Azerbaijan has confirmed its reputation of a reliable partner, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said while making a press statement together with President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella.

“Today, as Mr. President said, we also touched upon cooperation in the field of culture,” Ilham Aliyev said. “We want to deepen cooperation in this area. There are plans to open a Culture Center of Azerbaijan in Italy. Several years ago, a monument to brilliant Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi was erected in the Villa Borghese park. We have very fruitful cooperation in the field of education. There are plans to sign documents in this area too. Currently, more than 1,500 Azerbaijani students go to Italian universities.”

“With regard to energy issues, Azerbaijan is Italy’s main supplier of crude oil,” the Azerbaijani president noted. “Azerbaijan accounts for 17 percent of crude oil consumption in Italy. For almost 15 years, Azerbaijan has been exporting crude oil to Italy, and there were no problems or force majeure circumstances over this time. So Azerbaijan has confirmed its reputation of a reliable partner.”

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“As for the exports of natural gas, this project is also being completed,” added Ilham Aliyev. “The implementation of the TAP project has reached 92 percent. This is the fourth and final project of the Southern Gas Corridor. Prior to this, three projects were implemented. Azerbaijan is located on one side of the Southern Gas Corridor and Italy is on the other.”

“There is cooperation with five other countries located between us, so in total there are seven countries involved,” the Azerbaijani president said. “This cooperation will also have a positive impact on the energy and all other areas, because these countries are closely connected with each other. After this, the development of political, economic and cultural ties between these countries will go even faster, of course.”

“The Southern Gas Corridor is a historic project, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to President Mattarella for the efforts made because during an official visit to Azerbaijan in July 2018, Mr. President and I talked about this,” Ilham Aliyev noted. “After that conversation, the implementation of TAP went faster, and we are currently at the final stage of the project.”

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“We have also had an exchange of views on the relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan,” said the Azerbaijani president. “Work is under way on a new agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan. I believe that the “Joint Declaration on Strengthening Multidimensional Strategic Partnership”, which will be signed today, can be an excellent basis for this agreement.”

“The relations between NATO and Azerbaijan are developing successfully,” added Ilham Aliyev. “Many years ago, we sent our troops to Afghanistan. Azerbaijan is actively involved in peacekeeping operations. We are providing very important logistical and transport services to NATO forces. Given the very favorable geographical location and transport infrastructure of Azerbaijan, we are successfully cooperating in this area.”

“So all the questions and thoughts that have been voiced clearly show that strategic partnerships and friendly ties have been established between our two countries, and these ties will successfully develop in the future,” said the Azerbaijani president. “Thank you!”