Azerbaijani President: We hope that relations with Armenia also will be normalized

President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Italian "Il Sole 24 Ore" newspaper

© APA | President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Italian "Il Sole 24 Ore" newspaper

# 18 December 2021 17:18 (UTC +04:00)

"I fully agree with your assessment and this is actually, what we are doing in Azerbaijan, at least, actively doing for the last decade, transforming Azerbaijan into Eurasia’s transportation hub. It is not an easy task, because we don’t have an access to open seas. We need to have good relations first of all with our neighbors," President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said while responding to the question "It is about the economic issue in Azerbaijan. So, Azerbaijan occupies a strategic, very important strategic position in the world, in Asia. It could become not only an energy hub, but also a sort of a commercial hub, transportation hub between West and East, from China to Europe. But this could be also a way of diversifying the economy, provide there is stability in the region, at the same time, it could be helpful for stabilize and reach peace. Can you just tell me something? What do you think?" in interview with the Italian "Il Sole 24 Ore" newspaper in Brussels on December 15, during his working visit to Brussels, APA reports.

"Because without having these relations no country can become a transit country. Therefore, good regional cooperation environment, plus, investments in transportation infrastructure created this opportunity. But it was not easy because we had to invest a lot. And today, for instance, in Azerbaijan we have six international airports and three international airports on the liberated territories. One has already been inaugurated, two more to come. We have diversified the railroad system which connects us to all the neighbors. We have more than highways. By the way, Davos Forum ranked Azerbaijan number 27 with respect to the quality of the roads, and number 11 and 12 with respect to air services and railroad services. So, this is already happening. We already became a transitor for goods from Central Asia. China is also transporting its good to European destination. Plus, another advantage is that Azerbaijan is situated on the North-South Transportation Corridor which goes from Northern Europe, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and further down to Persian Gulf. And all the construction work, whether its railroad or highway on Azerbaijani segment of the North-South have been already completed. Of course, after the second Karabakh war, the opportunity to open a new corridor which is already called everywhere as Zangazur Corridor which goes from Azerbaijan to Armenia, and then to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic further down to Turkey and Europe which will be an alternative route for transportation. Plus, we are actively working on creation of the free zone close to Baku in the Alat district which will be in operation next year. And we hope that this geographic location, already diversified transportation network will help us to attract investors who would prefer to work there. So, the transportation sector will become one of the leading after the energy sector and investment in this component, of course, brings a lot of benefits. Plus, I would add the inauguration of the biggest on the Caspian shore Trade Sea Port the capacity of which can go up to 25 million tons and construction of the shipyard. We already supply ourselves with all kind of cargoes, tankers and ferryboats. So, this is really a big asset. Plus, as you mentioned stability in Azerbaijan, reliability because we never disrupt any contract and violate even a word in any contract, so our partners trust us. And good relations with all our neighbors. Plus, we hope that relations with Armenia also will be normalized as we discussed yesterday with Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Michel. And then Armenia also will have a chance to become part of the regional transportation network, because now it is a deadlock. It doesn’t have a railroad connection with Russia, it will have, it doesn’t have a connection with Iran railroad, it will have, through Azerbaijan. And Azerbaijan through Armenia will go to its Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. It is a win-win situation. I think understanding of this golden opportunity really must come to Armenia, so that they behave in a more active way and do not hesitate to engage with us in these future plans," the head of the state noted.

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