By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Mukhtar Babayev and UK Minister for European Neighbourhood Wendy Morton signed a memorandum of understanding in the sphere of environment and climate change in Baku on February 9, local news sources have reported.
Morton arrived in Baku for a two-day official visit on February 8, to attend the annual UK-Azerbaijan Strategic Dialogue Summit. The visit was aimed at strengthening the Azerbaijani-UK relationship in spheres of cooperation in green energy and tackling climate change, as well as advancing the rights of women and countering gender-based violence.
Babayev and Morton focused on reducing the impact of climate change, the correct handling of waste, including plastic, combating desertification, other issues of mutual interest and prospects for future cooperation at the meeting held at the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry.
Commenting on the signed document, Wendy Morton wrote on her official Twitter page that "the UK and Azerbaijan have agreed to deepen cooperation on climate change. The UK stands ready to support Azerbaijan in achieving ambitious zero carbon emission goals ahead of COP26 [the 26th UN Climate Change Conference]".
Speaking to reporters in Baku, Morton said that it is good to feel that the UK is contributing to modern and dynamic Azerbaijan that it is possible to see today.
"I have met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to convey the UK’s approval in connection with the transition to renewable energy and green technology projects following the COVID-19 situation and the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and to discuss bilateral cooperation,” Trend reported, quoting Morton.
“Our countries have ample opportunities to jointly fight global climate change ahead of the November summit on this problem in the UK,” she said.
“The UK is ready to support Azerbaijan in striving to achieve ambitious climate targets, including the transition to renewable energy sources and further reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030,” Morton added.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry press office reported on its website that at their meeting on February 9, Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Wendy Morton discussed the importance of cooperation in the field of gender equality, the development of green energy and tackling climate change. She stressed that the UK is ready to provide relevant assistance in demining activities in Azerbaijan.
Speaking about the current situation in the region, Bayramov briefed his interlocutor about the implementation of the trilateral statements of November 10, 2020, and January 11, 2021. It was noted that the implementation of the joint statements is important for peace, security, tranquillity and prosperity in the region, and opens new opportunities for regional cooperation. Bayramov also stated that Azerbaijan has taken all necessary steps to implement these statements. He informed Morton about the work implemented in the humanitarian sphere.
It was stressed that according to the trilateral statements, the opening of transport and communication lines in the region, as well as the construction of a new transport corridor will ensure progress and normalize relations among the regional nations.
The minister stressed that the negative rhetoric shown by some people in Armenia does not serve to normalize relations, but rather aims to deepen enmity between the two nations. Bayramov said that Azerbaijan had restored its territorial integrity within its international borders and ensured the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions. He underlined the importance of acceptance of the new reality by all. He described as illegal any visit to Azerbaijani territories without official Baku's consent and noted that appropriate measures are taken in this regard.
The two ministers discussed a number of issues on the bilateral cooperation agenda, including the strategic dialogue and various aspects of political consultations. The sides focused on the contribution of mutual visits to the development of relations, strengthening the legal framework, cooperation in energy and other spheres.
As part of her working visit to Azerbaijan on a strategic dialogue (bilateral political consultations) between the two states, Morton was earlier received by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. She also met the Azerbaijani parliament speaker, education, ecology and energy ministers, the chairman of the board of administration of the state historical and architectural reserve Icherisheher and the director of the Heydar Aliyev Centre.
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