|World treasure: The Maiden Tower, built in 12th century in the Old City, Baku, has become the symbol of Azerbaijan.— Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Azerbaijan|
On the occasion of the Republic Day of Azerbaijan on May 28 and the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Việt Nam, Azerbaijani Ambassador Anar Imanov gave an interview to the Vietnam News Agency.
This year, Việt Nam and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. Serving as a bridge in the bilateral relations between the two countries, would you please speak about landmark events in our relationship?
|Steady ally: Ambassador Ambassador of Azerbaijan Anar Imanov. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Danh Lam|
This year we are celebrating 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. The first two decades of diplomatic relations were smooth, but not active. Later on, in 2013 Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Việt Nam. I am honoured to be the first ambassador of Azerbaijan to your beautiful country. It is a privilege and big responsibility. During the last 4 years, our embassy has worked hard to activate bilateral cooperation between our countries, to rebuild ties of friendship between our nations. I would like to share that I was amazed by Vietnamese side’s approach to me as ambassador of Azerbaijan. I have very strong support in all levels. Thus, in each and every meeting with different officials, including high levels, I was told that Vietnamese people appreciate the aid of Azerbaijan during the nation’s hard times and have an intention to activate cooperation. It was a great message for me, one that actually shows the great character of your nation. Your people never forget goodness.
In a short time we were able to make great achievements. There was the state visit of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Việt Nam in 2014, just one year later in 2015 President of Việt Nam Trương Tấn Sang paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. Both visits played a crucial role on boosting bilateral cooperation between our countries. There were numerous visits in different levels, including visits of members of both governments, parliaments, officials of ruling parties. There were established friendship groups in both parliaments, as well as Azerbaijan-Việt Nam inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation. Besides, the Việt Nam-Azerbaijan Friendship Association and the Centre of Azerbaijani History and Culture Studies were founded in recent years. Both play active roles in people-to-people contacts and offer an opportunity to our Vietnamese friends, especially the young generation, to know more about Azerbaijan. This all was done in 4 years, and we had not been able to achieve it without strong political will on both sides and very sincere and clear approach to our friendship. Both sides are interested in developing, enhancing the relations between our countries as actively as possible.
|Midnight city: Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital at night. — Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Azerbaijan|
Azerbaijan could be a gateway for Việt Nam to approach a large potential market in Europe. On the other hand, Việt Nam could become the gateway for Azerbaijan to enter the Southeast Asian market. In your opinion, how should the two countries fully tap our cooperation potential in the future?
I share view that Azerbaijan can be Việt Nam’s gateway to the European market. For your information, the location of Azerbaijan between Asia and Europe, between East and West, allows us to play an important role in economically connecting the two continents. We have implemented a number of energy projects, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines to deliver oil and gas to Europe. Currently the TANAP pipeline is being built, which is of great significance.
Another important project is Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will connect Asia to Europe. Việt Nam can benefit from the railway while sending its goods to Europe. It can be one of the most affordable and fastest ways of delivering goods by rail through Asia to Europe and vice-versa. Additionally, that the location of Azerbaijan is near major markets in Europe, Russia, Turkey and Iran. This is attractive for those who want to open factories to produce their goods in Azerbaijan. I want to say that Vietnamese manufacturers and businessmen are most welcome to start their businesses in Azerbaijan, and the market conditions will satisfy them.
Personnel training has been defined as a long-term strategic cooperation aspect between Việt Nam and Azerbaijan. In the past, a lot of Vietnamese were granted scholarship to study in Azerbaijan in various fields such as petroleum, geology, law or economy. Many of them have made worthy contributions to the promotion of relations between our two countries. According to you, how should we make bilateral personnel training cooperation more effective in the future?
Indeed, we had fruitful collaboration in the field of education, and thousands of Vietnamese were able to study in Azerbaijan. We are willing to continue and to boost cooperation in the field of education and training. Many of those who graduated in Azerbaijan achieved very much in their careers This fact indicates that the education in Azerbaijan is really a good one, and it should attract more students from Việt Nam. We are ready to cooperate, and our universities are ready to grant more scholarships for Vietnamese students. I hope that in the very near future we will continue the traditions of cooperation between our countries in the field of education.
Also, I would be happy to see my compatriots - young people from Azerbaijan who wish to come and study in Việt Nam to learn Vietnamese language - to know more about your country, to become specialists on Việt Nam. Therefore, there are things which should be done and we are working on that. I am confident that very soon we will see positive developments in this field as well. — VNS