Today.Az » Politics » Azerbaijan, Qatar agree to introduce visa-free regime
19 October 2021 [13:21] - Today.Az
By Orkhan Amashov
Azerbaijan and Qatar have signed an agreement on the mutual abolition of visa requirements for persons holding general civil passports.
The agreement was signed in Baku by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani within the framework of the latter’s official visit to Azerbaijan on October 18.
“An agreement was signed on the mutual abolition of visas for persons with general civil passports between the governments of Azerbaijan and Qatar,” Bayramov said at a joint news conference.
The measure in question is of considerable significance, as it is going to provide an immeasurable impetus for the development of bilateral relations.
The foreign minister added that cooperation in a number of areas, including tourism, was discussed with the Qatari counterpart.
"There were also productive discussions on regional security issues,” he added.
Further, Bayramov said that the possible involvement of Qatari companies in rebuilding Azerbaijan's liberated lands had been amongst the issues discussed with al-Thani.
Although it is the Azerbaijani government’s firm stance to rehabilitate Karabakh by means of local resources, as was stated by Hikmat Hajiyev during the recent visit of diplomats and journalists to Tartar region, as it could be understood, this position does not militate against the contribution from external investors. In addition, the issues pertaining to tourism and regional security were deliberated upon.
Qatar, which has been cooperating with Azerbaijan since September 1994, was one of the first countries to express support for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid bloody clashes going in and around Karabakh from late September to early November.
Baku highly appreciates Qatar's position over its support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Azerbaijani officials believe that the fact that Qatar has always stood by Azerbaijan at international organizations, particularly the UN and OIC, in the adoption of resolutions demanding an end to Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijan's lands demonstrate that the two countries' political and economic relations are developing successfully and that the foundation for deeper cooperation in the future has been established.
Normalization of ties with Armenia
During the joint press conference with al-Thani, Bayramov reiterated some of the most crucial points underpinning Azerbaijan’s approach in relation to the normalization of its relations with Armenia in the context of the post-conflict situation.
“It would be better if the process of delimitation and demarcation of the internationally recognized borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan starts soon,” the Azerbaijani top diplomat stressed.
He added that it requires close Armenian participation, in other words, Armenia has to take some positive steps which they have regrettably not taken yet.
"Azerbaijan comes out with a constructive position on this issue. But we do not see any effective steps from the Armenian side,” he said.
The minister also mentioned that Armenia's refusal to provide minefield maps impedes the reconstruction in the liberated region as a result of which innocent Azerbaijani citizens had been killed and wounded.
Regrettably, the preponderant part of the maps provided does not reflect the reality on the ground, as they are not authentic and therefore of very little use, if any, in demining the newly liberated territories.
Bayramov stressed the vital importance of the opening of communication routes as envisaged in the trilateral statement signed on 10 November 2020.
Due to the lack of any effective steps from Armenia, no concrete results have yet emerged which, as the minister said is “very regrettable”.
The Azerbaijani foreign minister also reflected on the futility of the revanchist calls that some forces within Armenia have been making.
He called on everybody to recognize that all issues are to be sorted out through the implementation of the mutually agreed documents, for only such an approach can provide a path to stability and safety.
“Only through the implementation of the signed documents we can achieve stability in the region and ensure the safety of people,” Bayramov said.
Over 160 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in the explosion of mines planted by Armenians in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied regions since the end of the war in autumn 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate most of its territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in formerly-occupied Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
In his interview to CNN Turk channel on August 14, President Ilham Aliyev said that the accuracy of the maps provided by Armenia at the latest stage is only 25 percent.
The scale of destruction in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied territories suggests deep hatred and animosity against Azerbaijanis, with many experts describing these mass destructions as genocide.
Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed the second war after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.