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Tuesday May 21 2024

Azerbaijan, Italy explore multidimensional strategic partnership

10 April 2024 08:30 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan, Italy explore multidimensional strategic partnership
Qabil Ashirov
Qabil Ashirov
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With roots dating back over a century, the relationship between Azerbaijan and Italy has stood the test of time and evolved into a multidimensional strategic partnership. Even during the People's Republic era, Italy played a crucial role, holding the mandate for Azerbaijan. Following Azerbaijan's regaining state independence, the economic and political ties between the two nations continued to improve.

A significant milestone in this enduring partnership was marked on February 20, 2020, when President Ilham Aliyev visited Italy, underscoring the high level of relations between the two countries. During this visit, the Joint Declaration on Strengthening the Multidimensional Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Italy was signed in Rome. This declaration paved the way for enhanced cooperation not only in the oil and gas sector but also across various facets of the economy, encouraging Italian investments in Azerbaijan's industry, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, transport logistics, and more.

Delegations of Foreign Ministries discuss strategic partnership

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic have held another round of political consultations in Rome, Italy.

The delegations were led by Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fariz Rzayev, and Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Edmondo Cirielli.

During the meeting, the sides explored multidimensional strategic partnership between the two countries based on traditional friendship and mutual trust and its strengthening, as well as the possibilities of solidifying relations in the political, trade-economic, energy, defence and security, transport, logistics, and humanitarian domains.

Both parties emphasized the importance of continuing high-level reciprocal visits, as well as holding the Strategic Dialogue and the next meetings of the Intergovernmental Commission for reinforcing the partnership.

The discussions also revolved around mutual interest on international and regional agenda, as well as expanding cooperation in multilateral formats.

The Italian delegation was briefed on the preparations for COP29, slated to take place in Azerbaijan this November, and the associated tasks. Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister provided an overview of the regional landscape, highlighting Azerbaijan's endeavors toward fostering lasting peace in the region, addressing the challenges posed by landmines and the ongoing restoration and reconstruction projects in the liberated territories. Discussions also focused on potential areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy in addressing these issues.

The parties underscored the importance of cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges between the two nations, particularly those within the framework of the Italy-Azerbaijan University in Baku.

During the visit, Fariz Rzayev also met with other Italian officials, and delivered a speech at the events arranged at prestigious think tanks in Rome.

Italy, Azerbaijan economic partnership

Italy currently stands as one of Azerbaijan's main trade partners, with a mutual trade turnover exceeding 15 billion US dollars. It has been a partner since 2020, and last year, according to the statistics of the State Customs Committee, products worth 15 billion 208 million dollars were exported from Azerbaijan to Italy. Besides, products worth $477 mln and 903 thousand were imported from Italy to Azerbaijan.

While the oil and gas sector has traditionally dominated economic relations, recent years have witnessed a diversification of cooperation into the non-oil sector. A total of 114 Italian companies operate in various sectors in Azerbaijan, including industry, construction, trade, agriculture, communication, and services.

Oil and gas firms, as well as non-oil companies, are active players in the Italian market. They are contractors on 277 projects totaling 9.9 billion dollars in the oil and gas industry, while they are involved in 37 projects totaling 708 million dollars in the non-oil industry.

Italy's large share in Azerbaijan's energy

Italy's position in Azerbaijan's energy environment is particularly significant concerning the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project. At the border between Greece and Turkey, TAP joins TANAP directly to transmit natural gas to southern Italy via the Adriatic Sea, Greece, and Albania. About 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas were delivered to Italy via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in 2023. Additionally, the consortium stated that TAP will be able to supply an additional 1.2 billion cubic metres of gas annually starting in 2026.

Natural gas from the massive Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea's Azerbaijani region is transported to Europe by TAP. The 878 km pipeline spans the Adriatic Sea, Greece, Albania, and Southern Italy before connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border near Kipoi.

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