Details added (first version posted at 19:43 on oct.24)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 24
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel.
President Ilham Aliyev welcomed President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The heads of state posed for photographs.
A meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Cuba then was held.
President Ilham Aliyev said: Mr. president! Greetings and welcome to Azerbaijan! I am very glad that your country is represented at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit at the highest level. This indicates the importance you attach to participation in the Non-Aligned Movement. As you know, tomorrow Azerbaijan will assume chairmanship of this very important international institution. I would like to express my gratitude to Cuba and other member countries for unanimously supporting our candidacy. For a country that has been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement for only eight years, this is a great achievement, great honor and great responsibility. It is also a very good opportunity to see and discuss issues of our bilateral cooperation.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your election as President of Cuba and wish you success in this important area, on this important post. I am sure that together we will make a lot of effort to develop our bilateral relations. We actively cooperate on international platforms, in particular the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement. But when I reviewed our economic indicators today, of course, we cannot be pleased with them. I think there is a lot of room to build up trade between our two countries. Of course, we want to develop cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, in the field of tourism and sports. Therefore, I think that the agenda of our relations should be quite extensive, and we should strive to look for forms of cooperation that would be mutually beneficial. I think that as part of your stay in Azerbaijan we will outline the ways of cooperation and give a good impetus to the development of our ties. Welcome to Azerbaijan again!
President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel said: Dear President Aliyev! We are very pleased and honored to be visiting your beautiful country. We would like to thank you for your time because you are meeting with us on the day we arrived here – we know how busy and broad your agenda is.
First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement from 2019 to 2022, and also on your hosting the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government. I would also like to note that you can count on the support of Cuba during the whole time of your presidency in the Movement.
Cuba and Azerbaijan have common views on the international agenda. There are many overlapping views. We face common challenges and goals to maintain unity within the Non-Aligned Movement. We also believe that the Non-Aligned Movement is an appropriate platform for maintaining dialogue and coordinating opinions. We know that you will develop your chairmanship in a very difficult political situation. But you will have our support. Cuba is committed to ensuring that all conflicts are resolved peacefully through dialogue and negotiation.
The relations between our peoples and countries are historical and traditional relations. Our political dialogue is positive and stable. These relations are underpinned precisely by the friendship between the Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and the leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. We paid tribute to him upon arrival in Baku. Therefore, I agree with you that we can do our best to maintain our political dialogue and improve our trade exchange. Regarding the political dialogue, I can say that recent years have seen exchanges between foreign ministers, at different levels. Other ministers have visited Azerbaijan and, conversely, your ministers have visited Cuba. I bring to you greetings from Army General Raul Castro Ruz.
The President of Cuba touched upon issues of cooperation in the trade, economic and humanitarian spheres, in the field of healthcare, education, science, culture, biotechnology and sports, noted that his country was open to investment from Azerbaijani entrepreneurs. Stressing that his country was closely monitoring Azerbaijan’s successes in the oil and gas industry, the President of Cuba recalled that in Soviet times more than 240 Cuban specialists were educated in Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev said: Thank you so much! First of all, I would like to ask you to convey my best wishes and sincere greetings to General Raul Castro Ruz. I also thank you for paying tribute to the memory of Heydar Aliyev, who laid the foundation of Azerbaijani statehood. As you noted, during the Soviet era, there was a very good and trusting relationship based on deep respect between him and commander Fidel Castro Ruz. And we are committed to active interaction with your country in all areas. As you noted, the visits of foreign ministers took place, which confirms the nature of political ties.
I am sure that after your visit both we and you will give appropriate instructions to find forms of economic cooperation in order to increase trade between our countries. I think investment policy could be one of the areas of cooperation. Azerbaijan has already implemented large investment projects in many countries. We have good experience in this direction. You also mentioned sports, and our Cuban friends, some of them, participate in sports on behalf of Azerbaijani clubs. Of great interest to us is cooperation with you in the field of healthcare, where you have achieved great results of the highest world level. This area is a priority for us, so I think that cooperation can be multifaceted, both in the training of specialists and, perhaps, in the implementation of some joint projects.
As a country chairing the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan will do everything possible to strengthen solidarity between member countries. We are deeply committed to the Bandung principles, which fully coincide with the main lines of our foreign policy. Respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of countries lies at the core of both the Bandung principles and international law.
Of course, Azerbaijan as a country affected by the violation of international law, naturally defends the supremacy of international law and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries in the international arena. We have built very effective relations with all countries of the Non-Aligned Movement based on mutual respect. Clear evidence of this is the fact that Azerbaijan was elected the chairing country of the Non-Aligned Movement unanimously by all 120 countries.
Members of the Non-Aligned Movement have also played a major role in the fact that Azerbaijan was elected a non-permanent member of the Security Council with the support of 155 countries. Chairmanship in the Movement is a great responsibility, and I am convinced that we will cope with this task and will also actively develop bilateral relations with member countries, including yours.