Azerbaijani - Italian relations


History of relations: An ancient Latin inscription on the rocks in the territory of Qobustan, situated at 55 km distance from Baku, testifies that the Roman legions crossed through Azerbaijan in the old times. A great number of travelers visited Azerbaijan in the Middle Ages. Marco Polo should be particularly noted among them. In the 16th -18th centuries intensive diplomatic and economic relations existed between the Safavid rulers and the Republic of Venice. Nasreddin Tusi's book "Interpretation of Euclid's "Elements" was translated into Latin and published in 1594 in Rome.

There were diplomatic relations between the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and Italy in 1918-1920s, and Italy opened its consulate in Baku.

Political relations: Italy recognized the independence of Azerbaijan on January 1, 1992. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on May 8, 1992. The first embassy of Italy among the Southern Caucasian republics was opened in Azerbaijan in 1997. the embassy of Azerbaijan to Italy functions since 2003.

Italy was a first chairman of OSCE's Minsk Group acting for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

President Heydar Aliyev paid his first official visit to Italy on September 25-28, 1997, it contributed to the development of relations between the two countries in all the spheres. In the frames of this visit Heydar Aliyev met Italian President, prime minister and other members of the government. During their talks with the President of Azerbaijan, the Italian leaders noted that they supported the fair solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In 1998-2003 various government officials of Italy visited Azerbaijan. As a result of negotiations and discussions, agreements were signed on cooperation in different spheres.

On February 24-26, 2005, at the invitation of the President of Italy Azeglio Ciampi President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to this country. During his meeting with Ilham Aliyev, Azeglio Ciampi touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and declared that Italy had come across such a problem once and using this experience they are ready to help Azerbaijan. President Azeglio Ciampi reminded that the attempts of the Minsk Group of OSCE had not produced any results yet and stated that he would do his best to strengthen the activity of the Minsk Group. President Ilham Aliyev talked about the grave consequences of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the conflict within the frames of the Minsk Group of OSCE and emphasized that the problem should be solved on the principles of international law.

On November 25-26 2008, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev paid the second official visit to Italy at the invitation of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In the frames of this visit President met Silvio Berlusconi and other officials. The Italian-Azerbaijani cooperation perspectives were discussed at the meetings. In his interview to the Italian "RAI international" Ilham Aliyev talked about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the role of Azerbaijan in the energy security of Europe.

Economic relations: Italy has become the biggest trade partner of Azerbaijan in importing crude oil and oil products. The trade between the two countries is based on the exportation from Azerbaijan. According to statistics, since 2003, 51.9 percent of exportation from Azerbaijan has been directed to Italy. Italy mainly exports pipes for oil sector, tobacco, leather and furniture to Azerbaijan.

The Italian business circles invest large sums of money and take part in a number of international projects.

Heydar Aliyev's first visit to Italy played an important role in development of economic relations. "Joint Declaration on economic cooperation", "Contract on mutual protection and encouragement of investments" played an important role in the development of economic relations between the two countries. Along with these agreements, "Contract on the exploration and development of the offshore oilfield "Kurdashi" was signed between SOCAR and the Italian "Agip".

On November 24-25, 2004, deputy minister for foreign affairs of Italy M. Boniver paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. On November 25, 2004 "Joint Declaration on economic issues between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Italy" was signed.

On February 8, 2007, the Italian deputy minister on the European policy and international trade Milos Budin paid a visit to Baku. During the visit discussions were held at the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development on the development of economic relations between the two countries. In his meeting with Milos Budin Ilham Aliyev declared that the economy of Azerbaijan developes rapidly and materializes projects demanding great investments. In his turn Milos Budin declared that the growing role of Azerbaijan in the region and in international policy increases the interests of the Italian companies in Azerbaijan.

On December 11-22, 2007, the Italian minister of Economic Development Pier Luigi Bersani was on a visit to Azerbaijan. During visit Pier Luigi Bersani met the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, minister of Energy and Industry and minister of Economic Development. As a result of the visit the ministers of Economic Development signed an agreement on the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy in the sector of natural gas.

Cultural relations: Cultural relations between Azerbaijan and Italy have a long history. Since the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century in Baku different buildings were built by famous Italian architectures. The works of Dante and Petrarki were translated into Azerbaijani and published in big copies. Famous Azerbaijani singers as Shovket Mamedova, Bul-Bul, Muslim Magomayev and Azer Zeynalov mastered the bases of opera art in Italy.

An agreement between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of the Italian Republic on air connections was signed in Rome, on September 25, 1997, during Heydar Aliyev's first visit to Italy and an agreement between the governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Italian Republic on cooperation in the sphere of culture, science and technology was signed in Baku, on June 1, 2002.

On December 16, 2006, the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Italy with the patronage of Rome city hall, cooperation of the ministry of foreign affairs of Italy and "Associazione II Tempietto" organized the concert of the Azerbaijani musicians and singers.

On December 11, 2006, "Azerbaijan-an ancient land on the Great Silk Road" ceremony dedicated to the Solidarity Day of the world Azerbaijanis was held at the University for Foreigners in Perugia by the embassy of Azerbaijan and "Italian-Azerbaijani Friendship Association".

Italy is among those countries who render humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan. The agreement on the humanitarian aid between Azerbaijan and Italy, signed on June1, 2005, is directed at easing the hard life of refugees and IDPs settled in Azerbaijan. Besides, the government of Italy helped a number of medical and social institutions.

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