2024-05-08 16:48:00

The Head of State: Bulgaria and Azerbaijan Have a Common Interest in Using Their Strategic Advantages to Develop Connectivity between Europe and Asia in All Its Dimensions

Presidents Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev sign a Joint Declaration on strengthening the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan

Bulgaria and Azerbaijan have a common interest in using their strategic position and advantages to build both energy, transport and digital connectivity, with which to contribute to the security and stability of the entire region and to intensify the exchange between Asia and Europe. This was stated today Head of State Rumen Radev, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan at the invitation of President Ilham Aliyev.

At a ceremony in the Zagulba residence, Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev signed a Joint Declaration on strengthening the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan. According to the Bulgarian head of state, the document is an expression of the significant potential and the mutual desire for the excellent bilateral relations to develop actively for the prosperity of the two friendly countries and peoples.

In the presence of the two presidents, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the state oil company of Azerbaijan SOCAR and Asarel Investment JSC, a contract for joint operation between Bulgaria Air and the Azerbaijan National Airlines on the line Sofia-Baku-Sofia, and the resumed through flights will start operating in the coming months, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Innovation and Growth of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan for cooperation in the field of technological innovation and research and development, which lay the foundation for joint projects and initiatives at government and business level.

In his statement, President Radev highlighted the intensive dialogue at the highest political level between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, which contributes to the development of a number of initiatives not only bilaterally, but also contributes to the strengthening of Europe's energy security, as well as stability and economic development of the Caucasus and the Black Sea region.

Azerbaijan has become a key partner of Bulgaria in the field of energy and has made a significant contribution to the diversification of natural gas supplies for the Bulgarian economy, Rumen Radev noted. The head of state recalled that in the autumn of 2022, in the presence of President Aliyev, the intersystem gas connection Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) was opened in Sofia, which established the connection with the Southern Gas Corridor and practically changed the energy map of the region. President Radev also pointed to the memorandum of cooperation signed in April 2023 in Sofia between the operators of the gas transmission systems of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the state oil company of Azerbaijan SOCAR for the transfer of additional quantities of Azeri gas to Europe, based on the Bulgarian initiative Solidarity Ring. As an indicator of the long-term prospects of cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan in the field of energy, President Radev stated the joint opening with his colleague Aliyev of the SOCAR office in Sofia.

The strategic partnership at the highest level has led to the development and deepening of contacts at the government level, between companies and municipalities from both countries, the head of state also emphasised and highlighted the importance of fostering the trade-economic partnership and the development of connectivity in all its dimensions - energy, transport and digital exchange in the field of high technologies, partnership in innovation, green policies and technologies, environmental protection, tourism, education, science and culture.

Rumen Radev stressed the importance of the agreements signed today between Bulgarian and Azeri companies, which contribute to Azerbaijan's ambition to establish itself as a leading country in the region in terms of environmental protection using modern technologies, including the use of unmanned cargo drones. President Aliyev invited the Bulgarian head of state to participate in the UN climate change summit COP 29, which will be hosted by Azerbaijan.

The rich cultural and historical heritage of Bulgaria and Azerbaijan is a solid basis for the subsequent strengthening of bilateral cultural exchange, the two presidents emphasised at their meeting. In this regard, Rumen Radev noted the importance of the initiative for cooperation between the historical capitals of the two countries, Veliko Tarnovo and Shusha, which arose during the last visit of President Aliyev to Bulgaria, in the field of cultural and historical heritage. Rumen Radev expressed his appreciation for the personal contribution of President Ilham Aliyev to start the projects to not only preserve the cultural heritage of Veliko Tarnovo, but also to popularise it and facilitate access to it.

The President of Azerbaijan emphasised the active political dialogue between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan at the highest level, which, in his words, significantly contributes to the expansion of bilateral relations in all spheres of mutual interest and to the achievement of new successes. The trade exchange between the two countries and the volume of natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria are increasing annually, Ilham Aliyev pointed out. He pointed to the important role of the Bulgarian side in supplying Azeri gas to the European market and strengthening the security of the energy sector in Europe. The transit of Azeri gas to neighbouring countries takes place through the territory of Bulgaria, and the number of countries that take advantage of this opportunity is increasing, the President of Azerbaijan pointed out. Ilham Aliyev also highlighted the interest of Azerbaijan in deepening the partnership with Bulgaria for the implementation of the project for the so-called green cable for the transmission of green electricity to Europe.

Rumen Radev was welcomed by the head of state of Azerbaijan with an official ceremony, the two presidents held a one-to-one session and led the plenary talks between the delegations of the two countries. The delegation led by the Bulgarian president includes the interim Minister of Energy, the chair of the Bulgaria-Azerbaijan Friendship Group in the National Assembly and business representatives, who also signed a number of bilateral agreements with their partners within the framework of a joint business meeting.

As part of his visit to Azerbaijan, President Rumen Radev also held a meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prof Sahiba Gafarova. Later in the day, the head of state talked with Bulgarian specialists working in the field of sports in Azerbaijan. In Baku, President Radev laid wreaths at the Heydar Aliyev monument and on the Alley of Martyrs.

During his visit to Azerbaijan, the Bulgarian head of state was accompanied by his wife, Desislava Radeva.



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