Minister Mammadyarov and your delegation,
Members of the media,
I would like take this opportunity to once again thank you, Excellency Minister Mammadyarov, for the kind welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in your beautiful capital city, Baku.
This morning we had the honour and privilege to pay a courtesy call on your President, His Excellency Ilham Aliyev.
We conveyed to His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev the greetings of his brother and colleague, His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa. We reiterated the commitment of the South African government to strengthen relations with Azerbaijan, founded on our joint desire to pursue areas of cooperation for mutual benefit.
We just had the first meeting since we signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Regular Diplomatic Consultations in Pretoria, South Africa, in February 2014. I am encouraged by our mutual recognition of the importance of values of the centrality of multilateralism.
We are committed to strengthening bilateral relations through dialogue and through exchange of knowledge in different areas of expertise. To this end, we have agreed to form a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC).
I have noted with satisfaction that the sectors we are pursuing will allow both our countries to grow our trade and investment portfolio and show tangible results, reflective of our sound political relations. We agreed that there is scope for cooperation between our two countries in areas such as energy, skills development, defence and aviation.
Our engagement today was both valuable and productive. We have managed to discuss a number of issues related to critical areas in our bilateral relations and in the interests of our respective countries, as well as areas of mutual interest in regional and global affairs.
Our coming together today has no doubt contributed to the further enhancement of our bilateral relations and demonstrates the value of dialogue to promote mutual understanding on the strategies to adopt in order to implement our programme of action.
As I stated in our meeting, we again look forward to our further engagements in the pursuit of our common goals of collaboration. I trust that our officials will commence with the programme of action in implementing the objectives we have discussed and agreed upon.
Once again I would to thank you, Minister, and to all the officials who contributed to making our stay and our engagements today a success.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION