Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy of the Italian Republic Adolfo Urso, who attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a 1,280-MW thermal power plant, the largest in Azerbaijan’s independence period.
Speaking at the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev said:
– Welcome, dear Minister, I am very glad to see you in Azerbaijan. This is indeed a very important event and a project that will greatly strengthen Italian-Azerbaijani friendship. As mentioned, the Italian-Azerbaijani relations have a strategic importance, and we are trying to further expand these strategic partnership frameworks. First of all, our political relations are at a very high level. You also mentioned in your speech that President Mattarella’s visit to Azerbaijan and my visits to Italy have strengthened these relations even more. Of course, the arrival of three ministers of the Italian government to Azerbaijan since January 11 to this day is very important and I can say that it is an extraordinary event. During these visits, we have and will discuss cooperation in the military, military-technical, energy, investment and trade sectors as a whole.
Our strong political ties are a great foundation. Oil and gas and now power engineering projects have greatly strengthened this foundation. At the same time, we want trade relations to be more diversified. You know that the process of building the Italy-Azerbaijan University is going fast, five Italian universities are already partners with us. At the same time, the companies doing most of the work in the liberated lands represent Türkiye and Italy.
I must also say that Italian-Azerbaijani relations are so deep and sincere that we have entrusted the projects we consider the most important to Italian companies. For example, in Baku, in many liberated cities, Victory and Occupation museums are being created by Italian companies. In Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, three destroyed mosques and one new mosque are being restored and built by Italian companies. So along with all other areas, these projects I mentioned are of special importance for us. Because this is our historical past. At the same time, there will be new symbols that reflect our Victory.
A month after the second Karabakh war, a very important contract was signed between Azerenergy and Ansaldo. Lands liberated from occupation cover an area of 10,000 square kilometers. For comparison, it is an area the size of Lebanon. Everything is destroyed there, so we are rebuilding everything and we want more Italian companies to participate in these works – in the construction, service, investment sectors and as contractors. The Italian company IVECO has already started establishing its own enterprise there. The production of trucks is planned there. Therefore, the agenda is very extensive, and I am sure that all these issues will be widely discussed during the visit.
Minister Adolfo Urso said:
– Thank you Mr. President, I am grateful for the reception.
I have been to your country many times. I visited Azerbaijan when I was still minister of foreign trade. Today, I attended the ceremony to celebrate the agreement with Ansaldo.
A few days after you liberated your territories, I visited your country as part of the Italian parliamentary delegation. We visited those places at that time. I remember going to the city of Aghdam and taking pictures from the minaret of the mosque. I showed them to Italian news channels. This trip gave me great feelings. No-one could even imagine the level of devastation.
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During the meeting, the sides emphasized the importance of the activity of the intergovernmental commission, of holding a meeting of this commission as soon as possible in terms of the implementation of the tasks set.
During the conversation, the parties exchanged views on cooperation in renewable energy, agricultural machinery, pharmaceutical industry, science, education, culture and other fields, as well as restoration and construction work in liberated territories.
The importance of the TAP project, which currently plays an important part in ensuring Italy’s energy security, was also discussed, along with the issues of increasing its transmission capacity in the future.
Italy’s support for the development of Azerbaijan’s relations with the European Union was highly appreciated and it was emphasized that Italy was an important partner for Azerbaijan among European Union countries.
Instructions were given to exchange visits at the level of relevant ministries for the implementation of the issues discussed.