Azerbaijan , Baku, July 16 / Trend A. Tagiyeva /
The growth of trade turnover between Egypt and Azerbaijan has reached a record level of $100 million since early 2011, Egyptian A mbassador to Azerbaijan Sabir Mansur said in an interview with Trend.
"Trade relations and trade turnover between Egypt and Azerbaijan are developing at a good level," the diplomat said. "The turnover increases every year."
When the ambassador began working in Azerbaijan in September 2008, mutual trade turnover amounted to only $2.3 million. As of 2009 this figure hit $10 million and in 2010 trade turnover reached 40 million.
"At present, we observe a sharp increase of this figure by $100 million", Mansur said.
T he ambassador said that this jump is explained by the fact that Azerbaijan has began cooperating with Egypt in oil processing, by supplying oil to a refinery in Alexandria and the nearby Meador plant.
Most Egyptian supplies to Azerbaijan are medications. As the pharmaceutical industry is well developed in Egypt, the prices are set at a reasonable level for Azerbaijani citizens.
"Besides oil, Azerbaijan exports chemical and metallurgical products to Egypt," the diplomat said.
Relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan
Egypt was among the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan's independence in 1991 and to open an embassy in Azerbaijan in 1993. The Egyptian diplomatic mission was also among the first in Azerbaijan, the diplomat said.
"Since then, Azerbaijan and Egypt have been cooperating in many spheres", the ambassador said.
T he ambassador highlighted Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev's visit to Egypt in 1994 and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's visit in 2007. The visits were two of many between the two countries' senior representatives, and laid the foundations for the development of bilateral relations.
"About 25 agreements on cooperation have been signed between the two countries in various spheres - culture, education, economy, trade, healthcare, etc. since the Egyptian embassy has begun working in Azerbaijan", the diplomat said.
The ambassador said that relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan were at a high level even before Azerbaijan gained its independence.
"The people of Azerbaijan and Egypt have always sought to develop relations", the diplomat said. "Even before gaining independence, the Azerbaijanis went to Egypt and studied there. The Egyptian authorities sent specialists in Arabic language and culture to teach Azerbaijanis."
The ambassador also recalled that Egyptian ex-President Gamal Abdel Nasser visited Baku in 1958 before his visit to Moscow.
"This proves once again that the relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan have deep roots", the diplomat said.
C ultural relations between the two countries are developing with promise, as Azerbaijani and Egyptian people have shared a history of common cultural and historical values.
"We have common traditions and customs", the diplomat said. "I have witnessed how Azerbaijanis celebrate a wedding or a child birth and was surprised at the similarity of our customs."
Cooperation in education and student exchange
The a greement on cooperation in education between Egypt and Azerbaijan was signed in 1992 before the Egyptian embassy was opened in Baku. According to the agreement, a student exchange program is being implemented, he said.
"This contract was renewed in 2005", the diplomat said. "According to it, Egypt has provided Azerbaijani students with 20 bachelor and masters' degrees at Egyptian universities. The students get scholarships."
Azerbaijan has also provided Egyptian students with 20 seats at Azerbaijani universities to obtain their master's and doctoral degrees.
"At present, about 29 students from Egypt study in Azerbaijan", the diplomat said. "They are mainly educated in the field of oil production, chemistry, construction, geology and the Azerbaijani language. About 150 Azerbaijani students study at Al-Azhar, Ain Al-Shams and Cairo Universities in Egypt now."
Cooperation in advanced training field
The ambassador said that a fund for technical cooperation with former Soviet countries has been established in Egypt. This fund annually provides assistance in the development of friendly countries, including Azerbaijan.
"In the last 16 years, the fund has sent about 1,500 specialists of various fields to Egypt from Azerbaijan, in part those specializing in Arabic language and Arab culture", the diplomat said.
The diplomat said that these advanced trainingcourses are conducted in the field of culture, diplomacy, security, combat terrorism, crime, and healthcare.
" A group of experts from Azerbaijan are sent to Egypt for 15-30 days, depending on their scope of activities", the diplomat said. "This year, courses will be conducted for advanced qualification in diplomacy", he added.