Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are not only friends, but also strategic partners, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Bulgaria Nargiz Gurbanova told Bloomberg TV.
This was reflected in the joint declaration on strategic partnership signed in 2015, said the envoy, adding that this document opens up new opportunities to develop cooperation not only in the sphere of energy, but also other spheres.
“Energy has always been an important component of our cooperation. In 2020, first volumes of Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to Bulgaria. This will be a very important step to provide for one third of Bulgaria’s demand for gas,” said Gurbanova.
It should be noted that Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz has a long-term contract for 25 years with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR for supply of 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Shah Deniz 2, which is one third of Bulgaria’s domestic consumption.
Further, the envoy pointed out that Bulgaria is an important partner of Azerbaijan among other EU members to reach the EU markets.
For Bulgaria, Azerbaijan is a gateway to the Central Asian market, added the ambassador.
Further, Gurbanova noted that transport is one of the important areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Talking about the opening of direct flights between Baku and Sofia by Azerbaijani "Buta Airways", which is planned for January 2018, the envoy said that this will cause a significant increase in passenger traffic in both directions.
Gurbanova added that at first, the airline planned to have flights once a week, but passenger flow will allow to increase the number of flights in the near future.
She pointed out that Bulgaria is also an important transit point for passengers from Azerbaijan.
The ambassador noted 16,000 Azerbaijan tourists visited Bulgaria and about 1,300 Bulgarian tourists visited Azerbaijan in 2016.