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Azerbaijan, Qatar keen on further developing political, economic ties

Azerbaijan, Qatar keen on further developing political, economic ties Political and military events

By Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan and Qatar, the two energy-rich countries located in the South Caucasus and the Middle East regions, respectively, have expressed intention to further develop both political and economic relations.

President Ilham Aliyev believes that the two countries should raise the level of economic cooperation to the level of political cooperation.

He said at an expanded meeting with Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani that there are many opportunities in this regard.

The emir of Qatar was on an official visit in Azerbaijan on March 8. The expanded meeting was held following the official welcoming ceremony of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

"We have perfect political relations. We are successfully cooperating within international organizations, in particular in UN, where we always support each other, and in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation," President Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan and Qatar, which established diplomatic relations in September 1994, enjoy significant prospects for cooperating in the tourism, education, agriculture, investment making, ICT and cargo transportation sectors.

"I am confident that the establishment of joint commission will enhance to intensify economic and trade cooperation between our countries," President Aliyev noted.

Qatar is known in the world as a dynamically developing, economically stable and prospering country. In this regard, President Aliyev believes that Azerbaijan and Qatar should create an economic bridge between the two nations.

"I believe that one of the most important goals for the near future should be to raise the level of mutual trade turnover, and there are good opportunities for this," he added.

Azerbaijan, which eyes the tourism sector as one of the promising fields in terms of increasing the budget revenues, focuses on attracting tourists from world countries. Given the fact that Azerbaijan and Qatar has a simplified visa regime, Baku is interested in more close relations with Qatar in the tourism sector.

"There are direct flights, today your access to Azerbaijan is even more simplified, which, of course, will give an impetus to the development of tourism, and lead, in turn, to the formation of even closer ties between our peoples," President Aliyev said.

The energy sector is one of the most promising fields, where Azerbaijan and Qatar, with their abundant oil and gas reserves, can fruitfully cooperate.

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani believes that Azerbaijan and Qatar, which enjoy huge energy resources, should make investments in this sector.

Azerbaijan, wholly located within the South Caspian Sea basin, is among the oldest oil producers in the world. The country is one of the Caspian region's most important strategic export routes to the West.

Azerbaijan's total proven oil reserves amount to some 2 billion tons, with gas at 2.6 trillion cubic meters and projected reserves reaching some 5.4 billion cubic meters of gas and 4.5 billion tons of oil.

Qatar, like its Middle Eastern neighbors, enjoys huge oil and gas reserves. The country's oil reserves amount to 25 billion barrels (9th in OPEC and 13th in the world), while the country's gas reserves reach 872 trillion cubic feet, which makes it third country in the world for natural gas reserves.

The Qatari emir also stressed the importance to expand Baku-Doha ties in the economy and trade fields, as well as in the tourism sector.

"We are pleased that more Qatari citizens visit your beautiful country, and we hope to see the same development in Qatar. We should also cooperate in the field of culture. We have many common values in this field," he noted.

Following the expanded meeting, President Aliyev and Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani held a one-on-one meeting and the sides discussed the development of the political relations between the two countries, as well as other issues of mutual interest.

The most important milestone of the Qatari emir's Baku visit was signing of a package of documents between the two countries.

The documents signed with participation of President Aliyev and Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani included a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of professional retraining and improvement of professional skills between the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan and the General Authority of Customs of Qatar, a MoU on cooperation in the field of transport between Azerbaijan's Transport Ministry and Qatari Transport and Communications Ministry, a MoU on cooperation in the area of budget and fiscal matters between the finance ministries of the two countries, a MoU for cooperation in the field of agriculture, a MoU for cooperation in the field of education, higher education and scientific research, an agreement for cooperation in the legal field between the ministries of justice of Azerbaijan and Qatar, a protocol on amendments to the agreement between the Azerbaijani and Qatari governments on the abolition of visa requirements for their respective nationals who hold diplomatic and special passports, and an agreement on establishment of Joint Economic, Trade and Technical Commission between the two governments.

Later, President Aliyev hosted a dinner reception in honor of Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

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