Azerbaijan is interested in the Belarusian energy market, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an interview with the Belarusian First Television Channel, Belta reported.
"We always stand for diversifying energy partners in our policy," he said. "When we came out the Mediterranean Sea with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, it was the first phase in our energy options. First we went to the Black Sea, and then the Mediterranean Sea. There are many interesting projects for entering the Baltic Sea in this context. There are many possibilities how to implement this. Naturally, we are interested in Belarus, which is located in the middle of the route between the Black and Baltic seas. But the question should first be viewed from the standpoint of commerce. The commercial component was very important for cooperation in tractor, combine and bus assembly. Commercial energy issues are also very important."
Assessing the nature of Belarus- Azerbaijan relations, Mammadyarov noted the strengthening contacts between the two countries.
"Belarus-Azerbaijan relations are the relations of two self-sufficient states, which are sufficient in the context of understanding the role and importance of independent states in the international system," he said. "We have rather intense contacts between presidents and foreign ministers. We actively conduct political consultations and check positions on many international issues through foreign ministries. We are very pleased that the intergovernmental commission, in which all relevant ministries and agencies have their counterparts in Belarus, as well as the Belarusian side, has partners here. The trade turnover between our two countries has increased many times over the past three years, and we are talking about the hundreds of millions of dollars. All this is based on a legal framework," he said.
Mammadyarov also believes in the continuity of political and economic aspects in the relations between the countries.
"As we've been taught before, politics are a concentrated expression of economics," he said. "These are two complementary aspects. If we talk about the economic potential of the two countries, increasing trade, and developing joint ventures and branches, then this includes many directions. Belarus has representations in Azerbaijan and the assembly shop. You have ambitious plans as to go to third countries using Azerbaijan's territories, and Azerbaijan has a big interest in joining the Belarusian market."
Regarding the Eastern Partnership project, he said Azerbaijan has advocated the development of good neighborly relations with all regional countries from "day one."
"In general, we consider the Eastern Partnership as a route that can give us an opportunity to get close not only with the member countries of the project, but also with the EU," he said.
He added that the Eastern Partnership is a sound tool to bring the living standards in Azerbaijan in line with European standards.
"We understand that much needs to be done to reach European standards in all areas - from policy issues, democratization to social issues," Mammadyarov noted.
He also spoke about what he sees as useful aspects of the Eastern Partnership for his country.
"The European Neighborhood gives an understanding that we should not reinvent the wheel, but rather we need to take the standards that are applied in European countries and try to introduce them to the maximum extent in the Azerbaijani economy and everyday life. Here we are interested in the experience of countries that are members of the Eastern Partnership, including Belarus. We are just at the beginning. There are several ideas being discussed in Brussels - visa issues and youth policy. We understand that in today's world the concept of 'closed borders' is already quite outdated. Here we are ready and open for work. While I cannot say that there are any specifics in this direction, if we move further and intensify this process, it will give us the opportunity to build a very good relationship with the EU," Mammadyarov said.