BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 14
Following the ceremony of signing documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who is on a working visit to Ukraine, and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy have made press statements.
The President of Ukraine made the statement first.
Statement by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Thank you very much.
Good morning, dear journalists, dear guests,
Dear Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is with pleasure that I bid welcome in Kyiv to our good friend and reliable partner, leader of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, as well as to all members of the delegation from Baku. This visit is special, very symbolic and very substantial. It takes place on the eve of the 30th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. And its result gives high quality substance to our partnership and politics economy and security. We have signed a Joint Declaration of presidents of Ukraine and Azerbaijan enshrining the commitment to provide reciprocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our countries within internationally recognized borders, joint efforts to combat hybrid threats, aspiration to maintain peace and security in the Black Sea and Caspian region and beyond. This and other items of the declaration testify to the unity and similarity of our views on many issues and challenges be they regional or global. Apart from that we have extensively discussed all spheres of current cooperation and all opportunities to strengthen it. The results of the meeting is six bilateral documents of cooperation and agriculture, energy and trade. Their implementation will simplify investment activity, which is very important. We have a lot of plans that we have extensively discussed with the President of Azerbaijan. It will also strengthen food and energy security, increase bilateral trade turnover. The latter by the way, not only has diminished due to the pandemic taking place globally. Despite COVID, despite the pandemic, and for the first time in seven years trade turnover has reached a record breaking high of almost one billion dollars. At the same time, we understand that this is not the limit. As evidenced by the new ambitious goal that we have determined which is to double the bilateral trade by 2024. I hope we can do that. We also seek to increase the amount of bilateral investment in a number of joint large-scale projects, including the participation of Azerbaijani companies in the great construction program, in infrastructure projects as well as the participation of the Ukrainian companies in Azerbaijani projects to which Mr. President has invited us and also the construction of new infrastructure objects in Ukraine. Separately, during the meeting we discussed the prospects of Azerbaijani businesses and the great privatization. I look forward to the active participation of our partners which will open prospects for new and mutually beneficial projects. As early as the first part of this year we have agreed on holding a meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. The next step is the organization of the meeting of the Council of Presidents of Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. Another topical issue is the development of transit potential and the creation of relevant cutting edge infrastructure. We have to intensify our cooperation in the field of international automobile, rail freight, as well as in the field of aviation. We will continue working together on a number of initiatives such as the creation of transport corridor within the framework of GUAM bringing together Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. We also raised the issue of cooperation in the field of agriculture, in the field of producing titanium and other very important projects to be implemented. Finally, let me once again thank Mr. President Ilham Aliyev and the entire delegation of your wonderful country for the warm relations and very constructive negotiations. I am certain that the agreements which we have made today will start a new stage of our strategic partnership, our historic and indeed very correct, very substantive cooperation. So, thank you once again for this visit. Thank you for attention.
Then the President of Azerbaijan made a statement.
Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Dear Mr. President,
Dear ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you, Mr. President, for the kind words. Let me also thank you for inviting me to visit Ukraine. I am very glad that there is very serious progress in Ukrainian-Azerbaijani relations. We have a high-level political dialogue. President Zelenskyy and I met in Brussels last month, exactly one month ago. As President Zelenskyy has said, he visited Azerbaijan in late 2019. In other words, we are strengthening our contacts, and during the discussions we go over the prospects for the future development of relations between our countries, and make important decisions. In particular, as a result of the wide-ranging exchange of views we had today, I am confident that we will witness new and wonderful events in the near future.
As the President has mentioned, in the near future we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, on 6 February. I must say that during independence, Ukraine and Azerbaijan have always supported each other, always supported each other's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, and this support is reflected in the Joint Declaration we signed today.
Our peoples are bound together by friendly ties, and as you know, there is a great interest and respect for the culture of the Ukrainian people in Azerbaijan. This respect can also be seen in Baku. A monument to great Ukrainian son Taras Shevchenko has been erected on my initiative in one of the central parts of Baku a few years ago, and both Baku residents and visitors to our city come to this park to have rest. At the same time, one of the largest squares in Baku is named after Ukraine. So these facts in themselves show that there is a great history of relations between our peoples, and we maintain these relations.
In his speech, Mr. President has stated the issues we discussed today. I would like to add that relevant instructions have been given today to develop a specific action program in all areas we have discussed – to the leaders of the joint intergovernmental commission and the heads of relevant agencies. I am sure that we will see concrete decisions at the next meeting of the joint commission in Baku due to be held in two months.
We have new plans in the field of energy, which is a traditional area of cooperation. I am confident that these plans will be implemented. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) intends to expand its activities in Ukraine, and I am glad that the Ukrainian side also supports it. At present, SOCAR has an extensive network of filling stations in Ukraine, and, of course, the new steps in the export and processing of oil and oil products will further deepen our cooperation. There is no disagreement on cooperation on other types of energy.
I am glad that our trade turnover increased by more than 20 percent last year despite the pandemic, and I do hope that it will reach the level of $1 billion, maybe even more, in the near future. Because the implementation of the documents we signed today and other issues discussed will definitely serve to increase the turnover between the two countries.
I believe that the agreements on food security reached today will allow Azerbaijan the opportunity to ensure its food security to a greater extent. At the same time, the groundwork has been laid today for the establishment of joint ventures, joint activities related to the processing and export of agricultural products. This is a novelty. I think it is one of the most important steps in our relations in this area. We are open to cooperation in all other areas.
I want to say again that our cooperation is based on friendly relations, and I do hope that this visit, which is taking place at the beginning of the year, will serve to complete this year with good results on a bilateral level and will provide a good basis for future years.
Dear Mr. President, I would like to thank you for the invitation and hospitality. Let me take this opportunity to invite you to visit Baku again. Thank you.