By Ayya Lmahamad
The Nakhchivan corridor that Azerbaijan is going to build following the November 10 trilateral peace agreement, will play the major role in ensuring lasting peace and cooperation in the region in the “3+3” format in line with President Ilham Aliyev’s initiative, Prime Minister Ali Asadov has said.
The corridor will connect Nakhchivan exclave with other parts of Azerbaijan as well as with Turkey.
Addressing the Turkish-Azerbaijani business forum held in Turkey’s Ankara on February 18, Asadov said that the corridor “will accelerate the development of bilateral trade relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as give a big impetus to the development of relations in the field of tourism sector.”
The Nakhchivan corridor will ensure Azerbaijan’s direct access to its Nakhchivan exclave via Armenia. The construction of the corridor was stipulated in the trilateral Moscow-brokered peace deal of November 10. Under the agreement, Armenia will guarantee the safety of transport links between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan and Russian law-enforcers will control the transport via the corridor.
Noting Azerbaijan’s historic victory in the Second Karabakh War between September 27 and November 10, Asadov underlined that a new period was beginning for Azerbaijan as the government has developed a strategy for the restoration and development of the country’s liberated territories.
“As the Azerbaijani President said ‘we will turn this region, Karabakh into a paradise’. Restoration work has already begun and our Turkish brothers have become our first partners [for restoration of these lands]. Turkish companies have already started to implement the infrastructure projects,” Asadov underlined.
Touching upon the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the economic relations of two countries, the prime minister noted the insignificant drop in trade turnover.
“As soon as we overcome the pandemic together, the slump in trade will be eliminated,” he underlined.
Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, speaking at the same forum, stated that Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan corridor is extremely important for Turkey.
Pekcan noted that Turkish and Azerbaijani companies are working in close cooperation in the process of restoring the liberated lands and also reminded that over 400 projects have been implemented jointly with Azerbaijan.
“We will use the experience of successful work accumulated so far in infrastructure projects,” stressed the minister.
“The main goal is to turn Baku into a logistics center,” the minister said. He reminded that the two countries’ leaders have set up the goal to bring the volume of trade to $15 billion.
Addressing the forum, Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov noted that restoration works carried out in the liberated territories, will open up great opportunities for entrepreneurs of the two countries.
"Such initiatives as the creation of a joint Azerbaijani-Turkish investment fund, the implementation of large projects between the two countries, in particular, projects aimed at the exchange of joint technologies, can contribute to the faster implementation of our tasks.”
Speaking about the importance of transport and transit areas of bilateral cooperation, Jabbarov stated that in recent years, the number of trucks travelling from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Central Asia, as well as in the opposite direction, has significantly increased.
Furthermore, the minister said that the implementation of the preferential trade agreement, signed in 2019, will contribute to the development of trade relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“The implementation of the agreement will start on March 1, 2021. This will make a great contribution to the development of trade relations. (…) It’s encouraging that Turkish businessmen are widely represented in Azerbaijan. Turkish and Azerbaijani companies actively participate in mutual investments. Such initiatives as creation of the Azerbaijani-Turkish joint investment fund, realization of large projects, especially aimed at exchanging joint technologies, can help us fulfill tasks faster,” Jabbarov underlined.
Additionally, the minister noted the opening of trade representative office at the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Istanbul, in near future, which will boost further expansion of trade and economic relations between two countries.
Azerbaijan and Turkey signed eleven agreements on economy, trade and other spheres during the forum that was attended by 150 representatives of the private sector and a number of officials.
It should be noted that article 9 of the November 10 agreement called for “unblocking of regional economic and transport links.
Restoration of the communication lines were also discussed during the January 11 Moscow meeting of the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders who agreed to restore communication lines and security between Azerbaijan and Armenia following six-week-war in 2020. The three had leaders agreed to set up a trilateral working group to solve the communication problem in the region.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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