Details added, first version posted at 11:06
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 18
Azerbaijan is already playing an important role for the energy security of Europe, the country's president, Ilham Aliyev said at the opening ceremony for the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku.
"Azerbaijan plays a very positive role on the regional scale," he said. "Our initiatives are aimed towards strengthening of regional cooperation, issues related to energy security."
He added that Azerbaijan's projects and initiatives that have been initiated, go far beyond the region.
"These are the projects that connect countries and continents," he said.
President Aliyev said that if one looks at the transportation infrastructure, Azerbaijan is restoring a historic Silk Road, building a new railroad connection between Europe and Asia.
"We actually invest not only in economic development, and in better transportation facilities but also in the people-to-people contact," he said.
The president went on to add that all of Azerbaijani projects related to economic and social development strengthen regional cooperation and mutual understanding between the countries and peoples.
President Aliyev added that Azerbaijan has invested a lot in economic and political transformation.
"When we became independent, we had to build a state, we had to transform political system, and therefore political and economic reforms were implemented in parallel," he said.
"We realized that energy resources will not be sufficient to provide Azerbaijan's sustainable development," President Aliyev said.
The president said Azerbaijan has been carrying out a very accurate economic policy, based on the country's natural resources and potential.
"It allowed us to achieve what we've planned in the very beginning of our independence," he said. "That is, economic independence."
Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan has a very low foreign debt, only around 10% of GDP, the country doesn't depend on donors, sponsors, or financial assistance from international financial institutions.
"We managed to achieve the maximum degree of energy security of Azerbaijan and now we provide energy security for others," he said.