Azerbaijani President, Chair of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina make press statements [UPDATE]
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Chairwoman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željka Cvijanović have made press statements in Sarajevo.
The Chairwoman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina made the statement first.
Statement by Željka Cvijanović
- Thank you, everyone.
I would like to welcome our esteemed guest, Mr. President Ilham Aliyev. I was in Baku a little more than a month ago. I was received with warm and friendly hospitality by a friend such as Mr. Ilham Aliyev. There I invited Mr. President here. A short time later, Mr. President is visiting us, thus proving that he is a friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We have decided to open a new page of our cooperation today and start interacting more effectively. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to President Aliyev and his country for the help provided during the flood that occurred in our country in 2014. Our people were faced with major difficulties, and Azerbaijan stood by us then. Later Azerbaijan helped us during the coronavirus pandemic. During all this time, Azerbaijan implemented important and necessary infrastructure projects in several of our cities. A medical center was established in Banja Luka, a friendship park was built in Sarajevo. At the same time, a medical institution was established in Sarajevo. Azerbaijan has always been by our side whenever there were difficulties in our country. By signing the Declaration today we have become strategic partners. This Declaration will allow us the opportunity to have a closer political dialogue and, at the same time, establish a more efficient economic cooperation. Thanks to this, we, the business circles and government institutions will see both economic benefits and, at the same time, cooperation in the field of security.
We are very glad that Azerbaijan has already opened its embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I can happily note that we have also decided to open our country's embassy in Baku. We will implement that idea, and I want to inform Mr. President that all three of us unanimously decided that it is important to open an embassy in Baku. We have already given our instructions in this regard to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I am sure that we will see the results as soon as our embassy opens.
I should note that Azerbaijan has done a lot of work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we are now starting specific cooperation. We had a meeting with the Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan and the delegation yesterday. Meetings have been held in our Council of Ministers and with business circles in order to determine which direction we can continue our cooperation in. We have considered opportunities in transport, energy, tourism and other fields. I think this is a good opportunity for us to instruct our ministries in this regard to prepare a list of specific projects, what our interests are and where investment is required. We will give our instructions on all these issues.
Azerbaijan is a very important country for us. Today we declare that we are friendly countries to each other. We support each other in the international arena. At the same time, our bilateral relations will rise to a higher level. I am very glad that we are seeing progress in this matter as well.
Mr. President, it is a great honor for me to welcome you here. Thank you for accepting my invitation. I am glad that we got this opportunity today. We express our determination that we will continue our cooperation.
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Then, the President of Azerbaijan made the statement.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Honorable Madam Chairman, Honorable Mr. Komšić, Honorable Mr. Bećirović.
Dear ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, Madam Chairman, I would like to thank you for your hospitality. I am very happy to be visiting your beautiful country. As you mentioned, we met in Baku a month and a half ago. You invited me to your country and I accepted this invitation with great pleasure. So here I am in your country today.
Today, during a broad exchange of views, we have reached a unified position regarding the future development of Bosnia and Herzegovina-Azerbaijan relations. In other words, these relations will develop on an ascending trend from now on.
The history of our relations is also excellent. Consultations and contacts, especially at the political level, have raised our relations to a high level. We have supported each other in all issues within international organizations, and this support is felt even today. The position of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of Azerbaijan's borders was very important to us, especially during the occupation.
I would like to mention one issue in particular. Two and a half years ago, when Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity in the Second Karabakh War, Bosnia and Herzegovina firmly supported Azerbaijan and our rightful cause. This is a position of friendship and brotherhood, for which we are grateful to you.
Azerbaijan, in its turn, has unequivocally supported the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina in all issues, including territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders.
Today, a new page of our relations begins. As I mentioned earlier, the negotiations conducted within the framework of the official visit open up ample opportunities. In particular, the Declaration on the strategic partnership signed today shows the directions of our future development.
We will regularly hold political and diplomatic consultations. At the same time, work in the economic field will be carried out in a more focused manner. A decision was made on a joint commission, i.e. the Joint Economic Commission. During today's negotiations, we also agreed to set up a working group on specific projects, and steps in this direction will be taken in a short period of time.
Strategic partnership is a special relationship. This places a great responsibility on both countries. We are ready for this responsibility. I am sure that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan will continue to work together as strategic partners in the true sense of the word.
Regarding other areas of cooperation, I can say that the issue of increasing trade turnover is on the agenda. We have asked that specific investment projects be presented to us. We will look at these projects, analyze them and give our answer in a short time. We are also interested in investing in your country.
At the same time, there are very extensive opportunities in the field of energy. The length of the Southern Gas Corridor initiated by Azerbaijan is 3,500 kilometers. For a little more than two years, this pipeline has been transporting our natural gas to Europe. This pipeline passes by the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It would be good if we start cooperating in the field of natural gas. Appropriate instructions have already been given.
At the same time, joint research will be conducted of hydropower and other types of renewable energy. I am sure that it will be possible to take serious steps in this direction. Azerbaijan has invested billions of dollars in foreign countries, and, of course, we are very interested in cooperating with Bosnia and Herzegovina in this field.
In parallel with this, all directions of cooperation in the field of transport should be thoroughly investigated. Azerbaijan has implemented and completed all the necessary infrastructure projects in its territory under the Middle Corridor project. At the same time, we are investing heavily in the establishment of transport infrastructure in other countries. Therefore, I think that the transport connection between the South Caucasus and the Balkan regions could be useful for the peoples living in our regions.
During the conversation today, we also exchanged ideas on the deepening of intercultural dialogue and shared our experience. I believe that joint activity can be of great importance in this direction as well. Both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan are multi-confessional countries. Many ethnic groups live in our countries, and the co-existence of these ethnic groups in the conditions of peace, calm, friendship and brotherhood is the main precondition for stability. Here, too, there are great opportunities for an exchange of ideas, an exchange of experience, joint activities, including cooperation in the field of science and education and within non-governmental organizations.
I want to thank you again for this invitation and for your hospitality. I should also mention one point: in 1972, during the existence of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, a twinning agreement was signed between Baku and Sarajevo. Since then, Sarajevo and Baku have been considered sister cities. I am sure that after this visit our brotherhood will become even stronger. Thank you.
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