Sunday, 24 September 2023 10:01 GMT

Azerbaijan, Germany Mark 30Th Anniversary Of Bilateral Relations

(MENAFN- AzerNews)

By Vugar Khalilov

In 2022, Azerbaijan marks the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with the subjects of international relations - both individual states and international organizations.

Azernews - the nation's first English language newspaper - launched a new project, designed to cover the major aspects of the 30-year-long diplomatic ties between Azerbaijan and individual states.

On February 20, Germany and Azerbaijan marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Germany is one of the nations with which Azerbaijan has been developing strong ties as a trusted European partner. Official Baku attaches special importance to German support in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration and close cooperation with the European Union. As a country that plays an important role in the world economy and politics, the Federal Republic of Germany supports the expansion of cooperation with Azerbaijan in all areas.

The relations between the two nations date back to the second half of the nineteenth century, when Siemens Brothers, a German business, developed massive smelting plants based on copper resources in Azerbaijan's Gadabay region in 1863.

As a result of the increased activities of German industrialists in Azerbaijani regions, German colonies were established in the surrounding areas, especially in the present-day Goygol and Shamkir regions of Azerbaijan. In western Azerbaijan (Goygol, Shamkir), numerous historical buildings, including churches, are a reminder that Swabian immigrants settled there from 1818 onwards.

Over the 30-year-long period of diplomatic relations, the two countries have been able to build strong ties based on partnership in the economic, cultural, and education spheres. For the convenience of our readers, we are trying to shed light on specific aspects of the relations in a Q&A format.

Q: When did Azerbaijan and Germany establish diplomatic relations?

A: Germany and Azerbaijan have enjoyed good bilateral relations since 1992.

On January 12, 1992, Germany recognized Azerbaijan's independence. Azerbaijan and Germany established diplomatic relations on February 20, 1992. On September 2, 1992, Azerbaijan opened its first embassy in Western Europe, in Germany, while on September 22, 1992, Germany established its embassy in Azerbaijan.

Q: What are the common points between the two states regarding the territorial integrity issue?

A: As a member of the OSCE Minsk Group (although the group proved to be ineffective in the settlement of the conflict), Germany has always supported Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and advocated for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The German parliament (Bundestag) repeatedly stated that maintaining the previous status quo, namely, Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized lands was inadmissible, and urged for a lasting solution to the former conflict.

Q: What do we know about the two nations' bilateral political ties and cooperation?

A: Germany is one of the most important political and economic partners of Azerbaijan in Europe. It is also an active supporter and promoter of the Eastern Partnership initiative, initiated by Poland and Sweden, which envisages close cooperation between the European Union and Eastern European countries. The high level of political relations between the two countries is reflected in mutual visits and intensive inter-parliamentary cooperation.

A working committee on Azerbaijani-German Inter-Parliamentary Relations exists in the Azerbaijani Parliament with Nurlan Hasanov as the group's chairman. The German Parliament (Bundestag) has the German-South Caucasus Parliamentary Group with Dr. Barbara Hendrix as the head.

The Azerbaijani-German relationships have expanded at high levels in all areas. Political dialogue between the two countries has continued through regular reciprocal visits at the highest levels.

The results of the first official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Germany in 2004, once again confirmed the greater potential for cooperation between the two countries. Several agreements, signed during the visit opened vast opportunities for economic cooperation. In total, seventy-seven documents were signed between Azerbaijan and Germany.

During his visits to Germany in 2007 and 2010, Aliyev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed prospects for bilateral relations as well as relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union, and the successful implementation of economic reforms in Azerbaijan, and the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Germany, as an essential partner, has always indicated its willingness to assist Azerbaijan in a variety of spheres.

The occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and the peaceful settlement of the conflict were the main topics of the discussion at the meetings held by the officials of the two nations. Over the past years, Germany and Azerbaijan have successfully cooperated in the field of defense, political security, and the fight against terrorism.

President Ilham Aliyev paid several working visits to Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conferences: February 3-5, 2012, February 6-8, 2015, February 12-14, 2016, February 17-19, 2017, and February 14, 2017, and February 16, 2020.

In August 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Azerbaijan. During the meeting with the participation of delegations, Merkel stated that Azerbaijan was Germany's largest trading partner in the region. She added that Germany had the potential to expand economic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan.

Q: What type of economic ties do the two countries have?

A: Germany is one of Azerbaijan's most important economic partners in Europe, while Azerbaijan is the most important economic partner of Germany in the South Caucasus.

The Azerbaijani-German economic and trade relations are one of the dynamically developing areas of cooperation. Azerbaijan is Germany's most important economic and trade partner in the South Caucasus.

According to the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy, Azerbaijan's share in Germany's trade turnover with the countries of the South Caucasus was about 65 percent in 2020. At the same time, according to the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control, Azerbaijan was the ninth largest supplier of oil to Germany in 2020. In 2020, about 2.5 million tons of crude oil were exported from Azerbaijan to Germany.

The reciprocal visits between the two countries at the highest level, as well as business forums held in Germany to promote Azerbaijan's business opportunities and the 'Made in Azerbaijan' brand, make a special contribution to the further expansion of bilateral economic and trade relations and raise bilateral economic relations to a new level.

The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce, which was opened in Baku on the 12th of November 2012, is the second foreign trade chamber of Germany (after the one in Moscow) in the CIS countries. The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK Azerbaijan), as the official representative of the German economy in Azerbaijan, provides information services and supports companies in their market and business research. The AHK was founded by the German-Azerbaijan Business Association (DAWF), which has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1999. With 200 member companies on both sides (as of April 2020), the AHK Azerbaijan is the most powerful European economic association in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is one of Germany's ten most important suppliers of crude oil. The key exports are machinery, motor vehicles and components, iron and steel products, and production facilities.

According to the Azerbaijani Customs Committee, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Germany amounted to $1.2 billion in 2021. In addition, trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $377.5 million from January to April 2022.

Q: What is the extent of cultural cooperation between the two countries?

A: The Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, dated December 22, 1995, provides the legal basis in this area. By this agreement, the Azerbaijani-German Joint Commission was established.

In 2008, Azerbaijan held its first year of cultural exchange in Germany. A 120-member delegation led by Azerbaijan's Culture and Tourism Minister visited Germany for this purpose. In Berlin, the cultural festival lasted a week. Azerbaijani culture was promoted throughout the year in Munich, Hamburg, Mainz, Stuttgart, and other important German cities. From June 12 to July 15, 2008, the Dresden Gallery hosted an 'Azerbaijani Exhibition of Contemporary Art' as part of the Year of Azerbaijan. Paintings by well-known Azerbaijani artists were on display during the show.

On August 30, 2016, in line with the presidential order, the 200th anniversary of the construction of German settlements in the South Caucasus region was widely celebrated in Azerbaijan and Germany, and numerous events dedicated to this historic event were organized in Baku, Berlin, and other cities.

An important part of the cultural sphere, the German-Azerbaijani Cultural Association is located in the Kapellhaus (formerly the music hall of the Protestant Church). Numerous cultural events are organized here every year. The Goethe Center has also been operating in Baku since December 2017.

The Berlin-Baku Gallery, which regularly holds exhibitions of paintings, photographs, and sculptures by Azerbaijani and German artists in Berlin, also operates in Germany.

Close cooperation is being established with leading German universities and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the implementation of the State Program on Education of Azerbaijani Youth Abroad. DAAD, which has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1997, provides scholarships to Azerbaijani students wishing to study in Germany and encourages the exchange of scientists.

There is also cooperation between German and Azerbaijani universities and research institutes. The DAAD office is helping to improve the quality of German language teaching in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani State University of Oil and Industry has a DAAD - Information Center. So far, 23 scientific and academic cooperation documents have been signed between German and Azerbaijani universities and research institutes.

Along with Russian and English, German is taught in many secondary and higher schools in Azerbaijan. The Department of History of Azerbaijan operates at Humboldt University in Berlin. There are partnerships between several Azerbaijan and German universities.


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