Azerbaijan, Poland mull co-op

By: Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan and Poland enjoy significant prospects to expand cooperation in the agricultural, industrial, ICT, tourism and energy sectors.

This remark was made by Azerbaijan’s Economy and Industry Minister, Shahin Mustafayev at a meeting with a Polish delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Economy Minister, Janusz Piechocinski on June 2.

The meeting was attended by entrepreneurs, engaged in the energy industry, construction, finance, ecology and other fields.

Piechocinski noted that political relations between Azerbaijan and Poland stand at a high level. He also expressed Poland’s interest in expanding its ties with Azerbaijan.

Earlier, the Polish delegation was received by President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan is an important partner which will help strengthen Poland’s energy security and that of Central and Eastern Europe, Piechocinski told Trend.

“Azerbaijan is a very stable country with a good economy. Last year the implementation of several new gas pipeline projects in Central Europe – Nabucco West and South Stream – was suspended. Today we know one thing – these projects will not be realized. The only project which is being implemented in this field is Azerbaijan’s project [TAP]. Therefore, Poland, Central and Eastern Europe are very interested in the significant expansion of cooperation with Azerbaijan and State Oil Company of Azerbaijan SOCAR,” he noted.

Piechocinski believes that it would be better if this project was to open an access to Turkmen gas.

“Azerbaijan and the EU have established a good mutual understanding. Azerbaijan has made a great and very fair offer to Europe, so wherever I am in the EU: Berlin, Paris and other countries of the Union, I emphasize the great importance of Azerbaijan [for the EU]. But I repeat that Europe should clearly define what kind of support it can provide to this project,” he stressed.

The Polish official also said the Energy Union, which was established by the EU on the initiative of Poland, should be a union for partners outside the EU, with very transparent operating principles.

He went on adding that given Azerbaijan’s strategic position, Poland needs to develop cooperation with this country in all fields: both on a state and private level.

“Energy, gas, oil are raw materials, which are of great importance, but raising the level of trust is equally important. Azerbaijan invited Iraq’s oil minister [to the ceremony of opening of the 22nd Caspian Oil & Gas-2015 International Exhibition and Conference], despite the fact that this country is its direct competitor. Thus, Azerbaijan shows that it respects its competitors,” he added.

In fact, the country is implementing a new business strategy – partnership in rivalries, the official stressed.

Poland recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991. Diplomatic relations in between the two countries were established in 1992. The Embassy of Poland was established in Baku in 2001. The Embassy of Azerbaijan was established in Warsaw in 2004.

The volume of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Poland stood at $78.678 million as of 2014, according to Azerbaijan’s State Statistical Committee. In January-April 2015, this figure was equal to $18.2 million.