Premier: No Barrier to Bilateral Cooperation between Slovakia and Azerbaijan

Premier: No Barrier to Bilateral Cooperation between Slovakia and Azerbaijan
Left, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev shake hands after signing the declaration on strategic partnership in Baku on May 7, 2024 (photo by TASR)

        Baku, May 7 (TASR-correspondent) - There is no obstacle to the development of bilateral trade between Slovakia and Azerbaijan, which is currently very low at a level of only €79 million, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) on Tuesday following a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, adding that there is great potential in the energy sector and arms industry, as well as other bilateral cooperation between companies from the two countries.
        On this occasion, the Slovak premier invited the Azerbaijani president to visit Slovakia.
        "The idea of importing gas from Azerbaijan via a contact point on the Russian-Ukrainian border, using Ukrainian infrastructure and then Slovak infrastructure at a volume of up to 20 billion cubic metres, must be interesting for everyone," said Fico, adding that Slovakia will respect fair prices for importing this natural gas. The project could be beneficial for Slovakia, neighbouring countries, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, which will provide transit of this gas, he said.
        Fico also praised the cooperation that is being launched in the field of armaments. "The idea of joint ventures in Azerbaijan is an idea that must be attractive to everyone. We've even gone further into certain details. In our country, Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak [Smer-SD] is the guarantor who puts enormous energy into supporting the arms industry in Slovakia, and he'll certainly do everything possible to make this initiative successful beyond Slovakia's borders," said the Slovak premier, also mentioning possible cooperation in the construction of small airports and a smart village.
        According to Fico, Slovakia wants to be a "bridge" between the European Union and Azerbaijan and to offer the EU objective information on the situation in the country, which he described as a state with a sovereign foreign policy, like Slovakia, while respecting the rules of international law. "We have our own experience, we are sharing your experience and I'll lead our diplomacy. I'll also lead MPs in the foreign affairs committee so that the view of all events connected with your country is as objective as possible," added the Slovak prime minister.