By Aygul Salmanova
Baku hosted a press conference with participation of Mohammad Taqi Khalili, ambassador of Afghanistan to Azerbaijan on November 10.
Khalili made remarks about a joint working group on economic cooperation that is expected to be created between two countries. The ambassador said that the first meeting of the working group will be held early next year.
He noted that a document on the creation of a railway transport corridor has been recently signed between Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
Namely through this project, Afghanistan will be able to use the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway with the help of the Turkmenbashi and the Batumi ports, and at the same time the Baku International Sea Trade Port, Khalili added.
The ambassador went on saying that Azerbaijan and Afghanistan will sign five documents.
The documents will be signed during the visit of Afghanistan’s President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to Baku.
The envoy noted that the documents will cover the spheres of security, education, air space and mutual investments.
Khalili added that November is a very important month for bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan reminding that Afghanistan’s economy minister recently visited Azerbaijan and held discussions with the country’s officials on important issues of mutual interest.
“We express our gratitude to Azerbaijan for its partnership and support,” he added.
Khalili continued his speech by stressing on the fact that the Islamic world will continue supporting Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Since the first days of the conflict, Afghanistan has shared a common stance with Azerbaijan within the framework of various international organizations, he said.
The diplomat added that Afghanistan acts against international terrorism and condemns any kind of terror.
Khalili mentioned that Afghanistan expresses its gratitude to Azerbaijan for the decision to increase the military contingent as part of the peacekeeping mission in the country.
“Azerbaijan will increase the number of servicemen in Afghanistan,” he noted. “We thank Azerbaijan for this decision. This decision shows that Azerbaijan is interested in establishing peace not only in Afghanistan, but throughout the world.”
Earlier at a joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO Headquarters Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev spoke about the assistance that the country provides Afghanistan with.
“Ninety four Azerbaijani servicemen serve shoulder to shoulder with NATO servicemen, in order to provide security and peace to Afghanistan,” said the president. “Azerbaijan also provides multimodal transit and flight clearances for the coalition forces. The country contributed to the Afghan army’s National Trust Fund.”
“We will continue our partnership in order to provide peace, security and stability in the region,” added President Aliyev.
Afghanistan recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991 and the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1994.
Azerbaijan supports the Afghan way of reforms by its assistance in the areas of education, infrastructure and transport development, investments and enhancing the role of women in the society.
The country has several times made substantial donations to the Afghan National Army (ANA) Trust Fund.
The peacekeeping contingent of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces has been serving in Afghanistan since November 20, 2002. Azerbaijan, as a reliable partner of NATO and friend of brotherly Afghanistan, is committed to continue its significant contribution to the Resolute Support Mission by providing troops, multi-modal transit, training and financial assistance.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan allowed the NATO planes carrying non-combat loads for a mission in Afghanistan to fly through Azerbaijan's airspace and to use the country's airports. About 40 percent of all cargo destined for the NATO mission in Afghanistan pass through Baku.
Data of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee shows that the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan amounted to $17.96 million in January-September 2017. Moreover, the entire amount accounted for the export of Azerbaijani products to Afghanistan.
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