President Ilham Aliyev has compared Azerbaijan to Armenia saying his country has towered above the latter and that the way of getting out of the standstill for Yerevan is to make progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The Prime Minister of Armenia often compares Azerbaijan and Armenia and notes that in some respects Armenia is ahead of our country. In fact, Azerbaijan is ahead of Armenia in all respects. This can be seen by the numbers,” Aliyev said while talking about the 2019 outcomes on 13 January.
“In sports terms, Azerbaijan is in the top league, Armenia is in the third league,” Aliyev said.
While talking about the macroeconomic indicators of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Aliyev said the nominal GDP of Azerbaijan is 47.6 bil USD, while Armenia´s GDP is 13 bil USD making the difference 3.7 times in total; per capita is 4800 USD thousand in Azerbaijan, and 4500 USD in Armenia.
According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s foreign exchange reserves amount to 51 bil USD, while Armenia's reserves are 2 bil, making the difference 25 times.
Aliyev emphasized that the external debt of Azerbaijan consists of 17 percent of its GDP, while in Armenia it is more than 40%. In Azerbaijan foreign exchange reserves are 6.4 times higher than external debt, while this difference is 2.3 times higher in Armenia.
According to Aliyev, the average monthly salary in Azerbaijan for December 2019 was 425 USD, while in Armenia this figure was 369 USD. The minimum pension in Azerbaijan is 118 USD and average pension 154 USD, while in Armenia it is 55 USD and the average 84 USD. Furthermore, unemployment in Azerbaijan is 4.8 percent, while in Armenia it is 24 percent, the president noted.
“First of all, I would like to say that the figures President Ilham Aliyev raised as to the comparison of Azerbaijan and Armenia are a comparison of the potential opportunities of the two countries,” the chairman of the Economic Commission of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFP), Nemat Aliyev, said in an interview with RFE/RL.
Nemat Aliyev, who is also an economist, considers it is inappropriate to compare Azerbaijan with Armenia in this sense. According to him, the population of Azerbaijan, its geographical size, its natural resources and many other parameters are far superior to Armenia, and that there is no need to express it in concrete figures.
Stressing Armenia´s political, economic, transport and investment impasse, President Aliyev said that this situation will continue until the seized territories of Azerbaijan are liberated.
There is decades-long tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict started in 1988 with territorial claims of Armenia to Azerbaijan, and ended with the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, according to the official figures of Azerbaijan. After a truce signed between the sides in 1994, the conflict began to be mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by the US, Russia and France.
At the end of last year in an interview with Russian TV channel “Rossiya-24”, Aliyev labeled 2019 as the lost year for Nagorno-Karabakh.