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On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of joint operation of Aras and Mil-Mugan dams built along the Aras River, an anniversary ceremony was held. The ceremony, organized with the participation of government officials of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, began with a tour of the exhibition in the area. Sabuhi Mammadov, Prime Minister of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Mohammad Reza Pour Mohammadi, Governor of the Eastern Azerbaijan made opening remarks at the event. The importance of the Aras dam, which was built by Azerbaijan and Iran on the Aras River and commissioned in 1971, with a volume of 1 billion 350 million cubic meters, as well as importance of Aras HPP and Mil-Mugan dam, which provides irrigation of 400 thousand hectares of land in the territories of both countries in the development of regional cooperation was brought to the attention.
Abuhi Mammadov, Prime Minister of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic said: "The joint projects implemented today in accordance with the will of the Presidents further strengthen our relations. Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the friendly joint use of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams on the state border of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran with a special ceremony is an indicator of the further development of our relations on strong historical roots.”
Mohammad Reza Pour Mohammadi, Governor of the Eastern Azerbaijan said: "Today we are gathered around the river Aras, which is both a cultural wealth and a vital artery of the economy for the people of the region, and carries a higher meaning than a river. This river is an example of a great world open to our wide cooperation. We hope that we will continue our cooperation aimed at building a brighter future. Considering the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the agreement on the establishment of sustainable peace in the region, a good opportunity has been created for cooperation of all countries in the region. We are ready for any cooperation with Azerbaijan"
Zaur Mikayilov, Chairman, Azerbaijan Melioration and Water Management OJSC and Ghasem Taghizadeh, Deputy Minister of Energy for Water & Wastewater Affairs also made a speech at the event Zaur Mikailov expressed confidence that in order to ensure more efficient use of available water resources, timely prevention of water supply problems and meet the water and energy needs of both countries, activities in this area will be successfully continued. Ghasem Taghizadeh said that cooperation and empathy beetwen Iran and Azerbaijan on Aras river can be a good patten of peace and friendship in the world.
The Minister of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov also noted in his speech that the Araz and Mil-Mugan dams are not just socio-economic objects for our countries, but a bridge of long-term cooperation: “On the example of new projects implemented on the territory of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams, Aras HPP, as well as on the Aras River, it is safe to say that Azerbaijan and Iran are countries that constantly turn the border between themselves into an opportunity for joint cooperation. For half a century, this infrastructure has largely served the interests of both countries, forming a model of the use of transboundary waters in the Azerbaijani-Iranian practice.”
Minister Parviz Shahbazov stressed the unprecedented role of National Leader Heydar Aliyev in creating such strategically important projects in a difficult period. He brought to the attention that Aras HPP with a total capacity of 22 MW for the Azerbaijani side at that time made an important contribution to the energy supply of our country. The Minister of Energy also noted that as a result of the policy of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev, creating new realities in the region, our cooperation on the joint use of water and energy resources of the Aras River has now expanded and entered to a new stage of development with the help of Khudaferin, Giz Galasi hydrojunctions and HPPs as well as other projects . “New geopolitical realities and a safe development environment that have developed in the region with the liberation of the ancestral lands of Azerbaijan from occupation and the restoration of historical borders have already removed obstacles to the implementation of these projects. The implementation of these projects, being the product of a far-sighted policy, a well-calculated strategic approach, further increases the importance of the Aras River for both states. In the near future, the Khudaferin and Gyz Galasy HPPs will be built with a total installed capacity of 200 MW and 80 MW, respectively. As a result, we will be able to produce 716 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year."
Reza Ardakanian, Minister of Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: "Comemorating the 50th annyversary of Aras and Mil-Mughan dams operation expressing deep friendship relations and cooperation beetwen the Iran and Azerbaijan Republic. Undubteadly, the Aras river has been a symbol of peace and friendship in a significant part of the common border between Iran and Azerbaijan as the lifeblood of the neighboring border residents."
Short documentaries about the history of exploitation and joint cooperation of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams, prepared by both countries, were demonstrated at the ceremony. In conclusion, a protocol was signed on the results of the 50th meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on the operation of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams.