Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Traian Basescu of Romania, Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met in Baku on Sept. 14.
The Azerbaijani leader opened the meeting, which was dedicated to the Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector (AGRI) project. The President highlighted the history of oil and gas production in Azerbaijan, saying his country was one of the first oil producers in the world. He said that after regaining its independence Azerbaijan embarked on cooperation with foreign companies to explore its oil and gas fields.
President Ilham Aliyev said diversifying transportation routes was a key priority in Azerbaijan's energy policy, adding the country had “good infrastructure, new pipelines to export its oil and gas in different directions”.
The President said his country attached a particular emphasis to regional and international cooperation in energy sphere. Ilham Aliyev said the Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector project “marks a new page in energy cooperation”, adding “the project has big potential”.
Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili praised Azerbaijan's contribution to strengthening the regional energy cooperation. He highlighted Georgia`s role as a transit country in transportation of energy resources.
Romanian President Traian Basescu highlighted the importance of the AGRI project. The Romanian leader praised Azerbaijan's contribution to ensuring Europe`s energy security.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said joining the project was of great importance for his country. He expressed Hungary's readiness to be “an active participant” of the AGRI project.
President Ilham Aliyev once again emphasized the meeting`s importance in terms of implementation of the project.
Following the remarks by the heads of state and government Azerbaijan`s industry and energy minister Natig Aliyev made a presentation on the Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector project. The meeting then featured discussions on the project.
The Azerbaijani, Romanian, Georgian presidents and the Hungarian Premier signed the Baku declaration on the AGRI project. The signing ceremony was followed by a joint press conference of the heads of state and government.
President Ilham Aliyev said “we are on the threshold of big development, and we have a strong will. Today, we are writing history,” he added.
The President said Azerbaijan had big experience in the energy sector. He noted balancing interests of the parties is one of the crucial conditions for the realization of the AGRI project.
President Ilham Aliyev said there were 7 pipelines in Azerbaijan which transport the country`s oil and gas in different directions.
The Azerbaijani leader said his country had fully ensured its energy security, which, he added, was part of national security. Aliyev said this year`s gas production forecast was 28 billion cubic meters, noting the country`s domestic demand was 10 or 11 billion cubic meters.
“We export the remaining volume of gas, with part of it being stored.”
“And our export levels do not limit our participation in other projects. Europe`s energy security is important to Azerbaijan as well, and it will open up wide opportunities for our country.”
President Ilham Aliyev noted the importance of carrying out the project`s feasibility study, emphasizing the necessity of involving international financial institutions in the process.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili thanked Azerbaijan for “the high-level organization” of the meeting.
He praised Azerbaijan's development, saying “it first and foremost serves to improving the people`s well-being”.
The Georgian leader highlighted the importance of the AGRI project. Mikheil Saakashvili stressed the importance of the fact that EU member states participate in the project along with regional countries. He said Hungary`s joining the project will breath fresh air into European Energy security.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said the realization of the AGRI project would create wide opportunities for successful implementation of the European Union Eastern Partnership program. He expressed confidence the project would also contribute to developing cooperation among countries in the Caspian region and European states.
Traian Basescu said there was necessary infrastructure for the implementation of the AGRI project, adding a major issue was building two gas terminals in Constanta terminal in Romania and Kulevi terminal in Georgia.
“And it means that the AGRI projects is one of the most economical projects,” he noted.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reiterated his country`s commitment to the AGRI project.
He expressed confidence the project would mark fruitful cooperation among the participating states.
Viktor Orban said that together with Romania Hungary would make every effort so that the Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector project justifies itself in Europe. “I believe the project will contribute to the European Union,” the Hungarian Premier added.
The press conference ended with a question-and-answer session.
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev hosted an official reception in honor of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sept. 14.
Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Traian Basescu of Romania and Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia had a joint dinner on the same day.
On Tuesday, Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Traian Basescu of Romania and Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia toured the Seaside National Park in Baku.
They were informed of the large-scale reconstruction of parks and gardens across the capital city. The heads of state then visited the Icharishahar, historic core of Azerbaijan`s capital, which was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2000.
The Presidents visited Caravanserai here, where they viewed a national art exhibition. They also visited the Fountains Square, one of the favourite places of leasure in Baku. /AzerTAc/Click photos to enlarge:Romanian President Traian Basescu arrives in Baku
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili arrives in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani leader meets Hungarian PM Viktor OrbanThe heads of states hold quadripartite meeting