Baku, Kabul to continue cooperation in all fields

By: Sara Rajabova

The development of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan in various fields was highlighted during the visit of Afghan president to Azerbaijan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai paid a working visit to Azerbaijan on December 1.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Afghan counterpart exchanged views on prospects of expanding the relations, which are based on historical traditions. The heads of two states held a meeting in an expanded format with the participation of two sides’ delegations.

President Aliyev congratulated Ashraf Ghani for his victory in Afghanistan’s recent elections, and wished him success in his activities on behalf of the people and government of Azerbaijan.

“This visit is a sign of our cooperation and friendship, and I’m sure that we will continue our cooperation in all fields,” President Aliyev said.

Noting that the two countries enjoyed excellent political ties, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan and Afghanistan have always supported each other in international organizations.

“There are ample opportunities for economic cooperation, the trade turnover is increasing, and there are good dynamics in this field,” he said.

Azerbaijan’s military personnel have been part of the ISAF contingent in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. The mission of the armed forces in Afghanistan began on November 20, 2002. The Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan doubled in 2009. Currently, some 90 Azerbaijani servicemen are serving as part of international forces securing safety in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan is among the eight partner countries that have confirmed their presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

Besides, extensive training programs are conducted for Afghanistan’s law-enforcement and government officials at different academies in Azerbaijan. A total of three million euros has been transferred into the Fund of Trustees of Afghanistan’s National Army, while one million euros was spent on strengthening operations.

Expressing hope that after this visit additional measures will be taken to enhance economic cooperation in trade, investment, energy and other fields, President Aliyev noted that educational cooperation between the two countries is also of great importance for both sides.

“We are ready to actively cooperate in every field, because Afghanistan has been our brotherly country and our peoples for centuries have lived in an atmosphere of peace and friendship,” he said.

Stressing the necessity of using all opportunities for a further expansion of cooperation between the two countries, President Aliyev expressed confidence that the visit of the Afghan President to Azerbaijan will yield good results.

Ashraf Ghani hailed the Azerbaijani servicemen’s contribution to peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. He also thanked President Aliyev for Azerbaijan’s making investments in Afghanistan.

Stressing that Afghanistan wants to cooperate with Azerbaijan on various fronts, President Ashraf Ghani expressed his country`s desire to study reforms implemented in Azerbaijan in order to diversify economy.

The Afghan president noted that the changes taking place in Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Aliyev were exemplary.

“I once again congratulate you as you made Azerbaijan`s oil based economy, a very rich and diversified economy,” he said.

The parties further exchanged views on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which erupted back over Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

The heads of state also discussed regional cooperation, as well as prospects for collaboration in investment, energy, construction, agricultural, educational, cultural and other fields.

Then President Aliyev, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah continued the talks at a tea table.

The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on November 16, 1994. Azerbaijani ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is concurrently accredited to Afghanistan. The embassy of Afghanistan to Azerbaijan was opened in November, 2012.