May 13, 2024

Erkinbek Kamalov

Azerbaijan-Kyrgyzstan Strengthen Bilateral Ties through Key Agreements

The recent state visit of President Sadyr Zhaparov of Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan marked a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. In 2022-23, turnovers between two countries increased by 30 %, and its planned to achieve 500 million USD by 2030. The visit, reciprocating the warm hospitality extended by Azerbaijan during previous exchanges, saw the signing of several pivotal agreements and declarations aimed at fostering deeper strategic ties and promoting collaboration across various sectors. In particular, the project on Program of Cooperation between the two nations for 2024-2029 was approved. In addition to that The Cabinet of Ministers agreed with the project of Protocol between the State Customs Service and the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan on cooperation in the exchange of information on mutual trade statistics.

In his address, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan underscored the importance of the visit in bolstering the already robust relationship between the two countries. He highlighted the signing of a Joint Declaration as a key outcome, emphasizing its role in shaping the future trajectory of bilateral relations. The comprehensive discussions held during the second meeting of the Interstate Council reaffirmed the commitment of both nations to enhancing cooperation in diverse fields, from trade and investment to energy and transportation.

A cornerstone of the burgeoning partnership is the Azerbaijan-Kyrgyz Development Fund, which was established last year, received a significant boost with a quadrupling of its authorized fund to $100 million. This expansion reflects the growing interest of businesses from both countries in exploring investment opportunities and realizing joint projects. President Aliyev lauded the constructive role played by President Zhaparov in supporting the restoration efforts in Azerbaijan's liberated territories, citing Kyrgyzstan's initiative to build a secondary school in the Aghdam district as a tangible manifestation of solidarity and brotherly support.

Energy cooperation emerged as another focal point of discussion, with a mutual interest in exploring renewable energy projects in Kyrgyzstan. Both nations recognize the potential for collaboration in this sector, alongside ongoing efforts to enhance transportation infrastructure and optimize trade routes. A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the energy sector was signed between the Ministry of Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Energy of the Azerbaijan Republic. The Ministry of Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic reported this on April 25. The main goal of the memorandum is to develop Azerbaijani-Kyrgyz cooperation in the energy industry, have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the country, as well as the desire to further deepen cooperation in this area.

The parties strive to develop cooperation in the following areas:

- joint research and development of oil fields in the territories of the states of the parties;
- trade in oil and petroleum products;
- cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources and hydropower.

The signing of agreements related to the construction of a five-star hotel on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul and the development of transport corridors underscores the shared commitment to advancing mutual interests and unlocking new avenues for economic growth.

President Zhaparov, in his remarks, expressed gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality extended by Azerbaijan. He commended the substantive discussions held during the visit, which culminated in the signing of a joint Declaration on strategic partnership. Emphasizing the significance of bilateral cooperation in cultural and humanitarian spheres, President Zhaparov lauded Azerbaijan's efforts in commemorating the legacy of Chingiz Aitmatov, a revered figure in Kyrgyz literature and a symbol of shared Turkic heritage. It should be noted that during Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2023 the park, named after his father, Heydar Aliyev was inaugurated in capital city Bishkek.

The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss forthcoming high-level events within the framework of the Organization of Turkic States, underscoring Azerbaijan's pivotal role in hosting the 29th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These initiatives underscore the deepening ties and mutual commitment to fostering regional stability and sustainable development.
In total, 17 agreements were signed between Azerbaijan and Kyrgyz Governments related economic, trade, energy sector, transportation especially, related to a Middle Corridor route and renewable energy. The agreements covered matters, such as on prevention of double taxation as well as, prevention of tax evasion. Furthermore, Azerbaijan is also interested to link its cargo transportation system to China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Rail Road route chains and promote local products to Eastern Asia via Central Asian routes. Whereas Kyrgyz side is interested to get access to Azerbaijan and other European markets via Caspian sea.

During President Zhaparov visit to Azerbaijan, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of education and science was also signed. Accrodng to the press service of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science, starting from 2025, Azerbaijan will allocate a quota of 5 places for Kyrgyz citizens to study in Azerbaijan universities . The document stipulates that Azerbaijan will provide tuition free undergraduate education to selected Kyrgyz citizens and provide scholarships, medical care, appropriate conditions for study, as well as the right to use sports and recreational facilities at the level provided for local citizens, in accordance with national legislation.. Furthermore, a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Baku State University and the Kyrgyz National University named after Zhusup Balasagyn” was signed. The subject of the memorandum is the exchange of experience between teachers and students in the field of education, science and culture.

Currently, the following major Azerbaijani companies, joint ventures that are operating in Kyrgyzstan:

Foreign Azerbaijani LLC "AZERI"
Wholesale trade of other non-food consumer goods
World Interprise LLC (IU-Azerbaijan)
Joint Kyrgyz-Azerbaijani LLC "PRO-IES"
Closed joint stock company "Progress"
Company "Kavkazenergoservice"
Production of electric motors, generators and transformersx
Joint Kyrgyz-Kazakh-Azerbaijan Public Fund “Sema”
Joint Kyrgyz-Uzbek-Azerbaijan Jalalabad Oil Refinery LLC
Production of refined petroleum products, including briquettes from petroleum products
Joint Kyrgyz-Azerbaijani LLC "EVOS"

Other construction and installation works not included in other groups:
Branch of Azerbaijan Energy Engineering and Consulting LLC in the Kyrgyz Republic
Azerbaijan Energy Engineering and Consulting LLC Activities in the field of engineering surveys and provision of technical advice in these areas
Branch of the Joint Kyrgyz-Azerbaijani LLC "EVOS" in the city of Osh
Azerbaijan LLC "EVOS" Construction of residential and non-residential buildings

The economic collaboration between Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan holds significant promise, yet its realization has been limited thus far. It's worth acknowledging that over nearly thirty years, there have been intervals where opportunities were overlooked. I believe the time has come to seize these opportunities and make up for lost ground.

In conclusion, the successful outcome of President Zhaparov's visit reflects the shared vision and determination of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan to elevate their partnership to new heights. The signed agreements and declarations serve as a testament to the enduring friendship between the two nations and lay the groundwork for a future marked by collaboration, prosperity, and mutual respect. As the two countries embark on this journey of cooperation, they stand poised to unlock immense potential and chart a path towards a brighter, more interconnected future.