Iran can reach Europe through Azerbaijan - Hassan Rouhani
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 13
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made statements for the press following the signing ceremony on November 12.
President Rouhani, in turn, thanked Ilham Aliyev, saying he was happy to arrive in brotherly, friendly, neighboring Azerbaijan, accompanied by a large delegation.
"I am very happy to be with fraternal people, Azerbaijani brothers in the beautiful city of Baku on the coast of the Caspian Sea," President Rouhani said.
Rouhani said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's visit to Tehran is very important from the point of view of the development of relations between the two countries.
"The way passed together with our friends is the way of development between the two countries," President Rouhani said. "We will not be mistaken if we say that the people of Azerbaijan and Iran are one soul in one body."
"If one of the most important parts of life of these people is a culture, we can say that these two countries, these two peoples are united," the president said. "They have the same beliefs, religion, common history and common past. They know each other's culture. These people understand each other very well. This commonality in our way of life and behavior contributes to the development of our relations, the relations between the two nations. Our countries must use this."
President Rouhani said that of course, the convergence of relations between the two countries and people, the convergence of Iran-Azerbaijan relations are not directed against the third countries.
"While developing our relations, we are working for our interests, stability, security and more rapid development," President Rouhani said. "The development of the countries will contribute to the economic development of each other."
Further on, the president said that the sides held thorough talks and discussions.
"Our countries have come to an agreement at the extended and one-to-one meetings to further develop our relations, as well as to do this in a more open and transparent manner," President Rouhani said.
He also said that the Araz river must further strengthen the unity between Iran and Azerbaijan.
"The Araz river must further strengthen our unity. We accept Araz, which unites the two countries, two peoples with each other. We accept Araz, which contributes to the prosperity and development of both countries. We must strive for our businessmen and entrepreneurs to be closer to each other and enjoy the opportunities of each other, both countries," he said.
Rouhani said Iran and Azerbaijan must establish relations in power engineering, trade, industry, construction of dams and power stations, the delivery of new technologies, scientific and research centers.
"Our countries must contribute to the development of each other. We would like to more efficiently use religion, beliefs, our customs and traditions, those that make up our unity in these issues," he said.
President Rouhani said that Azerbaijan, as well as Iran, have such a geographic position that they can play the role of the transition bridge for each other.
"We can unite our bridges from the Gulf of Oman, the Indian Ocean to Asia and Europe," President Rouhani said. "We can reach Europe through Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. Azerbaijan can reach the southern corridors and oceans through Iran. Our countries must use this corridor better, take advantage and further expand it. Our countries must strive to achieve the construction and connection of the Qazvin-Rasht and Rasht-Astara railways by assisting each other. It is necessary for us to have an opportunity to reach the Black Sea, Europe and Russia, join their rail systems through this corridor. Our countries must cooperate in this field."
Speaking about the Caspian Sea, Rouhani said both countries have made good steps in using it. He also said the Caspian Sea is the sea of friendship and development, adding that the Caspian Sea contributes to the development of both nations, and that having lived on the shore of the sea for so many centuries, both nations have benefited from Caspian resources.
Following that, Rouhani said Azerbaijan and Iran can cooperate in the sphere of fishery, environment and in using the sources of the sea, adding that the two countries also have great opportunities to cooperate in the sphere of tourism.
"We wish the travels of Iranian citizens to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani citizens to Iran would be easy and comfortable," he said. "We regard this as a factor that meets the interests and ensures the security of both countries."
Rouhani said that Azerbaijan and Iran should even more expand cooperation in border issues and strengthen ties in fighting against drug trafficking and smuggling.
Touching upon Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the head of state said Iran is not satisfied with the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
"We wish there would be justice, peace, stability and friendship in this region," Rouhani said. "We are ready to make every effort, to take necessary steps for establishing friendship, security, stability and justice between all the countries."
The president said Iran regards this as its task within international organizations.
"We are aware that Karabakh issue should be resolved through political means. It is not an issue that should be resolved through military means," he said. "Therefore, we consider this our duty to provide full assistance in this issue and we are ready to do that."
Rouhani said currently both countries are facing a big crisis in the face of separatism, terrorism, radicalism.
"We wish they would be outside of our region and wouldn't hinder peace and stability in our countries," he said.
Rouhani said both presidents, at the one-on-one meeting, agreed that the two countries will not allow any outside forces to damage their relations.
"Our path is friendship, brotherhood and unity," Rouhani said, adding that Iran has always defended and supported Azerbaijan in all international organizations - UN, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, ЕСО and other organizations.
Rouhani said Azerbaijan has also supported Iran in the nuclear issue and in the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes. "We express our gratitude for this."
"All developed and developing countries have the right to use this peaceful program," Rouhani said. "They have the right to get and develop new technologies and should use them."
Iran's president also said that the sanctions imposed on the country will not have any influence.
Rouhani said Iran and Azerbaijan are friendly countries and they will remain this way. "We worked and will work to ensure the development of our countries and peoples."
Moreover, the sides had discussions and exchanged views on the crisis and developments in the Middle East and North Africa.