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 President Aliyev’s meetings with European leaders in Brussels, new details on the upcoming pipeline route decision and stories about improvements in gender equality and education in Azerbaijan. We hope you enjoy reading this issue, and invite you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
June 25, 2013
President Aliyev: Azerbaijan-EU relations based on mutual interests and values
The relations between Azerbaijan and the EU are based on mutual interests and values, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a recent joint press conference in Brussels, with the president of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. "The European Union is our main trade partner, and our trade turnover with members of the EU is growing. And this also helps to support the initiatives of the Eastern Partnership Program. We highly value this initiative, I think it's a very important step from European institutions, to engage countries of former Soviet Union into the framework of this cooperation, and Azerbaijan is an active member of Eastern Partnership Group. And now we're working on a very substantial format of the future cooperation between the EU and
Azerbaijan," he said.
Azerbaijan invites PACE to observe October presidential elections
Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Samad Seyidov has invited the assembly to observe the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. “We are ready to receive the PACE observation mission before and during the elections. I call on my colleagues to participate in the elections as observers, because these elections are very important for the future of our country and region,” he said. Samad Seyidov said the presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan in October without problems, in an atmosphere of respect for international norms.
European Council president supports association agreement with Azerbaijan
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, aims to further strengthen EU-Azerbaijan relations by working to conclude negotiations on an association agreement. “By way of the association agreement, our relationship can achieve its full potential”, Rompuy told journalists recently after meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Brussels. The association agreement is one of the initiatives of the Eastern Partnership Program which offers economic preferences to Azerbaijan as an EU partner-country.
European Commission welcomes progress in energy agreements with Azerbaijan
"Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union. We have reached a level of reliable partnership in the energy sector,” said President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso after a recent meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. “The meeting discussed in detail the issues related to implementation of Southern Gas Corridor project,” Barroso said, welcoming the progress made on implementation of the project since signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Azerbaijan in 2011.“Both Azerbaijan and European Union have done a great work in this field,” he said thanking Azerbaijani President for leadership in this process. "In the medium term, the corridor will provide more than 10% of the annual
needs of Europe's gas, thereby contributing to our energy security, price stability and economic growth," he said.
The Great Pipeline Face-Off
The Wall Street Journal
It was no coincidence that the president of Azerbaijan visited Brussels last Friday: in a week his country and Europe will learn how they will be linked by one of the strongest bonds known to man–fossil fuels. This Friday, the Shah Deniz consortium–in which the main players are the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, or SOCAR BP PLC and Norwegian state oil company Statoil AS –will decide whether to transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Italy through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, or to Austria using a rival planned pipeline, Nabucco West. Standing side by side, Mr. Aliyev and Mr. Barroso both said that either choice is a “win-win” for everyone involved. “We want to be as close as possible to Europe, and we are very glad that we see the
same approach from the European side,” Mr. Aliyev said.
Azeris hope to supply EU with more than Shah Deniz gas: president
Azerbaijan hopes to supply the EU with greater volumes of gas than available from the Shah Deniz 2 project, president Ilham Aliyev said Friday. "Hopefully the volumes of Azerbaijani gas to be transported to Europe will not be limited only to the Shah Deniz 2 project, because we have more than 2 trillion cubic meters of proven gas reserves," Aliyev told reporters in Brussels after meeting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
SOCAR to help 44 orphanages in Georgia
The Georgian Representation of Azerbaijan’s state oil firm, SOCAR, has signed a memorandum with Georgia's Labor, Healthcare and Social Security Ministry to pay the gas and electricity bills of 44 orphanages in Georgia to the total sum of nearly $116,000.Mahir Mammadov, head of SOCAR's Georgian Representation, said the company was doing important job in social sector of Georgia. Minister Sergeyenko thanked SOCAR for "beneficial cooperation", hailing it as an example of real friendship
$144.4bn invested in Azerbaijan since 1995
Thanks to the determined socioeconomic policy implemented in Azerbaijan, the country’s GDP has tripled over the last decade, said Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev at a recent conference in Baku. “Thanks to the good investment climate created in the country, $144.4bn has been invested in Azerbaijan since 1995. In general, the volume of investments in non-oil sector of the country has risen 18.7 times and domestic investments 22.1 times over the past decade”, he said.
Minister: Education in Azerbaijan should be brought in line with international standards
Education in Azerbaijan should be brought in line with European and international standards, Azerbaijan's Education Minister Mikail Jabbarov said during recent discussions on sustainable development goals. The Minister noted that the funds allocated to education in Azerbaijan have increased five-fold since 2003, and that Azerbaijan has surpassed the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals for universal primary education.
Greater percentage of women working in Azerbaijan
Addressing a conference in Baku, Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs Hijran Huseynova detailed the continued progress of Azerbaijan’s women. She noted that the number of female civil servants reached 28% and female entrepreneurs 17%. According to her, 50% of Doctors of Philosophy and 40% of those involved in physical education and sport are women, and the representation of women in the Azerbaijani Parliament reached 16%. Further, the number of women elected as members of municipalities increased by 5 times to 27%.
Sheki: pearl of the Caucasus
For centuries, Sheki has been a stop-over on the silk road for traders and merchants. It remains a vibrant hub, its daily market drawing eager stall holders and shoppers from the outlying villages. One Sheki industry is well known beyond Azerbaijan’s borders – the silk works. Handmade carpets made to order. With silk threads, one worker will stitch just two centimeters per day, while four centimeters of wool are added until it is completed. The colors are all from natural sources, mixed to an old recipe. One breathtaking carpet we saw took eight long months to complete – a work of art.
UN: Azerbaijan outstrips development goals
Azerbaijan’s dynamic development in the last 10 years has exceeded the Millennium Development Goals, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Antonius Broek said at a recent conference. "The poverty rate was reduced in Azerbaijan ahead of time," he stressed. On important issues like the reduction of poverty, hunger, child mortality rates and attracting children for primary education, "[o]ne can say that most of these goals have been achieved," Broek said.