Statement by Chancellor Olaf Scholz
- Dear ladies and gentlemen.
Let me warmly welcome the President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, to Berlin today. We have just had an excellent exchange of ideas on deepening our bilateral cooperation. Last year, we also celebrated the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between our countries. Azerbaijan and the European Union want to cooperate more closely within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program. Considering our bilateral economic relations, we discussed how exactly this is possible.
Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly important partner for Germany and the European Union. This country has great potential for energy supply to both Germany and the European Union, and Azerbaijan can contribute. At the same time, renewable energy is also a subject of our cooperation.
Mr. President Aliyev and I have also exchanged views on Russia's attack on Ukraine. We have also exchanged views on the impact of this attack and this war on Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus. I have clearly stated our position. In our opinion, Russia's war of aggression clearly violates international law. This war of aggression by Russia marks the beginning of a new era, so to speak, from a geopolitical point of view.
It is important for us that the long-term conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia should be resolved peacefully. Frankly speaking, Germany is a bit worried about the unstable situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Of course, there is a danger of tensions rising there, and the developments of the last months and weeks have made this quite evident. We wish this conflict finds a long-term and acceptable solution on the spot and in a short time. When we say a peaceful solution, we mean that the territorial integrity of both Azerbaijan and Armenia should be ensured, of course. At the same time, the human rights and freedoms of the people of both countries must be protected and aligned with international law. Of course, Germany is ready to provide support here. As you may know, there is a civilian mission of the European Union in Armenia. Germany supports this mission, and the head of this mission represents Germany.
Mr. Aliyev and I are of the same opinion that this conflict should be resolved as soon as possible. Azerbaijan and Germany are members of the Council of Europe. Through this membership, we committed ourselves to protecting people's rights, democracy and the rule of law. We believe that a vibrant civil society is an integral part of democracy because every society can only benefit from a vibrant civil society.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, I was pleased to have such a positive conversation in these difficult times. We have decided to stay in close contact with Mr. President and continue our cooperation. Please, Mr. President, the floor is yours.
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Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you, Mr. Chancellor.
Dear ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, Mr. Chancellor, I want to thank you for the invitation and hospitality. The talks we held during this visit show again that Germany-Azerbaijan relations are at a high level. There is a constant political dialogue, and I am sure my visit will significantly contribute to our bilateral relations.
As you mentioned, many issues were discussed today, including the European Union and Azerbaijan relations. Significant steps are being taken in this direction. In particular, the Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership in energy security signed between the European Union and Azerbaijan last year shows our intentions. The speedy implementation of the Memorandum and its timely execution once again shows that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for Europe.
We are increasing our gas exports to Europe. In 2021, we exported 8 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe; this year, the figure will reach nearly 12 billion cubic meters. This is half of our total exports, and we would like to expand our export geography in Europe in the coming years.
I had a meeting with about 30 German business people yesterday. During the two-hour meeting, I witnessed the enormous attention the German business community is paying to Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan's economy and opportunities. In addition, there are ample opportunities for joint development and exploitation of renewable energy, and we have exchanged views on this today. Azerbaijan has immense renewable energy potential. The wind energy potential of the Caspian Sea alone is equal to 157 gigawatts, and several contracts have already been signed. I am sure that Azerbaijan will export not only natural gas but also green energy to Europe in the future.
Overall, business opportunities are extensive. I have invited German business people to visit Azerbaijan and closely explore future business opportunities through contacts with our relevant agencies.
As Mr. Chancellor said, we have also discussed regional security issues. I stated Azerbaijan's position regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process. I want German media representatives to know that Azerbaijani lands were under Armenian occupation for nearly 30 years. As a result of this occupation and ethnic cleansing, nearly 20 percent of our lands were occupied, and a million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their native lands by Armenia and became refugees. Two and a half years ago, as a result of the Patriotic War, we restored our dignity, territorial integrity and rights on the battlefield, defeated Armenia and forced it to vacate our lands. Thus, Armenia, which did not implement four resolutions of the UN Security Council for 28 years, had to come to terms with its defeat in a matter of 44 days.
I must also state that, unfortunately, the leadership of Armenia, which used to see Karabakh as Armenia, missed its chance for peace. In 2019, the incumbent prime minister of Armenia said, “Karabakh is Armenia, full stop.” That dealt the biggest blow to the peace talks. During the 44-day Patriotic War, we proved that Karabakh is Azerbaijan, exclamation mark! We put this exclamation mark in Shusha on November 8, 2020.
Now is the time for peace. We have proposed peace to Armenia and offered a peace treaty based on five principles. I do hope that Armenia does not miss this chance and era of peace and cooperation finally begins in the South Caucasus. Thank you.