Latvian foreign minister: We have confidence in Azerbaijan from the point of view of energy security
“We have confidence in Azerbaijan from the point of view of energy security,” said Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevičs in an exclusive interview with azertac`s correspondent.
On Azerbaijan-Latvia relations, Edgars Rinkevičs said: "We are pleased with the very good relations between our countries, which resulted this year in the working visit of President of the Republic of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis to Azerbaijan in March and the official visit of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Latvia in July. It is worth stressing that this year I also visited Baku in February, where we discussed our cooperation activities.”
He hailed the bilateral relationship as good, adding that "the central issue in relations is to create a wide-ranging cooperation”. Mr Rinkevičs singled out the important role of economic relations.
The FM also mentioned the Joint Declaration of the Establishment of Strategic Partnership between the two countries, which was signed during the official visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Latvia. "It is also an incentive for the development of our relations."
"Today our economic relations and trade volume do not match the level of political relations. This year the Intergovernmental Commission`s meeting took place in Baku, where the sides discussed in detail a number of questions and solutions that were offered to Presidents for discussion in the autumn. The main lines of our cooperation are lie in transit, agriculture, education and promotion of tourism."
He also highlighted mutual investment opportunities for the businessmen of both countries: "These issues were discussed at the meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission and during the meeting of the two Presidents." He highlighted some areas for possible expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Latvia. Singling out agricultural sector, the FM said: "Azerbaijan is of interest to both the processing of agricultural products and development of pharmaceutical industry, and the creation of appropriate infrastructure in the country, taking into account that Latvia has good experience in these areas. While recognizing the interest of Azerbaijan in transit, Latvia is interested in investments in its ports, logistic centres."
"Both countries have an interest in opening trading houses in their capitals, where you can see and buy different kinds of products and food."
Mr. Rinkevičs also touched upon the inauguration of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, saying "Latvia is interested in creating the transit infrastructure to improve links with Europe." "This opens up bigger prospects, and look at the connection with Iran, India and also with China. Similar projects are priorities of the Eastern Partnership, which we actively support."
"We have a common interest in the railway infrastructure, which is geared to our ports because in this way our country will also reap the economic benefits."
He also spoke of the priorities of the European Union, saying "security and diversification of energy supply is one of the priorities of the European Union. Latvia, as a EU Member State, has always supported the creation of alternative energy supply routes to Europe".
The FM also commented on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: "Latvia believes that only a peacefully and through the negotiations it is possible to resolve conflicts. Therefore, we see the need for the continuation of the dialogue within the framework of the Minsk Group, which clearly leads to a positive solution."