complete independence from neighboring Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan has been completely open to the West and has been playing a key role in a complex geopolitical environment in EU energy security.
Jean-Marie Bockel stressed that Azerbaijan is also a front-line player in the dispatch of NATO troops to Afghanistan. Baku has become a regional platform for dialogue and its position was welcomed in the whole Eurasia: "It is pertinent to note that Azerbaijan managed to achieve such positive developments despite the occupation of nearly 20 percent of its territory by neighboring Armenia. France, as a Co-chair of the Minsk Group supports the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I am sure that France and Azerbaijan will continue to strengthen the dynamics of their political, economic and cultural relations".
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