Azerbaijan is an important transport hub of the region, and this is a direct result of the policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev, Hikmat Hajiyev, head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, said while talking about the significance of the “One Belt, One Road Initiative” for Azerbaijan in a project of Trend News Agency ‘Interview with Sahil Karimli.
Hajiyev noted that the project ‘One Belt, One Road” is indeed one of the important and significant projects in international relations.
‘This initiative was launched by the leadership of the People’s Republic of China in 2013. The essence of the initiative is the restoration of the historic Silk Road, the development of this concept in a new form and in a new content.
It is very encouraging that Azerbaijan, represented by the head of state, was invited to the second International Cooperation Forum ‘One Belt, One Way’, which was held in the PRC,” he said.
“This is a vivid example of the PRC’s respect and confidence in Azerbaijan and cooperation between the two countries. On one hand, the forum is important from the point of view of the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and China, on the other hand, in the context of developing cooperation with other states located along this way, based on a multilateral platform represented by the ‘One Belt, One Road’ project,” said the official.
Referring to bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and China, the department head of the Presidential Administration noted that the two countries are linked by historical and friendly ties:
“Our countries are historically located on the Silk Road. The archaeological artifacts found on the territory of Azerbaijan once again prove that even thousands of years ago, there were intensive trade and cultural ties between Azerbaijan and China.
And today, based on this historical heritage, Azerbaijani-Chinese relations continue to develop in all areas, in particular, in the political, economic, commercial, cultural, educational, tourism, ICT, etc. areas,” Hajiyev said.
“We can confidently say that the last visit of President Ilham Aliyev to China was a new impetus for the development of relations between Azerbaijan and China. Azerbaijan is one of the first countries to support the project ‘One Belt, One Road’,” he noted.
“Back in 2015, when President Ilham Aliyev made a visit to China, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the countries to encourage the ‘One Belt, One Road project, in particular, the Silk Road Economic Belt. Today this document encourages and develops cooperation between our countries according to this concept. Azerbaijan cooperates with China in the project ‘One Belt, One Road on the basis of a multilateral platform,” Hajiyev said.
“He described in his speech the parameters of the development of this concept and the strategic “road map”. First of all, we need to note that the project ‘One Belt, One Road’ is a platform containing open collaboration. That is, the initiative does not belong to one state, it is accessible to all. Everyone, acting within their interests, can develop bilateral or multilateral cooperation,” Hajiyev noted, referring to the speech of Xi Jinping.
Hajiyev stressed that the concept of cooperation put forward by China as part of the ‘One Belt, One Road project has two main directions. ”
“If we approach the issue purely from the point of view of transport logistics and geographical routes, then first of all, this implies the development of the economic concept of the Silk Road along the Eurasian space, including Africa.”
“The second direction includes development of sea “Silk routes”, and, as a result, the format of cooperation of a global nature. As for the grassroots elements, such ideas as financial and trade cooperation, human contacts, their free movement are implied.”
“We see that the strategic balance of the world economy and politics draws to the Pacific. These are trends directly related to the development of China and other countries in the region. It is not surprising that it was China that launched such an initiative. A very important feature of it is a respectful approach to the choice of each state of its model of political, economic or social development. Everyone is free to choose their development model. But, at the same time, cooperation between countries is strongly encouraged.”
Hikmat Hajiyev reminded that the host was China, but the heads of state and government of 37 countries and heads of international organisations were invited.
“Azerbaijan was invited to this event, and President Ilham Aliyev attended it. This is a clear indicator of the importance that China attaches to Azerbaijan and the friendship between our countries. And Azerbaijan was adequately represented in this format,” Hajiyev said.
“The head of state [of Azerbaijan] at the forum spoke on two panels with an extensive report, spoke about the opportunities that Azerbaijan can provide, specifically, within the framework of this project. Azerbaijan in this project offers its resources and opportunities that will be in demand, since one of the main concepts of the project is transport and logistics.”
“Today, Azerbaijan is the main transport hub in the region, which, of course, is a direct consequence of the policy of the head of our state. The East-West and North-South transport corridors can be used by our partners, including China, as part of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ project.”