Azerbaijan Has Wider Opportunities to Invest in Kyrgyzstan’s Economy: Interview with Kyrgyz Prime Minister

Azerbaijan, Baku, 19 February / corr Trend A.Badalova / Trend 's interview with Igor Chudin, the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, on the run up to his visit to Baku in spring.

Question: Azerbaijani-Kyrgyz relations have been characterized with special dynamics over the past two years. Which spheres will be of priority in the near future and what economic operations can improve the goods turnover between the two countries?

Answer: At the beginning I would like to state that Kyrgyzstan attaches great importance to further development of friendly relations with Azerbaijan on the basis of mutual confidence and respect to each other. Indeed, over the past two years relations between our fraternal countries have become more active. Leaders of the two countries met within the framework of multilateral forums [summit of Turkic speaking nations in Tehran in November 2006]. The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev invited the President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev to visit Azerbaijan for an official visit. Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Bishkek in 2007.

With respect to priority spheres of cooperation between our countries I should say that they are trade, economic, culture and humanitarian fields. According to statistics, special weight of Azerbaijan in goods turnover of Kyrgyzstan with foreign countries made up less than 0.5% over the past two years and Azerbaijan is one of the countries where a trade balance prevailed by Kyrgyzstan. Indeed, it sounds complimentary to Kyrgyzstan, whilst the real prospect is a bit painful with the consideration that Azerbaijan was the absolute world leader for economic growth rate in 2006. The two nations are also interrelated with historic identity, similarities in intellect and language. We have recently discussed with Arif Agayev, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, trade relations. He stated exiting goods turnover is too low. We consider such a state of affairs in trade do not meet with existing real opportunities of the two countries and needs to improve.

(Note: According to the Ministry of Economic Development of Kyrgyzstan, over the 9 months of 2007 the goods turnover with Azerbaijan made up $3.5mln compared to $8.7mln in January to September 2006. A cut in goods turnover is linked to the decrease of import revenue from Azerbaijan due to the cessation of import of aviation kerosene).

With respect to an increase in the goods turnover between the two countries, Kyrgyzstan could supply the Azerbaijani market with electric lamps, glass produced from German technology, roofing slates, food and other goods of Azerbaijan's interest.

At the same time we need a supply of oil products in Kyrgyzstan, in particular, aviation kerosene, from Azerbaijan at reasonable prices.

At present the Azerbaijani economy is developing rapidly and our country has wider opportunities in terms of investing in Kyrgyzstan's economy. The government of Kyrgyzstan is actively working on increasing the country's investment rating. We attract well-known international organizations, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in respect to this. We want business done in Kyrgyzstan to be more transparent and clear for all potential investors. We have something to offer Azerbaijani businessmen.

I think the important mechanism for successful development of bilateral trade and economic relations would be the intensification of the work of Kyrgyz-Azerbaijani intergovernmental commission. We discussed this issue with the Ambassador [of Azerbaijan] Agayev. I understand that we hold a common opinion on the issue. Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan well understand that it is necessary to define the ways of economic cooperation and boost efforts in this direction. At the same time, our countries ought to carry out joint revision into standard juridical documents signed between the two countries in the economic field.

Perhaps, it would be worth holding a business-forum for businessmen from Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan, as it will establish direct contacts between entrepreneurs of the two countries. Furthermore, the two sides could present each other with joint investment projects. This is a very efficient tool in bilateral relations and one of no less considerable aspects is the so-called 'people's diplomacy'. From earliest times trade has been a good aid in the establishment of firm bilateral relations.

Question: When is the President of Kyrgyzstan scheduled to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan? What urgent issues will be discussed during your visit?

Answer: The Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's official visit to Azerbaijan is scheduled for the second quarter of 2008. A concrete date will be set later. The important task is to establish talks with Azerbaijan.

You may know, over the past eleven years top-level mutual visits have not been carried out between the two countries. Much has changed both in Kyrgyzstanand in Azerbaijan, excluding an aspiration and willing of our two fraternal peoples to continue friendly and mutually profitable relations. Furthermore, trade, economic, culture and humanitarian issues will be in focus.

Question: What preparations are being made for the upcoming autumn summit of CIS in Bishkek?

Answer: With respect to ensure timely arrangements and successful organization of the next meeting of CIS Council of heads of state in Bishkek in September 2008, the organization committee is holding a meeting at the Kyrgyz President's decree. The first meeting of the Committee was held in January under the chairmanship of the head of the Kyrgyz President's Administration.

Furthermore, organizational work is being carried out with Ministries and departments to hold it on an even higher level. We have good experience in the conduct of the summit as we did it in Bishkek in August. Therefore, I am sure that we will hold the event on a high level.

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