TODAY.AZ / Politics

Azerbaijani-Spanish diplomatic relations at 30: Solid partnership with bright prospects

07 June 2022 [13:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Ayya Lmahamad

In 2022, Azerbaijan marks the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with the subjects of international relations - both individual states and international organizations.

Azernews - the nation's first English language media outlet - is launching a new project, designed to cover the major points of the 30-year-long diplomatic ties between Azerbaijan and individual states.

The geographically distant Spain, with a lot in common with Azerbaijan, comes first with no special preference for it.

Nowadays, Azerbaijan and Spain are marking the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. The prevailing good relations Baku and Madrid have managed to establish are based on successful foreign policy courses of the two nations with interests in their national and international interests.

Over the period of the diplomatic relations, the two geographically distant nations have forged a bond of trust, paving the way for strong and solid friendly ties based on dialogue and mutual understanding.

The good relations between the two countries are a vivid example that the West and the East are not so far apart as some may think. The Azerbaijani-Spanish relations have been longstanding, consistent, expanded, and filled with new content year after year.

High-level political dialogue and cooperation within the international organizations always give impetus to the development of relations and Baku and Madrid never let the opportunity slip to this effect. Cooperation between the two countries covers political, economic, energy, cultural, tourism, and sports. And for the convenience of our readers, we are trying to shed light on specific aspects of the relations in a Q&A format.

Q: When did Azerbaijan and Spain establish diplomatic relations? What do we know about the history of ties?

A: Spain recognized Azerbaijan’s independence on December 31, 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two states were established on February 11, 1992.

The first high-profile meetings between Azerbaijani and Spanish top officials were held in 1995 and in 1995-1996 official meetings of foreign ministers took place.

At the end of 2005, Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Madrid, and a diplomatic mission of Spain in Baku has been operating since 2014.

Q: What are the common points between the two states regarding the territorial integrity issue?

A: Azerbaijan and Spain, guided by the norms and principles of international law, support and respect each other’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and inviolability of both countries' internationally-recognized borders.

Both countries have suffered from separatism. Both cases, in an illegal and criminal way, were going against the UN resolutions, as well as the international law in the case of Karabakh and the national laws of Spain in the case of Catalonia. To recall, on October 1, 2017, a referendum on independence took place in Catalonia despite the opposition of Spanish central authorities and the lack of constitutional support. At the same time, for almost 30 years, Armenia kept under occupation some 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, which the victorious Azerbaijani army liberated in the 44-day Second Karabakh War back in 2020. Throughout the 44-day Second Karabakh War, the whole world including Spain closely followed the situation surrounding the conflict. Currently, Spanish companies are exploring the possibility of participating in the reconstruction of Azerbaijan’s liberated lands.

Q: What is the current state and spheres of economic cooperation between the two countries?

A: Spanish companies operate in various sectors of the Azerbaijani economy, from oil and gas, mechanical engineering, transport infrastructure to agriculture.

The introduction of the Spanish capital to Azerbaijan’s oil sector began late in the 1990s. The Spanish company Repsol was engaged in oil exploration in Azerbaijan, more precisely, the company’s share in the international consortium for the development of the Kurdashi oil field was 5 percent. Currently, some Spanish companies are also working on the modernization of refineries in Baku. At the same time, in 2014 Spain's Enagas acquired a 16-percent share in an important part of the SGC- Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

The economic cooperation between the two countries is not only limited to the oil and gas sector. There are also good cooperation opportunities in various sectors of interest, such as construction and building materials, architecture and urban planning, power plant renovation, the medical sector, and hospital network.

During the period from 2010 to 2020, Azerbaijan and Spain signed various cooperation agreements, including memorandums of cooperation in the fields of sports, culture, education, science, information, and communication; an agreement on the cancellation of a short-term visa regime for citizens holding diplomatic passports; convention for the avoidance of double taxation; as well as memorandums of understanding between the diplomatic academies and the foreign ministries of the two countries.

Additionally, in 2021, the Azerbaijani-Spanish trade turnover amounted to $645.8 million.

Q: How do the two countries cooperate in international, cultural, and other spheres?

A: International cooperation between the two countries is carried out within the framework of international organizations, of which they are members. Thus, Spain supports Azerbaijan's position in the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership strategy.

A relatively important stage in the development of relations between Spain and Azerbaijan was marked in April 2014, during the visit to Baku of an official delegation led by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo. The Spanish minister was received by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who noted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in political, economic, and cultural spheres.

In the same year, Baku played host to the symposium titled “Azerbaijani-Spanish relations: the scientific view of economic development”. The conference, which was organized with the support of the Spanish Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences, discussed issues such as an exchange of qualified personnel and the development of cooperation in the education sector.

With the continuation of bilateral relations development, in September 2020, the "House of Azerbaijan" opened in Barcelona with the support of the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Diaspora.

The past years and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Spain give grounds to say that there are great opportunities to further strengthen and deepen cooperation between the two nations.


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