FM: Poland appreciates Azerbaijan as part of transport hub linking East and West (exclusive)

FM: Poland appreciates Azerbaijan as part of transport hub linking East and West (exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 14

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

Polish-Azerbaijani relations have been traditionally open and friendly, Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told Trend June 14.

He said that the presence of Poles in Azerbaijan dates back to the late eighteenth century.

"In the 19th century, Poles played important role in developing Azerbaijan, and so they did in the oil extraction industry," said Waszczykowski.

"In 1881, Stanisław Despot-Zenowicz was elected as a mayor of Azerbaijan's capital for four years," he said. "In the historic Baku city center of that time, many buildings were erected according to the plans by Polish architects like Eugeniusz Skibinski."

He pointed out that after the World War I, Poland supported the aspirations of the South Caucasus countries for independence.

"We wish that our relations are based on this tradition and the fact that there are no points of contention in our contemporary bilateral relations," added the Polish foreign minister. "Nowadays, we should focus on widening cooperation, particularly in economic and social areas."

"In 2015, our trade exchange reached approximately $150 million, which definitely does not reflect the potential of our relationship," said Waszczykowski. "In particular, we are interested in developing Polish export (shipbuilding, agricultural machinery) to Azerbaijan."

"In the fourth quarter of 2016, we are planning to organize the sixth meeting of the Polish - Azerbaijani Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation. It should be a factor enabling the extension of our cooperation in many fields," he added.

Waszczykowski said that Poland also welcomes Azerbaijan's plans to diversify its economy and diminish its dependence of the raw material export.

Numerous Polish companies with experience in applying innovative technologies have much to offer in this field, the foreign minister said, adding that Poland is also willing to share its experience in development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which should meet the needs of Azerbaijan.

"Despite the geographical distance, we fully appreciate the importance of Azerbaijan as a part of South Caucasian transport and transit hub linking East and West," he said.

Waszczykowski noted that closer cultural, scientific, social ties should be also developed and there is much space for intensifying intercultural dialogue and tourism.

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