By Leman Mammadova
Relations between Azerbaijan and Arab countries have always been at a high level.
Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev met with newly appointed Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Hamad bin Abdullah bin Saud bin Khudair.
Speaking about economic relations, Mustafayev noted that relations between business circles of both countries are developing successfully. Business forums in Baku and Al-Riyadh, export missions to Saudi Arabia were organized to expand economic cooperation. The recent meeting of Azerbaijan-Saudi Arabia Joint Intergovernmental Commission held in Baku, as well as meeting between businessmen, contribute to the cooperation between the countries.
Mustafayev noted that so far, Saudi Arabian companies have invested $ 370 million in national economy and 26 Saudi Arabia companies are operating in Azerbaijan. Successful financial cooperation was carried out jointly with the Saudi Development Fund in construction of schools, channel and road, works on reconstruction of water supply and sewerage systems are underway.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) under the Ministry of Economy and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) signed a Framework Cooperation Program for enhancing bilateral investment relations. All this indicates the expansion of our economic relations.
Mustafayev said that the Azerbaijani side positively responds to the proposal of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the establishment of a joint business council, where businessmen from both countries will be represented for businessmen of both countries.
The Minister of Economy underlined that Azerbaijan highly appreciates Saudi Arabia's support for the fair position of our country in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, its support for the settlement of the conflict within the framework of international law and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia's refusal to establish diplomatic relations with occupant Armenia.
Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Azerbaijan Hamad bin Abdullah bin Saud bin Khudair expressed his satisfaction with his activity as an ambassador in Azerbaijan, stressed the potential for expanding economic cooperation and said he would make an effort for the development of relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the expansion of cooperation in various spheres, including in the fields of industry, agriculture, finance, trade and tourism.
The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. Over the past years, the bilateral economic relations have strengthened and expanded with the increased interest in investment.
Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with Saudi Arabia amounted to 30.9 million manats in 2018, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan. About 24.3 million manats accounted for the import of Saudi products in Azerbaijan.
Saudi Arabia is especially interested in investing in energy sector of Azerbaijan along with agriculture, tourism, transport.
Recently, the fifth meeting of the intergovernmental commission between Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia was held in Baku.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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