Statement by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
- Dear Ilham Heydar oglu,
Ladies and gentlemen.
I have a positive assessment of the results of the full-format talks held today, which once again confirms our intention to strengthen bilateral ties in every possible way. Ilham Heydar oglu and I have exchanged views on all aspects of our cooperation in a trusting atmosphere, so to speak, touched base on regional and international issues, and discussed directions for the further deepening of cooperation between our countries.
Thanks to our joint efforts, the relations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have become even more open and comprehensive in recent years. Political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation has been stepped up. More than six months ago, we signed the Declaration on Deepening Strategic Partnership and Expanding Allied Relations, the Comprehensive Program for the Development of Cooperation for 2022-2026, and a number of other documents. Now all these agreements are being consistently implemented. Establishing the Supreme Interstate Council, designed to strengthen bilateral relations, was an important decision. A series of new agreements signed today will give further impetus to our multifaceted partnership. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan cooperate on a mutually beneficial basis in the trade and economic spheres. We have noted with satisfaction that the turnover between our countries approached the half-billion mark last year. However, the potential of trade and economic partnership, of course, is far from being exhausted. We have agreed to take adequate measures further to expand the range of export and import goods. The coordinated activity of relevant agencies of our countries – we are talking about our Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, the trade and economic mission, the Business Council, and trading houses – will allow us to elevate economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level. In this context, the full deployment of the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the so-called Middle Corridor, is of particular importance. We are talking about the improvement of logistical services, the creation of unified transport operators, the modernization of technical and tariff conditions, the elimination of administrative barriers and the emergence of a closed logistical cycle.
The effective roadmap implementation for developing the Middle Corridor for 2022-2027 is also significant. We have agreed that it is essential to take full advantage of the growing interest in this route and involve third countries in its infrastructure development. All these measures and close cooperation with our international partners will ensure the stability and efficiency of cargo delivery in the East-West direction.
We have also paid special attention to building up cooperation in the energy sector. Today, our priority is to diversify energy supplies to world markets further. Thanks to our agreements, the first batch of Kazakh oil was shipped through Azerbaijan this year.
The next step is to increase the volume of deliveries and make them sustainable in the long term. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to the leader of Azerbaijan, the esteemed Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev, for his personal support of these critical initiatives.
Separately, we have focused on implementing breakthrough investment projects that could serve as new growth points for our economies. Opening large joint ventures is possible in the industrial, textile, agro-industrial and construction sectors. We have instructed the two countries’ governments to identify significant projects for joint launch. There is tremendous potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of agriculture. At the end of last year, the volume of bilateral trade and agricultural products tripled to $146 million. Thus, agriculture today accounts for more than a third of our total turnover. We have noted the importance of increasing the supply of agricultural products.
The strengthening of cooperation in information technology is also quite promising. Extensive work is underway to lay a fiber-optic communication line along the bottom of the Caspian Sea. Given the strategic importance of this project, we have instructed our delegations to ensure its timely launch. Azerbaijani partners have been invited to implement joint projects in digitalizing public services and use Kazakh platforms for IT startups.
There is vast potential in the area of financial cooperation. Today, the Azerbaijani delegation will visit the Astana International Financial Center, which can become a good platform for cooperation in finance and modern technologies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To strengthen our multifaceted cooperation, preserving and increasing our main wealth is essential – the fraternal relations between the two peoples. Therefore, we must contribute in every possible way to filling our cultural and humanitarian agenda with quality content. This year’s signature event will be the Days of Culture of Kazakhstan in Azerbaijan. We have agreed to organize Days of Azerbaijan Culture in our country. Separately, I would like to note that a number of commemorative events will be dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the national leader and outstanding statesman of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyevich Aliyev, in Kazakhstan this year. It is pretty symbolic that today's opening of a street named after this glorious son of the Azerbaijani people in the center of Astana will give a start to these activities. Also, the “Kazakhstan” TV channel has prepared a unique documentary about Heydar Aliyev, which will be televised on the national television of our country today. All these events are a vivid example of the eternal friendship between our peoples, a tribute to the outstanding statesman who has made a historic contribution to the development of Kazakh-Azerbaijani relations. Contacts between the two countries’ youth also facilitate the deepening of our humanitarian ties. We welcome the parties’ steps to develop youth policy and education cooperation. Relevant ministries have been instructed to contribute as much as possible to academic mobility, organizing joint educational and scientific projects.
A significant contribution to the further proximity between our fraternal peoples can be made by interaction in the media and exchanging content. A corresponding agreement was signed today. Therefore, we have underlined the importance of implementing agreements on broadcasting Kazakh TV channels in the networks of Azerbaijani cable operators, as well as the distribution of animated films.
An exchange of views has taken place today on topical issues of the international agenda. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan fruitfully interact within the framework of various multilateral platforms and adhere to similar positions on many topical, international and regional issues. In this respect, I would like to note that Kazakhstan traditionally stands for the diplomatic settlement of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and also welcomes the efforts to conclude a peace treaty as soon as possible. We generally have a common understanding of the need to continue mutual support and take joint action to strengthen regional stability and security.
As you can see, the scope of the issues discussed was quite extensive. Once again, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the President of Azerbaijan for his visit. This visit is essential for successfully continuing the development of relations and cooperation between our countries. For Kazakhstan, cooperation with Azerbaijan has been and will be a priority. We will do everything possible to fill this cooperation with factual content and specific agreements. Thank you for your attention.
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Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
-Dear Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich,
First, I would like to thank the President of Kazakhstan for his hospitality and invitation. I feel entirely at home in Kazakhstan, and I come here quite often. First, I would like to congratulate the President of Kazakhstan on the successful implementation of reforms covering all spheres of life. I wish you continued success in the development of the brotherly country.
I would also like to express my gratitude on my behalf and behalf of the entire Azerbaijani people for honoring the memory of the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev. As President Tokayev has mentioned, today we will jointly open a street named after Heydar Aliyev in the center of Astana. We view this as a sign of respect, friendship and brotherhood for our Great Leader and the Azerbaijani people's memory.
I would also like to express my gratitude for the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan to establish a Children's Creative Center named after Kurmangazy, the prominent son of the Kazakh people, in the liberated city of Fuzuli. The construction of this center has already started. This is Kazakhstan's gift to Azerbaijan, and the people of Azerbaijan will never forget it, especially now that we have to restore more than 10,000 square kilometers of territory practically from scratch after 30 years of occupation.
As Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich has said, we discussed in detail the broad agenda of our relations. The President of Kazakhstan spoke extensively about the topics we discussed during today’s discussions. I don't want to repeat anything and wish to comment on a few points. We are truly determined to deepen and expand the multifaceted cooperation between our countries.
In August of last year, during the official visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, the Declaration on the Deepening of Mutual Alliance Relations and Strategic Partnership was signed in Baku. Today's Declaration also aims to strengthen our relations and alliance. The very names of these declarations indicate the nature of our relations. This is a relationship between allies. Of course, the basis of this is made up of the centuries-old mutual relations, friendship and cooperation between the brotherly peoples of our countries. This is the basis of our interactions today. Brotherly relations with Kazakhstan are both an instruction from our ancestors and a vital necessity. Because the processes taking place in the Caspian region, Central Asia and the South Caucasus require us to strengthen cooperation in all directions, starting with issues related to regional security to those related to transport, logistics, energy, humanitarian cooperation, and ecology. Unfortunately, we are observing the sea's rapid shallowing on the Caspian Sea's shores, which belongs to you and us.
Thus, the alliance relations between our countries are a solid foundation for the future development of our mutual activity. Today, we are enriching this foundation with specific content. The decisions made in Baku in August of last year are already being implemented today, including, as noted by President Tokayev, the decisions on starting the transit of Kazakh oil through Azerbaijan, launching serious work on connecting the transport and logistical infrastructure of our countries to utilize the opportunities of the Middle Corridor fully.
Today, we discussed specific figures and a schedule for increasing cargo transportation along the East-West route. We gave tasks to the heads of relevant agencies to study all these issues in the near future.
We have also extensively discussed issues related to industrial cooperation, expansion of the range of export-import operations, and placing orders to realize the export-import potential in the future. Of course, we need to complement each other's infrastructure and industrial potential through the goods we can supply, thus increasing the turnover of goods. Today, figures were announced to increase our medium-term commodity turnover to a billion dollars. I think it is quite realistic, especially within the framework of our agreements. In my opinion, we will reach this level in a relatively short period. The critical thing is a very positive mood and a desire to strengthen cooperation.
I would also like to note that we are actively interacting within the framework of international organizations. We continually support and will continue to support each other on all issues and support each other in organizations one of our countries is a member of. This demonstrates the cordial nature of our relationship over many years.
I would like to thank President Tokayev for Kazakhstan's position on normalizing relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. I have informed my colleague about the current status of the negotiation process. We are determined to normalize these relations, and after the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan proposed to start working on a peace treaty. This work has practically started, but it is not going as smoothly as we would like. But there is no alternative to it. Despite the 30-year occupation and the deprivations suffered by the Azerbaijani people, and the ruins we must restore now, the relations between neighbors should be normal. However, we look to the future and believe it is possible to reach a peace agreement based on sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, the UN Charter, and all the fundamental norms and principles of international law. And this will help us turn the page of perennial enmity.
Of course, Kazakhstan's principled position aimed at establishing peace in our region deserves great respect. I want to highlight Kazakhstan's international reputation and measured and principled position on the most critical global issues. We have already exchanged views on issues related to international security, and we will continue discussions on this today. These issues require continuous attention and a principled, precise and measured position. Under such circumstances, I would like to congratulate our Kazakh brothers on enhancing the country's reputation in the international arena, and Kazakhstan has rightly gained the enormous respect of the world community.
Again, I would like to say that your brothers live in Azerbaijan, and they respect and value you very much. We thank you very much for the solidarity Kazakhstan has shown us in the past and is showing today. On our part, we will do everything possible to show true brotherly feelings and attitude to the brotherly people of Kazakhstan.
Dear Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich, I would like to thank you again for your hospitality and the invitation. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you again to visit Azerbaijan at a convenient time for you.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Thank you. I would also like to thank you for your words about brotherly relations between our peoples. Azerbaijanis are brothers to the Kazakh people. I said this during the negotiations today and am repeating it now. These are not just nice words, although nice words should be also said now and then, especially during such events. These words reflect the nature of cooperation between our countries. I hope all this will be enduring.