UK invests over $23B in Azerbaijan (PHOTO) (UPDATE-2)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 12

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UK has invested more than $23 billion in Azerbaijan's economy, Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said in London.

Mustafayev made the remarks during the first meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UK.

The first meeting of the Intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was held on Feb. 10-11, 2016 in London.

"UK is the largest investor of Azerbaijan," the minister said. "Currently, there are 473 companies with UK capital in Azerbaijan. UK's companies act as contractors in the projects being implemented in Azerbaijan."

He said that Azerbaijan and UK successfully cooperate in various sectors of the economy, namely, banking, ICT, water supply, tourism and health care.

Mustafayev said that the cooperation has been established between universities of the two countries in the humanitarian sphere and the sides are exchanging students.

Mustafayev added that currently, some 569 Azerbaijani students are studying at 38 universities in UK, while UK's young people are studying at Azerbaijani universities.

The minister stressed the importance of mutual visits in expansion of cooperation between the two countries.

"The countries have great potential for the expansion of relations," he said. "The established intergovernmental commission will play an important role in developing of economic relations and solving the issues of mutual interest," Mustafayev said.

The minister also stressed the opportunities of two countries in the areas of investment cooperation, tourism, ICT, energy, ecology, export of Azerbaijani goods to UK, the UK's participation in the industrial parks and agro-parks being established in Azerbaijan.

Moreover, Mustafayev emphasized the need for holding joint business forums, exhibitions and presentations, opportunities for expanding cooperation with the Azerbaijan Investment Company and AZPROMO.

In turn, Francis Maude, co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission, UK's minister of state for investment and trade, has expressed UK's interest in expanding relations with Azerbaijan.

A protocol was signed following the meeting. The protocol envisages the expansion of cooperation between the two countries in economic, investment, trade, industrial, tourism, energy, education and cultural spheres.

The UK does not recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and supports the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group, the document says.

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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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