President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has held an expanded meeting with President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The presidents addressed the meeting.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
– Dear Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich, let me warmly welcome you again and say “You are welcome!”
We have already had a very detailed conversation on the broad agenda of our bilateral relations and international affairs. And we have established that the positions of our countries overlap on all issues. Of course, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and paying an official visit to our country. I am sure that this visit will be of great importance for the future development of our relations.
First of all, I would like to thank you once again for awarding me with the highest order of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Altyn Kyran” at the meeting of our delegations. It is a great honor for me to receive this high award, and I view it as a sign of high appreciation for the work Azerbaijan has done to strengthen our relations, as well as the friendship and brotherhood of our peoples.
A presentation of Kazakhstan’s gift to Azerbaijan – the Center for the Development of Children’s Creativity to be built in the territories liberated from occupation – has just been held, and this is yet another manifestation of the brotherly attitude towards our people, as well as a contribution to the reconstruction of Karabakh we are all currently engaged in.
As for the bilateral agenda, it is quite broad. In the lead-up to your visit, relevant agencies worked thoroughly on many issues. We are about to sign more than 20 documents. Some of them will be signed with our participation and will significantly help to strengthen mutual activity.
With regard to the foreign policy agenda, we cooperate extensively on a wide range of issues in leading international organizations we are members of. We always support each other, and I am sure that this will continue to be the case in the future. The number of international organizations with which we cooperate is quite large, and representatives of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan closely interact in all of them.
Of course, there are great plans for the development of transport and logistical infrastructure. Timely measures have been taken both in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to create this infrastructure. Now there is talk about linking the cargo flow between our countries and increasing its volume, thereby increasing the transit potential of our countries. Relevant bodies have been actively cooperating in this direction for some time now. In my opinion, the Middle Corridor has great prospects and, of course, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have a very important role in the implementation of this project.
I am sure that we will promote the development of economic and commercial relations. There are still great reserves for increasing the turnover of goods. We have also exchanged views on some directions of future economic and commercial cooperation, and we can specify it in terms of increasing mutual supplies. There are also great prospects in the field of investment. Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have a very positive investment environment and a large volume of foreign investments. I think that the time has come for us to join our efforts in this direction and participate in joint investment projects in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and possibly in other countries as well.
Today’s gift of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan – the Center for the Development of Children’s Creativity – is yet another component of humanitarian cooperation between our countries. This cooperation is developing successfully. Two days ago, one of the central streets of Sumgayit was named after the outstanding son of the Kazakh people, educator and Turkologist Akhmet Baitursynov. This is one of the signs of respect for our ancestors.
I sincerely welcome you again. Thank you very much again for taking the time to visit us. I am sure that our relations will continue to develop successfully in the future – the relations between two brotherly countries will develop successfully. Welcome again!
Speech by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
– Thank you, dear Ilham Heydar oglu.
Dear colleagues, first of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation to visit beautiful and unique Baku – we have enjoyed the spectacular sights of the Caspian Sea – and for the hospitality extended to us.
I am completely satisfied with the meeting in a limited format. At that meeting, we exchanged views on almost all issues of mutual activity of our states in various fields of cooperation. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are countries that are close to each other, we are strategic partners and allies. It is gratifying that the Declaration on the deepening of strategic partnership and allied relations between our countries will be signed today.
I have come to Baku with a special mission – the mission to raise our cooperation to a new level. It is gratifying that the volume of trade has practically tripled in recent years. But I would like to note that this is no cause for complacency because, in my opinion, there are still untapped opportunities for increasing trade. I believe that the governments of our countries should work in this direction so that we can increase the volume of trade between our countries to one billion dollars in the near future.
You have rightly noted that Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are effectively interacting with each other in the key international arenas – first of all, in the United Nations, the OSCE and the Organization of Turkic States. In this regard, there are no problems between our countries. It is also gratifying that the parliaments of our countries cooperate closely with each other. This is very important in modern conditions.
I also fully agree with you that humanitarian cooperation is highly important. There are great opportunities there. In my opinion, next year, based on the agreement between the governments of our countries, as it was said before, we can hold the Ten Days of Azerbaijani Culture in Kazakhstan. There is still a great interest in your culture. I think that our people have been missing Azerbaijani culture, so we would be delighted to welcome prominent representatives of Azerbaijani culture to our country.
I would like to highlight the fact that under your strong and influential leadership, Azerbaijan is achieving impressive results in terms of socioeconomic development. I have carefully reviewed the statistics and it has impressed me a lot. The economy is growing with confidence. As far as I understand, the gross domestic product increased by about 7.5 percent to $23.5 billion in the first quarter of this year. In other words, Azerbaijan’s economic development prospects are very good. Of course, here is your historic merit as the national leader of the Azerbaijani people.
As I have just said, you are held in high esteem in Kazakhstan. People recognize, support and sincerely respect you. In this regard, I considered it necessary to present the order to you on behalf of all our people today. It was under your strong and influential leadership that the historically important task of restoring the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been accomplished. As you know, Kazakhstan has always supported the principle of territorial integrity of states in relation to Azerbaijan. I believe that this fair principle is completely relevant to modern international law. This is why there are same positions, same approaches and common views here. I believe that this will be a good basis for the development of our cooperation in the future.
As for the conclusions or results of this cooperation, I have no doubt that they will be positive. In the 1990s, there were problems between our states. I remember that period and you certainly remember it too. From today’s perspective, those problems were very minor and small, but they were there. I remember discussing the problems of a $8 million debt. There was such a problem. It is no coincidence that we are describing our cooperation as being of strategic nature today. These words are not meant to create a visibility – cooperation does have such a nature in terms of its volume.
Of course, Azerbaijan is of special interest to Kazakhstan in terms of the development of transport corridors. It is beyond doubt that Azerbaijan has an advantage here. Of course, I think that Kazakhstan as a state – we are actually neighbors located on the shores of the Caspian Sea – has very good prospects here. I am guiding the government and relevant departments to maintain close interaction and work together with your representatives in terms of the development of transport and logistical relations.
Thank you again.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.