Azerbaijan-Qatar: 25 years diplomatic relations.

The welcoming ceremony of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, in Azerbaijan, 2016
The welcoming ceremony of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, in Azerbaijan, 2016

A meeting of the Azerbaijan-Qatar intergovernmental commission on the economic cooperation was held in Doha. Last year, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $ 3.6 million, almost all amount of the turnover accounted for the export of Azerbaijani products. Azerbaijan mainly exports food and agricultural products to Qatar. According to The Peninsula, State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan is open to increase in investment in Qatar. Investment by the sovereign wealth fund of Azerbaijan in Qatar currently stands at around $10m.

“Although the size of the investment in Qatar is not large it is important, it is about $10m. Once we find investment opportunities in Qatar, we will invest, although Qatar is a competitor in terms of investment,” Shahmar Movsumov, Executive Director of the Fund told The Peninsula. Giving an overview of the Azerbaijani oil sector he said the first oil shipment was exported to Russia in 1876. The fund has made investments in about 60 countries in the world, including Qatar. The total investment by the fund globally stands at $40bn, he added. He noted that the objective of the fund is to create a balance in sources and not rely only on oil, as well as building projects and other important investments in real estate, companies, etc.

Aslan Aslanov, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) and also President of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) said that the Qatari media has developed significantly and has become a global leader. It has a great influence in the world because of its credibility, excellence and freedom. “We have a good relation with Qatar News Agency, and we have signed a memorandum of cooperation to exchange information between the agencies,” said Aslanov. He was speaking during a meeting with a group of reporters from Qatari newspapers who visited the agency recently during a trip organised by Azerbaijan embassy in Doha. The visit also provided reporters an opportunity to visit Azerbaijan Press Council, State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a number of tourism centres in the country. “The Azerbaijani agency has correspondents in 21 countries and publishes news in eight languages, including Arabic and has a special section in Arabic to publish the topics related to the Arab and Islamic countries.  The Section also provides the public with news about Azerbaijan and its Islamic history and publishes about 100 daily articles,” he added. On its media’s position on the Gulf crisis, he commented, “We regret of the occurrence of problems between the Gulf states, and we hope that all the problems will be resolved between these countries.”  On freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, Aslanov noted that about 80 percent of the country’s population had access to Internet services and had full freedom of expression and that anyone could criticise the Government whenever he wished. 

Aflaton Amasov, Chairman of Azerbaijan Press Council, explained the situation of the press in the country. He said “we enjoy full freedom of expression. There are many newspapers that criticise the performance of the government and anyone can establish newspaper whenever one wants”. On the relations with the media in Qatar, he said that the Council has close relations with the Aljazeera and goes to 10 years back. “We want to strengthen the relationship with the Arab and Islamic press and to be stronger than it is. Azerbaijan has relations with the East spanning 1,000 years,” he added. He said that the current cooperation focuses on many important issues that combine these countries such as the Palestine issue, the war on terrorism and other in order to give the right image of these issues. 

The visit also includes some of most beautiful cities and places in Azerbaijan which attract thousands of tourists every year. Among these is Gusar city, which is one of the most beautiful towns of Azerbaijan, and located on the river of Kusarchai at the foot of the Large Caucasus. The city is located at the distance of 183km from Baku.

The Peninsula met the Governor of the city, who gave a brief description of the city, and said that it has a population of 120,000 and more than 200,000 tourists visited it last year. The city depends on agriculture and tourism and many tourists come every year with their families and the prices of family housing for apartments is from $20 to $60 per day depending on the type of housing.

Azerbaijan and Qatar established diplomatic relations in 1994, and in 2019 both countries are set to celebrate 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

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