Italy, Azerbaijan seek to further strengthen ties

Italy, Azerbaijan seek to further strengthen ties

Boosting "intense" bilateral relations in the economic especially the energy sector as well as cooperation in battling the COVID-19 pandemic were the focus of phone talks on Wednesday between Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.

Di Maio and Mammadyarov discussed "the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the security framework in the region and the intense bilateral relations, particularly in the economic and energy fields," said a statement from Italy's foreign ministry.

Di Maio thanked Mammadyarov for the "generous" support offered to Italy by Azerbaijan during the most acute phases of the pandemic and told him Rome is ready to boost bilateral cooperation with Baku in facing down COVID-19, according to the statement.

Both ministers said their countries backed international efforts to defeat the novel Coronavirus, the statement said.

Di Maio voiced Italy's "strong concern" that the protracted conflicted between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory could destabilise the region, the statement noted.

"In line with appeals by the Secretary General of the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Di Maio encouraged all initiatives to promote dialogue and de‑escalation," said the statement.

There is "strong political will" to further deepen economic relations also following Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in February, the statement concluded.