Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Italian President Sergio Mattarella hold expanded meeting (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on Feb. 20 at 15:43)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 20

Trend:

Following the one-on-one meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella have been joined by their delegations for a meeting in an expanded format.

Welcoming President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said:

- Mr. President, welcome to Rome. I am very pleased with your visit. I express my gratitude to you for the hospitality you showed me in Baku two years ago. Your current visit is also a great opportunity to once again note the sincere friendship and the strengthening cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy, as well as to evaluate the policies pursued by you and your government in relation to Italian-Azerbaijani ties, cooperation between our countries in all directions - energy, trade, economic, political and cultural spheres.

Mr. President, you are welcome again! Thank you, Mr. President! We are very pleased with your state visit to Italy.

Х Х Х

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Thank you, dear Mr. President.

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation to visit Italy on a state visit and for the hospitality extended to us. I am very delighted to be visiting your beautiful country again.

I recall with pleasure your historic visit to Azerbaijan. The agreements reached during the visit are already reflected in life, and today Italian-Azerbaijani relations are rising to a new level. The interaction between our companies in practically all areas – political, economic, energy, cultural, transport, communications – is reaching a new level. The numerous documents that will be signed during the visit will further strengthen our ties. Among them, I would like to specifically note the Joint Declaration on Strengthening Strategic Partnership.

There are excellent results in the energy sector. The Southern Gas Corridor, which we are implementing jointly, is in the final stages of completion. Our main desire in the future is that the relations between Italy and Azerbaijan in the non-oil sector develop even faster. Tomorrow's business forum, I am sure, will be a very important step in this direction.

Let me once again express my gratitude for the hospitality and for the invitation. I am sure that the results of the visit will be very positive.

Х Х Х

During the meeting, the sides stressed the importance of the “Joint Declaration on Strengthening Multidimensional Strategic Partnership”. It was noted that this document covers all areas, including political, economic, trade and energy.

The parties also underlined that Italy had always been a friend of Azerbaijan. It was noted that Azerbaijan is located in a very important region and is building very good ties with all countries.

The sides once again emphasized the position of Azerbaijan on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and pointed to the need for resolving this conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the Helsinki Final Act.

During the meeting, the parties hailed the role of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in developing cultural ties between the two countries. It was noted that Italy declared 2020 as the Year of Azerbaijani Culture.

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