Details added (first version posted at 15:53 on Oct.14).
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 14
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today met with President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Welcoming the President of Uzbekistan, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said: "Dear Shavkat Miromonovich, I am very glad to see you in Azerbaijan. Welcome! We attach great importance to your visit. I am sure that the visit will give a new impetus to the development of friendly and fraternal relations between our states. The relations between our peoples have been tested by history. For centuries, Uzbek and Azerbaijani peoples lived in harmony and peace and treated each other like brothers. This is a solid foundation. Today, two independent countries, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, are building their future on a very solid foundation of centuries of history.
I am sure that the progressive development of our relations will be the key to further achievements. We will strengthen both political interaction and economic cooperation. There are very good prospects in the field of transport, energy and tourism. In all areas, we are focused on active cooperation, we are focused on results.
I would also like to express my gratitude to you and express the overall satisfaction of the members of the Turkic Council that you have made a very wise decision for Uzbekistan to join the Turkic Council. We see this as a historic event, which will undoubtedly strengthen solidarity, interaction and cooperation between us. Tomorrow's summit, I am sure, will serve the cause of further development and consolidation of relations among all member-countries of the Council. Welcome again. You are welcome to Azerbaijan!
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said: "Dear Ilham Heydarovich, thank you very much again! As soon as I landed in Azerbaijan, I felt a cordial attitude. This is a truly historic visit. When we were making the decision as to when to join, for all these years, it will be three years soon, and last year too, many of my colleagues were saying: let's sign it in Cholpon-Ata and raise the flag. I said: I have my own opinion. It will be 10 years since the Nakhchivan treaty was signed, and this is a historic event. I am very grateful that you also supported the idea.
The relations between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have long and strong roots. Our ties have a long and good history. I think that today is the moment to revive all this. We are always proud of the great son of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, who is respected, remembered and honored in Uzbekistan. He was really great. I talk a lot with those who worked side by side with him, and he always respected the Uzbek people. Those of our comrades-in-arms who are alive today are still proud to say that Heydar Aliyev always spoke about Uzbekistan and supported it everywhere.
In the difficult years when the “Uzbek affair” hung over us, etc., he had his own personal opinion about the Uzbek people. Today we are all proud that Heydar Aliyev’s son follows in his footsteps. Azerbaijan is flourishing today. You know, as your close neighbors, we rejoice at your successes and are always proud that the international authority of our fraternal Azerbaijan is growing, and there are successes in the economy. When we see success, we believe that this is the result of your visionary policy. Your success today is the result of your vision of Azerbaijan for tomorrow. So we are happy about this. Of course, you said very correctly that we should start from clean sheet. See how many people I have brought along. It is like a visit. Because we miss Azerbaijan. Everyone is eagerly waiting for the signing.
So you said quite correctly that we have a lot of promising areas. You correctly mentioned the energy sector, the oil and gas industry. We talked about that. We have now given sites to SOCAR. I told to allocate such places, such sites, so that we could cooperate with this serious company for a long time. Second, I was informed today that they have had very serious negotiations and agreed on everything, and there is actually a real prospect of mutually beneficial cooperation in the oil and gas industry. This is a normal course of action, they are advancing. And we will only support them.
The most serious direction, as you have already noted, is transport and communications. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is very important for us. In recent years, many of our companies are already familiar with this route, and Uzbekistan is very focused on increasing commodity circulation, on turning towards to this road. I would very much like you to issue an order to the colleagues and ministers sitting here to give preferences for the ferry traffic of Turkmenbashi-Alat and the port, because, as you can see, our turnover is also growing, the economy is getting on its feet, so that we are fully deploy our resources to this direction.
Of course, if we talk about the cultural and humanitarian direction, God himself tells us to strengthen our cooperation. We need to conduct more meetings and conferences, and talk about everything. We have a lot in common, we are connected by Alisher Navoi and Nizami Ganjavi. I am grateful to you for sending your minister of culture to our events. He has already visited us twice this year. In fact, we had an international conference of Bakhshi, and representatives of Azerbaijan won high prizes. So, as you can see, when we hear each other and meet, we find the directions themselves.
This is our long-awaited visit. We arrived with a great desire and love for the fraternal Azerbaijani people. I brought so many people with me for a reason – they should be able to work productively. And I invite you to visit Uzbekistan at any convenient time. We do want – you haven't visited us for a long time either – you to visit Uzbekistan at any time convenient for you, so that we could fill our relations with new content.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, dear Shavkat Miromonovich. First of all, I would like to thank you for your kind words about our country. You know that we are also closely watching the transformations that are taking place in Uzbekistan under your leadership. Your focus on reform and the rapid development of Uzbekistan is bearing fruit. Today, your country rightfully enjoys great international authority, and the reforms in the economy and social sphere you are carrying out are also finding a great response not only among the citizens of Uzbekistan, but also here, because we, as friends and brothers, always rejoice at each other's successes.
Thank you very much for your kind words about Heydar Aliyev. You are absolutely right, he treated the Uzbek people with great respect and love. I still remember, when as I was a teenager, witnessing his close friendship with Sharaf Rashidovich Rashidov (Communist Party leader in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic). They were like brothers, and I remember that the injustice that was instigated by certain circles during the years of the so-called perestroika made a very negative impression on him. This is the so-called "Uzbek affair." And the people who instigated it, the infamous Gdlyan and Ivanov, caused enormous damage not only to Uzbekistan but also to all of us, I believe, because it was a targeted attack on the Turkic-speaking republics of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan didn’t pass by either, as they tried to do about the same here, but they simply did not have enough time for this.
As for the future of our relations, you have very broadly and extensively described the topics where we will cooperate. I am sure that today we will outline new milestones in each direction. Today and tomorrow, relevant entities will meet, discuss and lead us to good results. And thank you for the invitation – I will be happy to visit fraternal Uzbekistan again.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev: The most important thing is that you should know and should rest assured that Uzbekistan will always – both earlier and now – fully support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. This is our sincere desire because the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is very important. Everything must be peaceful and all decisions of the United Nations must be implemented. Ilham Heydarovich, we have always supported and will certainly support this in the future because we have such an intention with fraternal Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!