Italian FM: Azerbaijan is a country with great economic potential and strategic geopolitical location



"Azerbaijan is a country with great economic potential and strategic geopolitical location," said Italy's Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Paolo Gentiloni as he addressed the 4th session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan in Rome. He described Azerbaijan as a country of reference for Italy in the South Caucasus. He said Azerbaijan was a key country linking Asia with Europe and as the natural partner of Italy.

Paolo Gentiloni said relations between Italy and Azerbajan had been developing in recent years. He underlining the role of reciprocal visits in this, in particular Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's 2014 and 2015 visits to Italy. Expressing his country's willingness to increase the number of official visits to Azerbaijan, the Italian Minister said he would pay a visit to the country in the coming months.

Underlining the importance of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project in strengthening of the Italy-Azerbaijan partnership, Mr. Gentiloni hailed the strategic significance of the project for the Italian national economy. He said that Azerbaijani gas would be transported to Italy via this pipeline in 2020.

Paolo Gentiloni said the economic cooperation between the two countries shouldn't be confined to the energy sector, adding there are wide opportunities for cooperation in a variety of fields. The FM praised President Ilham Aliyev's recent decrees and road maps in terms of diversifying Azerbaijan's economy and stimulating the economic development of the country in the coming years.

Hailing the importance of the development of cultural relations between the two countries, the FM minister pointed to Azerbaijan's, in particular the Heydar Aliyev Foundation's attention to this area.

Saying Italy must make efforts for restoring peace and stability in the Caucasus and for a constructive and fruitful cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, Mr Gentiloni noted that his country supported Germany`s efforts as the OSCE chair towards settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He expressed his confidence that in case of Italy's election as the OSCE chair in 2018, the country would spare no efforts to resolve the conflict.

Paolo Gentiloni stressed the importance of establishing new and dynamic relationship between the Eastern Partnership countries, as well as Azerbaijan and the European Union.

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