Ambassador: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan have broad opportunities to expand economic cooperation
Oct. 25. Trend
Cooperation in transportation and export routes for Kazakh grain can lift the economic relations of Astana and Baku to a higher level, said the new Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan, Zakir Hashimov.
“Despite that the economies of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are based primarily on energy, both countries have a wide range of possibilities to increase economic relations, the ambassador said in an interview with Trend. – I think that the transport capacity of our country will lead to greater integration between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.”
Traditional areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are the transportation of Kazakh oil and oil products through Baku – Black Sea transport corridor. Also the ferry service exists between the two countries. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are members of the TRACECA transport corridor (Europe-Caucasus-Asia).
The ambassador said the most perspective field of cooperation is the development of export routes for Kazakh grain. “As a major world grain exporter, Kazakhstan is interested in building new export routes, said Hashimov. – The grain terminal in Baku is an important link in the export route.
Baku Grain Terminal JV was opened in April 2007. Its construction totaled around $6 million. The terminal has been equipped with five silos for temporary storage of grain totaling 15,000 tons.
In addition to ensuring the needs of high-quality grain in Azerbaijan, the Baku terminal serves as an important element in re-export of Kazakh grain to the countries of the Caucasus and Black Sea regions and the EU.
Currently Azerbaijan primarily exports to Kazakhstan fuel and energy complex (jet and diesel fuel, lubricating oils), engineering (special equipment and spare parts), chemicals (plastic, various polymers and dyes), and imports from Kazakhstan – corn, barley, flour, chemicals, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy.
The ambassador said the economic ties between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan also developed dynamically during the global economic crisis.
“Given those projects, which are reflected in the documents signed between our countries, primarily in the energy sector, I am sure that as soon as the level of bilateral trade will increase significantly,” said the ambassador.
Azerbaijani community in life of country
The peoples of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are the fraternal peoples who share common historical roots, said the ambassador. Based on this, the potential for cooperation in all spheres – cultural, humanitarian, economic, political – are huge, he said.
“Strengthening, development and expansion of relations with Kazakhstan is a priority task for the Azerbaijani Embassy, and during my stay in Astana, I will do my best to multiply the good traditions, dynamic and progressive development of existing relations,” said Hashimov.
Azerbaijani community in Kazakhstan totals more than 300,000 people. The main part of the Azerbaijani community is families of those repressed in the Soviet period.
“Thanks to the stability, ethnic harmony and tolerance, our fellow citizens live and work together in Kazakhstan, said Hashimov. – Important role in this regard belongs to the Kazakhstan People Assembly, established by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.”
Kazakhstan People Assembly was established according to the Decree of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev of 1 March 1995 as advisory – consultative body to promote stability of interethnic and inter-confessional consent, stability in the society. One of the members of the Assembly is the Association of Azerbaijanis of Kazakhstan. On Friday, Oct. 29, Almaty will host the first congress of the Association.
The ambassador noted the active participation of Azerbaijanis in the socio-political life. Amongst the representatives of the Azerbaijani community, there are many scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers, etc., the ambassador said.
Azerbaijani cultural centers function all regions of Kazakhstan, and regularly conduct various activities, open Sunday schools, where everyone can get acquainted with Azerbaijani history, culture, customs and traditions of their historic homeland, and study their native language, he said.
Kazakhstan as OSCE Chairman-in-Office
The year of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship to the OSCE – the largest organization on the continent in the field of security policy – is coming to the end. By the end of the chairmanship, it is planned to hold the OSCE summit in Astana, which will discuss the most important regional security issues. It is also planned to raise the issue of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“In today’s world there are a number of threats and challenges, requiring adequate attention by the OSCE. Of course, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict occupies an important place amongst them, the ambassador said. – The fair solution to the conflict is a vital issue for Azerbaijan.”
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can not last indefinitely, it is not a frozen conflict, the ambassador said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. – are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council’s four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
“In resolving this issue, we appreciate the efforts of Kazakhstan as a friendly country, and as acting OSCE chairman-in-office, as well as the efforts of President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” said the ambassador.