Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
-Dear Mr President.
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Dear Mr President, once again I sincerely greet you in Azerbaijan. Welcome to Azerbaijan.
I am very glad that you accepted my invitation to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan. The visit is of crucial importance, and I am sure that it will yield good results.
Today, we have had broad discussions on different aspects of Bulgaria-Azerbaijan bilateral relations both in our limited format meeting and other meetings with the participation of our delegations. We reiterated that Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are friendly and partner countries and that our partnership is of pivotal importance. Two years ago we signed the Joint Declaration on strategic partnership and indeed the name of this Declaration itself is an indicator.
Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. Our political relations are at a high level, and today`s discussions focused on cooperation in economy, transport, energy, tourism and other fields. There may be big prospects in this field. Of course, we cannot be satisfied with the volume of mutual trade. At today`s meeting instructions were given to appropriate authorities to submit concrete proposals to increase trade.
Today I have informed the President that on the eve of his visit to Azerbaijan instructions were given to AZAL, Azerbaijan Airlines, to launch direct flights from Baku to Sofia. Preparatory work is underway in this regard. I am sure that all negotiations will be successful and flights from Baku to Sofia and from Sofia to Baku will be launched soon. I consider this as an excellent result of the visit.
Of course, today we exchanged views on energy cooperation. We are strategic partners in this area too. Bulgaria is a member of the Southern Gas Corridor. Bulgaria has always been excellently represented at the Meeting of Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, which Baku has hosted for several times. The execution of the Southern Gas Corridor will bring our countries even closer to each other. This is a huge transnational project. By uniting seven countries this project envisages investment of $40 billion. Gas from Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz field will be delivered to European countries, to the countries in the region, including Bulgaria. I am confident that the Azerbaijani gas will play its role in addressing the energy security issues of Bulgaria.
Today we also exchanged views on the future plans of cooperation in the energy sector, including in the field of gas.
As the Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to the Bulgarian market in a few years, of course, very good opportunities will be opened for future cooperation.
I informed the President that Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be launched soon. This is also a historic project, and I am sure that Bulgaria will be actively involved in this project. The project will open new opportunities for all countries, including those located along the railway.
Of course, we also talked about the humanitarian cooperation. This sphere is of vital importance both to Bulgaria and Azerbaijan. People-to-people relations, and cooperation in humanitarian and educational fields, of course, will further strengthen the solid foundation of our bilateral ties.
In short, the issues I have mentioned clearly show that our cooperation is multifaceted and is very successful. The President's visit once again confirms my words.
Mr. President, once again I greet you and express my best wishes to you.