Monday, April 17, 2017

Azerbaijan foreign minister, SOCAR vice-president for Malta visit - MALTA TODAY

17 April 2017, 8:31am

The foreign minister of Azerbaijan will lead a delegation in a visit to the Maltese prime minister later on this afternoon, in a three-day visit.

The 6:30pm visit from Elmar Mammadyarov, which includes executives from the state oil and gas company SOCAR, was revealed by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Over the weekend, her allegations of money transfers from an Azerbaijan bank account to the Panama offshore companies held by the PM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi were instantly met with two libel actions.
A government spokesperson said the press call was to be issued later on in the day “as is customary” – the meetings will include public visits to Maltese attractions in Valletta and Mdina.
Mammadyarov will be accompanied by his spouse Kamilla Sadarova, as well as SOCAR’s vice president Elshad Nassirov, the Azerbaijani ambassador Mammad Ahmadzada and two other diplomats.

Mammadyarov will hold talks with foreign minister George Vella, as well as courtesy meetings with the Speaker Anglu Farrugia, and the President of the Republic, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.

Malta’s 200MW gas plant is being constructed by ElectroGas, a consortium which includes SOCAR as one of its partners.

Joseph Muscat has already held a meeting with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev in the past.

The Caspian gas-rich nation is currently finalising the Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) which will transport natural gas extracted from Shah Deniz-2 from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Europe. From Georgia to Bulgaria, the total length of the pipeline within the borders of Turkey will be 1,900km, connecting to Greece along 67km of pipeline. During the first phase of the project, the line will carry 16 million cubic metres of natural gas. The first phase of the project is due to be completed in 2018. By 2023, the pipeline will transport 23 billion cb.m of gas.

Elshad Nassirov has been vice president of Investments & Marketing at SOCAR since 2005, and was CEO of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic’s Marketing and Economic Operations Department from 2003 to 2005.

As SOCAR is the chief sponsor of the Azerbaijan Football Federations’ Association, so is Nassirov the AFFA’s vice-president. Likewise, SOCAR chief executive Rovnag Abdullayev is president of AFFA.