Vienna, 19 February 2007 Press release

Winkler: "Opportunities for Austria - important partner in the South Caucasus"


State Secretary Hans Winkler meets Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

Vienna, 19 February 2007 - State Secretary Hans Winkler met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Araz Azimow, today. The topics of the talks were bilateral relations as well as important international issues.

"Diplomatic relations between Austria and Azerbaijan were initiated exactly 15 years ago. Cooperation between our two countries has significantly developed since then. The South Caucasus focus during the Austrian chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2000 in particular considerably contributed to intensifying the bilateral relations", said Winkler, but also stressed that the existing potential was still far from being tapped.

The Azeri economy has witnessed several years of continued revival. This economic revival induced by large investment projects and oil revenues is also reflected in the economic relations with Austria. The trade volume has almost tripled since 2000. Austrian enterprises may find opportunities particularly in the subcontracted supply to the oil and gas industry, in the modernisation of the country's energy supply system, health issue, environmental protection, and food processing.

"Measures aimed at consolidating democracy and political stability, promoting the rule of law, and full respecting human rights are indispensable elements to ensure the positive development of any country. This process benefits not only Azerbaijan but the entire South Caucasus region and is helping to strengthen the country's relations with Austria and the EU", Winkler emphasised.

Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Mag. Katharina Swoboda
Office of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43(0) 50 ext. 3469