We see Azerbaijan as the largest and most important actor in the Caucasus and the region

Mexico considers essential to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all the States

 

The ambassador of Mexico to  Azerbaijan Mr. Rodrigo Labardini's interviews to  Azadinform News Agency 

 

-Firstly, how would you appreciate the current situation of relations between Azerbaijan and Mexico?

-With the opening of the Embassy of Mexico in Azerbaijan a new stage has begun in the relations between both. Mexico was amongst the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan in 1991 and established formal relations on January 14, 1992. The Embassy opened in 2014 and the first Ambassador of Mexico, myself, promptly arrived in Baku on May 21, 2015, to demonstrate the will to develop strong and mutually fruitful relation between both countries. Mexico opened its Embassy because we see Azerbaijan as the largest and most important actor in the Caucasus and the region. The Embassy is fostering development of cooperation in commercial, energy, scientific, hydrocarbon, cultural, educational, sports, inter-univeristies and other areas in order to strengthen bilateral relations. One important element –to which the Embassy is strongly contributing– is to make the people of each country aware that not only do Azerbaijan and Mexico exist but that there is a vast potential to develop. This includes businessmen, the artistic community, commerce and trade sector, universities, and the people in general.

 

-What would you tell about the future of this relation?

-At first glance, it may seem that Mexico and Azerbaijan have a long distance between each other, but this does not affect mutual understanding and sharing. We need to remind ourselves that Mexico and Baku are only one stop away, with direct non-stop flights from both capitals to cities such as New York, Frankfurt, Paris, and London, and in 2016 possibly Istanbul. We have fertile ground on which to sow strong roots for development in our respective cultures. Both countries have millenary histories and cultures, as evidenced with oil from the Caspian Sea used to light Alexander the Great’s tents, and pyramids in Mexico. Both countries have long literary traditions with authors such as Nizami Ganjavi, Fizuli and Sor Juana, Carlos Fuentes. We can start reading our literature as “Ali and Nino” has been translated into Spanish, and “Pedro Páramo” was translated into Azerbaijani in 2014. We share a passion for love as in the case of "Leyli and Mecnun", as well as for drama, as in the case of "Bogatiye tozhe Plachut" and "Prosto Mariya". Both countries have a taste for savory foods with lula, piti, levengi and tacos, mole, guacamole. You have heard me say that culture is the way in which peoples resolve their reality with the elements nature provides. And upon arrival to Baku I noticed that our national cuisines use the same plants but in different ways: your terxun (used for lemonade in Azerbaijan) – and our estragon (used as a spice). Most notably is your perpetoyun (prepared for a special aperitif in Azerbaijan) – and our verdolagas (used to prepare stews in Mexico); this case is even more telling as Azerbaijanis mainly use the stem and Mexicans mainly use the leaves. What better example to evidence that by sharing our cultures, both countries will learn and benefit more. I emphasize that the same thrust is found in other areas of the bilateral relation.

 

Commerce is an area that will undoubtedly grow much. Mexico is currently the 14th economy of the world and is poised to be the 7th by 2050. Mexico is the largest producer in the world of flat TV’s, refrigerators with two doors, organic coffee, and silver; the second largest producer of wind energy in Latin America; the third largest producer of cell phones in the world (maybe yours was made in Mexico); one out of two tomatoes in the world is Mexican; Mexico is the largest avocado producer in the world, with one out of three avocadoes in the world being Mexican. Mexico is the largest exporter of beer in the world, and it has been for over a decade. With the 19 largest world automobile brands in Mexico, the country is the largest Latin American automobile producer, and the largest exporter of automobiles to the U.S.A.; in 2016 it will produce 4 million cars.

 

-Is any official trip expected from Mexico to Azerbaijan?

-As you know, the First Festival of Mezcal was held in Baku October 27 – November 2 with Master Mezcalier Mr. Sergio Inurrigarro to demonstrate the superb qualities of mezcal –a traditional Mexican drink. Tequila –known in Azerbaijan– is a type of mezcal. In late November, Baku will host the first Festival of Tequila for which occasion we will have a tequila specialist. These and other visits are intended to foster strong cultural and gastronomic cooperation. Mexico and Azerbaijan are also developing their vast economic and trade potential. For this purpose, Mr. Jorge Cruz Abascal, Director of PROMEXICO in Istanbul, met at the beginning of November with Mr. Rufat Mammadov, President of AZPROMO, in order to prepare for the visit in 2016 of Mr. Francisco González, Director General of PROMEXICO, and authorities of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The visit also contributed to analyze areas of opportunity in trade and investment areas. We are also planning visits and meetings of more officials from both countries. Further, Senator Gabriela Cuevas, President of the Foreign Relations Committee of Mexico’s Senate visited Baku in June 2015 and Mr. Olegario Vásquez Raña, a very important Mexican businessman, visited Baku and Gebele in August 2015.

 -İn which spheres of cooperation can 2 states work together?

-Both countries have much in common with such natural links as oil and gas, issues we have started to explore between the Ministries of Energy and our respective oil companies. Azerbaijan is placing itself as an important commercial hub between East and West. Mexico, with free trade relations with 43 countries representing over 75% of the world’s GDP, is also such an important trade hub. We can share and learn from best practices as in tourism with Mexico being one of the 10 most visited countries in 2014 with over 29 million visitors. For example, the concept of “Pueblos Mágicos” (“Magic Towns”) wherein a location offers to the traveller several cultural opportunities, such as pyramids next to colonial sites, with great cuisine, impressive landscapes, beaches and more. We are also exploring opportunities in the air and space industry. Exchange of experience, best practices is but one example of contributing to both countries.

 

 -As you know 20% territories of Azerbaijan were occupied by Armenia. The international community recognizes Karabakh as the part of Azerbaijan. What can you say about Mexico's official position by this conflict. And also what do you think about the current status- quo in occupied territories of Azerbaijan?

-It is a long protracted situation that needs to be solved in accordance with international law and in compliance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Mexico considers essential to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all the States.

 

 -Being  Ambassador in Azerbaijan, what does it  mean to you?

 

-It is a great learning experience. Mexico opened its Embassy in Baku because Azerbaijan is the largest and most important country of the Caucasus. Upon arrival to Baku, I found a bustling city full of buildings and impressive constructions, such as the Maiden Tower and the Heydar Aliyev Center. People are very friendly and hospitable. My wife and I are traversing the Land of Fire and uncovering the Jewel of the Caucasus. Furhter, I am convinced that to get to know a people, you need to speak their language. Hence, upon arrival I started studying the Azerbaijani language and this has opened different paths for me. With some effort, I trust next time I may answer your questions in Azerbaijani. Further, this is a unique time to be in Azerbaijan wherein East meets West, commerce, energy, oil, gas, railroads, pipes, ships, and more are but examples of the growing importance of the country and such recognition by the world in general. Hence, I thank the circumstances that allowed me to be in Azerbaijan and where I am fully committed to develop and strengthen ties between both our countries.

12.01.2016 14:24 / Hits: 415 / Print
 
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