Elmar Mammadyarov: Ladies and gentlemen! As you may know, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Edgars Rinkevics is on an official visit to Azerbaijan. Yesterday Mr. Minister was received by H.E Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Numbers of issues of common interest were discussed at the meeting.
As you probably know, Azerbaijan and Latvia enjoy mutually strategic relations. In this regard, Latvia is close and crucial partner of Azerbaijan. In our opinion, number of high level visits will be realized within the year.
As Latvia is a member state of the European Union, we exchanged views on mutual relations between Azerbaijan and the EU, as well as Eastern Partnership. It is known that last Monday Mr. President within the visit to Brussels met with high officials of the European Union and discussed wide range of issues. Documents of strategic character with the European Union are already being considered. Azerbaijan has strategic partnership agreements with 9 members of European Union. Those documents will serve to deepening the relationship between Azerbaijan and the European Union. As you may know strategic partnership on energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union has already been signed. Southern Gas Corridor is a crucial element in diversifying delivery of natural gas to the European markets.
Furthermore, we discussed transport projects with my counterpart. Zubr railway project considers connecting Baltic, Black and Caspian seas. The project, starting from the East to Europe, has great potentials. We agreed on preparation of strategy on the project. Of course, regular contacts and meetings of expertise are important on this matter.
We also talked about Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. I thank to Latvian side for the support based on the norms and principles of international law. That position has also been raised by the President Tusk in Brussels. European Union and member states expressed full support to territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Azerbaijan. Taking into account threats Azerbaijan faces nowadays, that support is crucially important for us.
Ilkin Shafiyev, CBC channel: My questions are addressed to both Ministers. What areas of bilateral economic-trade relations do open opportunities for cooperation? Second question, I would like to have your opinions on connecting Zubr project to North-South.
Elmar Mammadyarov: Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Latvia unfortunately haven’t met our expectations. We agreed on holding consultations on the eve of upcoming visits. For the first stage, we are planning to have consultations in the level of Ministries of Foreign Affairs for the assessment of economic-trade relations, as well as legal-treaty base between Azerbaijan and Latvia. I would point out agriculture sector as a field of cooperation with great potential with Latvia. Latvia is well known for the development of agriculture sector. Development of agriculture sector is priority and Azerbaijan makes investments on agriculture sector.
Agreement on avoidance of double taxation and investment protection was already signed between Azerbaijan and Latvia. In this regard, holding of mutual business forums would be beneficially important.
Zubr is a project with interesting elements. Politically, the project would connect Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas and bring closer three different regions. It wouldn’t be correct to limit the project with North-South project. Our task is to engage related structures and institutions and to establish commercially beneficial atmosphere.
Full video of the joint press conference can be obtained from the following link