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Astana, October 5:  President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met in Baku on October 2 and agreed to expand bilateral relations in ways that may have an important impact on European and world energy supplies.

The two presidents oversaw signing of a number of important accords.

In particular, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan plan to set up a joint venture aimed at finding new routes for delivering extra crude volumes to the Black Sea and beyond. The countries are considering various options, including construction of a new pipeline, to add to the volumes now shipped by tanker across the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas and Azeri state oil firm SOCAR have agreed to finance the feasibility study of the project.

Kazakhstan plans to double its oil output to 150 million tonnes a year within the next ten years - largely thanks to the deposits at Kashagan, the world’s fifth largest oil field located in Kazakhstan’s Caspian shelf.  Kazakhstan already ships some of its oil output by tankers across the Caspian to Baku, where it is fed into the Baku-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa pipelines.

Other agreements signed by Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan include a memorandum on cooperation in the field of agriculture, on paying off debts accumulated as a result of trade-economic relations in 1992-1993, and an agreement on visa-free travel.

Following the signing of accords, President Aliyev said Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan enjoyed historical relations and praised cooperation of the two nations in the international arena. “Despite the economic crisis and fall of trade turnover, economic relations between the two countries are dynamically developing… Pipelines and other transport opportunities will promote further integration…I believe our Kazakh friends will get an opportunity to use the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, when its construction is completed. It will connect Asia and Europe," he said.

President Nazarbayev said both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan demonstrated similar positions on world policy issues: "We [both] support strengthening of UN institutions and observing international laws. We are working together for prevention of terrorism and other forms of extremism. We are allies in all spheres.”

The following day, with the Presidents of Turkey and Kyrgyzstan, Abdullah Gul and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan Khydyr Saparaliev, Presidents Nazarbayev and Aliyev attended the summit of Turkic Speaking Countries in Azerbaijan’s city of Nakhchivan. The leaders agreed to create a Turkic Speaking Countries Cooperation Council to promote closer ties.

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