TODAY.AZ / Politics

Baku hosts international conference on South Caucasus

16 June 2017 [15:38] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews        

By Kamila Aliyeva

An international conference on "South Caucasus in the international arena: Cooperation and competition in the region and around it" kicked off in Baku on June 16.

Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan Farhad Mammadov, addressing the event, spoke about the cooperation of the South Caucasus countries and interests of the important regional and global players in the region.

He noted that Azerbaijan and Georgia enjoy a strategic cooperation, laid by the national leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, and continued by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Mammadov said that Baku and Tbilisi jointly implement a number of regional projects, which made possible the supply of Azerbaijani energy resources to the world market. He further mentioned that the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has practically been completed, which will give additional impetus to the development of the economic cooperation in the region.

He reminded the conference participants that one country in the region – Armenia - has not chosen a policy of integration and cooperation, but isolation and occupation.

Mammadov noted that Armenia has been continuing its occupation policy for over 20 years, as a result of which over 1 million people in Azerbaijan became refugees and IDPs. The activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, for almost 30 years, has not brought any results or helped to find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He also underlined that the UN Security Council adopted resolutions calling on Armenia to immediately withdraw troops from Azerbaijani territories, but this requirement has not yet been fulfilled.

Mammadov said that the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hinders the development of the region, and as long as Armenia continues to keep the Azerbaijani territories under occupation, economic cooperation with that country and its involvement in regional projects will be impossible.

The head of the Political and Social Affairs and Public Relations Division of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, Denis Danilidis, noted that the EU attaches great importance to cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Danilidis, who addressed the event, said that Azerbaijan is an important partner of the EU in the field of energy, and European countries are interested in Azerbaijani energy resources.

He further stressed that the EU doesn’t want to restrict cooperation with Azerbaijan only to the energy sector and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “The EU has an interest in cooperation with Azerbaijan in many other spheres of the economy, in education and culture, in the field of human rights and other directions.”

He also recalled that in early June, Baku hosted Azerbaijan-EU Business Forum, which brought together European companies interested in developing business in the country.

Azerbaijan can play an important role in the development of intercultural dialogue, considering that representatives of different nationalities and religions live here in peace and harmony, according to Danilidis.

The EU is now trying to find an individual approach to each of the regional countries, offering them different forms of cooperation depending on their requests, he added.

Vice President of the Chinese Institute of International Relations Xu Jian, for his part, said that Azerbaijan in recent years has become an important transit center in the Eurasia region.

He noted that a number of important transport projects with the participation of Azerbaijan are now being implemented. The international North-South Railway Corridor Project, which will allow transportation of goods from northern Europe and Russia to the countries of the Persian Gulf and beyond, is also being implemented.

Jian stressed that Azerbaijan is an important country in the region with the largest economy, population and territory in the South Caucasus and it plays a special role within the framework of the Chinese initiative "One belt - One way."

He noted that China has a willingness to support Azerbaijan in its efforts to diversify the economy.  China is ready to offer Azerbaijan both investments and its technologies and innovations in this issue, according to Jian.

Matthew Bryza, former deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs and former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, told journalists on the sidelines of the event that providing access to energy resources, their access to the market and delivery to consumers is a part of U.S. foreign policy.

Meanwhile, according to Bryza, the U.S. does not set a task of controlling energy resources, and even U.S. energy companies are not controlled by the government.

He added that as part of this strategy, the US supported the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline projects, and is currently supporting the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project.

The event was also attended by Program Director of the Valdai Foundation Andrey Sushentsov, Director of the Turkish Center for Eurasian Studies Alev Kylych and representatives of research institutes of Germany, Iran, Georgia, Kazakhstan, etc. 


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