Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan reliable partner in oil deliveries to European markets
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 29
Azerbaijan is already a reliable partner regarding oil deliveries to European markets, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in Warsaw at the Azerbaijan-Poland business forum.
“First of all, once again I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. President [of Poland Andrzej Duda] for invitation to visit Poland, and for hospitality shown to me and our delegation,” Ilham Aliyev said.
“Today we are entering a new stage of development of our cooperation. My visit to Poland is very successful. We signed many documents. Among them I would especially underline the Joint Declaration on strategic partnership and economic cooperation.”
“Actually, this elaborates a new road map in development of our political and economic relations,” Ilham Aliyev noted. “The name of the declaration demonstrates how much importance we pay to economic cooperation. Today’s business forum is another indicator of that because business communities are very sensitive and they clearly understand that today the high level of political relations between Poland and Azerbaijan opens new opportunities for them. And as far as I know today at the business forum several agreements will be signed between our companies.”
“Of course, the current level of our trade turnover cannot satisfy us,” the Azerbaijani president said. “Today with Mr. President [Andrzej Duda] and with delegations we discussed the ways how to increase trade turnover. There is a good opportunity to stimulate our economic ties, and also to have a very clear picture of our export potential, what we can export to each other and what kind of joint business projects we can implement.”
“I would like to congratulate our Polish friends and partners on very rapid economic development,” Ilham Aliyev said. “Poland today demonstrates probably one of the highest rates of economic growth, political stability, economic stability. Development today creates very good opportunities for your country to strengthen your path to progress.”
“As far as Azerbaijan is concerned, our country is relatively young,” he noted. “Independence was restored only 25 years ago. We celebrated it last year. And these years were the years of transformation - political, social and, of course, economic. Today Azerbaijan demonstrates also very good economic performance. Since 2004, our economy has grown more than three times, and we managed also to reduce unemployment and poverty down to the level of five-six percent.”
“Now, the private sector is more than 70 percent of our GDP and our financial reserves are four-five times bigger than our foreign debt,” Ilham Aliyev said. “So, economically and politically Azerbaijan is a stable country, a country, which has attracted more than $200 billion worth of investment during the last 20 years. Approximately, half of them are foreign investments. A good investment climate and a very friendly environment for foreign investors create good opportunities for companies to work in Azerbaijan.”
“We want to work with polish companies as partners in different projects in Azerbaijan, in Poland,” he noted. “We want to enter the projects related to investment. We invite companies from Poland to be our partners in projects, which are being implemented in Azerbaijan – energy, transportation, construction projects. We invite them as contractors. We invite companies to invest in the areas where there is potential for market in Azerbaijan and in the neighborhood. I think that having such good political relations and a clear vision for economic cooperation, we can, in a very short period of time, achieve success, increase turnover, I think, by several times, and create a very solid foundation for business communities.”
“Azerbaijan is implementing important energy and transportation projects, which go far beyond our borders,” Ilham Aliyev said. “On transportation, as Mr. President mentioned, we already entered joint activity in creation of corridors. Azerbaijan has been working on transportation corridors for many years. Now all the necessary infrastructure, transportation infrastructure has already been created. We have railroad connections with all our neighbors to the north, to the south, and to the west.”
“We have six international airports, which can receive all types of aircrafts,” the Azerbaijani president said. “Our cargo fleet is one of the leading cargo fleets in the world, which works globally. Our country is connected with the neighborhood with a chain of brand new highways, and we increase the volume of transportation through the newly-built port, the biggest in the Caspian Sea. Its first stage is already in operation, and next year the completion of the port will allow us to handle at least 15 million tons of cargo and one million containers.”
He noted that test container trains from China to Europe are already crossing through Azerbaijan.
“So, East-West transportation corridor is almost implemented,” he said. “Azerbaijan invested not only inside the country, but also provided a financial support of more than $700 million to construct a railroad in Georgia. At this stage we are in the final stage of negotiations with our Iranian neighbors on providing financial support for construction of a railroad in Iran, which will connect Iranian railroads with our railroads. Thus, we will create a multiple corridor format, which will stretch from northern Europe to India through Azerbaijan, and East-West from China to Western Europe.”
“Another corridor, which we are working on now together with our Polish friends is the South-West corridor, which Mr. President [Andrzej Duda] also mentioned,” Ilham Aliyev noted. “And I’m glad that Poland is our partner. The time of delivery of cargos through North-South and East-West corridors through Azerbaijan will be at least two times shorter than traditional routes. It will create a lot of activity, generate a lot of wealth, and bring new areas of cooperation.”
“Another important project, which we are implementing and which is also highly supported in Europe, is the Southern Gas Corridor project, which today is the only new source of gas delivery to Europe,” he said. “The Southern Gas Corridor is a project, which was initiated by Azerbaijan several years ago. It’s a project worth $40 billion and it`s almost implemented. We need two-three years in order to complete this project by 100 percent. Now the implementation of different segments of that project is from 40 to 95 percent. This will be another source of natural gas to Europe.”
“This will mean energy diversification, energy security, sustainable delivery of natural gas to European markets,” he noted.
“We discussed with Mr. President the future prospects of cooperation in this area. Our cooperation with Poland also is very successful. So, these major driving forces of our cooperation are important as global projects of energy and transportation security, but at the same time, they open big opportunities for private companies to be part of these projects. And I invite once again the companies from Poland to be our partners. We want to establish closer economic and business contacts. Poland for us is a very friendly country, and a country, which has a great potential not only in Europe, but globally, and has very good international positions.”
“I today congratulated my colleague President Duda on tremendous success regarding the election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of United Nations with the support of almost 200 countries,” Ilham Aliyev said. “This is a sign of international respect for your country and appreciation of what you are doing. And you can be sure that in the area of South Caucasus and Caspian you have also a reliable friend and partner, a capable friend, a friend, which keeps its word and wants to strengthen our cooperation.”
“Therefore, I am sure that business communities of our countries will elaborate broadly on the opportunities,” the Azerbaijani president noted.
“I’m sure today you will discuss different projects in the area of agriculture, industry, tourism, pharmaceuticals and other areas of cooperation where we have huge potential. We already discussed it with President Duda, and I’m sure that your discussions and your interaction will bring good results. So, once again, I would like to welcome you, express my gratitude for being at the forum and wish you success. Thank you very much.”