Azerbaijan News Digest

Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the Azerbaijan News Digest, you will find articles about the Italian Prime Minister’s recent visit to Baku, greater partnership with the European Union and international support for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We hope you enjoy this issue, and invite you to like the Embassy on on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

August 14, 2013


Azerbaijani President: TAP provides best and most attractive conditions for investors

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The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) provides the best and most attractive conditions for investors, and we are very glad that this project was selected in a fair competition, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta in Baku on Aug. 11.

President Aliyev underscored that the energy cooperation will open a new page in relations of Azerbaijan and Italy, adding that it will play an important role not only for bilateral relations but also for relations between the EU and Azerbaijan.

"Our energy projects will provide energy security for Europe, and at the same time, open new big markets of the European Union for us. We have huge oil and gas reserves, we have already diversified supply routes, but of course we are looking for the big markets and long-term cooperation," he said.

Italian PM: TAP important for entire Europe

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will allow direct sales of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, is important not only for Italy but for Europe as well, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said at a press conference in Baku on Aug. 11. "We have started good cooperation with Greek and Albanian governments, and of course, Turkey. I am glad to be here and thanks to Azerbaijan for the commercial and industrial choice it has made," Letta said.

European Commission to continue working with Azerbaijan to increase supplies through Southern Gas Corridor

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The European Commission will continue to work with Azerbaijan to increase the volumes supplied through the Southern Gas Corridor, opening the possibility of a second pipeline through Central Europe to Austria, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton told Trend in an interview.

"Azerbaijan has been called a 'door-opener' in this process," Kocijancic said. "But there are further potential sources in the Southern Gas Corridor linking the EU to Turkey, the Eastern Mediterranean, Iraq and other countries." Kocijancic stressed that the EU welcomes the decision to build the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as an important step towards the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor, bringing significant diversification of gas supplies to Europe and improving Europe's energy security.

Foreign Relations

Abiyev, Hagel Highlight Success of Growing U.S.-Azerbaijan Defense Ties
Embassy of Azerbaijan

In a recent working Pentagon visit, Colonel General Safar Abiyev, Azerbaijan's Minister of Defense, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel pledged to extend and deepen the strategic partnership between their two countries. Azerbaijan is the key transit and partner country for the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

Following their August 5 meeting, Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Abiyev "for the valuable role Azerbaijan plays in providing ground, air and sea transit access for logistical support to Afghanistan." In the same vein, the top defense officials agreed "to continue to work together on issues to include North Atlantic Treaty Organization interoperability, counterterrorism, defense transformation and maritime security."

Minister Abiyev reiterated the importance of the bilateral relationship with the United States and the military cooperation between the two countries. He said Azerbaijan will continue its commitment to Afghanistan's future even after the expected 2014 troop drawdown.

Switzerland to intensify efforts for peaceful solution of Karabakh conflict
Azer News

In a recent meeting with the Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Swiss Ambassador Pascal Obisher spoke about Azerbaijan’s rapid growth in the short period after the restoration of independence.

Obisher also emphasized Switzerland will step up efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other conflicts that exist in Europe during its the OSCE presidency next year. The ambassador expressed his confidence that the economic relations between Azerbaijan and Switzerland will continue to develop in the coming years.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Russia develop very successfully- Putin

The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan are satisfied with the development of bilateral relations, in particular, the record pace of trade and diversification of relations between the two countries.

"Indeed, the relations between our countries are developing very successfully: in spite of the difficult overall situation in the world economy, our growth in turnover for last year was 47%, it is one of the records for us”, Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a meeting with Ilham Aliyev in Baku.

Early settlement of Karabakh conflict will lead to stability in region – Aliyev

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has expressed his regret at the stagnation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the failure of resolutions of international organizations in resolving the Karabakh conflict.

"The early resolution of this issue is in the interest of all countries in the region. The decision should be based on historical justice, international law and the decisions and resolutions of international organizations. Russia, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group plays an important role in the settlement of the conflict," said Aliyev.

Deputy Minister: Azerbaijan and EU can completely abandon visa system

Following the simplification of the visa system between Azerbaijan and the European Union (EU) the next step may be a complete abolition, Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend recently. The sides are preparing to sign an agreement on a visa system simplification during the third summit of the Eastern Partnership countries in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013.

Negotiations on Azerbaijan-EU air space agreement may soon start

According to EU spokesperson Maya Kochiyanchich, the relationship between the EU and Azerbaijan is deepening and strengthening.

"An initial agreement on visa facilitation and readmission was reached on July 29, and it is expected to sign the agreement in Vilnius in November. At the same time, Azerbaijan in the next few months will sign a Joint Declaration on mobilization partnership with a number of EU member states. Negotiations on an air space agreement may start in the near future," she said.

A common aviation area between the EU and Azerbaijan may imply a gradual opening of markets and implementation of the EU's regulations in the country. Azerbaijan expressed its interest in a common aviation area agreement with the EU in 2011.

Panama's parliament adopts resolution on occupation of Azerbaijani lands

The National Assembly of Panama has unanimously adopted resolution No 4 “On the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories by Armenian armed forces.” The resolution strongly condemns the occupation of the Nagorno Karabakh region and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijani Republic by Armenian armed forces, rough violation of the rights of the Azerbaijani people during the military conflict and after it, especially the genocide committed by Armenia against Azerbaijanis in Khojaly town in 1992.

Israeli-Azerbaijani Trade and Industry Chamber launched
Vestnik Kavkaza

The Trade and Industry Chamber of Israel and Azerbaijan recently launched with 34 co-founders. Over 20 additional candidates hope to join soon. The first conference will be held in Tel Aviv in late August, and the chamber will have departments for medicine, education, alternate and renewable energy sources, biotechnologies and other spheres of science.

Domestic Affairs

Op-Ed: Azerbaijan moves toward democracy
The Hill

During a handful of days in mid-October, thousands of journalists, observers and non-governmental organization workers will descend upon Baku to watch Azerbaijan’s next presidential election. Elections are important, but, as we have regrettably seen around the world, they are often insufficient to establish democracy.

Building the true foundations of democracy is a long-term process that involves so many tiny steps. When the international television cameras leave Baku, the Azerbaijani people and a handful of foreign helpers will remain to work on these small steps. They—and we—must not ignore shortcomings in Azerbaijan’s democratic development, whether in the upcoming election or in everyday governance. However, neither should we ignore concrete steps that will lead to greater success.

Fortunately, Azerbaijan is endowed with some of the key ingredients that enable it to continue building a strong democratic society: indigenous democratic traditions; a high educational level; devotion to secularism, moderation and mutual respect; remarkable economic development; and a pivotal position in East-West trade.

Gabala Festival – music in the mountains


Now in its fifth year, the Gabala International Music Festival is underway in Azerbaijan. One of the best parts, entrance to the concerts by internationally renowned orchestras and musicians is free.

Construction worker Namisat Kerimowhe and his family discovered the new world of classical music five years ago, and say now they do not miss a single performance. He told euronews: “We have been waiting for this festival for a whole year. Classical music gives us joy, it makes our souls sing.”

Azerbaijani population’s revenues increased by more than 7 percent during 2013

In January-July 2013 the revenues of Azerbaijan's population increased by 7.2 percent compared to the same period of the last year and reached 18.9 billion manats, a report of Azerbaijan's State Statistics Committee said on Wednesday.
The income per capita amounts to 2040.8 manats per year, or 291.5 manats per month, the report said. The growth of revenues per capita has exceeded inflation by 3.7 percentage points and amounted to 5.8 percent.



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