Interview with Eldar Salimov, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United Arab Emirates
Question: Mr. Ambassador, how do you estimate the current level of bilateral relationships between Azerbaijan and UAE?
Answer: To date there are all opportunities for strengthening the relationships between Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates in all spheres.
The bright example UAEвЂ™s will for expansion of relationships with Azerbaijan in all spheres is the organization of Culture Days of this country in Azerbaijan.
It will come as the first of its kind in the bilateral relationships.
Besides, the Arab country for the first time in its history organizes such event abroad.
The organization of culture days in Azerbaijan testifies for the significance that the UAE government attaches to our country.
Question: In what level are the political relationships between the countries and is there necessity for any corrections?
Answer: We have proper mutual understanding in the political relationships. The
UAEвЂ™s government has always openly supported just position of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, condemned the Armenian aggression and continues taking a principle position in this issue.
We do not have any disagreement in this respect. There is also proper understanding in the international organizations, such as UN and the Islamic Conference Organization.
Question: What are the prospects of economic inter-relationships?
Answer: There is a great will and intention of parties for intensifying the economic relationships, there is big potential for their development and attraction of the UAE investment to Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani embassy in UAE and relevant bodies do definite work in this respect.
The major attention is paid to the development of infrastructure, oil and gas sector, industry. It would be more desirable to upgrade the relationships in the agriculture and export Azerbaijani agriculture products to UAEвЂ™s markets.
Cooperation in the sphere of tourism assumes definite interest the embassy plans to hold forums to attract the businessmenвЂ™s attention to investing in this sector. In the near future we plan to hold in Dubai a business-forum with businessmen from the two counties to explore the opportunities of tourism in Azerbaijan, as well as organize a reply visit of Arab businessmen to Azerbaijan.
Question: A bit earlier, there were sounded proposals on the establishment of intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation during the recent official bilateral meetings. Is the question currently being processed?
Answer: Indeed, there is an idea on the establishment of a commission and it is necessary to develop it. In this respect it is necessary to establish a relevant legal-agreement base.
There is a definite legal-agreement base, while it is to be upgraded.
A draft agreement on trade-economic cooperation, which envisages the establishment of an intergovernmental commission, is ready for signing. We hope, the activities of the commission will cover all directions of the bilateral cooperation in the economic, as well as culture, education, health sectors.
There is a definite success in the sphere of cooperation in the education field and we regularly inform the UAE on the opportunities of study in Azerbaijan. Obviously, the number of students from this country is not so big and the relevant work in this direction continues.
We drafted a big packet of agreements, including those on trade and economic cooperation, on defense of investments, on education. I do hope, they will be signed very soon and lay a firm foundation for further mutually profitable cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UAE.
Question: Are their any plans of visit on the level of heads of state?
Answer: Well, at present we are involved in preparing Azerbaijani President Ilham AliyevвЂ™s official visit to the UAE. An official invitation has been presented to the head of state and now the dare of the visit is being coordinated.
We hope the visit will be paid by the end of the year. During the visit we plan to sign a package of bilateral documents, which I described. I do hope the visit to put a foundation for a new epoch of cooperation between Azerbaijan and UAE.
By the end of the year Emir of Sharja Sultan Ben Muhammad Al Kasimi also plans to pay a visit to Azerbaijan.
Under the visit days of Sharja will be held in Azerbaijan. Besides, Baku will host business-forum with the participation businessmen of the two countries.
Sharja ranks as the third emirate in the UAE for its significance holding 60% of the domestic production. In this respect the visit will open more opportunities for the development of economic cooperation.