President Ilham Aliyev and President Aleksandr Lukashenko made press statements

Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus, made press statements.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made the statement first.

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Aleksandr Grigoryevich.

Dear guests.

Dear friends.

Today, we are welcoming a dear guest, our great friend Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko, who is paying a state visit to Azerbaijan. The talks held both in a one-on-one and in the expanded format clearly demonstrate again that our countries are good friends. Today, we have analyzed in detail the development of our relations in recent years and noted with satisfaction the dynamic progress of these relations, and, which is perhaps even more important, defined ways of further interaction. We have agreed that by the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission, which will be held in Minsk in the near future, we will analyze in detail the instructions given to relevant state agencies and define specific steps with deadlines for their implementation, as well as persons and agencies responsible for the implementation of these instructions, in order to further build up the potential of mutual trade and economic cooperation.

I have sent a letter, but today I also personally invited Aleksandr Grigoryevich to visit the climate summit to be held in Baku in November, and by that time – relevant instructions have already been given – we will hear reports on the fulfillment of these instructions. Everything we have talked about today is quite specific. First of all, we are talking about industrial cooperation, about the creation of joint productions in Belarus and Azerbaijan, and about increasing the potential of those joint productions that were established many years ago. This first of all includes machine-building, as well as the development of relations in the military-industrial complex, agriculture, and transportation. In other words, issues that will be of practical importance for the development of the economies of our countries.

Members of the Belarusian delegation have already been in Baku since yesterday and held talks with their Azerbaijani counterparts. This once again demonstrates how responsibly both sides have approached the state visit of the President of Belarus – to discuss and agree in advance on many issues that are subsequently submitted for approval to the heads of state. I think that such an effective form of cooperation is the most appropriate and aimed at specific results. Thus, I am sure that in the future, not too distant, we will see new frontiers of our relations, new enterprises, new jobs, as well as new areas of cooperation. I have already mentioned this but I would like to say again that I have invited Belarusian companies to actively participate in the reconstruction of the Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur regions. The scale of work we are carrying out and will carry out is enormous.

In essence, we have to rebuild from scratch an area, for comparison, 50 percent larger than the territory of a country like Lebanon. This is just to illustrate what we have to do, where not a single stone has been left intact. During the years of occupation, everything was destroyed, and we have to rebuild everything from scratch – infrastructure, housing, public buildings, historical monuments, etc. Therefore, we invite Belarusian companies to get actively engaged in this work.

Specific instructions were also given today. Belarus has very good experience in urban planning, modern technologies - we have also talked about this today - experience in building agro-towns. Our primary task, of course, is to return the former IDPs to their homes as soon as possible, but also to provide them with appropriate work so that the people returning to the liberated territories will also be employed in well-paid jobs.

Also today we discussed issues related to security in our region, in the CIS. I informed Aleksandr Grigoryevich about the post-conflict situation in the South Caucasus. And, naturally, we exchanged views on topical issues of world politics. The situation in the world is changing quite rapidly and mainly in a negative direction. New conflicts and new centers of instability are emerging. Unfortunately, the existing conflicts usually remain unresolved - except for the conflict in the South Caucasus, which was resolved by Azerbaijan through military and political means and in full compliance with international law, UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Charter, and international humanitarian law, and this is recognized by the entire world community today.

Of course, there are a lot of topics to discuss. We have been actively working with Aleksandr Grigoryevich for the past 20 years. Over these years, in different situations, we have always remained committed to our values - kindness, dignity, honesty in relations, and focus on results. I think that these trusting relations between the leaders of our countries naturally give an impetus to all other civil servants that they should also communicate with each other, work, be friends, and work for the benefit of their countries and for the strengthening of friendly relations between our states. I think that this day clearly demonstrates that these are truly friendly relations.

Once again, Aleksandr Grigoryevich, I would like to say that I welcome your visit with gratitude. It is a sign of friendship, a sign of respect. In previous years, we have made several mutual visits - official and working. But a state visit is always different in form and content. I am glad to welcome you and wish you and the friendly, brotherly people of Belarus new successes and victories. Thank you.

x x x

Then, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement.

Statement by President Aleksandr Lukashenko

- Ilham Heydarovich, thank you very much for your kind words to the Belarusian people and to myself. We appreciate that very much.

At the beginning of our expanded talks, I said that Azerbaijan had achieved a lot in recent years. And, first of all, by resolving its main problem – the return of lands that had been consistently turned into a desert for a long time. Ilham Heydarovich said that it was necessary to revive and create something new on these lands. But what is even worse there is that something must first be removed there before the process of revival starts. And there is a lot of that. So, it is a difficult story, but the lands have been returned and they need to be revived. This will probably be a much longer and no less difficult problem and task that Azerbaijan will have to address.

I remembered these times even before the war, when Ilham Heydarovich and I were discussing this problem. He told me then that the hardest period would start when we would have to return people to their homes. You were very right in saying that it is not enough to bring people back, you need to settle them in good and comfortable houses, because many people have already been born in cities. It is one thing to resettle them there, but it is also necessary to settle them in good houses or apartments. But this is not enough either. You have to create jobs. This is the first time I had heard of such proportions – that it is 50 percent larger than the territory of a country like Lebanon. Ilham Heydarovich, there will be enough work even for children to revive these lands.

I said this because we are a brotherly and very friendly country for you, not only because Ilham Heydarovich and I are old friends. I had good relations with Heydar Aliyev too, albeit not for a long time, but we worked with him quite closely. I respected this man very much in those Soviet times. I often say to Ilham Heydarovich that this is a rare occasion when nature does not take a break on children. You have done a lot. I told him directly today that you live in a paradise. You have nature like paradise. The fact that you have returned the lands, the fact that you are reviving them – this will remain for centuries, for a long time. I am saying all this because if there is a place where we can put our shoulder to this great cause of reviving these lands and it will be beneficial for you, we will do it with great pleasure. I declare with full responsibility that we will do it in a way that no one else in the world can do – because of the respect and of the relations between the brotherly peoples of Belarus and Azerbaijan. Please pay attention to what the President of Azerbaijan said at the beginning. We have a certain roadmap on which we have been moving and reached a trade turnover of about 400 million dollars. We have agreed that the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission will be held in Minsk, and taking into account today's agreements and the fact that our ministers have been working here for two days and will continue to work, we have reached new objectives, new solutions to our goals and interpretation of some of the issues. We have agreed that this roadmap will be updated by the Intergovernmental Commission in Minsk. Something has already become outdated, there are new challenges. Everything will be reflected there in accordance with that. When the international conference on climate change is held here, most likely I will be there and I plan to meet with Ilham Heydarovich again, maybe in a narrower format, and there the co-chairs of our Intergovernmental Commission will report on what this map is about and what has been done on it. We will not wait until ministers draw a map and then start next year. On some issues, this will be the case, but there are a number of issues that should not be worked out from scratch, but should start to be implemented tomorrow. We have agreed on joint production of complex mineral fertilizer. Why delay that? We need to produce complex mixed fertilizer and start from the domestic market, so that Azerbaijan does not ask for fertilizer somewhere else, but produces them here. We have technologies, we are ready to do it and provide the whole region. And it is quite huge - Iran, Pakistan, India. They consume a huge amount of mineral fertilizer. We will offer complex fertilizer. This is why we need to start solving this issue and make progress by November. Such instructions have been given.

We have discussed all the issues. There were no closed topics. It is not only about machinery, joint production of MAZ machinery, joint production of fire-fighting equipment, joint production of elevator equipment, especially the old elevators that are still there in Soviet houses and apartments. They need to be replaced. We have preserved this production. We are ready to produce this equipment here together with our Azerbaijani friends. The President asked us to pay attention to the production of railroad equipment – both platforms and tank cars. We have good competence, there are companies, plants that produce them. We are ready to start the production of this equipment here together. There are large-scale programs in agriculture, ranging from the supply of pedigree cattle, cows here, first of all, in order to fully meet your needs for milk and meat. We will supply you with cattle. In addition, we are ready to build an agro-township with the entire infrastructure and create jobs on the lands that you have liberated, especially on agricultural lands. In other words, we can build a complex and also help you create farms. We have such experience, starting from Venezuela. But this is not Venezuela, it is close to us, we speak the same language and understand each other. Therefore, we will start by building an agro-town with workplaces on those lands for you. You will see if it suits you, and then we will replicate these practices. I have actually told the President that we have our colossal wealth today – the forests. We have so much timber that ... This is a shortage of it in Azerbaijan. Nature has richly endowed us with that. We are ready to build houses for you there. We have widespread practices with wood in Belarus. We bring a house here in a disassembled form in a wagon and put it under the roof on the foundation in a matter of week, just as we have been doing in Belarus. If this is suitable for you, we are ready to supply you with that and build such houses on your revitalized territories. In short, we have very major plans. And we will work.

As for pharmaceuticals and medicines, we are ready to start supplying medicines that you need very much even tomorrow, and create joint production of medicines and veterinary drugs here, as well as the technologies we can produce in Belarus. This is also a very big program, which does not prevent anyone from working in Azerbaijan. We are not entering into a conflict with anyone here, we do not even compete with anyone. Although there should be competition.

In short, we can do a lot – both in the humanitarian sphere and in sports. You will be hosting the CIS games. We will join you, especially since we saved these games. If it had not been for Belarus and Azerbaijan, they would probably have already sunk. We have saved them. We hosted the previous games, now you have taken the baton from us. We once took the baton of the European Games from you too. Therefore, we have a lot of experience. We will cooperate with you in the field of sports, healthcare and education, including the experience of our vocational schools, as they used to be called PTU. We are ready to revitalize and help create vocational education facilities on a new basis. We have such a great experience in that. Moreover, we have preserved them from the Soviet times. Today, working specialties are in great demand in Belarus, Russia, other CIS countries and Azerbaijan. Ilham Heydarovich asked us to take up this work. And we will definitely carry out this work together with your specialists.

Yes, we discussed the issues of security in the regions. Ilham Heydarovich informed me in detail about what is going on here, a troubled region, and thank God that a very powerful and normal leader in the person of Azerbaijan has appeared here. You are able to control the Caucasus region. You are already responsible not only for Azerbaijan, you are already responsible for the situation in the Caucasus as a whole, and we have great hopes for that – those who do not live in the Caucasus. Therefore, this is an additional burden for you, although you have enough problems of your own, but nevertheless, you are not going anywhere. Time has chosen you, as we say, and you are responsible for the Caucasus region as a leader.

I have informed you about what is happening in our region in connection with the conflict in Ukraine. In the most detailed way. Our assessments and points of view are either close or fully coincide. You know our position. It is not easy for us there now, but we will do everything we can to bring peace there. And we will move in that direction. Azerbaijan's experience of post-war peaceful building is very important for our region as well. We talk to each other in confidence. We do not have any secrets either in personal or interstate terms. This also is helpful for our ministers to talk on the same note. I personally expect members of the government visiting here to leave with a program of cooperation with our Azerbaijani friends. And what is pleasant is that we have a trade turnover of about 400 million. Already today, at the suggestion of Azerbaijani ministers, we have started to pronounce 1 billion. This will be a very big step. Perhaps we will do it in two steps. First, we will reach a trade turnover of 500 million, in a matter of a year and a half. After a certain time, we will reach 1 billion. We will do everything for this. If we are buying something in unfriendly countries, for example, some goods that are also produced here in Azerbaijan, we should give that up and buy it here without looking at anything – now is the moment. In the same way, Azerbaijan will act in the same manner. Ilham Heydarovich, I invite you to Belarus.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you

President Aleksandr Lukashenko: I will visit you in November, we will discuss it and you should visit Belarus too. Although we often exchange visits, we will be glad to see your Prime Minister in the run-up, as agreed, to prepare your visit. And most importantly, as a friend - my personal friend - I wish you and your brotherly nation the strength to go through this most difficult period of revival without any losses and implement the plans that you have before you. I am sure that you will do it, I want it to be faster. You know how to do it. You have shown the whole world that you are able to solve the hardest problems that were not solved by many generations before you. I wish you happiness and success.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.

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