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Food, agricultural machinery and cotton: The points of contact between Belarus and Azerbaijan in 2017

This week, the chairman of the Azerbaijani parliament strengthened the bridges between Minsk and Baku. President Lukashenko met with him. The Belarusian leader noted that he talked with Ilham Aliyev at the CIS summit in Sochi. Also, the talks between a delegation from Baku and the government of Belarus should be added to the most important events of this week.

Azerbaijan is a land of flames, and Baku is a city of lights. Numerous shops and markets are like pomegranates in the rich gardens of the Caspian Sea. The Belarusian color is also visible here among the bright illuminations of the eastern fairy tale of shop-windows. Products and shops with Belarusian patterns enjoy the same respect as the Arabic ligature.

Kristina Aliyeva, cashier of a store of Belarusian goods:
When I say that I am from Azerbaijan, people leave with a sorry look. They would like Belarusians to work here.

Buyers:
There are a lot of delicious foodstuffs here!

There are many buyers. Most importantly, we trust the first person in your country - Batka - as you say.

This is what ordinary Baku citizens think about the official Minsk.

Ogtay Asadov, Chairman of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan:
You know, our people are closely looking at Belarus. When you were in Azerbaijan last year and you were awarded the highest order - the Heydar Aliyev order, and we do remember your warm statements about the Azerbaijani people. It is an impetus to deepen comprehensive relations with Belarus.

Beautiful words are respected in the East, but people are treated for specific deeds.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We are enjoying the closest relationship. We absolutely trust each other. We go to you, create joint ventures and do not fear that tomorrow they will kick us out, roughly speaking. On the contrary, we have already reached the point of creating joint ventures and trading in third countries. We go along with you further, to the south, to the east. And we will adhere to this policy in the economy.

Ganja for Azerbaijan is the same that Polesie for Belarus - a unique and distinctive area. A joint factory is operating here.

Vladimir Lusikov, director of the representative office of "Ganja Automobile Plant" in the Republic of Belarus:
Over three years we have increased the volume of equipment to 130 million dollars. It's only machinery, but we also do some developments. At the moment, the program for 2018 is being reviewed.

Evgeny Pustovoi, political observer:
"Belarus in Ganja" in rich Azerbaijan becomes the same image combination as "Baku oil". Such huge enterprises used to be created only in the Soviet Union. This large international cooperation project was realized thanks to the friendship between official Minsk and official Baku.

The presidents of sovereign Belarus and Azerbaijan gave second birth to the Soviet project authored by Heydar Aliyev, the father of the current Azerbaijani leader. Along with the photos of their leaders, there are a lot of Belarusian symbols.

Kamran Nazarov, director of Ganja Automobile Plant:
The name "Belarus" is on tractors and MAZ vehicles. When you see them, something native comes to mind. And if it's native, it is good in quality.

The ambitiousness of tasks can only be compared to a broad Azerbaijani gesture. They started with 2 lines and now, 10 years after, they have assembled and sold 8,000 units and the demand increased so much that the plant is expanded to 5 lines.

Zaur Saryev, Head of Marketing Department of Ganja Automobile Plant:
In the Azerbaijani market, there are some brands of other tractors, but they are slowly being superseded. So, only Belarusian tractors will soon be used in Azerbaijan. In Belarus they danced ballet, and here we will teach them to dance Azerbaijani music.

This kindergarten at the plant is a real factory of people's diplomacy. Children draw national flags, and this is the beginning of the alphabet of our relations.

A and B are neighbors even in alphabetical order - Azerbaijan and Belarus. And when Belarus' closest neighbors began to "tighten the nuts" on the oil pipe, Baku, at a certain distance was closer than the neighbors. Now, hydrocarbon cooperation is economically inexpedient, but, given the policy of diversification, it is still possible.

Gennady Akhramovich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Azerbaijan:
When there is much cream, one does not have time to reach milk and whey. But, nevertheless, we must always keep our eyes open, so it's no coincidence that Vladimir Makei (Belarus foreign minister) calls for diversification, because any change in the conjuncture may come unexpectedly.

Azerbaijan is steering away from land extraction and moving to oil rigs in the Caspian Sea. But, in addition to "black gold", these lands are rich in "white gold" - cotton. This industry requires machinery. This is where Belarus can pitch in.

Yevgeny Pustovoi:
Industrial cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan should move well not only thanks to technology, but also to the overall development of light industry. Traditionally, these Azerbaijani fields boast a good crop of cotton, and Belarusian garment enterprises need exactly this kind of material.

Belarus is in the center of Europe, and Europe begins from the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Gennady Akhramovich:
We have supplied about 10 cars, which mostly run between Baku and Sumqayıt. Now the issue is being discussed on the same train plying between Baku and Ganja.

In addition, about 30 new Stadler cars will be purchased. We need to increase the number of flights too. And we ask to increase at least by 2-2.5 times.

The trade turnover between Minsk and Baku is 5-6 times higher than with European countries, which are 5-6 times larger in population than the 9-million Azerbaijan. But now other goals are ahead.

Yevgeny Pustovoi:
It is impossible to approach the main wealth of Azerbaijan without rubber boots. Oil here, in the Caspian, is so light that it manifested itself. But modern Azerbaijan is departing from hydrocarbon dependence just as Islam once ousted paganism from these territories.

Azerbaijan is going to rise to new heights thanks to the development of other spheres, including the knowledge economy. And in this case, Belarus can become a real beacon for the Caspian Sea. As bright as Baku at night.

Food, agricultural machinery and cotton: The points of contact between Belarus and Azerbaijan in 2017