By Peter Tase
On the evening of October 15, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev arrived in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan, to begin on the following day his official visit in the neighboring country.
On October 16, President Ilham Aliyev attended the official welcoming ceremony in the Palace of Nations in Dushanbe, welcomed by President Emomali Rahmon and a guard of honor holding the flags of both nations. In this occasion members of both governments were introduced by the two heads of state respectively.
Subsequently the two presidents held a one-on-one meeting in which President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon emphasized: “We are satisfied with this visit to Tajikistan. Welcome! Tajikistan and Azerbaijan are bound together by ancient historical and cultural ties. I am confident that this visit will give a new impetus to our bilateral relations. During this visit we will certainly have wide discussions on important areas of our bilateral relations and define the agenda of our multilateral cooperation.”
The relations between Baku and Dushanbe are developing successfully; bilateral trade is poised to grow, and political consultations are at the highest levels.
On this occasion President Ilham Aliyev stated: “I thank you for inviting me to visit you beautiful country. I am happy to be here again, and I see impressive changes. In a short period of time I will see impressive changes. All these improvements reflect a rapid development of your country. As your friends, this makes us very happy, and we certainly have big hopes that the potential of our bilateral cooperation will be strengthened. We have strong ties. We are friends and partners. This is a visit of a friend, partner. We also hope that this visit will encourage a rapid development of our economic relations. Because we both agree that our trade is not at the desired levels. This is why in our delegation we have included representatives of business circles, and many ministers. On this occasion I believe that we will have positive results.”
The two presidents’ informal meeting was followed by an expanded session between members of the Azerbaijani delegation and their counterparts from Tajikistan led by President Emomali Rahmon. At this meeting, the two heads of state made public statements and reiterated the importance of strengthening the bilateral cooperation.
The expanded meeting was followed by a signing ceremony of a joint declaration between the President of Azerbaijan and the President of Tajikistan. This declaration was followed by the signing of a bilateral agreement that consisted on strengthening the coordination between of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan on Civil Defense, Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations” it was signed by Azerbaijan`s Minister of Emergency Situations Kamaladdin Heydarov and Tajikistan`s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirodjidin Aslov.
The second agreement was signed in the area of “Isolation of Plants disease” signed by Azerbaijan`s Minister of Agriculture Heydar Asadov and Tajikistan`s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirodjidin Aslov.
The third bilateral agreement on cooperation “between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan was in the field of Healthcare” it was signed by Azerbaijan`s Minister of Health Ogtay Shiraliyev and Tajikistan`s Minister of Health and Social Protection of Population Salimzoda Nusratullo Faizullo.
The fourth “Agreement was focused on Scientific Cooperation between the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan”, it was signed by the president of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Akif Alizade and president of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan Farhad Rahimi.
After this memorable ceremony, the two statesmen delivered statements to the press and in the afternoon hours, President Ilham Aliyev visited the statue of Ismoili Somoni in the complex of the Tajik National Solidarity and Revival Complex in Dusty Square, Dushanbe. The Azerbaijani head of state was honored by a guard of honor during the wreath laying ceremony in front of the statue.
At the Tajik National University, Dushanbe, President Ilham Aliyev was presented with an Honorary Doctorate diploma. Rector of the University Mahmadyusuf Imomov read out the Academic Council`s decision to give the Honorary Doctorate degree to the President of Azerbaijan and select him as the Honorary Member of the Council. Subsequently President Ilham Aliyev was presented with the diploma and mantle of the Honorary Doctor. The head of state delivered a speech in front of the professors, teachers and students of the university.
After the ceremony President Ilham Aliyev, met with Prime Minister of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda. During the meeting, both leaders discussed the extensive bilateral relations. It was noted that the visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, would play a big role in order to further deepen the relations between the two countries. The two parties said that the documents signed during the visit would contribute to the expansion of friendly ties between the two countries and people, particularly in political, economic and humanitarian areas.
Later, President Ilham Aliyev attended the official dinner reception hosted by the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in his honor.
In this ceremony President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon stated: “I am very pleased to welcome distinguished Ilham Heydarovich Aliyev, my dear friend, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a substantial delegation of fraternal Republic of Azerbaijan. As part of the visit of esteemed Ilham Heydarovich Aliyev we had a constructive and extensive conversation during which we defined the ways of elevating our interactions to a higher level. The Republic of Azerbaijan takes an important place in the structure of international relations of our country. The fact that our countries share the same stance on many international and regional issues, conceptual approaches of both Azerbaijan and Tajikistan in international and regional organizations fosters dynamic and steady development of Tajik-Azerbaijani relations. The contemporary history of the Tajik-Azerbaijani relations is a testimony of a fruitful course of a bilateral partnership which brings long-term, reliable and effective interactions, based on principles of benevolence and mutually beneficial partnerships. Today, we strengthened the existing legal framework by signing several important documents and, thereby, once more expressed our will and determination towards closer cooperation. I want to express hope that we will be able to achieve the goals set forth, mutually beneficial cooperation for the good of our friendly peoples through our joint efforts.”
In addition to strengthening its partnership with Azerbaijan and other neighboring countries, Tajikistan has established a dynamic cooperation agenda with various EU member countries such as Estonia. Dushanbe has recently been focused to strengthen its economic cooperation, e-services and e-government initiative, tourism sector and transportation engineering with a significant support from the government of Estonia.
On the other hand, over the last three years, the European Union has supported Tajikistan with 62 million euros, which have gone into developing social coverage, welfare, healthcare and the private sector. In late 2013, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have begun a major railway infrastructure project that will connect the three countries and will stretch in approximately 400 kilometers. This cooperation is expected to strengthen the economic relations between these countries in the region.
In his speech, during the official dinner reception, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stated: “My official visit is nearing its end. I would like to express my gratitude to you once again, esteemed Emomali Sharipovich, for your hospitality. From the first moment of our stay on this wonderful soil, we felt just like at home. Today was a very eventful and fruitful visit. We, as you noted, discussed with you a broad agenda of our bilateral relations. We had a very objective analysis of what is happening around us as well as a sincere exchange of views on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. The main thing is the result of our work – we determined the concrete ways of development of our relations. Having wonderful political relations and cooperating actively at international organizations and supporting each other on all the matters of principle, we, of course, must step up our work in the economic field as well. The decisions adopted during the meeting of the intergovernmental commission will soon yield positive results.”
President Aliyev continued by emphasizing the cooperation history of both countries: “Our cooperation is based on the history, affinity and centuries-long friendship of our peoples. Today, our countries are two independent states that are active members of the international community, our countries pursue their independent policy, foreign policy, and we work actively to deepen regional security. I think the regional cooperation in the Central Asia, Caspian Sea and the Caucasus will largely depend on the interaction of our nations, close coordination of our efforts. This is because we have a common goal of improving the lives of our people, strengthen independence of our countries, and cement the international position of our two nations. Our meetings with Emomali Sharipovich Rahmon are regular at every international Summit and we meet several times a year. We treat each other as brothers whenever we meet. It gives a great impetus to our relations and to those who solve important issues in the government, parliament or at public offices.”
Aliyev closed his remarks by extending a warm invitation to President Emomali Sharipovich Rahmon to visit Azerbaijan at his earliest convenience.