Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary sign Baku Declaration on AGRI project (UPDATE)
EDITOR's NOTE: Details added on joint conference
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 14 / Trend /
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev hosted a meeting with Romanian President Traian Basescu, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Baku on Tuesday, the AzerTaj state news agency reported.
Opening the meeting to discuss the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI) project, Aliyev greeted the guests.
Speaking about the history of oil and gas production in Azerbaijan, Aliyev said that the republic was one of the first oil producing countries in the world. After the restoration of independence, Azerbaijan began working with foreign companies to develop oil and gas fields.
Noting that Azerbaijan favors multi-directional policy in energy exports, Aliyev said the country has established a good infrastructure and laid new pipelines for the transportation of oil and gas in different directions. Aliyev said that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to regional and international cooperation in the energy sector.
Stressing that the AGRI project opens a new stage of cooperation in the energy sector, Aliyev said this project has great potential.
Saakashvili emphasized Azerbaijan's role in regional energy cooperation. He also spoke about Georgia's transit role in energy transportation.
Basescu spoke about the significance of the AGRI project for Romania. He highlighted Azerbaijan's contribution in the energy security of Europe.
Orban noted the importance of Hungary joining the AGRI project. He said Hungary is ready to actively participate in the AGRI project.
Aliyev thanked the heads of states and governments visiting Baku, and noted the importance of this meeting for the project.
The leaders then signed the Baku Declaration on the AGRI project.
At a joint press conference, Aliyev congratulated the parties on the signing of the Baku Declaration. He noted that the participating states worked hard on it and had achieved positive results.
"We are on the threshold of great development, and we have a strong will," Aliyev said. Describing the presence of large energy infrastructure in Azerbaijan, the president said that Azerbaijan has unique experiences in the energy sector and the balance of interests between the parties is an important condition in implementing the AGRI project.
"We are writing history here," he said.
Aliyev also noted that the multi-directionalism is an important element of energy security. Azerbaijan has seven oil and gas pipelines which transport the country's oil and gas in different directions.
Aliyev said that Azerbaijan fully ensures its energy security. Energy security, which is an integral part of national security, today is an important factor in the world. Saying that this year Azerbaijan plans to produce 28 billion cubic meters of gas, Aliyev stressed that domestic demand is 10-11 billion cubic meters. It was reported that along with the export of the remainder of the gas, it is also pumped into underground storage facilities.
The current level of Azerbaijan's exports do not limit country's participation in other projects.
"Azerbaijan is also interested in the energy security of Europe, and ensuring this security will open vast new opportunities for the country," Aliyev said.
Highlighting the importance of addressing issues in technical assessment and project financing, Aliyev noted the need for the participation of international financial organizations in these matters.
Highlighting the importance of participation in the AGRI project together with the countries of the region and EU member states, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said that this is an important event. Saakashvili said connecting Hungary to the project will bring new features in the energy security of the EU.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said that the implementation of the project creates opportunities for the successful implementation of the EU Eastern Partnership Program. The project will also give impetus to cooperation between the Caspian region and the European Union. "Connecting Hungary to this project is an important element for its reliability," Basescu said.
Basescu said with its uniqueness, the project is based on effectiveness and does not depend on any political decisions. Saying that there is basic infrastructure for the implementation of the project, Basescu said that the important point is the construction of two gas terminals - on the territory of the Romanian Port of Constanta and the Georgian Port of Kulevi. This shows that the project will be economical. Financial issues will begin to be solved upon the completion of the feasibility study. Private investments will be involved in the construction of terminals, said Basescu.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressed his confidence that the cooperation within the project will be effective and Hungary remains committed to this project.