Azerbaijan continues active negotiations on gas supply to the Balkan countries, Counselor of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Serbia Mahir Jafarov said in an interview with Trend.
He expressed hope that Serbia, just like Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, will begin the corresponding negotiations with Azerbaijan on gas purchase.
“Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, being candidates for joining the European Union, are responsible for fulfilling the requirements for diversifying energy sources,” he said. “These requirements, in turn, create prospects for these countries to purchase Azerbaijani gas through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).”
Jafarov reminded that there are plans to supply Azerbaijan’s gas to Greece and Bulgaria in 2020. A memorandum of understanding for the construction of a gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Serbia was also signed, he said.
Azerbaijan important for Europe
Commenting on Montenegro’s decision to open a representative office in Baku, the counselor remarked that the decision was made in December last year during the 103rd government session chaired by Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.
Jafarov stressed the importance of Montenegro, a European country, opening its diplomatic office in Baku.
“This is the result of a successful foreign policy pursued by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and yet another confirmation of our country’s significance for Europe,” he said.
Preventing Armenian provocations in Europe
Unfortunately, no one is immune from provocations of separatist regime, Jafarov said.
“We see how the separatist regime intensified in Europe, and Serbia is no exception,” he noted.
He told about one such case that occurred in June 2018.
“The Azerbaijani Embassy in Serbia learned that a shop called “Armenian Flavors” in the Duty Free of the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade sells wine, brandy, vodka and other alcoholic beverages produced by separatists in the occupied Azerbaijani territories,” he said.
“These products were manufactured under the so-called Artsakh brand,” he added. “We appealed to the authorities of Serbia and reported that the government of Azerbaijan strongly objects the sale of goods produced in the occupied historical Azerbaijani territories, given invented names by Armenia. Such facts threaten the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country.”
Jafarov noted that the Serbian side was also reminded of the relevant paragraph of the Joint Action Plan on Strategic Partnership between Azerbaijan and Serbia, signed in May 2018 by the heads of both countries, which doesn’t allow the sale of goods and services produced in the occupied Azerbaijani territories in Serbia.
As a result of urgent measures, these products were once and for all removed from the Duty Free shelves in the Belgrade airport and in Serbia in general, he said.
On support to Azerbaijanis living in the Balkans
Jafarov stressed that the embassy is constantly in contact with the Azerbaijanis living in Serbia and in the Western Balkans, invites them to participate in the events held by the embassy and also constantly updates them about the current events in Azerbaijan.
“We keep close contacts with our students studying in these countries, compatriots living and working there,” he said. “We are interested in each of them individually; we get acquainted with the conditions of education, work and residence on the spot and also support them within our possibilities.”
He stressed that the ongoing work is based on the tasks set by President Ilham Aliyev to the embassies and representative offices to care and pay attention to every Azerbaijani living abroad.