​Honorary Consul: 12,500 Azerbaijani tourists visited Montenegro in 2013 - 2015

Montenegro supports solution to Karabakh conflict within resolutions of international organizations

Baku. 25 May. REPORT.AZ/ Mr. Vugar Aliyev, Honorary Consul of Montenegro has answered to questions of Report News Agency as below:

- Mr. Aliyev, on May 21, the 10th anniversary of restoration of Montenegro's independence was marked. how would you asses Montenegro's development and its relations with Azerbaijan?

- Montenegro is the only one country included in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which obtained its independence with no drop of blood - by means of a referendum. The referendum was held on May 21, 2006 and on June 3, 2006, after the Montenegro's parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence, the independence of Montenegro was restored. Montenegro which neighbors with the countries of the Balkans and the Adriatic Sea, hasd been developing as a stable and democratic country. Montenegro is known by its tolerance towards all nations and religions. In this regard, the policy carried out at the state level, could be an example. Montenegro which borders with the countries of the Adriatic Sea such as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Croatia, has no serious dispute with its neighbors. Azerbaijan recognized Montenegro's independence on July 24, 2006. On April 24, 2008 Azerbaijan and Montenegro signed a protocol on establishment of diplomatic relations. The Azerbaijani diplomatic representation in Podgorica has functioned since 2012 and Montenegro's Honorary Consulate opened in Baku in 2013. In recent years, the relations between Azerbaijan and Montenegro have been dynamically developing in all fields and high-level mutual visits are also often. The legal base is expanding year by year. In general our relations are on the high-level.

- What could you say about the level of economic relations between the two countries? What is the volume of trade turnover between the two sides?

- Our economic relations have expanded, Azerbaijan is one of reliable economic partners of Montenegro. Montenegro provides all conditions for the Azerbaijani companies and investors for functioning in this country. There are potential opportunities for further expansion of economic cooperation in various fields. Azerbaijani companies are interested in investing their funds in Montenegro. On March 5, 2014 the 1st session of Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Montenegro with the Republic of Azerbaijan and big business forum were held in Podgorica. The business forum included companies operating in the food industry, agriculture, construction, energy, tourism, ICT, about 100 businessmen from both sides attended the meeting and nearly 30 Azerbaijani companies were involved as well. Now, possibilities of further deepening economic relations are considered.

- Recently, Montenegro has become a favorite tourism place for the tourists. So far, do the Azerbaijani citizens visit the country? Could you please give general information about the tourism potential of Montenegro.

- As we know, the number of Azerbaijani tourists visiting Montenegro have risen since 2013, and this was resulted by the direct charter flights between the two countries which will be operated this summer as well. 12,500 Azerbaijani tourists visited Montenegro in 2013 - 2015. I think it is a great achievement in such a short period of time. Montenegro's tourism potential is very high. The country accepts the number of tourists three times higher than its own population and the figures are still increasing. From the environmental point of view, the country is very clean an beautiful, it is on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Some international tourism organizations have even identified Montenegro as a country the cleanest environment to travel to. Also, the Montenegrin government has introduced a visa-free regime for citizens of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani citizens can stay in Montenegro with the visa-free entry valid for 90 days. People here are very hospitable. In other words, there is a great potential for tourism, it is impossible to fully express it in words, so you should go there to see it firsthand.

- Soon, Montenegro Airlines will launch charter flights on Tivat-Baku-Tivat route. Considering the fact that devaluation of the national currency and a sharp fall in oil prices have affected the income of the population, are you sure these flights will be successful?

- Yes, from June 21 Montenegro Airlines will start operating direct flights on this route every week. The occasional problems in the economy, I think, is normal. It does not mean that the number of tourists will dramatically reduce. In any case, the tourists will try to save a little bit of their budgets and choose more appropriate tourism packages. In my opinion, the charter flights this year will be successful.

- Montenegro is now almost accepted as a NATO member and intends to become a member of the European Union. Will this affect bilateral relations?

- I believe that nothing will negatively affect Montenegro's foreign policy priorities. Undoubtedly, as a member-state Montenegro will perform as part of the general policies of these organizations. But I do not see any problems here.

- Do you negotiate on opening Montenegro's Embassy in Baku?

- This issue remains on the agenda.

- What is Montenegro's stand on Nagorno-Karabakh?

- Montenegro supports the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict within the resolutions of international organizations. On the other hand, as a country, which signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, we perform as a part of the organization and thus share its position on this issue.

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