No:182/19, Joint Press Conference of Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Ekaterina Zakharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria

June 24, 2019

Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov:

Dear media representatives,

Ladies and gentleman,

Let me, first of all, greet you all at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As you know, Mrs. Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria is on an official visit to our country today.

I would like to note that an agreement on strategic partnership was signed between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria in 2015. It was indeed in this context that we discussed today the issues of political, economic and trade cooperation between the two countries both in our face-to-face meeting, as well as the meeting with participation of delegations.

As it is known, part of the Southern Gas Corridor will pass through Bulgaria. In this context, it should be noted that Bulgaria will be supplied with 1 billion cubic meters of gas based on the agreement signed between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Bulgarian Gas Company.

At the same time, we exchanged views on transport, and in this respect, on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad and other strategic projects as part of the strategic partnership. Furthermore, we discussed the development of mutual cooperation in the tourism sector. As you know, Buta Airways has already made its first flight to Bulgaria, which can be regarded as one of the steps aimed at developing relations in the field of tourism.

I would also like to note that I informed Mrs. Zaharieva on the current state of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the context of the conflict, I thanked Minister Zaharieva for Bulgaria's unambiguous position on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

In the end, I would like to emphasize that the first meeting of the Strategic Dialogue was held in Sofia last year with the chairmanship of foreign ministers to discuss the bilateral relations set out in the Joint Declaration, and we consider that intensive continuation of this dialogue is crucial in terms of deepening our relations.

Thank you.

Q&A session:

Malahat Najafova - APA Information Agency

  • Mr. Minister, you had a meeting with your Armenian counterpart in Washington last week.  We would like to know what has been the exact outcome of this meeting? As it is said in the statement of the OSCE co-chairs, there is a preliminary agreement for the next meeting. Can this meeting, that is, an informal meeting of foreign ministers take place in Slovakia on July 9th?

Let me state that we had more than 3 hours discussions in Washington. As a result of this meeting, the co-chairs officially presented us the documents for discussions. As a preliminary step, withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is considered in these documents. In general, I would like to advise you to read a statement issued by the co-chairs on March 9th if you are interested in the issues discussed in the documents. There are certain issues in these documents that, of course, may not satisfy us. As such, we have come to an agreement to hold a next meeting in upcoming months on the basis of the proposal of the co-chairs to hold these discussions again.

As it was mentioned in the statement issued by the co-chairs, there were also calls in Washington to reduce tensions on the contact line in order to continue negotiations. Nevertheless, I think that the issue should not anyhow affect the continuation of discussions since there had been tensions in the line of contact during substantial talks held in Madrid and Kazan etc. in different years.

Tapdıg Farhadoglu, Voice of America

  • Mr. Minister, negotiations are underway, Madrid principles, updated Madrid principles, Kazan principles and so on. What is the result?

As I stated numerously, the result should be the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. In this regard, let me stress that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders are supported by the countries in the world, as well as the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council and other organizations confirm this support. The questions are asked whether the settlement should be based on package or step-by-step solution, and of course it is obvious that it is a process to be realized step-by-step.

  • But when the occupying forces will withdraw?

Of course, it is hard to predict the exact time. I should particularly state that the Armenian side raises the issues of security and status during the negotiations. The co-chairs should present concrete proposals on the issues of status, also the deployment of peacekeeping forces. The co-chairs themselves admit that the work should be conducted on these issues.

Thank you.

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