President Traian Basescu and his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev yesterday in Baku voiced appreciation for the progress reported by the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI) project, which confirms that “partners have not wasted time.”
Basescu was in Baku for a two-day visit on which he is accompanied by Economy Minister Ion Ariton and Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Doru Costea, according to Mediafax.
“Cooperation with Azerbaijan is very important to us. Azerbaijan is to us a bridge to the Caspian region, just like Romania is trying to be for Azerbaijan a bridge to the EU market. The fact that since we began collaboration, everything that was decided became reality, shows that there is political will and enough ground for a very consistent and rapid development of our ties,” Basescu said, after official talks between the two countries’ delegations.
The president thanked the Azeri leader for his country’s support for AGRI and for the Nabucco project. Moreover, Basescu said he was happy to see collaboration expand to other fields, for instance the IT area. In the two leaders’ presence, the delegations signed cooperation protocols between the countries’ ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture and health. Basescu and Aliyev also signed a joint action plan for the implementation of the Romania-Azerbaijan strategic partnership.
“Beyond the agreements we signed today, I think cooperation in what regards military equipment is also very important. By the end of the third quarter, we will complete a bilateral agreement to consolidate cooperation in military techniques,” Basescu said.
The president also said official talks focused on the possibility of having SOCAR (The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic) take part in privatisation processes on the Romanian market. In the context, Basescu voiced appreciation for the fact SOCAR entered the local fuel distribution market.
In his turn, Aliyev voiced appreciation for bilateral ties with Romania and said the relationship should go beyond energy cooperation. Basescu and Aliyev were also set to exchange decorations. The Romanian leader was to be given the Haydar Aliyev Order, while the Azeri president was to receive the Faithful Service National Order, Grand Cross. On the second day of the visit, today, Basescu is scheduled to meet with Azeri PM Artur Rasizade and Azeri Parliament Speaker Ogtay Asadov.