FM: Azerbaijan ready to meet halfway if Armenia sticks to peace process [PHOTO]
By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan is ready to meet halfway if Armenia is seriously involved in the peace process, Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has said.
He made the remarks at a joint press conference with Italy's Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Luigi Di Maio in Baku.
"In recent days, we have been hearing positive messages from Armenia in this direction. I hope this is indeed a display of a serious approach. Azerbaijan has openly expressed its position. If Armenia is really serious about this process, then Azerbaijan is ready to meet halfway and take concrete steps," he added.
The minister stressed that Italy will provide additional support to Azerbaijan in de-mining liberated territories.
"During the meeting, we addressed the issues of mine safety and the mine-clearing process. My Italian colleague noted that their companies would take additional steps in this regard. They will help relevant Azerbaijani agencies in de-mining," Bayramov said.
The Azerbaijani minister informed his counterpart about the need to create a working group on the delimitation and demarcation of the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the proposals made to Armenia for a peace agreement, and the main basic principles of this agreement, presented by Azerbaijan in February.
Bayramov briefed Luigi Di Maio about Azerbaijan's proposals to Armenia to open communications in the region.
He underlined that Italy has been the first partner country of Azerbaijan to take part in the restoration of the territories liberated from Armenian occupation in the 2020 second Karabakh war.
The minister made the remarks at the "Azerbaijan - Italy: Path to multifaceted strategic partnership" conference at ADA University.
The minister stressed that Azerbaijan hopes for Italy's participation in the development of joint projects on renewable energy sources.
"Azerbaijan is paying great attention to the development of renewable energy sources. We hope that Italian companies will take part in the development of joint projects in this area," Bayramov said.
Speaking about bilateral economic ties, the minister noted the importance of the energy sector.
"There is high-level cooperation between the two countries in the oil and gas sector. The commissioning of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) allowed us to supply Azerbaijani gas to Italy," Bayramov stated.
Azerbaijan is currently one of the key partners of Italy, Luigi Di Maio said at the joint press conference.
According to Di Maio, it’s necessary to diversify energy resources, and Italy has plans for energy security.
In his remarks at the "Azerbaijan - Italy: Path to multifaceted strategic partnership" conference at the ADA University, the Italian minister described Azerbaijan as his country's important energy partner.
According to him, gas cooperation has become a very important part of relations between Azerbaijan and Italy.
He emphasized that Azerbaijan and Italy cooperate at a high level not only in the energy sector but also in other sectors of the economy.
According to him, relations between the countries are developing in various fields, both in education and humanitarian and trade spheres.
The minister added that Azerbaijan and Italy have also strengthened their partnership in the energy sector thanks to the launch of the TAP project.
“Azerbaijan and Italy have traditionally friendly relations. These friendly relations are built on a very solid foundation,” Bayramov earlier told the joint press conference after his meeting with the Italian counterpart.
He said that Azerbaijani-Italian relations have successfully developed over the past 30 years and reached the level of strategic cooperation and partnership.
“High-level visits between the two countries have played an important role in developing ties between the two countries,” the minister added.
Bayramov underlined the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with the Italian Republic.
The joint statement on strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's visit to Italy in February 2020 is of particular importance, he said.
The minister noted that Azerbaijan-Italy relations reached the level of strategic cooperation and partnership.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy reached $10 billion, Bayramov said.
It is scheduled to open an Azerbaijani cultural center in Italy, the minister added.
Bayramov noted the high-level cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan established in the field of culture.
Of particular note is the work carried out by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in this area, the minister stressed.
"Italian companies have extensive experience in the restoration of cultural monuments, and cooperation in this direction has been discussed," Bayramov said.
The minister said that Italy and Azerbaijan provided friendly support to each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that Azerbaijan provided assistance to Italian hospitals during high-level coronavirus infection in the country.
"When there was a high spread of COVID-19 in Azerbaijan, specialists from Italy came to our country to help us," Bayramov said.
New cooperation accords
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio signed a protocol on the first Strategic Dialogue.
The first meeting of the Azerbaijan-Italy Strategic Dialogue was held in Baku.
Moreover, the parties signed a document on the establishment of the university and later laid the foundation of the building of Italian-Azerbaijani University.
Jeyhun Bayramov, Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov, Education Minister Emin Amrullayev and Di Maio took part in the groundbreaking ceremony.
Di Maio said that thanks to the creation of the Italian-Azerbaijani University, relations between the countries will reach a new level.
"Today's ceremony is another confirmation of strong ties between Azerbaijan and Italy," he emphasized.
The Italian minister added that it’s important to strengthen the academic partnership between the two countries.