Belarus, Azerbaijan coordinate efforts to carry out EaP initiative

MINSK, November 12 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus and Azerbaijan will coordinate efforts to carry out the Eastern Partnership initiative and develop energy cooperation, according to a declaration made by Belarusian and Azerbaijani Presidents, Alexander Lukashenko and Ilkham Aliyev, on the results of their talks in Baku on Thursday.

"The sides intend to exchange experience in European integration and coordinate positions within the implementation of the Eastern Partnership initiative," the declaration says. The sides intend "to encourage investment and other cooperation in the energy sector, trade, heavy industry, machine-building and agriculture", the declaration says.

Belarus and Azerbaijan said they are ready "to develop and strengthen cooperation in transit and transport communications, create and ensure favourable conditions for carrying out transport operations between different modes of transport", the document stresses. In addition, bilateral documents also included an inter-governmental agreement on youth cooperation, agreements on interaction in national security and archiving.

Belarus and Azerbaijan also signed an agreement between border guard services and a protocol on the implementation of a document on education in 2009-2010.

Lukashenko said he is satisfied with the high level of cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan. "When preparing for your visit, we were pleased to discover that we have high results in the implementation of our accords. Practically everything we agree on, is implemented in the shortest possible time," Lukashenko said.

As a result, trade turnover between the two countries has increased by 11 times in the past five years.

Lukashenko specially mentioned the fact that the increase occurred during the crisis. "We can further boost it to 500 million dollars within the next two or three years," he said.

It is good dynamics of relations; the countries have managed to find effective fields of cooperation. Belarus and Azerbaijan set up joint ventures, work on each other's markets and enter the markets of third states.

"We see support of all our projects in Azerbaijan," Lukashenko noted.

Aliyev noted the active dynamics of bilateral relations. "During a relatively short period, official visits have been made; three visits by prime ministers have taken place recently," he noted.

The two countries have good cooperation prospects.

"We have responsibility when implementing our decisions. Everything is implemented within the shortest timeframe," he noted.

The growth two-way trade in the crisis year is a very rare case. "I'm sure we'll be stepping up political interaction and implementing economic projects," Aliyev said.

He expressed the hope that this visit would enable the two countries to make more progress in cooperation.

Lukashenko said Belarus and Azerbaijan are ready to launch large-scale projects.

Aliyev said the leadership of Belarus and Azerbaijan showed political will to resolve the existing problems. Azerbaijan and Belarus also maintain a good political dialogue and actively cooperate within the framework of international organisations. "We develop cooperation in different areas," he said. "Although bilateral trade grows considerably, the existing potential remains untapped. It is a real figure that trade turnover between the two countries may reach 500 million U.S. dollars," Aliyev said.


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