Azerbaijani - UK relations


The history of relations: The history of relations between Azerbaijan and the UK date back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries when Azerbaijan was a part of the Tsarist Russia. In the first years of the 20th century English companies invested 60 million mantas to the oil enterprises in Baku. In 1904 England satisfied 74 percent of its requirements for petrol on the account of Baku. "Gikkers limited" was the first company in Azerbaijan, which got license to produce technical equipment for the cracking plant.

Bilateral political relations: Great Britain recognized the independence of Azerbaijan on December 31, 1991. Agreement on diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Great Britain was signed on March 11, in 1992. Embassy of Great Britain in Azerbaijan began its activity in the September of 1992. Ambassador of the UK to Russia was at the same time appointed to Azerbaijan and presented his credentials to the President of Azerbaijan in the July of 1992. the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan functions in London since 1994.

In 1993 Heydar Aliyev met the newly appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Great Britain to Azerbaijan.

The meeting was held at the heat of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, and their attacks against Agdam. Heydar Aliyev emphasized the necessity of the British embassy in Azerbaijan and informed the British diplomat about the issue. Ambassador Thomas Young stated that the British government recognizes the inviolability of the Azerbaijani borders and said the UK would use its power as the chairman of the Security Council of the United Nations. On July 27, 1993, according to the statement of Thomas Young the British government made a protest against the occupation of Agdam by Armenia. A day later in the course of discussions at the UN Security Council, Resolution 853 was adopted. It condemned the occupation of Agdam. It was adopted under the influence of Great Britain when it chaired the Security Council.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev made the first official visit to Great Britain on February 22-25, 1994. During the visit he met and negotiated with the British prime minister John Major, Foreign secretary Douglas Hurd. In the frames of this visit Heydar Aliyev and John Major signed "The declaration on friendship and cooperation" between Azerbaijan and Great Britain. In his first visit to Great Britain Heydar Aliyev expressed his main goal: "......We consider Great Britain a reputable, weighty country in the world policy and economy with a rich history and traditions and much can be learned from its experience by making all-round cooperation."

On July 19-24, 1998, Heydar Aliyev made his second official visit to Great Britain. The visit played an important role in developing the bilateral relations. During the official meeting with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, she told President Heydar Aliyev that she attentively followed his activity in the sphere of establishing a democratic and legal state. Heydar Aliyev also met Prime minister of Great Britain Tony Blair. Tony Blair stated that Great Britain recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

In the December of 2004, during Ilham Aliyev's official visit to Great Britain as president, he met Prime Minister Tony Blair and "The Declaration on friendship and cooperation" signed in 1998 was reratified. Tony Blair and Ilham Aliyev signed a joint communiqué on the basis of bilateral relations. Ilham Aliyev made a speech on the topic:"New Azerbaijan in regional and global relations" at British Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

On May7, 2008, the British minister of state and minister for Europe Jim Murphy, paid a visit to Azerbaijan. He mentioned that Azerbaijan and Armenia should settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully and it would help the progress of the region. He stated that territorial integrity of Azerbaijan can't be the theme for arguments; the Nagorno-Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan and this fact is accepted both by Great Britain and the world community.

On July 12-13, 2009, President Ilham Aliyev met Gordon Brown during his visit to Great Britain. Talking about the participation of Azerbaijan in antiterror coalition Gordon Brown stated that the administration of Great Britain highly appreciates the activity of Azerbaijan in this sphere. Gordon Brown congratulated President Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of achievements in democracy and appreciated the extension of the relations with the European Union. He stated that Great Britain intends to extend the relations with Azerbaijan in political, economic and other spheres.

Ilham Aliyev touched upon the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and stated that the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan prevents the progress in the region.

Economic relations: Great Britain is one of the biggest foreign investors in Azerbaijan. Over 100 British companies operate in Azerbaijan. Within his visit to Great Britain in the February of 1994 Heydar Aliyev met the president of "British Petroleum" and expressed his wish to build relations with such a reputable western company and stated that it would have a positive influence on the oil industry of Azerbaijan and on the rapid development of the social spheres in the republic as well. In 1994 "BP" and AIOC signed ACG production Sharing Agreement (PSA).

On November 28, 1995, Heydar Aliyev paid a visit to the UK to take part in the conference on "The investment opportunities in Azerbaijan" and had important meetings. In the course of the conference a memorandum on the establishment of the Azerbaijan-British trade and industry council was signed. On June 3-5, 2002, the minister of industry and energy of Great Britain Brian Wilson came to Baku to participate at the annual "Oil and Gas 2002" exhibition.

Cultural relations: President Heydar Aliyev and Prime Minister John Major laid the legal foundations of the cultural cooperation with the agreement on cooperation in the sphere of education, science and culture signed on February 23, 1994. Since the signature of this treaty it has given great opportunities for mutual understanding between the two countries. After the signature of the agreement on cooperation in education, science and culture, which is of great historical importance, great opportunities appeared in mutual understanding between two countries.

After this agreement the British Council, which organizes cultural-educational relations of Great Britain with foreign countries extended its activity in Azerbaijan. According to the 14th paragraph of the agreement, the British Council is the main intermediary of Great Britain on cooperation in education, science and culture between the two countries. Productive activity of the British Council and Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan Republic was appreciated in declaration by Heydar Aliyev and Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair on June 21, 1998.

It is said in paragraph 10:" Both leaders approve the activity of the British Council in the sphere of teaching English, education, science, technology and culture." Relations between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom can be considered of strategic character. This country constantly supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

General historical reference was compiled on the 5th of April in 2010.