BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 30.Following the expanded meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev have made press statements.
Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, Mr. President.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Mr. President, first of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to Bulgaria and for the hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I am very happy to be visiting your beautiful country again.
President Radev gave extensive information about the issues we have discussed today. For my part, I would like to add that many issues have been discussed in a friendly atmosphere, both in our one-on-one conversation and in the discussions with the participation of delegations. I am sure that the results of this visit will be very successful and the agreements reached today will definitely be implemented, as was the case with those reached in previous times. In particular, I would like to mention the Joint Declaration on strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan signed in 2015. This Declaration has raised our relations to a high level and, at the same time, all the issues identified in that declaration have been implemented. Today, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are maintain closer contact with each other as two friendly and strategic partner countries.
As for political relations, it would be enough to mention our contacts, as well as the numerous meetings held at the ministerial level. Of course, my trip is slightly belated, but that is because of COVID. I have visited several countries, including Bulgaria, right after COVID. I am sure that as strategic partners we will take further steps in the field of energy security, which is the main issue discussed today. Partnership in this field has already been implemented, as Azerbaijan's gas is now in Bulgaria. During the conversation with the President today, we also discussed ways of increasing the volume of Azerbaijani gas to be exported to Bulgaria. Relevant instructions have been given. Energy security issues have always been important, but in today's circumstances, this importance has increased even more. We are well aware of this. Therefore, we are doing our best to increase gas production and supply our partners with natural gas. Azerbaijan has been exporting its crude oil to world and European markets as a reliable partner for many years. Azerbaijan, which now exports natural gas, will assert how itself as a reliable partner in this field as well.
We have also exchanged opinions about the ceremony to be held tomorrow. I congratulated President Radev on this great historic achievement. The Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector project is indeed of historic importance. I am sure that this interconnector will enable the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe on a larger scale. At the same time, it will be of great benefit to energy security on the European continent.
As the President noted, a Memorandum on strategic partnership in the field of energy was recently signed between the European Union and Azerbaijan. According to this Memorandum, in the next few years, we will increase our gas exports to Europe at least twice, and there are opportunities to do that. Azerbaijan's confirmed gas reserves are at 2.6 trillion cubic meters. New and diversified gas transportation infrastructure allows us the opportunity to supply natural gas to many countries. Of course, the successes achieved in this field are also a good foundation for future plans.
At the same time, as already mentioned by the President, the issue of opening SOCAR's office in Bulgaria has also been discussed. We should not limit our energy agenda to the exports of natural gas. We have also discussed other issues related to energy. Export of electricity and mutually beneficial cooperation in this field, the transportation of crude oil to Bulgaria, possible participation of SOCAR in the renewal of energy infrastructure in Bulgaria and other issues have been discussed as well. In short, the time has come to open SOCAR's office in Bulgaria, and I am sure that we will do that soon.
As for other issues as a whole, transport security is certainly an important issue considering the new geopolitical situation today. Azerbaijan has created a very modern transport infrastructure in its territory – railways, highways, a new International Trade Sea Port – all these infrastructure facilities have one goal of increasing the volume of transit cargo through Azerbaijan. This year, the volume of these cargoes has increased by approximately 50 percent. In the future, this number will be even greater. Therefore, Bulgarian and Azerbaijani transport workers will come together and exchange ideas about long-term and large-scale future cooperation.
I will meet with the heads of several leading companies of Bulgaria today. There are already quite a few topics for the meeting. I am sure that this meeting will play a very important role for the deepening of cooperation in the fields of economy and investment as a whole. At the same time, I will invite Bulgarian companies to do more large-scale work in Azerbaijan, including the territories liberated from occupation. At the moment, major construction and improvement work is under way there, and we would like to see companies of friendly countries there.
In short, the discussions held today and those that will be continued – Mr. President and I will meet in the evening again, I will have a meeting with the Prime Minister, and we will participate in the event tomorrow – these meetings, held in a very nice atmosphere, are and will be of great importance .
Thank you again for your hospitality and attention. Thank you.