Azerbaijan, Arab countries establish association to deepen ties
Anewly created “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association was presented to public in Baku on April 22.
The aim of establishing the Association, in which, along with Azerbaijani businessmen, entrepreneurs from Arab countries will also be represented, is the strengthening of economic partnership between Azerbaijan and Arab countries through the promotion of mutual trade and investment, development of friendly relations between the states.
Association’s Chairman Elshan Rahimov, addressing the ceremony, noted that high-level reciprocal visits in recent years between Azerbaijan and Arab countries, expansion of cooperation between businesses, increasing tourist flow to Azerbaijan create favorable conditions for the development of the relations.
He emphasized that the decision to create the “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association and its state registration are timed to President Ilham Aliyev’s initiative on announcing 2017 the Year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan, and Baku’s hosting the Islamic Solidarity Games in May.
“The Association intends to use various methods, including: ensuring dialogue between potential business partners, analyzing and informing about investment prospects, preparing business projects, assessing the business environment, organizing educational work among businessmen on advantages and benefits, organizing specialized exhibitions, business forums, business events, reciprocal visits, to achieve its goal,” he said.
The “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab countries” Public Association by establishing close cooperation with similar organizations, especially with the Turkish-Arab Association for Economic and Strategic Cooperation, will provide its members with an even wider range of services, Rahimov added.
Rahimov stressed that the current economic conditions increase competition between the countries in terms of attracting investments and expanding trade ties.
He noted that from this point of view, the goals set by the Azerbaijani president are taken as a basis in attracting investments to the country, adding that the newly created organization will make efforts to become a party to this process.
Close contacts will be established with representatives of business circles of Arab countries that have rich financial resources, and the organization will play the role of a business platform.
In the end, Rahimov invited entrepreneurs and representatives of business circles to join the “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association.
“We will build our activities on the principles of high professionalism and justify the trust of the members of the association,” he said.
Then, the Chairman of the Turkish-Arab Association for Economic and Strategic Cooperation Muhammed Al Adil said that Azerbaijan, being a brotherly country, is a very important part of the Turkic world.
He noted that the time has come to build new bridges between Azerbaijan and the Arab world.
“We intend to promote all the opportunities of Azerbaijan, in particular its business, investment, tourism opportunities in the Arab countries,” he said. “I therefore congratulate you on the creation of the “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association. This will be a very important and strategic cooperation for us.”
He went to add that Azerbaijan causes interest in the Arab world, first of all, that is due to the existence of common history and culture.
“Secondly, during the Soviet period, Azerbaijan was kept away from the Arab countries, we lived in complete estrangement,” he said. “Now we must strive to further expand the ties between our peoples. From this point of view, the creation of the “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association will be a great start.”
A memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the “Cooperation of Azerbaijan and Arab Countries” Public Association and Turkish-Arab Association for Economic and Strategic Cooperation was also signed at the event.
Rahimov further said that a mission of Azerbaijani businessmen will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in July to establish business ties.
He said that the visits, which will be organized by the Public Association, will not be limited to these three countries, and it is also planned to visit other Arab countries in the future.
“We have no plans to hold forums within the framework of these visits,” Rahimov said. “In this case, our task is to organize meetings with representatives of chambers of commerce and business circles of Arab countries.”
“In general, we want not only to attract the attention of Arab investors to Azerbaijan, but also to ensure our entrepreneurs’ access to the Arab countries,” he added. “At the state level, good relations have been established between Azerbaijan and the Arab countries, but our task is to establish direct contacts with the businessmen of these countries.”
In addition, in October Baku will host the first Azerbaijani-Arab business forum, with participation of more than 300 entrepreneurs from Arab countries, according to Rahimov, who added that the Association plans to hold such events annually.
Attraction of investments and expansion of trade in the current economic situation contributes to increased competition between states, he said.
Rahimov noted that guided by certain goals of the head of state on attracting foreign investments, the new organization will make efforts to become a part of this process, establish close contacts with businesses of Arab countries that have big financial resources.