Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s state visit to Italy is of great importance from the point of view of strengthening and developing cooperation between the two countries, Azerbaijani political analyst Arzu Naghiyev told Trend on Feb. 22.
“One of the most important components of the president’s visit was the signing of the Joint Declaration on Strengthening Multidimensional Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Italian Republic,” the analyst added.
“The signing of the document by President Aliyev and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte increases its political and economic significance,” Naghiyev added. “The document includes very important issues.”
“Firstly, the Joint Declaration envisages bringing of the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy to a qualitatively new level,” the analyst said. “The signing of such an important document by Azerbaijan with G7 member - Italy is extremely important.”
“Another important point included in the document is that the parties express support for independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty within the internationally recognized state borders of both countries,” Naghiyev said.
“Of course, the main feature of this point is related to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the analyst said.
“In accordance with the document, the unequivocal support for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict upon the fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act, in particular on the basis of the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders, as indicated in the UN and OSCE relevant documents and resolutions, as well as within the negotiation process, which is carried out under the OSCE auspices, is extremely important,” the analyst said.
“The full support for Azerbaijan’s fair position has been indicated in the document," Naghiyev added.
The analyst added that Italy’s current support for Azerbaijan as its strategic partner is an extremely important factor.
"I would even say that Italy ranks first among the European countries supporting Azerbaijan,” Naghiyev said. “The Joint Declaration includes such spheres as politics, defense, security, trade, energy, investment, transport and other issues. In accordance with the document, Italy perceives Azerbaijan as a strategic partner.”
“As is known, before this visit, the Azerbaijani president delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference,” the analyst said. “The fact that one of the most important EU countries - Italy supported President Aliyev’s words after the president once again brought to the attention of a wide audience that Armenia is an aggressor while Azerbaijan is a country subjected to aggression is of great importance."
The analyst stressed that the Joint Declaration paid special attention to the economic issues.
"Today Azerbaijan is one of the most important countries in the context of ensuring the energy security of Europe, in which Italy is a part,” Naghiyev said. “From this point of view, one can mention TAP pipeline.”
“This 878 kilometer-pipeline, which is the European part of the Southern Gas Corridor, passes through Greece and Albania, via the bottom of the Adriatic Sea and ends in southern Italy,” the analyst said. “From this point of view, the Joint Declaration is a document that will create conditions for the operation of the Southern Gas Corridor at full capacity, transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe."
The analyst added that another important issue indicated in the Joint Declaration is the issue of security.
"As is known, Italy is a NATO member and is building its armed forces in accordance with the NATO standards,” the analyst said. “In turn, Azerbaijan is a permanent participant in NATO peacekeeping operations. At the same time, the country takes an active part in the anti-terrorist operations.”
“I think that after the signing of the Joint Declaration, Italy will play an important role in providing the Azerbaijani army with the modern weapons and equipment,” the analyst said. “As a result, relevant documents are expected to be signed in this sphere."
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