ENERGY SUPPLY DIVERSIFICATIONQuestion: How does Lithuania see the energy cooperation with Azerbaijan?

Answer: Enhancement of the relations with Azerbaijan must become one of the priorities in the Caucasus and Central Asia not only for Lithuania but also the entire European Union. Azerbaijan plays an important role in assisting EU in diversification of energy supply. Azerbaijan is the key player for successful implementation of new energy projects in the region. And that depends not only on your resources but also on your good and friendly relations with the Central Asian countries.

It is important to note that EU adequately reacts and uses the opportunities offered by Azerbaijan. Reliable energy supply is advantageous to all importing, exporting and transiting countries. Therefore, such efforts must be supported by a strong political will.

We sincerely hope to see Azerbaijan taking a more intensive part in Europe after creation of the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk energy corridor. At the moment it is one of the most real projects in this field. We must focus on its successful implementation. The feasibility study of the project has been already designed and it would be symbolic to commence practical implementation after an energy summit in Baku – a city through which the oil corridor passes.

Question: Is Lithuania interested in purchasing oil and oil products from Azerbaijan. How can that be done?

Answer: In particular, that will depend on implementation of the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk project. The Caspian oil will reach Poland through the pipeline and onwards it will be delivered to the Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery in Lithuania which will supply oil products to the neighbouring markets. Another very attractive variant of import is a terminal for shipping oil and oil products to the Klaipeda port which capacity is 9mln tons a year.

Question: What is the dynamics of the Azerbaijan-Lithuania relations? What are the priority fields of cooperation?

Answer: Today Lithuania and Azerbaijan are interconnected by friendly and dynamic political, economic and cultural links, which we appreciate. We work together to strengthen the GUAM organization, to expand the contacts among the countries of the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions and we strive to intensify the cooperation in the energy field. Both countries opened their embassies in Baku and Vilnius, which shows our adherence to enhancement of cooperation.

We must find new ways to further strengthen and deepen our relations, to increase the investment flows, to improve the transport communication, to develop the infrastructural projects, to implement cultural and student exchange. I see many opportunities for that.

For instance, the enterprises in Azerbaijan may make a more effective use of their investment opportunities in Lithuania, including energy projects. In this regard Lithuania may serve as gates for Azerbaijan to do business over the entire European Union.

We must pay due attention to the transport sector, which is of great importance for our entrepreneurs. In multilateral aspect such format as GUAM and the TRACECA project become important tools to provide international transport corridors connecting Asia and Europe via Caucasus.

We believe the trilateral project involving Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine to launch a container train Viking to connect the Lithuanian Klaipeda port with the Black Sea Odessa port will be attractive for your country. We expect a positive reply from Azerbaijan to extend the Viking to Baku. We are convinced the efficient functioning of the train may be a real step up for development of international transport corridors among the regions of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas.

With large plans and many new opportunities, it would be useful to create a standing Lithuanian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental working group, which would better meet the requirements of our entrepreneurs. Lithuania has already created such groups with many countries and is now interested to create the same one with Azerbaijan – our good friend and reliable partner.

Azerbaijan, Baku, 12 November /Trend News corr. E.Tariverdiyeva