President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Wendy Morton.
Welcoming the UK Minister, President Ilham Aliyev said:
-I am very glad to see you in Azerbaijan. I am sure that the visit will be very successful, with very good results. It once again, demonstrates strong partnership relationship between our countries and, of course, our future plans to continue our cooperation. We have very good political contacts, very active political dialogue and your visit to Azerbaijan once again demonstrates that. Of course, energy cooperation is very important part of our partnership and we are very happy to complete the major project- the Southern Gas Corridor. You know BP is our strategic partner, the company which participated from the very beginning in the major projects in Azerbaijan as an investor. After the prolongation of the “Contract of the Century” our cooperation will continue for many more decades. Of course, with a new gas development in Azerbaijan and infrastructure which has been completed last December, the new opportunities we have now. We hope that there will be more discoveries from BP operated fields. We have good prospects for that. So this is a very important part of our bilateral cooperation, also cooperation between other countries. We established very probably unique format of cooperation between the countries of our region and the European Union, and with the strong support from the governments of the United Kingdom and United States. By the way, we will have the 7th meeting of the Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor in two days’ time where we will review the achievements and look forward for future cooperation. And of course, investments from UK to Azerbaijan helped us a lot to modernize the country. These investments were mainly in energy sector, almost 30 billion dollars. But it allowed us to use properly the revenues from oil and gas sales to diversify the economy. Therefore I am sure that for the coming years our major area of concentration will be non-energy sector development of Azerbaijan. I looked at some of information before our meeting so that almost 600 British companies registered in Azerbaijan, and this is really a good sign of diversification of our economic partnership. In the liberated territories we have great potential for reconstruction and we already started our contacts with British companies. One of them is involved in the city-planning in the development of infrastructure on the liberated territories. And I hope there will be more, because a lot of things is to be done there. Everything is destroyed. There is big potential in renewable energy. And I know that there is interest from British companies to work on these issues. There is a very big potential of solar, wind, hydro. So we are already planning our future in the liberated territories, and I already declared these territories as a green zone territory. So, we will use the power of wind, sun, and water in order to supply the needs of the people. We already became an exporter of electric energy. Therefore, potential for that is really very high. And also, many other areas of cooperation between our countries have great importance. So, once again, welcome to our country.
UK Minister Wendy Morton said:
-Thank you very much. I think, the point you have made about the bilateral relationship and there are so many areas where we do work together. I am sure there will be a lot more in the future as well. And I touched some of the cultural experience yesterday on my first day, thanks to the Ambassador he put together a really good program for me.
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