Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 15 / Trend /
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov is pleased with the results of negotiations with the Azerbaijani leadership.
"The negotiations were very active and businesslike. I'm pleased with the results. They show the already established tradition of relations between me and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and these relations are friendly, as well as businesslike," Mr.Parvanov said in an interview with Trend in Baku.
President Parvanov paid an official visit to Azerbaijan on Nov.14-15. One of the topics of the negotiations between the parties was the Azerbaijani gas supplies to Bulgaria.
"The agenda of our meetings are always very extensive. We begin the discussion with the need to intensify economic relations between our countries, increasing the goods turnover, in which the trend is very positive," Mr. Parvanov said.
He believes the palette of goods traded between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria should be expanded, as well as the issue of expanding investment plans of Bulgaria in Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan in Bulgaria should also be seriously considered.
President Parvanov said an intensive dialogue has been held in recent years at the level of Heads of State, parliaments and the executive authorities of the two countries.
Bulgaria, he said, can play an active role in defending and protecting the interests of Azerbaijan in the European Union structures. Because, the country plays an important role in these structures and is very familiar with the peculiarities of the region.
"Theretofore, yesterday I suggested a radical idea so that the European Union considered providing the status of a privileged partnership to Azerbaijan and other countries like Azerbaijan. Because, we should see the future and develop the dialogue based on mutual respect," Parvanov said.
President Parvanov named the cooperation within NATO as another important issue. "The countries of NATO, EU, Azerbaijan and the entire region faced the same challenges that must be overcome by joint efforts. It is therefore important cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan to create those opportunities that would help to overcome not only military, but also all the other challenges facing the region," he said.
Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe
The energy topic has always been a key issue in the Bulgarian-Azerbaijani talks, Mr. Parvanov said. This is a diversification of bilateral ties and the gas and oil supply to Bulgaria and other European Union countries, including southern Europe.
"The gas supply volumes, firstly, depend on the needs of the Bulgarian economy, and secondly, the possibility of expanding its exports to other European countries. It is important to specify all the parameters of these supplies, but this should be done by the experts at their working meetings," he said.
He said it is also very important that the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has entered the Bulgarian market and participated in construction of interconnector of Bulgaria to other European countries. "SOCAR could also acquire part of the gas transmission network in Bulgaria, which would give stability to our relations and supply," Mr. Parvanov said.
Speaking about Azerbaijan's role in ensuring the energy security of Europe, the Bulgarian President pointed out the political will of President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani government in conducting dialogue and decision making in this matter. He expressed confidence that an active dialogue with the European institutions will bring fruits.
"I believe Azerbaijan can and should play a key role in the development of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor," Mr. Parvanov said. On the one hand, Azerbaijan has a very significant natural gas reserves, on the other hand, it is a very important element of the general transportation route of this energy source. Therefore, Azerbaijan should play a more important role in the negotiations," he said.
Bulgaria seeks to assist and support efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Georgi Parvanov said.
"Bulgaria supports the activities of mediation groups to achieve a just and lasting solution to this problem of the Azerbaijani people. The European Union is also involved in it and actively acts in the conflict settlement process," he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.