President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by China’s CGTN TV channel in Davos (PHOTO) read full article at

BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 18. On January 17,
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was
interviewed by China’s CGTN (China Global Television Network) TV
channel in Davos, Trend reports.

Correspondent: What a reunion! Mr. President, it’s so
wonderful to see you again in Davos.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you; I’m very
glad to see you again. I remember our last meeting here. And thank
you for this opportunity.

Correspondent: The friendship between Azerbaijan and
China, between Mr. President and the Chinese people, is greatly

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, you’re right. We
have very friendly relations, and China and Azerbaijan are good
friends. And I had the opportunity to meet President Xi Jinping
many times. Our last meeting was just a few months ago, and we had
an excellent meeting.

Correspondent: It was your birthday. He congratulated
you on your birthday.

President Ilham Aliyev: Even before that, we
met in the fall of last year at one of the international events and
had very productive discussions about our future cooperation. And
during my meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing during the
Belt and Road Summit, he called me a big friend of China. That was
a big honor for me.

Correspondent: Mr. President, thank you so much for
sharing that information with us. Talking about China and
Azerbaijan, there has been not only discussion but action, and that
is really appreciated and, dare I say it, admired. So, how do you
see the actions of cooperation that have now brought China and
Azerbaijan together for the longer term in a sustainable

President Ilham Aliyev: We have established a
very solid platform for our cooperation. We have had a political
relationship for 30 years, which demonstrates that we are excellent
partners and trustworthy friends. We have very good cooperation in
international institutions. We always supported each other’s
territorial integrity and sovereignty and established a very strong
political platform. So, based on that, we are now constructing a
framework for our economic cooperation. And in today’s world, it’s
very important because we have new challenges, problems, and
opportunities. And we’re looking forward to seeing more Chinese
companies in Azerbaijan. Quite a few of them are already very
active in different areas. We fully support the initiatives of
President Xi Jinping with respect to the Middle Corridor. And in
Azerbaijan, we’ve already done our homework. We established all the
necessary segments of the transportation infrastructure. And also,
we are looking forward to cooperating in the areas of energy,
agriculture, and hi-tech. So many Chinese companies from the IT
sector have been present in Azerbaijan for many years. So, we
really have a very diversified relationship.

Correspondent: I understand there’s an enormous amount
of discussion and action regarding investment in infrastructure,
energy, and construction. For example, from Chinese companies in
Azerbaijan. So, what kind of policies are you providing for them
and other investors coming into your country, sir?

President Ilham Aliyev: In general, the
investment climate in Azerbaijan is very positive. Foreign
investments and local investments are duly protected. And we hope
that there will be more investments in the non-energy sector,
because most of the investments we receive are in the oil and gas
sector. This was natural, and we understand it. But now for us,
it’s time to think more about diversification — not to actually
think, but to act. And therefore, investments in the non-energy
sector, in infrastructure, in transportation infrastructure, and in
particular in renewable sources of energy, are one of our
priorities. We are now in the final stage of the inaugural phase of
the free economic zone in the region of Alat, close to Baku. We
hope that Chinese companies will pay attention to these
opportunities, and of course, being situated between East and West
along the traditional Silk Route creates a lot of opportunities for
us. We just need to properly plan and structure our policy and
create even better conditions for foreign investments. But, of
course, we cannot force investors to come. We can only demonstrate

Correspondent: Having said that, I do want to talk about
“Belt and Road,” because this year, Mr. President, is the 10th
anniversary of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. Azerbaijan plays a
very constructive role on the initiative of the Silk Road, which
has now become the “Belt and Road”. So how do you reflect upon the
achievements and coordination of cooperation regarding the “Belt
and Road” Initiative with China? And how do we predict the future
because the world is changing so fast? So, strategically, where are
you going?

President Ilham Aliyev: So, first of all, the
initiative, the “Belt and Road” Initiative, was a timely and very
wise initiative that now embraces and covers a large geography. And
Azerbaijan actively joined from the very beginning, and we started
to invest in the infrastructure, which was not in place. So, over
the last ten years, we built one of the largest, if not the
largest, trade seaports in the Caspian, with a capacity of 15
million t, which we plan to expand to 25 million t. We build a
shipyard to be able to manufacture the vessels to transport cargo
across the Caspian. We invested largely in the railroad
infrastructure, not only in Azerbaijan but also in the
neighborhood. And now, we have allocated additional investments to
expand the capacity of this railroad from Baku to the western
destination. And we did all the necessary other projects, like
highways and airports. So, Azerbaijan, a country that does not have
open access to the ocean, became an international logistical and
transportation center. So, the “Belt and Road” Initiative also
activated transportation through different routes, particularly
north-south. And now we’ll also talk about the Northwest. So, it’s
really a global project that is moving successfully, and all the
countries on route already see the benefits. Of course, it depends
on the strategies of the countries and how they treat the
transportation projects. For us, it was one of the main factors in
our efforts to diversify our economy and reduce our dependence on
oil and gas revenues. So I can tell you that last year, the
transits through Azerbaijan increased by 75%, not only because of
the infrastructure but also because of proper management. And the
measures that have been taken allow us to speed up the process of
cargo transportation to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles and make
it physically more attractive. Another important matter is a tariff
policy, because here we need the unification of efforts from many
countries. So that we can have a good, agreed-upon tariff policy
and no country tries to artificially increase its profit. We should
learn to see the shared benefit. The more cargo that passes through
our borders, the more benefits we receive, and the more jobs we
create. And I am aware that China has already initiated and begun a
new project: a railroad connecting China, Kyrgyzstan, and
Uzbekistan. This also relates to our destination, the Caspian Sea.
This is a very important additional supply route. And the Middle
Corridor has a great future.

Correspondent: The Middle Corridor is playing an
ever-more crucial role in this regard. There have been a lot of
updates and upgrades to the “Belt and Road” Initiative, as you
know, Mr. President, making it greener, more environmentally
friendly, and of higher quality. How can you see that being
reflected in your cooperation with China and some of the other
countries? Briefly.

President Ilham Aliyev: We would like to expand
our green energy collaboration with China, because there is a lot
of potential in Azerbaijan. There are also big technological
achievements in China. So, we need to combine these efforts. With
respect to our priorities, renewable sources of energy have now
become one of our main priorities. During the recent several
months, we signed documents that will provide investments to create
22 gigawatts of renewable sources of energy, both onshore and
offshore. And that will completely change the regional economic
configuration, because we know about the green transition that is
taking place in Europe. At the same time, Azerbaijan is a supplier
of oil and natural gas. So, now we’re planning to supply green
energy, including green hydrogen, which will be produced from the
offshore wind power stations. As I said, we already signed
preliminary documents, and of course, agreements will be signed in
the future. But this really has a very big potential, not only for
our country but for the whole region. And we also need to invest in
the transmission lines to be able to export because we do not need
so much energy for ourselves.

Correspondent: Mr. President, I listened to your
interview. Over the past 10 minutes, there has been a lot of
“doing,” “having done,” and “having already achieved” in the air.
And that is extremely impressive, because there are a lot of talks
these days. Actions are mostly appreciated. Having said that, I
recall that at one of the World Economic Forums I attended, we
shared the stage because you were gracious enough to participate in
the panel that I moderated. We conducted several in-depth
interviews. I remember you being very constructive. You want to be
on the front lines, telling people how ready your country is. I’ve
always wondered what it takes to be bold and brave enough to make
the promise and, more importantly, to have the courage to follow
through on the promise.

President Ilham Aliyev: Well, first of all, I
would like to say that I never make a promise that I cannot

Correspondent: So, you are saying I am asking the right

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, absolutely. Never
in my political life have I made a promise and then not stood
behind it. All the promises I made have been implemented. The other
thing is that I don’t give many of them, because I prefer to
demonstrate the results. Because you are absolutely right. There
are a lot of talks, a lot of statements, and a lot of
announcements, all of which then completely disappear. And those
who make these announcements and promises either forget or they

Correspondent: Also, disappear.

President Ilham Aliyev: Exactly. We have seen
many political or election campaigns based on false promises, but
that did not lead to success. Success was only temporary. Because
the people understand everything very well and remember it, if you
promise and then do not deliver, they will not support you. So, I
always prefer to demonstrate what has been done, and I also always
consult with the people about our plans. I have a very open
communication channel with Azerbaijani society.

Correspondent: Oh, let me hear all the secrets. So, who
are you talking to?

President Ilham Aliyev: I make roughly thirty
to forty visits to the regions every year and hear about the
problems, what concerns the people, what must be fixed, and what we
should do. This is a part of the global project, like energy
security, transportation, and the day-to-day life of the
people—what they need to have a better life and how to provide this
better life. And there are various instruments, the first of which
is that you must be decent with your people in order for them to
support you and trust you. So, with respect to all our programs,
which we have initiated, all have been implemented. No one in
Azerbaijan can say and then prove that once a program was adopted,
it was not implemented.

Correspondent: Saying is easy; proving it is

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes. So, I can be held
responsible for every word that I have said during my almost twenty
years as president. And one of the greatest results of our nation’s
efforts was the liberation of occupied territories two years ago.
And that was also a historical achievement. Maybe the most
important historical achievement

Correspondent: You’re referring to the energy crisis,
Mr. President. I do want to ask you about that; it is also one of
the most important topics discussed at the World Economic Forum
this year. Now, since the energy crisis, Azerbaijan has been
strategically working with others to make sure it will play a
crucial role in solving the world’s problems. So, Mr. President,
tell me more about how you strategically managed to come up with
these ideas, manage to bring all these stakeholders together, as
they say at the World Economic Forum, and do it at a time that is
quite urgent. I do want to hear, too: how do you see the evolution
of this energy crisis as time goes on?

President Ilham Aliyev: You know, with respect
to our initiatives and achievements in this area, first of all, we
needed to create a good investment climate at the beginning of our
path towards energy security and managed to attract
multibillion-dollar investments in oil and gas without even having
the extra tools. We accumulated our first investments when we
didn’t have pipelines. So, pipelines came later. And in order to
build these pipelines, we had to agree with transit countries —with
our neighbors. So, we had to create a win-win situation and be
fair, cooperative, and supportive. I always said in our energy
policy that Azerbaijan will keep the balance between producers,
transit countries, and consumers. If there is no balance, it will
not work. Each part of the energy process must get its share of
profit. Of course, this is dependent on contributions. It must be
fair, and we have always been fair. As a result, we completed the
construction of the Southern Gas Corridor two years ago, which
stretches 3500 kilometers from Baku to southern Europe. Part of it
goes under the sea, and part of it goes through high mountains.
It’s a complicated, technically challenging, and expensive project
that spans seven countries. More than 10 companies and leading
financial institutions—the World Bank, EBRD, Asian Infrastructure
and Investment Bank (AIIB), European Investment Bank (EIB), and
ADB—all the five leading financial institutions—contributed to
that. We managed to create teamwork. So, that’s how it worked. And
now, when all these infrastructure projects are ready, it happens
that our gas is needed more than ever before. There’s a gas
shortage in Europe, and our pipeline to Europe is one of the
elements of our contribution to energy security. Last year, we
signed a document with the European Commission to increase by two
times our gas exports to the European market. And we will achieve
that target within five years. It is doable, though it will not be
easy. So, Azerbaijan, of course, is not a very big supplier of
natural gas, but we have our market in Eastern and Southern Europe.
And the more gas we produce in the future, the more we will expand
our geography.

Correspondent: So, you’re saying you’re ready? Will
there be a chance? That’s what I’m trying to say.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, exactly.

Correspondent: You’re looking around the world right
now. This is the World Economic Forum with the theme “Cooperation
in a Fragmented World.” The reason it’s the theme is because it’s
difficult to cooperate. On that note, how do you see cooperation as
a leader of your own country now playing a constructive role in
addressing global challenges? What makes cooperation so

President Ilham Aliyev: I believe that
different countries’ ambitions, a kind of struggle for so-called
leadership either in the region or in the world, miscalculation of
potential, its own potential, and underestimation of counterparts
or opponents are all factors. This leads to mistrust, this leads to
tensions, and this leads to war. Our policy has always been based
on cooperation in the real sense of that word, because we strongly
believe that only through cooperation can you achieve success. The
more you give and the more you help, the more you will get. That’s
how to say how the world works.

Correspondent: It is like life.

President Ilham Aliyev: It is exactly like
life. Politics and life are very similar, because both are being
done by people. And one example, which I can also bring to your
attention in answering this question, is our efforts as Chairman of
the Non-Aligned Movement. For the fourth year, Azerbaijan has
presided over the Non-Aligned Movement. By unanimous decision, we
have been elected, and by unanimous decision, our chairmanship has
been extended one more year until the end of this year. And during
this period, we really demonstrated that we wanted this movement to
be vocal. We want this movement to take its place on the world
stage because the polarization of big powers is obvious. The gap
between the interests of small and big powers probably will not
shrink. Therefore, the Non-Aligned Movement, which was actually
created as an alternative but then to a certain degree lost its
potential, has great potential. Because the countries have more or
less the same past, they have the same problems. Most of them have
been colonized, and they know what it means to be under the control
of others. During the time of the pandemic, we provided medical,
humanitarian, and financial assistance to more than 80 countries,
and we did it voluntarily. And we did it not for any monetary gain
but simply because we believed that if we had this capability, we
should use it. We had a time when we needed help at the beginning
of the 1990s, when we were poor and had a lot of social problems.
So, we know what it means to be poor. So, we need your help. And if
this ideology or philosophy dominates, then the world will be much
safer. And once again, the main problems that the world faces now
do not have a legitimate source. It is just perceptions, ambitions,
and the fight for so-called virtual leadership.

Correspondent: I like the way you put it.

President Ilham Aliyev: Because this leadership
cannot be measured because it is virtual, it can be created by the
media, which is under your control; it can be created by NGOs,
which are also under your control; but you cannot prove it in a
so-called competition. Therefore, let those who do it put down
these weapons. Let them concentrate on the needs of mankind: on
poverty, on malnutrition, on many countries having no access to
drinking water or electricity — these are fundamental problems in
the world.

Correspondent: It reminds me of the Chinese side, which
implies a community with a common future. As humans, we all have
the same basic needs. And we know who is nice to us, who our
friends are, and with whom we can walk the long path.

President Ilham Aliyev: Exactly. I can tell you
sincerely that what China does on the global stage with respect to
support and cooperation must be highly valued by the international
community. You do it on a global scale; we do it on a regional
scale, but the same philosophy applies, and it works. Because,
look, China is one of the most successful countries in the world
and the leading economy in the world. And this you achieved with
your own efforts, the wisdom of your people, your leadership, and
your commitment to the result.

Correspondent: My final question, Mr. President, the
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke at the World Economic Forum
ongoing right now. He talked about China’s unwavering commitment to
economic development, reforms, and opening China to a higher level
of quality for the rest of the world. I know you have been
interacting with Chinese leaders frequently. So how do you see
these commitments from China, and what they will mean for your

President Ilham Aliyev: What you say is
extremely important. Because the Chinese economy, as you are aware,
is more than just your country’s economy. The Chinese economy
influences the global economy. And many prognoses of some
analytical institutions are based on prognoses of how the Chinese
economy will grow, what the growth rate will be, and what the
interest rate will be. So, this is your responsibility, and your
government fully understands its global responsibility. And when a
high-ranking government official makes such a statement here in
Davos, it sends a very good signal to the world economy. And I
believe that growth in China is critical for all countries,
including our own, as well as for countries like Azerbaijan. And
you demonstrated consecutive growth for many years and decades. And
we wish you success because, as friends, we want everything you
plan to come true and for you to become a member of the global
community. because many countries and the global economy depend on
your economic performance to a very serious degree.

Correspondent: You are very modest, Mr. President.
Congratulations on the achievements of your country under your
leadership. Mr. President, this year is the year of the rabbit for
China’s Lunar New Year, and with just a few days to go, we are
going to celebrate it. I really wonder, Mr. President, if you would
be so kind as to provide your greetings to our viewers in China.
So, this will be the end of the World Economic Forum and then the
start of the Lunar New Year.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, of course. I want
to congratulate our Chinese friends on the celebration of the
Chinese New Year and wish all the people of China peace,
prosperity, and success. We, in Azerbaijan, are your friends and
good partners. For many years, we have had a very good
relationship. And we really love your country, and we are really
glad that more and more Azerbaijanis visit China and more people
from China visit Azerbaijan. So, people-to-people contacts are very
important in order to establish closer political relations. I am
confident that China will continue to succeed in its economic and
social development and that the Middle Corridor, which connects us,
will be implemented successfully. Happy New Year!

Correspondent: Thank you so much, Mr. President, for
your generous greeting! Thank you!

President Ilham Aliyev: My pleasure!

Correspondent: So, I hope that you will come to China
soon because, in the year of the rabbit, everybody moves

#europeannews #european_news

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