President Aliyev: Iran, Azerbaijan play stabilizing role in region (UPDATE)

Headline changed, details added (first version posted on 15:17)

Tehran, Iran, Feb. 23

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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who arrived in Iran with an official visit on Feb. 23, has expressed gratitude to his counterpart Hassan Rouhani for the invitation to visit Tehran and for hospitality.

Azerbaijani president said he is glad to visit brotherly Iran again.

"I take this opportunity to once again congratulate you and the whole Iranian people with the lift of sanctions imposed on Iran," President Aliyev said in his statement for the press in Tehran Feb. 23.

The statement was broadcast live on Iran's state IRINN TV channel.

He added that Azerbaijan has always opposed these sanctions and has always voiced its opinion from all high tribunes.

"Mr. President, you very well informed the media representatives about all the issues we discussed," said President Aliyev, adding that the sides exchanged views on many issues and expressed unanimity of opinions.

"We, in Azerbaijan are very glad that the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations are developing successfully and intensively," said Ilham Aliyev.

"Our relations have a very solid foundation," said the president, adding that the peoples of the two countries have lived together throughout centuries.

"We are bound by the history, culture, common past and religion," he said. "Our relations are being built on this solid basis and today, the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have grown into the strategic cooperation."

President Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan and Iran always support each other in the international organizations, where they cooperate.

"Our trade relations have great prospects," said the Azerbaijani president, adding that today, the sides discussed the developments on the international arena and the bilateral relations.

"We agreed to even more strengthen the joint efforts in fighting the international terrorism," said President Aliyev. "We will continue to support each other on the international arena."

The president went on to talk about the situation in Syria.

"Yesterday, it was declared that the US and Russia have agreed on a truce in Syria. We welcome this agreement. We have repeatedly stated that in order to normalize the situation in Syria, first of all, it is necessary to achieve ceasefire and then sign a peace treaty," said the president.

He noted that the Syrian people should determine their future, their fate by themselves.
Ilham Aliyev further said that all countries should respect each other and shouldn't interfere in each other's internal affairs, adding that thereby, wars will end and there will be less confrontations.

He went on to say that Azerbaijan and Iran signed many documents during the visit and the fulfillment of these documents will even more strengthen the relations between the two countries.

Ilham Aliyev said that the documents signed in many spheres show the way to the future.

"The essence of these documents is quite positive. One part of them will serve for bilateral relations and the other part - for multilateral and regional cooperation," he added.

"Today, very important steps were taken in creating the North-South transport corridor," said the president. "By commissioning this road, we will link the continents with the wonderful transport infrastructure."

Ilham Aliyev went on to add that Azerbaijan will fulfill its obligations by late 2016 and build a railway to the Iranian border.

He then spoke about the oil and gas sector, saying there are good prospects for cooperation. Noting that Iran makes investments in Azerbaijan's oil and gas fields, the president said that the sides have exchanged views on the future cooperation.

Ilham Aliyev said the two sides discussed the joint development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea, adding that good results are expected from this.

"Caspian Sea is our common heritage and it should continue to be the sea of cooperation, security and peace," said the president.

Further, the Azerbaijani president said that great work is underway in the sphere of energy and there are good prospects in this field.

"Cooperation in this sphere is not confined to the Iranian-Azerbaijani cooperation. Neighboring countries can also join this project," said the president, adding that as a result, it will turn into a wonderful transnational and regional project.

There are good opportunities for mutual investing, both countries are carrying out very serious reforms and the business environment is improving, according to the Azerbaijani president.

In this case, there will be new good opportunities for mutual investing, he said, adding that the two countries have great conditions for the future activities in the financial, banking spheres, insurance, tourism and pharmaceuticals.

"President Rouhani noted that we already participate in trilateral formats as well and gradually, the geography of these formats will expand," said Ilham Aliyev. "It is a valuable contribution jointly made by us in the regional cooperation and it shows the intention of the two countries."

"We want peace, harmony and cooperation in the region. Today, Iran and Azerbaijan play a stabilizing role in the region we live," President Aliyev said.

"The stronger our unity, the higher level of security will be ensured in the region," he added.

"President Rouhani said that it is our fifth meeting in the last two years. I take this opportunity to invite You, Mr. President, to an official visit to Azerbaijan, so that the number of our meetings would grow and our peoples would be together," said the Azerbaijani president.

"I once again express gratitude to You for the hospitality," Ilham Aliyev added.

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