Azerbaijani, Turkmen presidents hold expanded meeting (PHOTO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 22
Following the one-on-one meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov have been joined by their delegations for a meeting in an expanded format.
The heads of state addressed the meeting.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said:
- Dear Ilham Heydarovich.
Dear members of the delegation.
Let me once again thank you for accepting our invitation and paying an official visit to the brotherly and hospitable Turkmenistan. Of course, we attach great importance to your visit because it is a logical continuation of our good neighborliness, respect and our vision on issues of diversification in the international arena, trade and economic cooperation, and cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere.
As for foreign policy, our principles are similar or the same. In other words, we are in favor of preserving stability and security not only in the region but also in the world. We are grateful to you for supporting all the initiatives of Turkmenistan in the international arena which proceed from our neutral status. And of course, we mutually support each other from all platforms, in such authoritative international organizations as the UN and the OSCE. This, I think, is also very correct. Of course, there are also issues in our partnership we must also respond to. These are such threats and challenges as terrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border crime. Therefore, of course, we will continue to counter these challenges.
I would like to say that we are also united by the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea States have recently adopted the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Therefore, there are great opportunities for us, including issues of good-neighborliness. Most importantly, we all have a common interpretation: the Caspian Sea is a sea of peace and good neighborliness, and we will continue to follow this principle.
If we talk about our trade and economic issues, we are grateful to you that there is an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between us. It is gratifying that even if we take the period of this year compared to last year, according to the results of nine months, our trade has risen by 17 per cent. There is a good trend in such spheres as agriculture, construction and industry. We are impressed, of course, with Azerbaijan's new technologies. The world is moving to digital technology and digital economy after all. Therefore, we will continue to work in this spirit.
Of course, I would like to emphasize the issues of transport, i.e. the development of transit-transport corridors and identification of proper logistics. You know, we have many examples and agreements signed with you. For example, the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transport corridor with access to Europe. I have mentioned that we have good contacts with international structures today, for example TRACECA, the IRU (International Road Transport Union), TIR, which is of considerable importance. You have very good infrastructure, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars. You see, we have many examples. Therefore, it is precisely on this basis that we could develop both the automobile, railway and ferry service with proper logistics. You have a powerful ferry service for railways. Our country has a similar Ro-Ro service for vehicles. I think we could step up this activity with proper logistics. I remember you also suggesting this option at the Caspian summit: to create the right logistics among Caspian states and to hold such a meeting in Baku. I think we could start discussing this issue within the framework of our bilateral cooperation dialogue.
Energy issues. We have a very powerful reserve potential. Therefore, we are in favor of energy integration. Not only for our countries but also at the regional level, we could jointly enter international markets. So I think that we could cooperate very well in this regard. So, as you can see, we have such an outlook and such a broad range of sectors where we could increase the product mix between our countries. Therefore, I would like to stress again that the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation plays a direct role here, of course. So it is necessary to hold commission meetings at least once a year, because there has been a certain pause, and some issues require, as they say, immediate solution.
The cultural and humanitarian sphere is an integral part of cooperation. We are very pleased to have common roots, foundations, traditions, national features. At the present stage, we attach great importance to issues of education, science, tourism and the development of sports. Of course, this is also necessary today, because all of these are the precepts of our ancestors – from the patriotic and ideological points of view – to future generations. I know that you are paying great attention to carpet weaving. Similarly, as I said, we are also paying great attention to this area. In my opinion, we even suggested when we were in Baku to hold an exhibition of carpets here and in your country. We can go international or hold an international conference on our carpets. In other words, as you can see and as befits us, we are committed to mutual cooperation against the background of respect and mutual trust. Therefore, I would like to once again thank you for your visit because your visit will undoubtedly give an even stronger impetus, a good push to the issues we are discussing today.
I wish you good health and continued success in your state activities. I wish all the best to the members of your delegation and, of course, the brotherly people of Azerbaijan. Thank you.
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President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Thank you, dear Gurbanguly Malikgulyyevich.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your hospitality, for the invitation and for the warm welcome. I am glad to be visiting the land of fraternal Turkmenistan again.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the achievements of your country, and this is a demonstration of the steady and progressive development of Turkmenistan. I would like to congratulate you personally and all the fraternal people of Turkmenistan on your great successes on the path to creation.
We also attach great importance to this visit. The visit was very well prepared. There are plans to sign many documents which, I am sure, will be implemented on time and create even better conditions for our cooperation.
We attach great importance to cooperation with Turkmenistan. As you have mentioned, our common roots, history and closeness of our peoples are the foundation on which we build our common future. It is not by chance that we actively cooperate in international organizations, support each other and increase the potential for cooperation in the bilateral plane. All this leads to stability and strengthens regional security. Issues related to regional security are of particular importance today. We see that clashes, bloody events and processes that undermine the foundations of states in different parts of the world. Therefore, I think that it is particularly important that both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan demonstrate a high level of development and stability in this difficult international situation. This shows again that the course our countries are following is accurate.
Bilateral cooperation between our countries develops in many directions. I am sure that we will continue to support each other in international organizations, as has been the case so far. Today, in a one-on-one meeting, we already discussed many important issues of our cooperation and will continue discussions within the framework of delegations. We have identified the main directions of our future cooperation and the priorities. I believe that a lot can still be done in the issue of increasing our turnover. Although it is growing, I think it does not fully reflect the potential of our countries yet. I think members of our delegations will have the opportunity to specifically discuss how we can increase the exports of Turkmen goods to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani goods to Turkmenistan. Of course, this topic should be one of the priorities for the intergovernmental commission. I agree that there was a certain pause between meetings. I think that it is necessary to promptly hold a meeting on the results of this visit in the near future, in order to develop a program for the implementation of the agreements reached.
As I said, a lot of documents will be signed today. They will determine the development vector, but it is also necessary to have an action plan for the implementation of these issues.
Both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are countries with large reserves of natural resources. Of course, cooperation in the energy sector between our countries is natural. Azerbaijan provides transit opportunities for Turkmen energy resources. We are pleased that Turkmen oil is transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline system, thereby increasing our cooperation.
Of course, one of the key areas of our relations is the transport sector. It is no coincidence that leaders of all transport agencies of Azerbaijan are present in my delegation. They are already working with their Turkmen colleagues. Today we also discussed issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with you. In other words, we see very good prospects for multilateral regional cooperation in this area, and this will benefit all countries and peoples. So I am very pleased with our conversations already held. And I think that the results of the visit will also be very positive and serve to bring our countries even closer together.
Thank you again for your hospitality. I wish you good health and continued success, and peace and prosperity to the fraternal people of Turkmenistan. Thank you.