On February 5-12, 2016, the Secretary General of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM, Mr. Altai Efendiev, paid a working visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The purpose of this visit was to hold consultations on issues, related to the Presidency of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the current year.
In particular, on February 5, the GUAM Secretary General held a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and GUAM National Coordinator from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Araz Azimov, and also with the Director of the MFA Department, Mr. Tofig Musayev. During the meeting, the Parties discussed the following: the current situation for GUAM, priority areas of cooperation within GUAM, the draft Programme of Presidency in 2016, and issues related to expanding GUAM’s international cooperation. In addition, the Parties discussed a wide range of issues related to the Organization’s activities, improving its efficiency, and coordination on international markets.
On February 8, the Secretary General was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov. During the meeting, the Parties identified the priorities of Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Organization during the current year in such areas as transport, economy and trade, tourism, and ICT. They also made recommendations regarding the Organization’s activities, and to enhance its role in promoting regional and international cooperation.
On February 9, the Secretary General of GUAM met with Mr. Azer Kerimli, the Head of Azerbaijan’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM and also Chairman of the GUAM PA. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Ali Masimov, who is a member of the national delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM and a member of the Economic Policy Committee of the National Parliament, as well as the Secretary of the national delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM, Mr. Rustam Makhmudov. During the meeting, the Parties discussed issues related to current cooperation between GUAM member states within the framework of the GUAM PA, the main tasks of Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in the PA for the current year, the functioning of the GUAM PA committees, and various aspects of cooperation regarding the implementation of agreements signed within the GUAM framework, among other issues.
Also, on February 9, the Secretary General of GUAM met with Azerbaijan’s Head of the Coordinating Council on Transit Cargo, Mr. Elchin Ahmadov, and the Director General of Baku International Sea Trade Port, Mr. Taleh Ziyadov. During the meetings, the Parties provided each other with information related to the structural reforms and measures that have been taken in Azerbaijan in order to facilitate transit traffic from the Black Sea region in the direction of Central Asia and further to China.
Representatives of Azerbaijan state structures were provided with information related to GUAM activities in the field of transport and, in particular, regarding the implementation of the Development Concept for the GUAM Transport Corridor. The Parties agreed that the current situation developing in the region, as well as new initiatives and projects, promote the opening of opportunities and prospects for closer cooperation in regards to the development of an alternative competitive transport corridor for goods’ transit between Europe and Asia.
The Parties agreed on further cooperation.
On February 10, the Secretary General of GUAM held a meeting with the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan, Mr. Natiq Aliyev which was also attended by Deputy Minister Mr. Gulmammad Javadov. During the meeting, the Parties exchanged information on the current status of cooperation between GUAM countries in the field of energy, and also exchanged views on prospective areas of cooperation in this respect. The Parties noted that the energy corridor concept is one of the fundamental components of cooperation within the GUAM framework and that the development of the GUAM energy transit corridor may be a promising area within cooperation frameworks between GUAM and the international community. In this regard, the Parties noted the necessity for close coordination between GUAM countries and other partners that are interested in this concept’s realisation.
Also on February 10, the GUAM SG held a meeting with the Chairman of CJSC “Azerbaijani Railways”, Mr. Javid Gurbanov. During the meeting, information was shared about the measures taken by the national railways management to ensure uninterrupted transportation of transit cargo traveling from Ukraine to Central Asia and further to China. In particular, this information regarded the implementation of freight trains’ test runs, held in order to identify weaknesses and problem units all along the way. The Parties noted the existence of close coordination between the involved national institutions and agencies, as well as with the partners from the GUAM member states and other countries.
The Secretary General provided information on plans and prospective directions for cooperation within GUAM, where the main focus during Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship will on cooperation in the field of transport and particularly developing the GUAM transport corridor, and other important issues regarding the implementation of the Development Concept for the GUAM Transport Corridor. The Parties agreed to interact during Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship in GUAM.
On February 12, the GUAM SG was interviewed by the news agency Report.az as a result of the visit, and also held a meeting with the Ambassadors of GUAM member states in Azerbaijan. During the meeting, the Parties provided detailed information on the current status of GUAM, consultations and meetings held within Azerbaijan state structures, priorities for the Presidency, and also exchanged views on prospective ways to cooperate within GUAM and to enhance international cooperation.