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Exchanges between Switzerland and Azerbaijan have intensified since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of energy in October 2007. A Swiss delegation consisting of representatives from the fields of business and science and led by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard made an official visit to Baku today.
The head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC held talks with President Ilham Alijew as well as with the Minister of Energy and Industry Natig Alijew and the Minister for the Environment Huseyn Bagirov. The two parties examined ways of further intensifying this cooperation in the shape of specific energy projects. One of the main aims of this Memorandum of Understanding is to make it easier for private companies to cooperate and invest in the energy sectors of both countries. For Switzerland the issue of particular interest is that of improving the security of supply in natural gas and petroleum. The Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline (TAP) project was also discussed at the meetings. The project in which the Swiss company EGL is involved should enable the transportation of up to ten billion cubic metres of gas annually from Azerbaijan to Europe by 2017. The subject of other possibilities for cooperation including the use of Swiss know-how in the area of renewable energies and energy efficiency was also raised. In this context, the head of DETEC visited the National Science Academy in the company of Professor Gian-Luca Bona, Director of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) and Professor Joël Mesot, Director of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). In addition, Doris Leuthard took advantage of her visit to Baku to meet representatives of Swiss firms based in Azerbaijan.