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(MENAFN– Trend News Agency)

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BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 30. Following the
expanded meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham
Aliyev and President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev have
made press statements.

Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Thank you,
Mr. President.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Mr. President, first of all, I would like to thank you for
inviting me to Bulgaria and for the hospitality extended to me and
my delegation. I am very happy to be visiting your beautiful
country again.

President Radev gave extensive information about the issues we
have discussed today. For my part, I would like to add that many
issues have been discussed in a friendly atmosphere, both in our
one-on-one conversation and in the discussions with the
participation of delegations. I am sure that the results of this
visit will be very successful and the agreements reached today will
definitely be implemented, as was the case with those reached in
previous times. In particular, I would like to mention the Joint
Declaration on strategic partnership between Bulgaria and
Azerbaijan signed in 2015. This Declaration has raised our
relations to a high level and, at the same time, all the issues
identified in that declaration have been implemented. Today,
Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are maintain closer contact with each other
as two friendly and strategic partner countries.

As for political relations, it would be enough to mention our
contacts, as well as the numerous meetings held at the ministerial
level. Of course, my trip is slightly belated, but that is because
of COVID. I have visited several countries, including Bulgaria,
right after COVID. I am sure that as strategic partners we will
take further steps in the field of energy security, which is the
main issue discussed today. Partnership in this field has already
been implemented, as Azerbaijan’s gas is now in Bulgaria. During
the conversation with the President today, we also discussed ways
of increasing the volume of Azerbaijani gas to be exported to
Bulgaria. Relevant instructions have been given. Energy security
issues have always been important, but in today’s circumstances,
this importance has increased even more. We are well aware of this.
Therefore, we are doing our best to increase gas production and
supply our partners with natural gas. Azerbaijan has been exporting
its crude oil to world and European markets as a reliable partner
for many years. Azerbaijan, which now exports natural gas, will
assert how itself as a reliable partner in this field as well.

We have also exchanged opinions about the ceremony to be held
tomorrow. I congratulated President Radev on this great historic
achievement. The Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector project is
indeed of historic importance. I am sure that this interconnector
will enable the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe on a
larger scale. At the same time, it will be of great benefit to
energy security on the European continent.

As the President noted, a Memorandum on strategic partnership in
the field of energy was recently signed between the European Union
and Azerbaijan. According to this Memorandum, in the next few
years, we will increase our gas exports to Europe at least twice,
and there are opportunities to do that. Azerbaijan’s confirmed gas
reserves are at 2.6 trillion cubic meters. New and diversified gas
transportation infrastructure allows us the opportunity to supply
natural gas to many countries. Of course, the successes achieved in
this field are also a good foundation for future plans.

At the same time, as already mentioned by the President, the
issue of opening SOCAR’s office in Bulgaria has also been
discussed. We should not limit our energy agenda to the exports of
natural gas. We have also discussed other issues related to energy.
Export of electricity and mutually beneficial cooperation in this
field, the transportation of crude oil to Bulgaria, possible
participation of SOCAR in the renewal of energy infrastructure in
Bulgaria and other issues have been discussed as well. In short,
the time has come to open SOCAR’s office in Bulgaria, and I am sure
that we will do that soon.

As for other issues as a whole, transport security is certainly
an important issue considering the new geopolitical situation
today. Azerbaijan has created a very modern transport
infrastructure in its territory – railways, highways, a new
International Trade Sea Port – all these infrastructure facilities
have one goal of increasing the volume of transit cargo through
Azerbaijan. This year, the volume of these cargoes has increased by
approximately 50 percent. In the future, this number will be even
greater. Therefore, Bulgarian and Azerbaijani transport workers
will come together and exchange ideas about long-term and
large-scale future cooperation.

I will meet with the heads of several leading companies of
Bulgaria today. There are already quite a few topics for the
meeting. I am sure that this meeting will play a very important
role for the deepening of cooperation in the fields of economy and
investment as a whole. At the same time, I will invite Bulgarian
companies to do more large-scale work in Azerbaijan, including the
territories liberated from occupation. At the moment, major
construction and improvement work is under way there, and we would
like to see companies of friendly countries there.

In short, the discussions held today and those that will be
continued – Mr. President and I will meet in the evening again, I
will have a meeting with the Prime Minister, and we will
participate in the event tomorrow – these meetings, held in a very
nice atmosphere, are and will be of great importance .

Thank you again for your hospitality and attention. Thank
you.

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