By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan is ready to meet halfway if Armenia is seriously involved in the peace process, Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said.
He made the remarks during a joint press conference with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio in Baku.
“In recent days, we have heard positive messages from Armenia in this direction. I hope this is indeed a demonstration of a serious approach. Azerbaijan has openly expressed its position. If the Armenia is really serious about this process, so Azerbaijan is ready to meet halfway and take concrete steps,” he added.
The Minister stressed that Italy will provide additional support to Azerbaijan in demining the liberated territories.
“During the meeting, we discussed the issues of mine safety and the demining process. My Italian colleague noted that their companies will take additional steps in this regard. They will help relevant Azerbaijani agencies in demining,” Bayramov said.
Azerbaijani Minister briefed his counterpart on the need to create a working group on the delimitation and demarcation of the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the proposals made to Armenia for a peace agreement and the main principles basis of this agreement, presented by Azerbaijan in February.
Bayramov informed Luigi Di Maio about Azerbaijan’s proposals to Armenia to open communications in the region.
He pointed out that Italy was the first partner country of Azerbaijan to participate in the restoration of territories liberated from Armenian occupation in the second Karabakh war in 2020.
The minister made the remarks during the conference “Azerbaijan – Italy: Path to a Multifaceted Strategic Partnership” at ADA University.
The minister underlined that Azerbaijan hopes for Italy’s participation in the development of joint projects on renewable energy sources.
“Azerbaijan pays great attention to the development of renewable energy sources. We hope that Italian companies will participate in the development of joint projects in this field,” Bayramov said.
Speaking of bilateral economic relations, the Minister underlined the importance of the energy sector.
“There is high-level cooperation between the two countries in the oil and gas sector. The commissioning of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) allowed us to supply Azerbaijani gas to Italy,” Bayramov said.
Azerbaijan is currently one of Italy’s main partners, Luigi Di Maio said at the joint press conference.
According to Di Maio, it is necessary to diversify energy resources, and Italy has plans for energy security.
In his speech at the conference “Azerbaijan – Italy: path towards a multifaceted strategic partnership” at ADA University, the Italian Minister described Azerbaijan as the important energy partner of his country.
According to him, gas cooperation has become a very important part of relations between Azerbaijan and Italy.
He pointed out that Azerbaijan and Italy cooperate at a high level not only in the energy sector but also in other sectors of the economy.
According to him, the relations between the countries are developing in various fields, both in education and in the humanitarian and commercial spheres.
The minister added that Azerbaijan and Italy have also strengthened their partnership in the energy sector through the launch of the TAP project.
“Azerbaijan and Italy traditionally maintain friendly relations. These friendly relations are based on very solid foundations,” Bayramov said at the joint press conference after meeting with his Italian counterpart.
He said that Azerbaijani and Italian relations have successfully developed over the past 30 years and reached the level of strategic cooperation and partnership.
“High-level visits between the two countries have played an important role in developing ties between the two countries,” the minister added.
Bayramov marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Italian Republic.
Of particular significance is the joint statement on strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Italy in February 2020, he said.
The Minister noted that Azerbaijani and Italian relations have reached the level of strategic cooperation and partnership.
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy reached $10 billion, Bayramov said.
There are plans to open an Azerbaijani cultural center in Italy, the minister added.
Bayramov noted the high-level cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan established in the field of culture.
Particularly noteworthy is the work carried out by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in this area, the minister stressed.
“Italian companies have extensive experience in the restoration of cultural monuments, and cooperation in this direction was discussed,” Bayramov said.
The minister said Italy and Azerbaijan supported each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that Azerbaijan provided assistance to Italian hospitals during a high level coronavirus infection in the country.
“When there was a strong spread of COVID-19 in Azerbaijan, Italian specialists came to our country to help us,” Bayramov said.
New cooperation agreements
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio signed a protocol on the first strategic dialogue.
The first meeting of the Azerbaijan-Italy strategic dialogue was held in Baku.
In addition, the parties signed a document on the establishment of the university and subsequently laid the foundations for the building of the Italo-Azerbaijani University.
Jeyhun Bayramov, Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov, Education Minister Emin Amrullayev and Di Maio took part in the inauguration ceremony.
Di Maio said that thanks to the establishment of the Italo-Azerbaijani University, relations between the countries will reach a new level.
“Today’s ceremony is another confirmation of strong ties between Azerbaijan and Italy,” he said.
The Italian Minister added that it was important to strengthen the academic partnership between the two countries.