PM: Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine develops in the spirit of strategic partnership

Politics Materials 2 April 2012 08:00 (UTC +04:00)
Bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine is developing in the spirit of strategic partnership, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nykolay Azarov said in an interview with Trend on the eve of his visit to Baku scheduled for April 3
PM: Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine develops in the spirit of strategic partnership

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 2 / Trend, S.Agayeva /

Bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine is developing in the spirit of strategic partnership, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nykolay Azarov said in an interview with Trend on the eve of his visit to Baku scheduled for April 3.

"My visit focuses on further enhancement of such partnership," he said.

Azarov said the main issues to be discussed during the visit are economic, military-technical cooperation, as well as interaction in the fuel and energy sector. He underlined those as the directions on which the Ukrainian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental commission effectively works.

"Our turnover in 2011 ($ 1.4 billion) slightly declined compared to 2010 (nearly $ 1.6 billion). Although these figures exceed the crisis level of 2009 ($ 0.9 billion), I believe that we have many untapped opportunities for significant enhancement of partnership within the implementation of the Plan of comprehensive cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan for 2011-2015, signed by the two countries' presidents Viktor Yanukovych and Ilham Aliyev during our president's official visit to Baku in April 2011," Azarov noted.

He said presently, the bilateral agenda includes issues, address of which requires an additional impulse.

First of all it concerns cooperation in fuel and energy sphere: Ukraine is interested in construction of an oil refinery on the Black Sea coast for refining Azerbaijani oil, in conducting search and prospecting on Azerbaijan's promising areas by National Joint-Stock Company Naftogaz of Ukraine, Azarov said.

He said there is a perspective for Ukrainian construction companies, as well as companies of the agricultural sector to enter Azerbaijani market.

On April 9, 2009, the Cabinets of Ministers of Ukraine and Azerbaijan signed a Framework Agreement "On Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes," Azarov said.

"Given Azerbaijan's plans to further develop its own space industry, we are ready to enter the level of implementation of long-term projects: from launching Azerbaijan satellites into orbit, to training of specialists for space industry," Azarov said.

He said work is underway in this direction at the bilateral level, but it should be made more active.

Initiatives within GUAM

Ukraine regards GUAM as one of the important mechanisms for regional cooperation, and will make all efforts for the development of this organization, Azarov underscored.

"We have great hopes both for economic component of the organization's activity (trade turnover between GUAM countries during only nine months of 2011 totaled more than $4 billion), political component and for cooperation in the energy industry, as well as in energy security," he said.

Azarov underlined that Ukraine is open to further boosting of cooperation both in the existing format and in the "GUAM+" format.

Recently, the 12th meeting of the Working Group on Economic and Trade with representatives of relevant agencies and embassies of the organization's member states was held in the GUAM Secretariat in Kiev, he said.

"The meeting discussed and approved the Draft Protocol on approving the order of establishment and activity of authority coordinating actions of parties of the Agreement on Free Trade Zone between the GUAM member states," Azarov said.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Ukraine's position in such an important issue as the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains firm and unchanged.

"It consists in the necessity of resolving this conflict only by peaceful means, based on norms and principles of international law, which include respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders, as well as creating conditions for economic recovery and safe return of refugees," Azarov said.

He said Ukraine is ready to facilitate the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution within the OSCE Minsk Group, and, in particular in the context of Ukraine's OSCE chairmanship in 2013.

Cooperation in energy sphere

Ukraine is interested in the Eurasian oil transportation corridor, which envisages creating a new route to diversify oil supplies from the Caspian region to Ukraine, as well as transit to European markets, Azarov underscored.

In February 2011, "Ukrtransnafta" began pumping Azerbaijani oil into the Odessa-Brody pipeline to transport it to Mozyr oil refinery in Belarus, he said, adding that the volume of transit is 4 million tons per year, which is 10 times less than the maximum design capacity of the Eurasian oil transportation corridor.

"Unfortunately, although the development of a feasibility study of extending the pipeline to Polish Gdansk has been completed, Poland has not decided yet to finish building the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk oil pipeline. We have repeatedly offered our Polish partners to implement the project in full, but for the present they do not consider it expedient for themselves," he said.

At the same time, according to Azarov, Ukraine welcomes activity of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) in the country. In January 2011, it opened a network of gas stations in Ukraine, which it plans to expand to 1,000 units, Azarov said.

Ukraine became the first country in Eastern Europe, where SOCAR has begun bunker business since August 2011, providing services for fuelling ships directly in the waters of the Dnieper, he underlined.

Azerbaijani gas supplies

An intergovernmental Ukrainian-Azerbaijani agreement on the transportation of oil and liquefied natural gas supplies to Ukraine was signed in January 2011 during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in the presence of President Viktor Yanukovych and President Ilham Aliyev.

According to Azarov, after that Ukraine has begun active preparations for the implementation of the project of construction of a sea complex for receiving liquefied natural gas: LNG-terminal near Odessa. Ukraine joined the World LNG-club in November 2011 in Rome, during the Twelfth World LNG Summit.

"Feasibility study of the terminal project has been prepared by the Spanish company "Socoin". According to preliminary estimates, it will be possible to begin its construction this year," Azarov said.

He said after completing the first stage - by late 2014 - Ukraine will be able to receive liquefied natural gas in the volume of about 2 billion cubic meters a year, and bring that figure to 5 billion cubic meters in a year and to 10 billion cubic meters in three years.

"Governments of our countries today are preparing the relevant bilateral Agreement, as well as the Protocol on the establishment of a joint venture to develop a feasibility study for arranging transportation of liquefied natural gas from Azerbaijan to Ukraine," Azarov said.

Today, Ukraine also considers its possible financial participation in oversea projects of LNG-terminals in other countries, he said.