Despite some 20 percent of its territory having been under occupation for 25 years, Azerbaijan has attained great achievements, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 5th Global Baku Forum titled “The Future of International Relations: Power and Interests”, which kicked off in Baku March 16, APA reported.
According to him, when the government and people support each other, the economy can keep growing even if part of the land is under occupation.
"We have been able to reduce the poverty rate to 5 percent over the last fifteen years. Azerbaijan's economy suffered from the drop in oil prices. However, we managed to resolve the problems through reforms in a short period,” said President Aliyev.
“When oil revenues drop 3-4 times, people’s life gets affected. However, we have overcome these difficulties. There are some difficulties, but it is getting adapted to oil prices. There’ll be economic growth this year. Even if we put aside last year's oil and gas sector, we can see that there is an increase in the non-oil sector,” he added.
Azerbaijan has managed to increase the export of non-oil products twice over the past two months, noted the president.
“We must expand our export, we need foreign markets. To this end, we need to have good political relations with the leaders of countries that have those markets,” said President Aliyev.
The head of state noted that Azerbaijan has proved to be a reliable partner in the world.
"It stems from mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. If you have problems with neighboring countries, it’s going to have a negative effect on both sides,” said Azerbaijan’s president.
“Apart from Armenia, we have established very good relations with other neighboring countries. We have signed an agreement on strategic partnership with nine member countries of the European Union. It is not only associated with energy. Last month, we began negotiations with the EU for a strategic partnership agreement. We should base our policy on national interests and realities. We have also put forward realistic goals in relation to the EU. So have our partners. Instead of signing an association agreement with the EU, we made the initiative of signing a strategic partnership agreement. Our policy is based on the real situation. In some cases, however, our policy aims to change the realities. Sometimes our neighbors become unable to understand each other and that’s when we try to play a stabilizing role,” he added.
The president also recalled the recent meeting of Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov in Baku.
"It was an initiative of theirs. Azerbaijan’s role is now being appreciated. Being a satellite partner has little to promise. Azerbaijan does have this type of partners. And I have to say, Azerbaijan is taking part in the fight against terrorism, our troops in Afghanistan are taking part in this fight. At the same time, Azerbaijan is supporting the military cargo in this area," added President Aliyev.