Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(excerpts)

(Paris, January 25, 2007)

[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]

AZERBAIJAN/FRANCE

In the context of the close and friendly relations between France and Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan will make a state visit to France from January 29 to 31 at the invitation of President Jacques Chirac. This will be the first ever state visit to France by a president of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Mr. Aliyev will be received by the president for a meeting followed by a state dinner on January 29.

On January 30 the president of Azerbaijan will have lunch with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. He will meet that same day with Christian Poncelet, the speaker of the Senate, and Jean-Louis Debré, speaker of the National Assembly. He will also meet with Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dominique Bussereau and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Delegate Hamlaoui Mekachera.

Mr. Aliyev will also be received by the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë. On January 31, he will travel to Lille where he will meet with representatives of the Nord-Pas de Calais region and have talks with representatives from the area’s business and financial community.

Mr. Aliyev will be accompanied by several members of the Azerbaijani government, including Foreign Minister Elmar Mammedyarov, Economic Development Minister Heydar Babayev and Emergencies Minister Kamaleddin Heydarov.

Mr. Aliyev’s meetings in France will focus on strengthening bilateral relations and the situation in the Caucasus.

Several bilateral cooperation projects in such areas as research, civil security, tourism, family and the status of women will be discussed during the visit.

Relations between France and Azerbaijan have seen some important developments over the last few years. On the political level France, together with Russia and the United States, is mediating in the conflict over Upper Karabakh in the context of the OSCE Minsk group.

In the economic sphere, trade between France and Azerbaijan is growing rapidly, especially in the aeronautics and oil-services sectors owing to the prospects for French companies with the entry into service of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline project. France is Azerbaijan’s 16th trading partner and the fourth leading investor in the country. Several contracts or memorandums of agreement are due to be signed between businesses of the two countries during the visit./.

Embassy of France, January 25, 2007