China's Phoenix TV has broadcast an interview with Representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on special assignments Elchin Amirbayov who has recently visited Beijing. In his interview, Representative of the Azerbaijani President on special assignments Elchin Amirbayov underlined Azerbaijan's desire to deepen and to strengthen the political dialogue with Chinese colleagues and friends as well as inform them about the Azerbaijani assessment of the current situation and the prospects for the peace process, which is now being built in the South Caucasus region between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Representative of the President hailed the high-level political dialogue between Azerbaijan and China. Recalling that President Ilham Aliyev and President Xi Jinping has met several times, Elchin Amirbayov said that the personal relations between both leaders had positively contributed to the development of bilateral relations between the two countries. 'We know how important China's role is in the international relations. Of course, China is a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations. China is a friendly country to Azerbaijan. We consider China to be our strategic partners,' Amirbayov said. Noting that last year marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and the People's Republic of China, Amirbayov said today's very high quality of political dialogue between the two nations is due to the personal quality of relationship between the two leaders. He said Azerbaijan would be very happy if China and Chinese people would consider Azerbaijan as a new attractive tourist destination, emphasizing the importance of direct flights in terms of developing people-to-people contacts between the two countries. 'As a traditional provider of energy, oil and gas, Azerbaijan has been playing a very important role in ensuring the energy security, for example, of European continent. Given the geopolitical context of events which we have in our broader region, given the growing economic importance of connectivity, I think that both leaders have agreed that we can do more in order to benefit from the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative that was launched 10 years ago by China,' he noted. 'I should mention that Azerbaijan, because of its geographic location has played already the role of a kind of a linchpin, the country which ensured the linkage between East and West. So, we have been very active in making sure that Trans Caspian International Transport Corridor is functioning. Because we have constructed the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, which unites basically, Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and then to Trkiye. Also, we have built recently, the state-of-the-art Baku International Sea Trade Port. So, these are all infrastructures, which could be very much used in order to implement the so called 'Middle Corridor', and which could be harmonized with the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, which Azerbaijan fully supports. Harmonizing the Middle Corridor with the "One Belt, One Road" initiative would make an important contribution to the further development of economic and trade relations, logistics opportunities, as well as tourism,' Amirbayov underscored. Speaking about the increased importance of China in the world, not only in global affairs but also in terms of people-to people-contacts, Elchin Amirbayov said that there is a more and more interest among the youngsters in Azerbaijan to discover this language. 'I think that's if we judge by the number of students who are traveling to your beautiful country in order to involve in depth study of Chinese language and culture, we can see that you know, this progress has been exponential,' the Representative of the President added. He also praised the successful activity of the Cultural Centers bearing the name of Confucius in Azerbaijan. 'Since early 90s for almost three decades, 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory has been under illegal foreign occupation and, of course, this has resulted in mass forceful displacement of people, complete destruction of almost 1/8 of the territory of the country. So, that's why we now want to turn the page of hostility, animosity with Armenia. You know that in November 2020, the second Karabakh War was over. Azerbaijan liberated territories, which have been under foreign occupation for a long time. We actually proposed to Armenia a peace agenda. And I think that now that we have restored our territorial integrity and also historical justice, I think that we have a good chance to turn the page of animosity and try to build a good-neighborly, peaceful relations with Armenia. Because we think that this region deserves a better future,' Elchin Amirbayov emphasized. The Representative of the Azerbaijani President also informed the Chinese Audience about the process of negotiations towards the signing of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, underlining that though the process has intensified since May of this year, it is not enough to achieve durable peace. 'What was important for us recently was the statement by Prime Minister of Armenia Pashinyan who expressed the recognition by Armenia of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. So, for us this was an important element that allowed us to believe that we're not that far from reaching the basic agreement,' Amirbayov mentioned. Elchin Amirbayov also highlighted the return process of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis who were forcibly expelled from their homeland and subjected to ethnic cleansing, emphasizing that the Great Return process has been successfully launched. 'We very much look forward to Armenia's implementation of all the commitments that they have already undertaken. First, they have to complete and finalize the withdrawal of their armed forces from the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. Because even today, two and a half years after the Trilateral Statement was signed, there are still ten thousand of regular units of Armenian armed forces, which are illegally in the Azerbaijani Karabakh region. So, that's why I think that the sooner the Armenian troops will leave completely the Azerbaijani sovereign territory, the bigger are the chances that we can finalize these negotiations in a relatively short period of time,' Elchin Amirbayov underlined.
Source: Azerbaijan State News Agency