By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev has visited the country’s southern neighbor Iran where he met President Hasan Rouhani and other senior officials to discuss the bilateral relations, particularly those on trade and economics.
During the meeting held on December 3, Iranian President Rouhani stressed Azerbaijan’s role in transport projects linking Iran to Russia and Europe.
“Iran and Azerbaijan are not only close neighbors but also close friends and fraternal countries. Both countries play a crucial role in the formation the North-South International Transport Corridor that carries global importance. The railway line, included in this project will extend from Iran to Azerbaijan and Russia, and from there to Europe. The project will benefit not only Iran and Azerbaijan, but also other countries in the region. We are also interested in the development of trilateral relations between Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia,” Rouhani said while meeting Shahin Mustafayev who is the Chairman of the Azerbaijan-Iran State Commission for economic, trade and humanitarian cooperation.
The Iranian president expressed hope that the two countries will develop mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of tourism, high technology and ecology, as in other areas.
In turn, Mustafayev presented President Ilham Aliyev’s letter to Rouhani and stated that the president attaches great importance to friendship and sincere relationship with the Iranian president.
“Ilham Aliyev considers that friendly relations will give impetus to the further development of relations between two countries and will serve the interests of our nations,” Mustafayev said.
On the same day, Mustafayev met with the Chief of Staff of the President of Iran Mahmoud Vaezi.
Mustafayev stated that relations between two countries are at a high level. He said that thanks to the political will of the two presidents, Tehran-Baku relations are developing.
It was noted that relations between the two countries in political, economic, cultural, trade, transport and humanitarian spheres are developing. Azerbaijan is interested in expanding these ties.
In his turn, Chief of Staff of the President of Iran drew attention to the developing trade and economic ties between Tehran and Baku, adding that the relations between the two friendly and fraternal countries carry strategic importance. He noted that Iran and Azerbaijan closely cooperate within regional and international organizations.
The sides considered ways to further boost bilateral relations and accelerate of the implementation of joint agreements. They discussed the development of cooperation between two countries in various fields.
On December 4, Mustafayev met with Iran's Finance and Economic Affairs Minister and Co-Chair of the Azerbaijan-Iran State Commission for economic, trade and humanitarian cooperation, Farhad Dejpasand.
During the meeting, Mustafayev noted that the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations have considerably developed in recent years, stressing that the leaders of both countries attach great importance to the work of the State Commission.
He reminded that the trade turnover between the two countries grew by three times in 2019. He mentioned joint industrial projects, such as joint manufacturing plant in Neftchala Industrial District, the recently opened Azerbaijani-Iran hospital and the joint pharmaceutical plant in Pirallahi Industrial Park as an example of development of bilateral trade ties.
In addition, Deputy PM highlighted opportunities for developing relations in agriculture, tourism, transit and transportation in order to increase volume of mutual trade relations and diversify its structure.
Iran's Finance and Economic Affairs Minister also highlighted recent efforts to expand cooperation between the two countries. He noted that the State Commission is an important platform for discussing directions of economic relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.
Furthermore, the Azerbaijani delegation led by Mustafayev held a meeting with Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani.
The main topic of discussion was the steps taken in the implementation of new economic projects to further enhance mutual relations. The issue of establishing a joint industrial campus at the border with Iran's Ardabil province was on the agenda of the meeting. It was noted that such joint projects will give a powerful impetus to further development of the economies of both countries. At present, work is underway to determine the location of the campus.
In his turn, Rahmani stated that Iran attaches special importance to relations with Azerbaijan and Russia within Iran’s new trade policy.
Over 1,500 Iranian companies operate in Azerbaijan, which should be considered as an example of favorable conditions created for investors in Azerbaijan.
Mustafayev also met with Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran Mohammad Bagheri on the same day.
Within the meeting, it was noted that Azerbaijan and Iran are good neighbors and close countries and that the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations can serve as an example for other countries in the region.
It should be noted that the last, 12th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Iran State Commission for economic, trade and humanitarian cooperation was held on March 13, in Tehran.
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