Germany Welcomes Reform And Growth In Azerbaijan

Agence France Presse
Aug 25 2004

Germany Welcomes Reform And Growth In Azerbaijan

BERLIN, Aug 25 (AFP) – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomed
Wednesday the reforms undertaken in Azerbaijan and economic growth
that has begun there, after talks here with President Ilham Aliyev.

“The domestic reforms have led to surprising growth,” said Schroeder,
adding that efforts to improve the rule of law had brought “much
success already.”

He called on German investors to drop their reservations about the
region around the oil-rich former Soviet republic, which borders
Iran, Russia and Turkey.

The two leaders signed a contract for the delivery to Azerbaijan of
three Airbus A319 passenger jets and a smaller aircraft.

Azerbaijan, a mainly Muslim nation of about eight million people, has
sizeable oil deposits which it is starting to export to world

Its pro-Western and secular government has said it wants to move
closer to European institutions.

Schroeder also said that Germany supports a political solution to the
conflict in the enclave of Nagorny Karabakh and wants to continue to
help through the auspices of Europe’s OSCE security organisation.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a four-year war over Nagorny Karabakh,
which has a majority Armenian population. The conflict has cost an
estimated 35,000 lives and forced about one million people on both
sides to flee their homes.

Aliyev, 42, who succeeded his father as president last year, is
making his first visit to Germany as president and is expected to
leave on Thursday.

On a trip to Azerbaijan in April, German Foreign Minister Joschka
Fischer said its leaders needed to improve their performance on
democracy and human rights.