President Ilham Aliyev takes part in 5th Consultative Meeting of Heads of Central Asian States [PHOTOS/VIDEO]
The 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia has been held in Dushanbe.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the meeting as the guest of honor.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon welcomed President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and other heads of state.
Then, a family photo was taken.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the event.
Then the floor was given to the President of Azerbaijan.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Emomali Sharipovich!
Esteemed heads of state!
First, I would like to express my gratitude to the President of Tajikistan, esteemed Emomali Sharipovich Rahmon, for the invitation to attend the 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia as the guest of honor. I also express my gratitude to dear colleagues for supporting Azerbaijan’s participation in this event.
This is my second visit to brotherly Tajikistan this year. My state visit in April, decisions taken during the visit and the signed documents reaffirmed the strategic nature of our relations. We are looking forward to the state visit of the President of Tajikistan to Azerbaijan. I am confident that it will further contribute to strengthening of our relations. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the friendly people of Tajikistan on the Independence Day.
Azerbaijan and the countries of Central Asia are bound by the centuries-long brotherhood ties of our peoples. Shared cultural roots are the solid foundation of interstate relations.
For over 30 years, as independent states, we actively engage both in bilateral and multilateral formats. We support each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and actively develop economic ties. With growing economy, demographics and geopolitical potential Central Asia and Azerbaijan is a single historical and cultural geographic region of strategic significance in world politics.
It is the first time that I am participating in the Consultative Meeting, and I wish to express my confidence that this format of regional cooperation will contribute to bringing our countries and peoples closer.
In the last 2 years I have paid 9 visits to the Central Asian states. During the same period, all the heads of the brotherly states made numerous visits to Azerbaijan. The active dynamics of reciprocal visits will continue until the end of the year.
The growth of mutual trade and investments is one of the key factors of the bilateral cooperation. It is gratifying that the figures in both of those directions indicate consistent growth.
Last year the trade turnover of Azerbaijan with the Central Asian countries increased more than 3 times. During 7 months of this year – for another 50 %.
Joint investment funds have been established, and with over $1 billion of investments for the coming 3 years have been agreed. We are already implementing many projects in the sphere of industrial cooperation, machine-building, automobile industry, shipbuilding and agriculture, namely cotton production, sericulture, horticulture and livestock farming. Investment projects in hotel business and tourism are at the initial stage of implementation. We see the interest of Central Asian companies in the Alat Free Economic Zone established recently in Azerbaijan.
The sphere of transportation and logistics holds an important place in our relations. For the Central Asian countries Azerbaijan is a reliable transit country along the route to the markets of Türkiye and Europe. Not of the least significance is the transit in the opposite direction. Our brothers in Central Asia know that Azerbaijan’s entire transportation and logistics infrastructure is available to them.
We are modernizing the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to meet the rising demand for cargo transportation through the East-West route. The cargo volume via that road will be increased from 1 to 5 million tons. In parallel to that, the capacity of the Baku Trade Port is also being expanded from current 15 to 25 million tons.
Azerbaijan has the largest trade fleet in the Caspian Sea with over 50 vessels. Given the growing demand of the shippers from Central Asia, we are actively working on expanding the capabilities of our shipyard. Upon the completion of investment projects, the number of manufactured tankers and dry cargo vessels will be increased from current 6 to 10-15 vessels annually.
It is necessary to ensure optimization of tariffs and simplification and streamlining of regulatory and customs procedures in order to attract larger volume of cargo. Digitalization of the East-West transportation corridor is one the key factors in providing for transparency of transit shipping and creating equal opportunities for parties involved in the transportation process.
The Digital Silk Way project on the establishment of a fiber-optic infrastructure is the new cooperation sphere between our countries that we are actively working on.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the inception of the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia – SPECA. I have sent official invitations to the esteemed heads of state and will be delighted to welcome you at the Summit in Baku this November.
I want to once again express my gratitude to all the heads of state for the invitation to today’s meeting and wish the brotherly peoples of Central Asia peace and prosperity.
Thank you for your attention.
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The initiative of holding consultative meetings of the Heads of State of Central Asia was put forward by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev in 2017. The first meeting was held in Kazakhstan, the second in Uzbekistan, the third in Turkmenistan, and the fourth in Kyrgyzstan.
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