Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov attended at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Türkiye and Turkmenistan, APA reports citing the press service of the Ministry.
Minister Jeyhun Bayramov delivered a speech at the meeting.
"Today, I am pleased to take part in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Türkiye and Turkmenistan held in Awaza, a beautiful city of Turkmenistan, and I sincerely greet each of you. I express my gratitude to the Turkmen side for a high level of organization of the event and hospitality.
As you know, 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of Republic of Azerbaijan with Republic of Türkiye and Turkmenistan. During these years, our relations have developed and reached a high level. Undoubtedly, the basis of this are historical, cultural, linguistic and religious commonalities between our peoples.
The role of heads of states in creating mutual trust between our countries should be specially noted. Close contacts and friendly relations between them determine the dynamics of the development of relations between our countries, as well as contribute to successful interaction in the international arena.
The First Summit of the Heads of State of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Türkiye and Turkmenistan, which will take place on December 14, 2022, is of historical importance. The summit will constitute an important stage in the development of the Azerbaijan - Türkiye - Turkmenistan trilateral format, which complements the multi-vectoral bilateral relations between our countries and pursues the further development of relations between our states based on common interests and benefits. The Joint Statement of the First Summit, trilateral documents in the fields of energy, trade, economy, customs, transport, science, education, and culture, constitute the practical steps taken in this direction.
Our cooperation continues successfully within the framework of international and regional organizations in which our countries jointly participate. It is gratifying to observe the development of our relations and the intensification of dialogue within the framework of the Organization of Turkic States. The decisions taken by the heads of state during the 9th Summit of the organization held in Samarkand on November 11, 2022 contributed to the strengthening of joint efforts.
There is a great potential for the development of our relations in a trilateral format, and we are sure that serious achievements will be gained in this regard as a result of the proper use of the newly emerged opportunities in the region.
The full realization of the transport and transit potential of our region with the trilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan is of particular importance in terms of ensuring the economic development and prosperity of our own states and peoples, as well as the vast Eurasian region.
The 70% increase in the volume of international cargo transportation through Azerbaijan this year clearly demonstrates the importance of this sector in terms of bringing additional economic benefits to our states, as well as strengthening its international reputation.
It is important to take effective joint measures in the direction of increasing and diversifying trade turnover, simplifying and improving transit procedures of transport and communication corridors, and at the same time coordinate the regulation of tariff issues.
It is important to increase efforts to strengthen the transit potential of countries, including the East-West Trans-Caspian transport corridor, and to promote cooperation between the seaports of Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan.
As part of the modern Silk Road, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway plays a key role in facilitating competitive transport route between Asia and Europe. The importance of the Lapis Lazuli project, which aims to develop trade relations through the facilitation of transport and transit, to which our countries are parties, should also be noted.
In this regard, the creation of a new transport infrastructure in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, including the operation of the Zangezur corridor, is of particular importance in terms of the opening of a new transport artery along the Middle Corridor. This will serve not only to strengthen regional peace and security, but also in general, to fully realize the transit potential of our countries.
At the same time, the significant increase in the relevance of energy security demonstrates the importance of expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between our states in this field.
The “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of Turkmenistan on joint exploration and development and appropriation of hydrocarbon resources of the “Dostlug” field in the Caspian Sea” signed in Ashgabat on January 21, 2021 creates new opportunities for the preparation of joint projects for the development and supply of hydrocarbon resources. At the same time, the agreement reached on November 28, 2021 regarding the swap supply of Turkmenistan gas to our country can be considered another mutually beneficial achievement of our cooperation.
The interstate agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, which envisages the construction of fiber optic transmission lines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea, is of particular importance. Quick implementation of this project is important, which is aimed at creating a digital telecommunication corridor between Europe and Asia and would allow the transfer of high volumes of data.
Eliminating the grave consequences of the 30 years of occupation and ensuring the safe and dignified return of our citizens displaced from their homelands is the most important priority for Azerbaijan after the end of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
For this purpose, large-scale restoration and construction works are being carried out in our territories liberated from occupation. It is noteworthy that this year the first group of IDPs has already returned to their homes. This is the first step towards the practical implementation of the “Great Return” program, which will cover about 700,000 Azerbaijani IDPs.
Contamination of territories with landmines and other explosives is the most serious obstacle for restoration and construction works. Armenia’s failure to provide Azerbaijan with complete and accurate information on all mine fields, on the contrary, continuing to plant new mines in our territories, is a serious concern as an additional proof of Armenia’s lack of interest in ensuring peace.
Azerbaijan is determined to establish bilateral relations with Armenia on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, to replace the page of conflict with mutually beneficial cooperation and normal neighborly relations.
For this purpose, we presented the next updated proposals on the text of the agreement on mutual relations between the two countries to the counterpart, and it is planned to hold another discussions between the foreign ministers of the two countries in the coming weeks.
Azerbaijan’s position on this issue is also consistent and principled, and based on international law and justice.
We hope that the steps taken by us for the sake of peace will finally be responded by Armenia with the necessary political will and practical action. In order for the normalization process to reach its logical conclusion, it is an important condition to implement the obligations assumed by Armenia without delay, decisively to put an end to groundless territorial claims against Azerbaijan, and to take practical steps to establish normal neighborly relations.
Against the backdrop of important changes taking place in our vast geography and the growing importance of our region, as well as Turkic geography in general, it is extremely important to strengthen our joint activities in order to fight against new challenges and threats that have emerged on the one hand, and to effectively use new opportunities for the interests of our peoples and states on the other one.
I am sure that the fraternal and friendly relations between our countries, based on the traditions of respect and trust, will further develop and be permanent in the interests of our peoples.
Thank you for your attention."