Relations between Switzerland and Azerbaijan are characterised by open dialogue and are based on several key areas including energy policy, cooperation in the international financial institutions and development cooperation. Switzerland is also involved in helping resolve the conflicts in the South Caucasus region.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Azerbaijan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Azerbaijan enjoy good relations. Azerbaijan belongs to the voting constituency chaired by Switzerland at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Switzerland gives attaches great importance to promoting good governance and the rule of law in Azerbaijan. Switzerland is active in technical and economic cooperation in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is Switzerland's main trading partner in the South Caucasus. Switzerland primarily exports precious stones and metals, machines, watches and pharmaceuticals. Several Swiss companies are active in Azerbaijan, and Switzerland is involved in the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project that will transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania by the end of the decade.
The Azerbaijani state-owned energy company SOCAR operates in Switzerland. In 2012, SOCAR Energy took over the ESSO Switzerland network with 160 petrol stations, which it now operates under the SOCAR brand. SOCAR Trading, the international marketing and development arm of SOCAR, is headquartered in Geneva.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Azerbaijan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Peace promotion and human security
Switzerland is intensifying its efforts within the framework of its Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2013–2016 to find peaceful solutions to the various conflicts in the region
Switzerland is continuing its involvement in the region as part of the follow-up to its 2014 Chairmanship of the OSCE. Swiss ambassador Günther Bächler has been appointed special representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus under the German Chairmanship. Mr Bächler represents the OSCE at the Geneva International Discussions and works to encourage dialogue and closer relations between the countries of the region.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland is active in promoting:
- a better economic environment
- a modern financial sector
- a healthy business environment
- better public services
- vocational education and training
- rural development
Investments of approximately CHF 29 million are planned in the context of the Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2013–2016. A follow-up strategy for 2017–2020 is currently being developed.
The Swiss embassy makes its own contributions to a film festival, the Settimana della lingua italiana nel Mondo (Italian language week)and the Semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie (French language week).
Swiss citizens in Azerbaijan
In 2014, 23 Swiss citizens were living in Azerbaijan.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Azerbaijan as an independent state on 23 December 1991. In October 2005, Azerbaijan opened an embassy in Bern. Switzerland opened a cooperation office in Baku in 2001 and since late 2007 has had an embassy in the city which was officially inaugurated in May 2008.