Azerbaijani-UAE diplomatic relations at 30: Baku, Abu Dhabi determined to boost & enhance ties
By Ayya Lmahamad
In the year 2022, Azerbaijan has been marking the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with various states and international organizations.
Azernews, the nation’s first English language media outlet, continues its project of scrutinizing major aspects of Azerbaijan's relations with key actors of international policy in a Q&A format. This one is looking into Azerbaijan's relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Throughout these years, the two countries have developed their relations in almost all sectors and formats. The high-level political dialogue that exists today between Azerbaijan and the UAE is accompanied by cooperation in economic, energy, transport, humanitarian and other sectors.
Q: When did Azerbaijan and the UAE establish diplomatic relations?
A: The UAE recognized Azerbaijan's independence on December 26, 1991. Diplomatic relations between the two states were established on September 1, 1992.
On December 13, 1994, within the framework of the Summit of the Heads of States and Governments of the member states of the OIC in Casablanca, President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev met with President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The embassy of Azerbaijan in the UAE has been operating since June 16, 2001, while the UAE embassy has been operating in Azerbaijan since October 28, 2011.
Q: What is the current state and spheres of economic cooperation between the two nations?
A: Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates are actively cooperating in various sectors of the economy. The UAE is Azerbaijan’s largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council. The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $50.4 million in 2021, and to $48.3 million in the first seven months of 2022.
The UAE exports equipment, mechanical devices, food, and chemical products from Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan exports metal and engineering products from the UAE.
An intergovernmental commission on the economy, trade, and technical cooperation is functioning between the two countries. At the same time, the Trade Representation of Azerbaijan in the UAE, and the Azerbaijani Trade House in Dubai play an important role in the development of trade and economic partnership.
There are more than 30 bilateral treaties signed between the two countries.
Q: What is the current state of energy and renewable energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates?
A: First of all, the two countries are actively cooperating within OPEC+.
In 2021, Azerbaijan and the UAE signed agreements on pilot projects in renewable energy, under which the building of a 230-MW solar power plant is envisaged.
On March 15, a groundbreaking ceremony for the 230 MW Garadagh solar power plant, to be constructed by the United Arab Emirates' Masdar company, was held in Baku’s Gulustan Palace. The plant is designed to produce 500 million kWh of electricity per year and supply it to approximately 110,000 households. It will also reduce gas consumption by 110 million cubic meters and environmental emissions by 200,000 tons. The plant construction is planned to be completed by late 2022.
The two countries also signed four memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the renewable energy sector: on cooperation in the field of integrated renewable energy at sea; in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency; in the field of electricity generation from municipal solid waste; and in the field of renewable and clean energy in the Karabakh and East-Zangazur economic region.
Q: How do the two countries cooperate in political, cultural, and other spheres?
A: Azerbaijan is a major economic partner of the UAE in the region, and a popular destination for Emirates’ citizens for travel, tourism, and study.
Azerbaijan is usually participating in various international exhibitions held in the United Arab Emirates. It is worth noting that this year, Azerbaijan was represented at the Dubai Expo 2020 with a national pavilion under the “Seeds for the Future” topic. Agrarian and investment opportunities, potential projects, as well as smart village project in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories were presented at the expo.
Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates share a common religion and culture, which also can be seen in similarities between the Azerbaijani and Arabic languages.
The relations between the two countries are witnessing rapid progress in various sectors, which gives a solid ground to say that they will develop further and elevate to new highs.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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