Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zakharieva.
At the meeting started in tête-à-tête format and later continued with the participation of delegations, the Ministers discussed the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas and hailed the current state of relations.
Elmar Mammadyarov noted that a Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership, signed during the visit of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Bulgaria in 2015, is the main conceptual document for development of bilateral relations, and noted that considerable work has been done to implement it in recent years. The Minister said that the volume of trade between the two countries does not correspond to the potential of strategic cooperation and that the joint steps of the sides should be considered in this regard.
During the meeting, Minister Elmar Mammadyarov also briefed Bulgarian counterpart on the important infrastructure, energy and transport projects initiated by Azerbaijan and praised Bulgaria’s joining the Southern Gas Corridor network through the Interconnector Greece – Bulgaria.
Minister Yekaterina Zakhariyeva noted the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries. She said that the projects linked to the Southern Gas Corridor are of great importance for Bulgaria and that her country intends to become an energy transit hub for the Balkan region through existing interconnectors, as well as the ones under construction with its neighboring countries.
In terms of the development of bilateral cooperation, the sides exchanged views on the East-West and South-West transport corridors, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway as their important element, as well as the promising prospects for the ferry connection through the Black Sea.
The role of the Baku-Sofia direct flights in increasing tourism exchange between the two countries was hailed, and steps to be taken to stimulate additional dynamics in this regard were discussed.
Speaking about the negotiation process on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that the conflict should be settled on the basis of the principles of international law and the UN Security Council resolutions. In this regard, he commended Bulgaria for its position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its the internationally recognized borders.
Focusing on the prospects of traditional cooperation and mutual support within the international organizations, the sides also stressed that they will remain committed to coordinating efforts in this regard.
Following the meeting, the sides gave a joint press conference.