Cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, the launching of a direct air service and the partnership in the energy sector featured on the agenda of the talks which Deputy Minister Yuri Sterk had with MPs of the Group of Friendship with Bulgaria with the Azerbaijani Parliament at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The delegation was headed by the Group Chair Rauf Aliyev.
“Bulgaria supports the building of the Southern Gas Corridor and considers Azerbaijan as a leading factor and a guarantee for the successful implementation of this project,” Deputy Minister Sterk said before the MPs from Azerbaijan. He stressed that the efforts of the Bulgarian Government are oriented towards turning Bulgaria into a gas distribution centre in the Balkans. “For Bulgaria, the agreement reached for receiving 1 billion cu.m. of Azerbaijani gas is an important step towards the diversification of energy resources,” the Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister added.
“We are grateful to the Azerbaijani authorities and personally to President Ilham Aliyev for the support for the launching of direct flights between Baku and Sofia,” Deputy Minister Sterk said addressing the Azerbaijani delegation. He noted that the air service between the two countries will contribute to the promotion of relations in all spheres. The two sides discussed the importance of the transport and energy connectivity for the economic development. The participants in the meeting noted that the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line and the future construction of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea multimodal transport corridor are of great importance for the development of the economic and cultural ties between Europe and Asia and for the further strengthening of bilateral relations.
“Being a country which holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, Bulgaria will keep on supporting the Eastern Partnership as a strategic dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy and as a key and active factor of stability, security and economic progress in Eastern Europe,” Deputy Minister Sterk stressed. He congratulated Azerbaijan for the progress reached within the negotiations with the EU regarding the new comprehensive agreement and expressed hope that its signing will set the beginning of a new stage in the development of the relations with this country. “It is necessary to have specific and visible results for the citizens: deepening of connectivity, transport and energy ties, interpersonal contacts and cooperation in the field of education,” Yuri Sterk added.
The Azerbaijani side expressed interest in the partnership with the institutions of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences towards the development of agriculture and the application of the EU standards in farm produce in order to promote the export to the European countries. “Azerbaijan is interested in the promotion of cooperation in the field of higher education. The Azerbaijani side sees possibilities for partnership between the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Baku Slavic University and for the training of Azerbaijani students in the Agrarian University in Plovdiv. Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Sofia Nargiz Gurbanova said her country is ready to provide fellowships to Bulgarian students, so that they could be trained under the new training programme in English of the Diplomatic Academy in Baku.