BAKU, FEB 23 — With the state visit by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Italy, the relations between the two countries have reached a new historical stage, Azerbaijani MP Hikmet Babaoglu told.
Italy is one of the leading countries of the EU, and Azerbaijan has established special relations with this country, the MP noted.
The perfection of the political component contributes to the comprehensive development of relations between Azerbaijan and Italy, said Babaoglu.
The MP noted that in general, among the EU member states, Italy is one of the most important economic partners of Azerbaijan.
“Mutual trade turnover amounted to $6 billion,” added Babaoglu. “The potential opportunities between the two countries, as well as the absence of any political obstacles to the further development of relations, promise even greater prospects. Italy invariably supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. The statement of the heads of both states during the last meeting, as well as the fact that the joint declaration emphasizes bringing bilateral relations to a qualitatively new level, along with the further development of relations between Italy and Azerbaijan, will be a good example for the other EU member countries.”
The MP noted that Italy is leading in Europe in a number of areas of industry.
“The presence of special ties between the Sumgayit Industrial Park and Italian companies is no coincidence,” Babaoglu said. “All this determines new directions in the chemical industry. Products manufactured by chemical enterprises in the Sumgayit Industrial Park make up 14 percent of Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector, and this was made possible thanks to cooperation with Italian companies.”
“Speaking about the economic component of relations between Italy and Azerbaijan, it should be emphasized that the trade turnover between the two states in the non-energy sphere amounts to nearly $1 billion,” the MP added. “At the same time, investment transactions worth about $10 billion have been implemented between companies and structures of the two countries.”
Babaoglu stressed that Italy is an extremely important country for promoting the interests of Azerbaijan in Europe, and the declaration of 2020 as the “Year of Azerbaijani Culture” in Italy during the state visit by the Azerbaijani president is no coincidence.
“Italy is also a major tourist country,” said the MP. “Milan is leading in Europe in a number of avant-garde trends, and in 2020 Azerbaijan will again present its culture, history, traditions and customs to Europe. On the other hand, megaprojects implemented by Azerbaijan play an important role in ensuring the energy security of Europe, in particular Italy.”
“The last segment of the Southern Gas Corridor, that is, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), ends in Italy,” Babaoglu added. “The end point of the pipeline through which Azerbaijani gas is transported to Europe, is located in Italy, and from there gas is planned to be distributed across the whole continent, which also speaks of special relations between the two countries. This will also form a new economic and political atmosphere, as well as have a positive impact on the relations of the countries, through the territory of which the pipeline passes, with Azerbaijan.”
“Summarizing all the above mentioned factors, with an emphasis on about 20 documents signed during the Azerbaijani president’s state visit to Italy, it is safe to say that in the future the level and extent of cooperation between the two countries in economic, political, humanitarian, military and other spheres will grow even more,” the MP said. “The state visit by the Azerbaijani president to Italy in 2020 opened a new page in the relations between the two countries, and will further ensure the interests of both states.”