UK Foreign Secretary: Azerbaijan continues contributing to global development
UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague spoke about Azerbaijan in an interview with 'The Business Year - Azerbaijan 2014' magazine.
During the interview Hague said Azerbaijan's balanced foreign policy and its positive relations with partners in the region and beyond are well known, and the country continues reaching out to new partners and contributing to global development.
"Further afield, the UK is the number one foreign investor in Azerbaijan, the U.S. and South Korea are important diplomatic partners, and Italy, France, and Indonesia are the top three destinations for Azerbaijani exports," Hague underscored.
He went on to add that Azerbaijan has trade relations with over 150 countries and cooperates with the World Trade Organization, the UN, the EU, the OSCE, and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
"The scope of these bilateral and multilateral partnerships has broadened over the past year thanks to Azerbaijan's continued diplomatic efforts," Hague added.
He said the beginning of the Shah Deniz II gas project last December also reinforced Azerbaijan's importance to Europe in its capacities as an exporter and a possible transit point for energy resources from Central Asia and Europe.
"The announcement of the Shah Deniz II development is welcome news for Azerbaijan and for Europe," William Hague stressed. "It will create new linkages between our countries, new opportunities for cooperation, and new sources of trade and prosperity. It will also create new sources of supply that will strengthen energy security in the South Caucasus, Turkey, and the EU."
"Gas will remain a vital part of Europe's energy mix and additional supplies of Caspian gas will support our energy security and strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of our economies."
Hague went on to add that he is proud of the UK's central role in the development of Azerbaijan's oil and gas assets and looks forward to strengthening the valuable partnership.
He said one of the most important developments in Azerbaijan's foreign policy in recent years has been its increased humanitarian and development cooperation.
UK's foreign secretary underscored that in December 2011 Azerbaijan established its international development agency, AIDA, which operates under Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, adding that humanitarian aid has been provided to a number of countries at the initiative of this agency.