Ilham Aliyev attended the 5th Summit of Heads of State of Caspian littoral states

12 August 2018, 14:40
Ilham Aliyev attended the 5th Summit of Heads of State of Caspian littoral states

The Kazakh city of Aktau has hosted the 5th Summit of the Heads of State of the Caspian littoral states.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the Summit.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

The heads of state held an expanded meeting.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the Summit and highlighted the importance of the documents to be signed at the event.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the Summit.

Speech of President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Nursultan Abishevich,

Dear heads of state,

Dear participants of the Summit!

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev for the hospitality and for the high level of organization of the Fifth Caspian Summit.

Azerbaijan’s friendly and good-neighborly relations with Caspian littoral countries are developing successfully. The bilateral and multilateral cooperation among our countries is an important factor of stability and security in the Caspian Sea.

Azerbaijan has taken an active part in creating a legal framework for cooperation among Caspian littoral countries. The Third Summit of the Heads of State of Caspian Littoral Countries held in Baku in 2010 made an important contribution to the strengthening of close cooperation among our countries. The "Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Security in the Caspian Sea" was signed during that Summit. It is of great importance from the point of view of security and maintaining stability in the region. For the first time at such a high level, it envisaged conceptual agreement on sovereignty and fishing zones. Participants in that Summit also agreed on the basic principles of cooperation among littoral states in the Caspian Sea. These principles include respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states, the transformation of the Caspian into a place of peace, good-neighborliness and friendship. It should be noted that these principles are also reflected in the "Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea" to be signed today. As a fundamental regulatory document, the Convention defines the overall legal regime of the Caspian Sea.

The determination of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will help the parties to complete the division of its seabed and surface in accordance with the principles and norms of international law. In this context, I would like to emphasize the great importance of the agreements signed among Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Along with this, Azerbaijan has actively participated in coordinating the "Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea" and its protocols, as well as the "Agreement on the Conservation and Rational Use of Aquatic Bioresources of the Caspian Sea". We highly appreciate the signing in Moscow on 20 July of this year of the Protocol on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, which represents an important result of the five-way cooperation in this direction. The improvement of the environmental state of the Caspian Sea, the preservation and increase of its biological resources are a priority issue for our country. In recent years, important measures have been taken in Azerbaijan to improve the ecological state of the Caspian. In order to protect the Caspian Sea from pollution, large-scale projects are being implemented to upgrade the existing water treatment plants and build new ones.

The oil and gas projects Azerbaijan has implemented in the years of its independence meet the highest international environmental standards. The State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) has established and certified a management system for oil and gas operations which meets the requirements of the International Standardization Organization (ISO). The projects being implemented in this direction have twice received the highest awards of the World Bank's Expert Council. In 2015, a state-of-the-art Waste Management Center fitted the most sophisticated equipment was set up for all the companies operating oil and gas operations in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan ranks first among 10 main countries exporting oil to the European Union in terms of the low levels of associated gas emissions during oil production.

Azerbaijan is paying great attention to the development of infrastructure. According to the estimates of the Davos World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan is in 26th place in the world for the level of its infrastructure development and in 35th on the competitiveness index.

The multibillion investments in the transport sector have turned Azerbaijan into one of the important transport and logistical centers of Eurasia. Azerbaijan plays an important transit role for Caspian littoral countries, and this role is growing by the year. In October 2017, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was opened in a ceremony in Baku. This project links the railways of Asia and Europe. Last year, a total of 191 containers were transported along this route, and about 1,400 containers in the first six months of this year alone. By the end of the year, there are plans to transport a total of about 4,000 containers. We expect a multiple increase in freight traffic along this route in the coming years.

Azerbaijan also plays an important role in creating and developing the North-South international transport corridor. We attach great importance to this project. All work related to its implementation on the territory of Azerbaijan has been completed.

Last year, 1,700 tons were transported through the territory of Azerbaijan along the North-South route, and 175,000 tons of cargo in seven months of this year alone. This is an increase in the volume of cargo transportation of more than 100 times compared to last year.

Azerbaijan has a fleet of more than 260 vessels in the Caspian Sea. Some of these vessels play a key role in ensuring the smooth transit of goods.

In 2013, a shipbuilding plant meeting the most modern technological standards was commissioned in Azerbaijan. This plant can produce all types of vessels, including cargo ships, tankers, warships, ships used in oil and gas operations. So far, dozens of vessels have been built and put into operation, and about 100 more have been repaired. The vessel “Khankendi”, commissioned in 2017 and worth about 400 million US dollars, is one of the world’s 10 such vessels built in accordance with the highest international standards. I believe that Caspian littoral countries can take advantage of the capabilities of this plant.

The construction of the international trade seaport of Alat was completed in Azerbaijan in May of this year. The cargo handling capacity of this port is 15 million tons. In the case of an increase in the volume of transit cargo, the port's capacity can be raised to 25 million tons in a short time. The construction of the port of Alat is yet another contribution of Azerbaijan to the development of transport and logistical infrastructure in the Caspian.

Azerbaijan plays an active role in strengthening cooperation between the border and customs services of Caspian littoral countries. We work actively and efficiently to fight smuggling, drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

The Border Service of our country closely cooperates with relevant structures of Caspian littoral countries in bilateral and multilateral formats. Joint measures are being taken to prevent and suppress illegal activities at sea.

Azerbaijan is making a significant contribution to the strengthening of regional stability and security. The major threat to regional security is posed by the occupation policy pursued by Armenia against Azerbaijan. As a result of Armenia's aggression, about 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory has been occupied, more than a million of our compatriots have become refugees and internally displaced persons. Armenia has carried out ethnic cleansing against our people. Many leading international organizations have adopted decisions and resolutions in connection with the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. These documents require a settlement of the conflict on the basis of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. More than 20 years ago, the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions in connection with the conflict, requiring an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied lands. These resolutions have not lost their force. However, Armenia does not fulfill them and flagrantly violates the norms and principles of international law. Armenia is trying to pursue a policy of illegal settlement on the occupied territories. Armenia has destroyed numerous historical, architectural and religious monuments of the Azerbaijani people on the occupied territories. Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other occupied districts around it are ancestral Azerbaijani lands, and the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan which is recognized by all countries of the world.

In conclusion, I would like to express my confidence that the decisions adopted by this Summit will contribute to the further development of cooperation among Caspian littoral countries and the strengthening of security and stability in the Caspian region.