'Azerbaijan-Italy visa rules may be lifted soon'

Sat 17 Sep 2011 00:22 GMT | 04:22 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi.

What is your assessment of the current state of Azerbaijan-Italy relations, especially in the field of economy?

Italy is very reliable, major trade partner of Azerbaijan. Italy imports 22% of oil it consumes from Azerbaijan. Very good, friendly relations between our two countries and peoples stand behind this. Embassy of Italy in Baku, I personally try to further improve these relations.

You mentioned energy cooperation. And what about prospects in non-oil sector?

Of course, our goal is to increase Italian exports to Azerbaijan. It should be noted that a large range of products manufactured in Italy, especially items of fashion, furniture, machinery can be found on Azerbaijani market today. Along with this there is always room to increase these exports. We very much hope that more Italian products will be sold in Azerbaijan.

What is Italy’s stance towards occupation of a part of Azerbaijan’s lands?

Our official position is consonant with position of the European Union - we fully support territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We are working with our partners from the OSCE in finding a balanced peaceful solution to the conflict based on norms and principles of international law and four UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted during the active phase of the confrontation.

Azerbaijanis and Italians share much in common in terms of character and even appearance. How do you see future relations between our peoples?

You are right when you talk about similarity between Azerbaijanis and Italians. This is especially true about inhabitants of southern Italy. They are very similar to Azerbaijanis in terms of mentality and way of life, views on life and family values. We are indeed very close.

I hope that the visa rules for citizens of Azerbaijan who want to visit Italy will be eliminated not in too distant future. In my opinion, it would be a significant contribution to strengthening cultural relations between our countries.




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