(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 28
By Nargiz Sadikhova - Trend:
Croatia and Azerbaijan have untapped possibilities to strengthen cooperation in agriculture and food processing industries, Croatian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Branko Zebic told Trend .
Commenting on the prospects for opening Trade Houses of Azerbaijan in Croatia and vice-versa, Ambassador said that this possibility has been overlooked some years ago, unfortunately without results.
“For the beginning, we should start with a more significant presence of our food products and beverages on both markets through regular store chains. There are only a few Croatian food products on the Azerbaijani market. A similar situation is with Azerbaijani products in Croatia. I will soon have a meeting in AZPROMO in this regard. Certainly, we, Azerbaijan and Croatia, have untapped possibilities to strengthen our cooperation in agriculture and food processing industries,” he said.
He also noted that the next meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation will be held in Baku, having emphasized that the second meeting of the Commission was held in November last year.
“This kind of meeting usually takes place every two-three years. For the moment, we only know that the next meeting will be in Baku. It was a productive meeting in Zagreb where more than 30 high representatives of the different state bodies and ministries from both sides participated. Azerbaijani delegation was headed by Minister of Culture Mr. Anvar Karimov and Croatian by Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Mr. Tomislav Ćorić. All possibilities of economic and trade cooperation were discussed and scrutinized. We hope for positive results in the near future,” he said.
Commenting on whether Croatian companies are interested in investment opportunities in Azerbaijani liberated territories, the ambassador noted that yes, they are interested and there are some preliminary talks about it with the Azerbaijani authorities and business community.
Furthermore, commenting on whether the COVID-19 pandemic in any way affected the bilateral relations, Zebic said that bilateral trade turnover remained stable.
“We do not have yet the results for the whole 2021 year, but most probably, they will even outgrow the last year's as well as those of the year before. As regards bilateral relations generally, despite the pandemic it has intensified. Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Mr. Gordan Grlić Radman paid an official visit to Azerbaijan in October and the Second Meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation was held in Zagreb in November,” ambassador said.
He also noted that there were also exchanges of cultural programs and projects in the organization of the Croatian Embassy in Baku and the Azerbaijani Embassy in Zagreb.
“In this context, I would like to highlight two concerts in Baku in December, performed by the Croatian Vocal Ensemble“Klapa Bošket”,” he added.
In turn, commenting on the progress on Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) project, developed by four countries: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania, Zebic recalled that an online meeting was held with all relevant stakeholders on January 18, 2022 during which it was concluded that the project company needs to be established as soon as possible.
“There is an intention that representatives of all four governments will sign a statement of support for the development of project company on 4 February 2022 on the margins of the Southern Gas Corridor Ministerial Meeting in Baku. We believe that the company will be established in the next few months, depending on the pandemic situation,” he said.
He also noted that although the preparation of the project company is in the mature phase now, due to the COVID-19 situation it is still not established.
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