Monday, 19 August 2019

Zeman opens business forum, honours Aliyev, meets students in Baku

17 September 2015

Baku, Sept 16 (CTK special correspondent) - Czech President Milos Zeman, on a visit to Azerbaijan, opened the Czech-Azeri business forum together with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev yesterday, honoured Aliyev's late father and predecessor, and met local university students in Baku yesterday.
Zeman attended a commemorative event at the grave of Heydar Aliyev, former member of the top Soviet communist leadership and a general of the infamous Soviet secret police KGB, who controlled the Azeri political scene for more than 30 years.
Later yesterday, Zeman met the Azeri parliament leaders and had luncheon with Azeri Prime Minister Artur Rasizade.
In the afternoon, he had a discussion meeting with students at the state university. He spoke about the danger of Islamic terrorism and the need to fight it.
Azerbaijan is considered a moderate Muslim country.
At the university, Zeman also visited the department of the Bohemian language and literature studies that was founded 15 years ago and studies at it have been completed by about 300 students so far.
At present, 50 young Azeris are studying Czech. However, the graduates often have problems finding a job, the department's founder, Professor Elchin Mehraliyev, said, adding that he would therefore welcome more intensive bilateral relations.
Zeman handed Czech books as gifts to the students. He received a carpet from the Baku university.
Zeman traditionally supports Czech business activities during his trips abroad, often to countries that face criticism over human rights violations.
This also applies to Azerbaijan, which was sharply criticised by the EP in the past days, in reaction to which Baku threatened to boycott its contacts with EU institutions.
European NGOs criticise Baku for suppressing the democratic opposition, jailing critics of the regime and curtailing fundamental freedoms. Baku considers the criticism a conspiracy fomented by the neighbouring Armenia within their long-lasting dispute over Nagorno Karabakh.
"To us, Azerbaijan is an immensely interesting country, probably the richest in the region, together with Kazkahstan," Jaroslav Hanak, president of the Czech Industry Confederation, told CTK.
For Czech companies, the most promising areas in this respect are transport infrastructure, supplies of engines and the sales of air conditioning units.
Czech companies will assist in the construction of a new town on an artificial island and of new transport infrastructure in Azerbaijan, and they will be repairing local Czech-made planes and modernising the railway connecting Baku with Georgia and Turkey, members of the Czech business delegation told journalists during Zeman's flight to Azerbaijan on Monday night.
At the beginning of his Azeri trip on Tuesday, Zeman called on Azeri firms to raise their investments in the Czech Republic.
Aliyev assured Czech entrepreneurs that Azerbaijan has enough money to cover the planned investments, in spite of the recent dramatic fall of oil prices.
He mentioned the plans to build a new gas pipeline leading to Europe and a new north-southern transport corridor, and called on Czech companies to take part in their financing.

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