Serbian, Azerbaijani leaders sign strategic declaration

BAKU -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev signed a strategic partnership declaration in Baku on Friday.

Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)
Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)

The two leaders said that it would "give a strong impetus to intensifying the cooperation between the two countries in all the key areas".

President Aliyev expressed the hope that the first official visit of the Serbian president to Azerbaijan and his discussions with senior officials of the country will advance the cooperation between the two countries in all fields, particularly in the economy, including energy and investment.

Nikolić said that Serbia has found Azerbaijan to be "the right partner" in the Islamic world, adding that it was time the friendship yielded concrete cooperation and projects.

"Serbia is not asking Azerbaijan for gifts, but rather the support in the form of direct investment that will boost work and production in the Serbian economy," Nikolić said.

Two more agreements, in the fields of information and telecommunications technology and veterinary medicine, were signed between the governments of Serbia and Azerbaijan in Baku on Friday.

"Friends are never too far"

Tomislav Nikolić and Ilham Aliyev agreed on Friday the two countries should support each other in every way, especially in terms of protecting their territorial integrity and being committed to developing their economic cooperation.

"No two nations have become this close in a long time," Nikolić told a joint new conference.

"The two countries' relations are characterized by friendship and strategic partnership, and they will continue to contribute in all areas of cooperation and support each other, particularly when it comes to protecting territorial integrity," Aliyev stated.

Nikolić and Aliyev agreed that "no countries were far from each other if there was friendship between them".

"All of Serbia agrees on the importance of cooperation with Azerbaijan, both those in power and in opposition," Nikolić pointed out.

Serbia is grateful to Azerbaijan for support concerning respect for its territorial integrity, meaning the policy on Kosovo, Nikolić remarked.

"Serbia is thankful for the support and supports Azerbaijan with a sense of justice, he said. When there is justice, all other reasons should be put aside, Nikolić stated, adding that Serbia wanted those reasons cleared and justice established. The two nations are not afraid of justice, they have fought for it before and attained it," he noted.

"Azerbaijan has an old problem with Armenia concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, and its government believes the issue must be resolved following international law and that the borders of an internationally recognized country cannot be changed without its approval," Aliyev stressed.

"Azerbaijan is grateful to Serbia for its support on the issue, and it will support Serbia regarding Kosovo, he said," adding that it was confirmed on Friday with the signing of the declaration on strategic partnership.

Serbia is fairly attractive to companies from Azerbaijan, he said regarding economic cooperation, adding that he hoped there would be more investments from Azerbaijan in Serbia.

According to Tanjug, Aliyev pointed out he had discussed "a transatlantic gas pipeline" with Nikolić and specified energy, infrastructure, tourism and telecommunications as the areas with the greatest potential for cooperation.

Also in Baku on Friday afternoon, the two presidents unvailed a statue dedicated to the Serbian-American scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

Serbian president confers with Azerbaijani officials

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić met with Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and parliament Speaker Ogtay Asadov in Baku earlier on Friday.

They assessed that the mutual support regarding the respect of the international law and Serbia and Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity was very important.

Nikolić and his Azerbaijani interlocutors agreed that raising of the two countries’ relations to a level of strategic partnership would make room for more intensive trade and investments.

Asadov said that he was convinced that Serbia and Azerbaijian were friendly counties and that they would continue to support each other when it comes to respect of the principles of the international law.

Stressing that his country had had an unresolved dispute with Armenia regarding Nagorno-Karabakh region for 20 years, Asadov said that Azerbaijan did not lose hope that the issue would be peacefully resolved.

“I hope that Serbia will support the position on the respect of the international law and support our territorial integrity,” he noted.

The Azerbaijani speaker noted that 19 bilateral agreements had been signed so far and that there were good preconditions for even better cultural and scientific cooperation.

Commenting on the two countries’ economic cooperation, Asadov said that it was not nearly as good as it could be and expressed hope that this would change in near future.

Nikolić and Azerbaijani PM had a lunch meeting. He also laid wreaths to the monument of “father of the Azerbaijani nation” Heydar Aliyev and to the monument of fallen soldiers.