Lithuanian-Azerbaijani relations could and should be more intensive Lithuanian President
Trends exclusive interview with the Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, on the eve of his forthcoming visit to Baku on 8-9 June 2006
Question: How do you estimate the current level and perspectives of bilateral relationships between Azerbaijan and Lithuania?
Answer: I may evaluate Lithuanian-Azerbaijani relations as friendly, based of sympathy from the past and on the common future goals to live in prospering and safe Europe.
These relations could and should be more intensive especially in economical sphere. We receive the signals from our businessmen about their interest in developing trade relations with Azerbaijan and I hope that the foreseen visit to Baku this April will serve as an impulse for the intensification of such cooperation. I am going to have a group of businessmen accompanying me.
Azerbaijan is and should be safe and stable transit country between Europe and South Caucasus region.
I also see open possibilities for fostering our cultural relations, renewing people-to-people contacts, encouraging flows of tourists between Lithuania and Azerbaijan.
Lithuanias, as a new members, integration experience is still fresh and we are ready to share it upon the interest of your country. We have gained a lot from the regional cooperation in this regard, we suggest basing such a sharing of experience on a regional level this is the core of 3+3 initiative (cooperation between three Baltic and three South Caucasus countries), which implementation depends on common efforts.
Question: Have you defined the exact date of your official visit to Azerbaijan? What issues will be on focus of discussions during the forthcoming visit?
Answer: I think the agenda of this visit should reflect all major issues of common interest bilateral cooperation and possibilities to develop it in particular fields, EU and NATO integration, energy security, business development. As well, a very important subject of discussions should be regional issues and Baltic-Black-Caspian sea regions cooperation.
Question: What aid can Lithuania render to Azerbaijan in its integration into the international establishments?
Answer: Lithuania welcomes Azerbaijans Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We are ready to share with you all the lessons learned in our way towards NATO. We already have good traditions of cooperation as Lithuania and Azerbaijan have been cooperating bilaterally for several years in various fields of defence. Our experiences in restructuring security and defense sectors, establishing legal basis and setting coordination mechanisms for Euro-Atlantic integration might be of particular interest of your country in the current implementation of Azerbaijan-NATO IPAP (Individual Partnership Action Plan).
Question: In what stage is the realization of your initiative on regional cooperation 3+3 (three Baltic countries and three South Caucasus countries)?
Answer: Having learned from our own experience, how advantageous is regional cooperation in reaching strategic goals, we are willing to encourage regional approach in South Caucasus as well. Therefore 3+3 initiative is an essential part of these efforts, as it could provide opportunity to share Baltics experience with the South Caucasus countries and promote links between them.
As I know the first informal meeting of five Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Azerbaijani representative, held last December in Liubjana, was considered as successful step into the implementation of this initiative, the participants have agreed on the continuation of such meetings. Lets work together.
Question: Does Lithuania support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan? How do you view the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh?
Answer: Lithuania has also suffered complicated historical situations in relations with the neighbouring countries, though since the independence our aim is not forgetting the past, to work for the future and to strengthen friendly cooperation with neighbours as it is an inevitable precondition of the wealth of whole region.
The territorial integrity of each country should be respected. We stand for resolution of any related disputes only in a peaceful manner and truly hope that such peaceful breakthrough will be reached in your region in the shortest run.