No:155/22, Opening remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Jeyhun Bayramov at the Conference on "Azerbaijan-Italy: path towards a multi-dimensional strategic partnership"
Opening remarks by
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan
H.E. Mr. Jeyhun Bayramov at the Conference on
"Azerbaijan-Italy: path towards a multi-dimensional strategic partnership"
on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Italian Republic
2 April, ADA University
Dear Minister Di Maio,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the Conference on Azerbaijan-Italy strategic partnership. It is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. I am glad that this event is organized during the official visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic, my dear friend Luigi Di Maio.
On January 1, 1992 the Italian Republic recognized the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the diplomatic relations were established later in May. But the history of our relations is much deeper. Marco Polo, a famous Italian traveler, mentioned Azerbaijan in his notes.
In 15th century the Aqqoyunlu state of Azerbaijan established relations with the Republic of Venice. Azerbaijan also had contacts with the Kingdom of Naples. In 1918-1920 diplomatic relations were established between Italy and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
In 1972, Baku and Naples became sister cities, and I was glad to learn that Minister Di Maio comes from that part of Italy.
Restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence opened a new page in our relations. The first Italian Embassy in the South Caucasus region was opened in Baku in 1997.
Today our countries are strategic partners and enjoy excellent relations in political, economic and cultural fields.
The state visit of the President of Italy to Azerbaijan in 2018 and the state visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Italy in 2020 had historical significance and raised the relations between our countries to the highest level.
The Joint Declaration on Strengthening the Multidimensional Strategic Partnership signed during the state visit of our President to Italy is of exceptional importance. It serves as a roadmap to develop our strategic partnership in all directions.
In this Declaration Azerbaijan and Italy reaffirmed their support for each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders. The document also reflected an unequivocal position on the settlement of the former Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on the basis of these principles, as enshrined in the relevant UN documents.
We appreciate a just approach by the Italian side to the resolution of the conflict. The first parliamentary and governmental delegations from Europe to visit Azerbaijan after the Second Karabakh War, including the liberated territories, came from Italy. As a friendly country, Italy was among the first invited to work on liberated territories.
Today Italian companies are engaged in many projects there in energy, architecture and other fields.
Economic cooperation is constantly expanding. For several years now Italy has been the major trading partner of Azerbaijan. Last year the bilateral trade was around 10 billion US dollars. Azerbaijan accounts for more than 95 percent of Italy's trade turnover with the South Caucasus. 113 Italian companies operate in Azerbaijan. Italy invested 770 million US dollars in the Azerbaijani economy, while Azerbaijani investment reached 1.7 billion dollars.
For many years Azerbaijan has been a reliable energy supplier and ranks first in oil supply of Italy.
After the Trans-Adriatic pipeline entered into operation, Azerbaijan became a third gas supplier to Italy. TAP is the project of strategic importance in terms of European energy security and energy transition objectives.
Azerbaijan and Italy enjoy intensive cooperation in the humanitarian field. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation plays an important role in the cultural exchanges between the two countries, which is of utmost importance for encouraging people-to-people contacts. In 2012, a monument to the great Azerbaijani poet Nizami was unveiled in the iconic Villa Borghese Park in Rome.
Our friendship stood the test of the pandemic when we supported each other in the fight against the Covid-19.
I would like to emphasize successful cooperation in the field of education. The Azerbaijani University of Languages has a department of Italian language translation and an Italian language center. Italy is one of the countries in Europe with a strong presence of Azerbaijani students.
A groundbreaking ceremony of the building of the Italy-Azerbaijan University was held at the ADA University campus today. This initiative was agreed during the state visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Italy.
To implement this project the ADA University signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration with the five leading Italian universities.
The new University will offer programs at undergraduate and graduate education levels in the areas where Italy is globally known as reference of excellence, such as architecture, urban planning and design, innovation, engineering, agriculture, food science and technology. The academic programs will be complemented with technology labs, design and creativity center, fabrication hall, and business incubator, with a strong link to industry both in Italy and Azerbaijan.
I would like to cordially thank all agencies and individuals who helped transform an agreement between our political leaders into a new success story. My thanks go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Ministry of Universities and Research of Italy, to the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan, to the ADA University and to the partner coalition of the Italian universities, and to both Ambassadors of Azerbaijan and Italy.
I wish the new University every success in its future work, which will contribute to the dynamic development of a true partnership between Azerbaijan and Italy in all fields.