Malaysia an important partner in Asean and Islamic world, says Azerbaijan FM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia is an important partner for Azerbaijan in the ASEAN region as well as in the Islamic world, says Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The country attaches great significance to its close dialogue and cooperation with Malaysia which are always held in the spirit of friendship, mutual understanding and trust, the minister said, adding that he appreciated the interest shown to Azerbaijan and its foreign policy.

Extending his friendly regards to the people of Malaysia, he said Azerbaijan and Malaysia have enormous potential to further strengthen their bilateral relations and bring mutual benefits for their people.

Mammadyarov said the meeting between National Leader Heydar Aliyev, the late President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad held on the sidelines of the 7th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Casablanca, Morocco, in December 1994 had put in place the foundation for the current ties enjoyed by Azerbaijan and Malaysia.

The minister noted that the year 2018 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Malaysia, while the exchange of congratulatory letters between the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, as well as between their respective Foreign Affairs Ministers took place to commemorate this significant milestone.

Over the past period, our friendly relations have been further strengthened, and our cooperation in various areas of mutual interest, including within the framework of international organisations, has grown tremendously. The exchange of diplomatic missions, high level visits and meetings between the two countries have contributed significantly to the development of bilateral cooperation. In 2014, a Joint Declaration on Friendly Relations and Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Malaysia was signed, Mammadyarov said.

The Azerbaijan Foreign Minister said this in an exclusive email interview with Bernama International News Service in conjunction with Azerbaijan’s 100 Years of Diplomatic Service. He was asked to what extent the ASEAN region and member countries like Malaysia were important to Azerbaijan in its international relations and diplomacy.

Touching on the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadyarov said the Government of Azerbaijan highly appreciated the position of Malaysia regarding the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognised borders of Azerbaijan.

We are also deeply satisfied with the current level of inter-parliamentary relations, he said.

Noting that the Malaysian national oil company, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), has invested more than US$4 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy to date, the minister pointed out that Azerbaijan and Malaysia enjoyed close cooperation in the energy sector.

Touching on the launching of Azerbaijan’s first telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1 into orbit in 2013, he described this launching as a fruitful cooperation with Malaysia.

Mammadyarov said a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) have been also signed between the higher education institutions of the two countries.

In February 2016, a MoU was signed between the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to establish cooperation in preventing corruption, the minister noted.

By signing the Agreement on cooperation with the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) in 2014, the Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) itself has witnessed significant progress in bilateral relations, he said.

However, there are still areas where Azerbaijan would wish to see more progress, he said.

The current volume of bilateral trade does not correspond to the market potential of our countries. The further intensification of people-to-people relations could bring the two countries even closer, he said.

In the context of Azerbaijan-ASEAN relations, Mammadyarov said the republic is consistently developing its relations with ASEAN member states in the political, economic, humanitarian and other spheres.

To provide a strong impetus to bilateral cooperation, Azerbaijan has also opened its embassies in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, which also cover ASEAN and its remaining member states.

Disclosing the latest development, he said the Parliament (Milli Majlis) of Azerbaijan has also passed the law setting up an embassy in Thailand.

In light of the growing importance of the ASEAN region in the global economy and the sustainable socio-economic development of Azerbaijan, there is a huge potential for enhancing bilateral cooperation in many areas, including trade, investment and tourism, Mammadyarov said.

Source: NAM News Network