Ambassador interview published in Jordan Times on the occasion of National day

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 State visits, joint projects build strong ties between Jordan, Azerbaijan

Kingdom charting wise course through regional turmoil — ambassador

by Hani Hazaimeh | May 26,2012 | 23:06

AMMAN — In the six years since Azerbaijan established diplomatic ties with Jordan, the Caucasian country’s relations with the Kingdom have developed significantly, Ambassador Elman Arasli said.

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times on the occasion of his country’s national day, observed today, Arasli pointed to a series of state visits between the two countries as one of the main drivers of increasing cooperation.

"His Majesty King Abdullah has visited Azerbaijan three times and President Ilham Aliyev visited the Kingdom two times. Those visits contributed to strengthening our relations and boosted cooperation in all aspects," he said, adding that Amman and Baku are bound by 35 joint cooperation agreements.

A joint committee has been set up to examine areas where the trade and business sectors can work together and set up joint projects, he noted, while another committee that was formed to explore military and defence cooperation resulted in the establishment of a bullet-proof vest and helmet factory — the first joint military project set up in Baku.

"Despite efforts by the governments of both sides to boost economic cooperation, it is still below aspirations and the private sectors in both countries are yet to take advantage of the potential both sides can offer. Nevertheless, more than 15 Jordanian companies are very active in Azerbaijan," said Arasli, who has served as his country’s ambassador to Jordan for six years.

Addressing the state of the region, the envoy said that despite the present turmoil, Azerbaijan believes that the wisdom of the Jordanian leadership and the awareness of its people put the Kingdom in a safe place.

The events of the past year in the Arab region surprised the world, he added, but although it is hard to anticipate where and how things are going to end, Jordan appears to be charting a wise course through turbulent times.

"We in Azerbaijan highly respect the role Jordan plays in the local and international arenas. We welcome the political reform measures the country is currently undertaking and we think that the Kingdom is on the right track," the ambassador said.

A veteran diplomat with 35 years of experience, Arasli is in his sixth year as ambassador to Jordan, although he also served in the former Soviet embassy in Amman early in his career. Prior to coming to Jordan, he served for 12 years as ambassador to Saudi Arabia and speaks Arabic fluently.

Expressing his family’s personal affection for the country, he noted that his wife had written a book titled, “Jordan is my love”, which describes the country’s natural beauty. The book has been translated into Arabic.

According to Arasli, Azerbaijan was first established as a republic in 1918 after the collapse of the Russian empire, becoming the first democratic republic in the Muslim world and giving women the right to vote in 1919.

The short-lived republic was taken over by the Red Army in 1920, however, and incorporated into the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union on August 30, 1991.

The Azerbaijani embassy in Amman was established in 2006.

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