BAKU: Aliyev and Ciampi make statements to the press

AzerTag, Azerbaijan
Feb 24 2005

[February 24, 2005, 11:40:05]

Following the one-on-one meeting, Presidents Carlo Azeglio Ciampi of
Italy and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan made statements to the press.

President of the Republic of Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi noted in
particular that presence of the Azerbaijani President in Rome
emphasizes the importance Italy attributes to relations between the
two countries, and that since Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence,
`Italy has demonstrated her friendship by supporting its progress and
economic advancement.’

`Today, the conditions are ripe to build on the substantial prospects
for economic and cultural cooperation that have been created over the
past few years. First and foremost, in the promising energy sector,
but also in trade, direct investment, the setting up joint ventures,
and infrastructure projects,’ the Italian President said.

Speaking of the process of Azerbaijan’s integration into the European
family, President Azeglio Ciampi noted that the country’s `membership
of the Council of Europe is consolidating the progress of system
based on democratic pluralism and the effective enjoyment of
fundamental freedoms.’

`The more substantial and determined its progress towards these
objectives, the greater Azerbaijan will benefit as it moves closer to
Europe,’ he said.

Touching upon the situation in the Caucasus, the President pointed
out that expanding the certainty of law and civil progress is an
increasing responsibility for the European Union. `It has achieved it
by consolidating dialogue and interethnic coexistence in the complex
situation in the Balkans. It does likewise in the Caucasus, to
contribute to the stability and progress of the countries in the
region,’ he said.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted in his
statement that relations of traditional friendship and cooperation
are successfully developing between Italy and Azerbaijan. He
especially emphasized that it was the official visit to Italy by
national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in 1997 that laid the
foundation of these relation, and foster their further development.

President Ilham Aliyev noted that today Azerbaijan is on the path of
rapid integration into the European family and Euroatlantic
structures. According to the President, the country is experiencing
economic growth, and is involved in large-scale energy projects. He
pointed out that the processes taking place in Azerbaijan at the
moment serve ensuring peace and stability not only in the country but
also in the whole region. He noted however that these processes are
hampered by the Armenia’s long-lasting aggression against Azerbaijan.
As a result of this aggression, he said, 20% of the Azerbaijani
territories were occupied by the Armenian armed forces, and over
million people became refugee and internally displaced. The President
expressed regret that the first plan of peaceful settlement of the
Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, developed by the OSCE
Minsk Group when presided by Italy has not been realized as yet.

He stressed that Azerbaijan’s stance is based on the basic principles
of the international law – territorial integrity and inviolability of

President Ilham Aliyev mentioned the Italy’s important contribution
to the process of Azerbaijan’s entering the European new neighborhood
policy, and highly appreciated the involvement of country in
realization of oil and gas projects in Azerbaijan, which are of
strategic importance for international energy security.

The Azerbaijani leader pointed out that the two countries have also
common stance with respect to the problems of international
terrorism, proliferation of nuclear weapon, illicit drug turnover,
illegal migration, as well as strengthening of democracy, protection
of human rights and ensuring supremacy of law.