(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 23. Azerbaijan and
Bulgaria, which have favorable geographical location, can play a
leading role in promoting international cargo transportation
between Europe and Asia, Huseyn Huseynov, Azerbaijan's ambassador
to Bulgaria, said in an exclusive interview with Trend .
“Transport is another priority area of cooperation between the
two countries after energy. Relations between our countries in this
sphere have long history. Azerbaijan and Bulgaria were among
founding states of Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia, TRACECA
in 1998. In order to contribute to promotion of East-West,
North-South and South-West international transport corridors,
Azerbaijan is taking systemic and intensive measures to develop its
transport infrastructure and has made great achievements in this
sphere. Baku International Sea Trade Port, which was built using
latest engineering innovations that meet the most modern standards,
makes a great contribution to expansion of transit opportunities in
the Caspian Sea region. In this regard, Baku International Sea
Trade Port closed joint-stock company and Bulgarian Ports
Infrastructure Company cooperate on boosting cargo transportation
in both directions,” said the envoy.
Huseynov recalled that another important project, the
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was launched in 2018.
“Its important role in promoting connectivity between Europe and
Asia was also mentioned by the European Union. BTK can facilitate
cargo transportation from Turkey to Bulgaria and other European
countries. Given that five of 10 European transportation corridors
run through Bulgaria, cooperation with this country is of special
importance. The latest global and regional tendencies have even
more increased the significance of transport connectivity. In this
regard, I would like to draw the attention to the Trans Caspian
International Transport Route also known as the Middle Corridor,
which is a part of the East-West international transport corridor.
This route runs from the Pacific shores of China to Europe through
the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan. Amid the current geopolitical
situation, the importance of the Middle Corridor has even more
increased and the volume of cargo transportation on this route is
growing. The daily cargo transportation between EU and China
reached $2 billion in 2021. In this regard, joint efforts of
Azerbaijan and Bulgaria in promoting the transportation of part of
these cargoes through the territories of our countries are mutually
beneficial,” Huseynov added.
Projects in Karabakh
“Of course, we encourage participation of large companies and
business circles from Bulgaria, a friendly country and strategic
partner, in reconstruction and restoration works in Azerbaijan's
liberated territories,” said Huseynov.
“We plan to hold a business forum for the business circles of
both countries as part of the 6th meeting of Azerbaijan-Bulgaria
joint commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical
cooperation this year. We also plan to organize a visit of
Bulgarian reperceives to the liberated lands so that they could get
acquainted with the situation on the ground and plan the future
activities. Moreover, we work on attracting leading Bulgarian
companies with great experience in mine detection to demining works
in our country,” he explained.
Azerbaijani gas supplies via IGB
The envoy noted that Bulgarian government is making serious
efforts to commission the gas interconnector with Greece (IGB) in
the shortest possible time.
“Energy constitutes the economic cornerstone of relations
between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria and creates an important ground for
even more developing the cooperation. Amid the serious situation
due to the sharp increase in natural gas prices in Bulgaria,
Azerbaijan, as a strategic partner and a friendly country, has
always tried to help this country. Against the backdrop of the
uncertainties in the European energy market, Bulgarian government
is making serious efforts to commission the gas Interconnector with
Greece, which plays an important role for the country's energy
security, in the shortest possible time and is in active dialogue
with all partners on this matter. Bulgaria's Prime Minister Kiril
Petkov told local media that it is planned to commission the IGB in
July or August,” Huseynov explained.
He pointed out that with the commissioning of this
interconnector Bulgaria will be able to receive natural gas from
Azerbaijan in full volumes.
“Azerbaijan, as a reliable energy supplier and initiator of a
number of important regional projects, will continue to fully
implement its obligations and play a crucial role in Bulgaria's
energy market,” the ambassador added.
Huseynov went on to add that amid the crisis and uncertainties
in the European energy market, the role of alternative energy
sources has grown and a number of European countries, including
Bulgaria, are showing interest in increasing the imports of natural
gas from Azerbaijan.
“The Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline
(TAP), which is a part of it, once again proved their importance
amid the energy crisis and played a crucial role in uninterrupted
deliveries of natural gas to European consumers. Azerbaijan is keen
to continue to play a role of a reliable energy supplier both for
the region and Europe and is ready to deliver more natural gas.
Increasing natural gas supplies requires signing of a corresponding
contract between importers and exporters,” the ambassador
Huseyov added that after signing such a contract first of all,
it is necessary to increase the transportation capacity of the
Southern Gas Corridor in order to supply the contracted volumes. It
is one of the major issues in the energy dialogue between
Azerbaijan and the European Commission.
Huseynov noted that Bulgaria is interested in Azerbaijani
investments in energy and infrastructure projects, Huseyn
“Currently, a number of Bulgarian companies are implementing
investment projects in Azerbaijan. Bulgarian companies are showing
interest primarily in industry and petrochemical sectors, while
Bulgaria is interested in Azerbaijani investments in energy and
infrastructure projects. Bulgarian companies are ready to construct
a plant for recycling of industrial and motor oils using
hydrological technologies and apply high technologies for mine
detection and demining,” said the envoy.
He pointed out that Azerbaijan and Bulgaria attach great
importance to development of bilateral economic relations in the
non-oil sector and pay special attention to the development of
cooperation in industry, transport, ICT, agriculture and tourism.
Therefore, the two countries are interested in mutual investments
in these spheres.
“Moreover, it is important to increase mutual efforts for
diversification of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.
Azerbaijani companies can export to Bulgaria agricultural products
(hazelnuts, tomatoes, apples, cotton yarn, potatoes, tea,
margarine, peaches, etc.), products of chemical industry
(polyethylene, methanol, alcohol) and other industrial products
(unprocessed aluminum, steel semi-finished products, pump
compressor pipes, paper and cardboard, salt), while Bulgarian
companies can export to Azerbaijan flour products, confectionery,
sunflower oil, cheese, corn, live cattle, pharmaceuticals,
furniture, refrigeration equipment, medical devices and appliances,
electric batteries,” Huseynov said.
He went on to add that the planned 6th meeting of
Azerbaijan-Bulgaria joint commission on trade, economic, scientific
and technical cooperation in Baku this year and a business forum as
part of this meeting are among the topical issues.
The ambassador said the cooperation between Azerbaijan and
Bulgaria is traditionally based on friendly relations.
“This year the two countries mark 30th anniversary of diplomatic
relations. The Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership signed in
Sofia on March 4, 2015 during the official visit of Azerbaijan's
President Ilham Aliyev to Bulgaria, constitutes the current basis
of relations and has opened up new opportunities for bilateral and
multilateral cooperation, as well as bilateral economic ties,” said
The ambassador went on to add that the global COVID-19 pandemic
adversely affected the bilateral trade in 2020, however, the trade
turnover saw positive dynamics in 2021 and stood at $72.65 million
as of the year-end. This figure amounted to $50.3 million in the
first four months of 2022 and will grow by the end of the year, he
“Crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas account for the
significant part of exports from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria. The two
countries signed a 25-year contract in 2013 to supply 1 billion
cubic meters of gas per year from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria and
natural gas transportation began on December 31, 2020. We expect
that exports from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria will grow considerably
after the commissioning of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB)
in coming months. Although energy prevails in Azerbaijani-Bulgarian
relations, the two countries are interested in developing relations
in non-oil sectors, including transport, industry, trade,
agriculture, information technologies and tourism. In this regard,
we work on diversification of trade and increasing mutual
investment opportunities,” Huseynov explained.
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