Azerbaijan and Germany celebrate 30th anniversary of bilateral relations

By Vugar Khalilov

In 2022, Azerbaijan marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with subjects of international relations – both individual states and international organizations.

Azernews – the country’s first English-language newspaper – has launched a new project, designed to cover major aspects of Azerbaijan’s 30-year diplomatic relations with individual states.

On February 20, Germany and Azerbaijan celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Germany is one of the nations with which Azerbaijan has developed strong ties as a trusted European partner. Baku attaches particular importance to German support in the Euro-Atlantic integration process and close cooperation with the European Union. As a country that plays an important role in world economy and politics, the Federal Republic of Germany supports the expansion of cooperation with Azerbaijan in all areas.

Relations between the two nations date back to the second half of the 19th century, when Siemens Brothers, a German company, in 1863 developed huge smelters based on copper resources in the Gadabay region of Azerbaijan.

Due to the increased activities of German industrialists in Azerbaijani regions, German colonies were established in surrounding regions, especially in present-day Goygol and Shamkir regions of Azerbaijan. In Western Azerbaijan (Goygol, Shamkir), many historic buildings, including churches, remind us that Swabian immigrants settled there from 1818.

During the 30 years of diplomatic relations, the two countries have been able to forge solid ties based on partnership in the economic, cultural and educational fields. For the convenience of our readers, we try to shed light on specific aspects of relationships in the form of questions and answers.

Q: When did Azerbaijan and Germany establish diplomatic relations?

A: Germany and Azerbaijan have had good bilateral relations since 1992.

On January 12, 1992, Germany recognized the independence of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and Germany established diplomatic relations on February 20, 1992. On September 2, 1992, Azerbaijan opened its first embassy in Western Europe, Germany, while on September 22, 1992, Germany established its embassy in Azerbaijan.

Q: What do the two states have in common regarding the issue of territorial integrity?

A: As a member of the OSCE Minsk Group (although the group proved ineffective in resolving the conflict), Germany has consistently supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and advocated for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. of Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The German parliament (Bundestag) has repeatedly declared that the continuation of the previous status quo, namely Armenia’s occupation of the internationally recognized lands of Azerbaijan, is inadmissible, and called for a lasting solution to the old conflict.

Q: What do we know about bilateral political relations and cooperation between the two nations?

A: Germany is one of Azerbaijan’s most important political and economic partners in Europe. It also actively supports and promotes the Eastern Partnership initiative, initiated by Poland and Sweden, which envisages close cooperation between the European Union and the countries of Eastern Europe. The high level of political relations between the two countries is reflected in mutual visits and intensive inter-parliamentary cooperation.

A working committee on Azerbaijani interparliamentary relations exists in the Azerbaijani Parliament with Nurlan Hasanov as the chairman of the group. The German Parliament (Bundestag) has the Germany-South Caucasus parliamentary group with Dr. Barbara Hendrix at the head.

Azerbaijani-German relations have developed to high levels in all areas. The political dialogue between the two countries continued through regular reciprocal visits at the highest level.

The results of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s first official visit to Germany in 2004 once again confirmed the greater potential for cooperation between the two countries. Several agreements, signed during the visit, have opened up vast opportunities for economic cooperation. A total of seventy-seven documents were signed between Azerbaijan and Germany.

During his visits to Germany in 2007 and 2010, Aliyev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed prospects for bilateral relations as well as relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union, and the successful implementation of economic reforms in Azerbaijan and in Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh. conflict. Germany, as an essential partner, has always indicated its readiness to help Azerbaijan in various fields.

The occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and the peaceful settlement of the conflict were the main topics of discussion during the meetings held by the officials of the two nations. In recent years, Germany and Azerbaijan have successfully cooperated in the field of defence, political security and the fight against terrorism.

President Ilham Aliyev made several working visits to Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conferences: February 3-5, 2012, February 6-8, 2015, February 12-14, 2016, February 17-19, 2017 and February 14, 2017, and February 16, 2020.

In August 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Azerbaijan. During the meeting with the participation of delegations, Merkel said that Azerbaijan is Germany’s biggest trading partner in the region. She added that Germany has the potential to expand economic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan.

Q: What kind of economic ties do the two countries have?

A: Germany is one of Azerbaijan’s most important economic partners in Europe, while Azerbaijan is Germany’s most important economic partner in the South Caucasus.

Azerbaijani-German economic and trade relations are one of the dynamically developing areas of cooperation. Azerbaijan is Germany’s most important economic and trade partner in the South Caucasus.

According to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, Azerbaijan’s share of Germany’s trade turnover with South Caucasus countries was around 65% in 2020. In the At the same time, according to the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control, Azerbaijan was Germany’s ninth largest oil supplier in 2020. In 2020, around 2.5 million tonnes of crude oil were exported from Azerbaijan to Germany.

The reciprocal visits between the two countries at the highest level, as well as the business forums organized in Germany to promote Azerbaijan’s business opportunities and the “Made in Azerbaijan” brand, make a special contribution to the pursuit of the expansion of bilateral economic and trade relations and raise bilateral economic relations to a new level.

The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce, which was opened in Baku on November 12, 2012, is Germany’s second chamber of foreign trade (after Moscow) in the CIS countries. The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK Azerbaijan), as the official representative of the German economy in Azerbaijan, provides information services and supports companies in their market and business research. The AHK was founded by the German-Azerbaijani Business Association (DAWF), which has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1999. With 200 member companies from both sides (as of April 2020), the AHK Azerbaijan is the largest European business association powerful in Azerbaijan. .

Azerbaijan is one of Germany’s ten largest crude oil suppliers. The main exports are machinery, motor vehicles and their components, steel products and production facilities.

According to the Azerbaijani Customs Committee, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Germany amounted to $1.2 billion in 2021. In addition, the trade turnover between the two countries is increasing. amounted to $377.5 million from January to April 2022.

Q: What is the extent of cultural cooperation between the two countries?

A: The cultural cooperation agreement between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, dated December 22, 1995, constitutes the legal basis in this field. By this agreement, the Azerbaijani-German Joint Commission was created.

In 2008, Azerbaijan held its first year of cultural exchange in Germany. A 120-member delegation led by the Azerbaijani Minister of Culture and Tourism visited Germany for this purpose. In Berlin, the cultural festival lasted a week. Azerbaijani culture was promoted throughout the year in Munich, Hamburg, Mainz, Stuttgart and other important German cities. From June 12 to July 15, 2008, the Dresden gallery hosted an “Azerbaijani Exhibition of Contemporary Art” as part of the Year of Azerbaijan. Paintings by well-known Azerbaijani artists were exhibited during the show.

On August 30, 2016, in accordance with the presidential order, the 200th anniversary of the construction of German colonies in the South Caucasus region was widely celebrated in Azerbaijan and Germany, and many events dedicated to this historic event were organized in Baku, Berlin, and other cities.

An important part of the cultural sphere, the German-Azerbaijani Cultural Association is located in the Kapellhaus (formerly the music hall of the Protestant Church). Many cultural events are organized there each year. The Goethe Center has also been operating in Baku since December 2017.

The Berlin-Baku Gallery, which regularly organizes exhibitions of paintings, photographs and sculptures by Azerbaijani and German artists in Berlin, also operates in Germany.

Close cooperation is established with leading German universities and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the implementation of the state program on education of young Azerbaijanis abroad. The DAAD, which has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1997, offers scholarships to Azerbaijani students wishing to study in Germany and encourages the exchange of scientists.

There is also cooperation between German and Azerbaijani universities and research institutes. The DAAD office contributes to improving the quality of German language education in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan State University of Petroleum and Industry has a DAAD – Information Center. So far, 23 scientific and academic cooperation documents have been signed between German and Azerbaijani universities and research institutes.

Besides Russian and English, German is taught in many secondary and higher schools in Azerbaijan. The Department of Azerbaijani History operates at Humboldt University Berlin. There are partnerships between several Azerbaijani and German universities.

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