Baku, Azerbaijan, May 5
By Azad Hasanli - Trend:
It will be impossible to resolve the regional cooperation and integration issues until the regional conflicts are not resolved in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Sahil Babayev said on April 5.
Babayev made this statement at the "Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and the Future of Regional Cooperation and Integration" workshop.
The workshop is being held as part of the 48th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Baku.
Babayev said that the security is a major factor of the regional development.
"Some 20 percent of the Azerbaijani lands have been occupied by Armenia," he said. "In this region, Azerbaijan cooperates only with Georgia. The country is also implementing joint regional projects with Turkey and Russia."
Babayev said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved from the point of view of international law.
"The small and medium enterprises can play an important role in developing of the regional cooperation and integration," he said. "The weak institutional development is one of the main problems in the region. The certain projects in this area must be implemented in all regional countries."
Babayev said that Azerbaijan has recently achieved considerable success.
"The macroeconomic stability in Azerbaijan is at a high enough level," he said. "The international organizations also recognize this."
He went on to add that in the last 10 years, Azerbaijan's economy increased threefold, the state budget - fivefold, export - by 6.6 times, while the poverty rate dropped to five percent.
"All this has been stipulated by the oil sector development," he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
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