It is a pleasure for me to welcome you on the web-site of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Hellenic Republic. Here you can find information about Azerbaijan, its history and culture, economic and investment opportunities, social and political life of the country, as well as the Azerbaijani-Greek relations.
The EU direction is one of the major priorities of foreign policy of Azerbaijan. In this context we are interested in the development of multifaceted, comprehensive and mutually beneficial relations with Greece as a member of EU and NATO and as an important country of southeastern Europe.
I would like to mention that the year of 2009 was a successful period for our bilateral cooperation in all its dimensions and directions. In February, 2009 H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, made his first state visit to Greece. This visit has considerably increased the level and dynamics of the Azerbaijan-Greece cooperation, and has given fresh and strong impetus to the evolution of the Azerbaijani-Hellenic relations.
Dialogue and cooperation at the inter-parliamentary level has been also actively developed. In May 2009 Hellenic-Azerbaijani Friendship Group of the Hellenic Parliament visited Azerbaijan. Now we are looking forward to establishing of the new Friendship Group in the newly elected Hellenic Parliament to continue the cooperation in this important direction.
In the course of the last year the development of political dialogue has been accompanied by regular contacts at the level of Ministries of Foreign Affairs. On May 12-13, Mr. M.Varvitsiotis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic held political consultations in Baku, and on July 02, 2009 Ms. D. Bakoyanni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic paid a working visit to our capital.
It is important to underline that our bilateral relations rely on the strong legal basis. Since 1994 and up to now 16 inter-governmental and inter-ministerial agreements have been signed, while 4 of them were signed during the February visit of H.E. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Athens. Nearly 10 documents are in the “pipeline” for consideration and preparation for signing.
Since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission on trade-and- economic cooperation in 2003 we managed to increase the volumes of trade turn-over. We hope that the upcoming third session of this Commission which is scheduled to be held in Baku this year will give a good boost to the development of joint projects in the fields of trade and investments.
The important element of our bilateral cooperation is the partnership in the field of energy security, supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Greece, mutually beneficial cooperation in the implementation of the international energy projects, including ТGI. We consider Greece as valuable partner and important market. The position of our country with regard to energy security issue is well-known. We stay true to the principle of diversification, which is important not only for consumers, but also for producers and transit countries. We strongly advocate the principles of non-discrimination and transparency, market economy and commercial profitability for the transportation regime of natural gas. These are the core elements for successful realization of all strategic projects within the Southern Corridor, including Nabucco, TGI and TAP.
Azerbaijan is very much interested in the cooperation with Greece in the field of renewable energy sources. Maximum energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies is an important element for successful economic development of our countries and cooperation in the field of energy. A strong impulse has been given to this cooperation during the visit of Mr. S.Kouvelis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic to Baku on October, 2009. We appreciate the experience of our Greek colleagues in this field, and are ready for implementation of mutually beneficial projects.
I am convinced that the greatest resource of our country is not the oil in the ground and the sea, or the minerals beneath the soil. It is the multinational culture and tolerant nature of Azerbaijan, skills and talents of our people, dynamism of our young generation. That is why our “windows” to Greece will be wide open for the cooperation in the spheres of culture and education, youth and sports exchanges. This dimension should become the major pillar of our bilateral cooperation. Azerbaijan and Greece are the countries with rich cultural traditions and heritage and we can achieve a lot of projects in these areas.
In other words, I have strong conviction that our countries and people, economies and cultures have great potential for mutually beneficial interaction and cooperation. With the assistance of my Greek colleagues, friends and partners I hope to realize this potential for the benefits of our friendly countries and people.