Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.23
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
After slightly more than 20 years, Azerbaijan held a groundbreaking ceremony as part of the second Contract of the Century, which is a great achievement for a small Muslim country which has complex geopolitical relations and where the interests clash, Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Deputy Head and Director of Administration's Foreign Relations Department, Novruz Mammadov told reporters on Sept.23.
"It is symbolic that marking the 20th anniversary of the first Contract of the Century, Azerbaijan held a groundbreaking ceremony as part of another Contract of the Century," Mammadov said. "The positive side is that the first Contract of the Century has already brought its results."
"When Azerbaijan's great, genius politician, national leader Heydar Aliyev signed the Contract of the Century, there were various comments and opinions on this issue," he said. "But the national leader was aware that this is a very great occasion for the Azerbaijani people, state and statehood, as well as for the future development of the country. Therefore, he called it the Contract of the Century."
Mammadov said the positive side is that President Ilham Aliyev, the follower of the national leader Heydar Aliyev's political course, continues this activity and has never deviated from this path.
Therefore, each foreign representative, prime minister, minister visiting Azerbaijan, stressed that the country has come a long way of development, Mammadov noted.
Mammadov cited today's meeting as an example.
"The chairperson of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Anne Brasseur said at a meeting that Azerbaijan fantastically developed over the period," Mammadov said. "This is a real situation. There is such an expression - "To see the greatness of a mountain, one must keep one's distance."
"If one comprehensively analyses the position, held by Azerbaijan for 20 years in the region and in the international arena and looks at the current state of the countries which gained independence by 5, 10, 20, 50 years earlier, it can be seen that Azerbaijan is indeed in a unique position," Mammadov said.
"And all this despite that 20 percent of our territory is under occupation and we are in a state of war," he said. "But any country's challenge is to ensure comfortable living and development of its population. From this point of view, Azerbaijan can be considered as one of the exceptions, particularly, in the Islamic world."
Mammadov said that the first Contract of the Century continues contributing in all areas for Azerbaijan for the benefit of the Azerbaijani people and the second Contract of the Century will complement this contribution.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor took place at the Sangachal terminal Sept. 20, with participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the other countries' heads of states and officials.
Ilham Aliyev and other participants of the ceremony left their handprints in special frames.
The pipe section which will form the start of the Southern Gas Corridor was signed by President Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Taner Yildiz, Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, Minister of Energy and Industry of Albania Damian Gjiknuri, Deputy Minister for Economic Development of Italy Claudio De Vincenti, Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Dukanovic, Minister of State for Trade and Investment of the United Kingdom Lord Livingston, Acting Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs of the U.S. Department of State Amos Hochstein, BP Group chief executive Robert Dudley, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev and President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic Rovnag Abdullayev.