Earlier, Ilham Aliyev attended an expanded meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Aliyev, colleagues.
First of all, I would like to welcome you all once again and thank the President of Azerbaijan for his decision to join our work today within the EAEU. As I have already said, formally he attended as a guest, but, indeed, Mr Aliyev is right, it is a very conventional title, because Azerbaijan and all EAEU member countries boast serious and profound relations. Trade and economic relations are developing steadily, for the benefit of all our peoples. I would like this to continue, especially since there is great potential for regional cooperation.
In general, Russian-Azerbaijani relations, if we talk about bilateral relations, are at a high level, also developing steadily, based on equality and consideration for each other’s interests and in accordance with the Declaration on Allied Interaction signed in February 2022. We are all very happy about that.
This year marks the 100th birthday of the late Heydar Aliyev. You know our attitude towards this political leader both in the Soviet Union and in independent Azerbaijan. He was an outstanding politician and a uniting figure in the history of our countries. It is also well known – we celebrated his birthday in Russia in a worthy manner. We had dedicated exhibitions in both the State Duma and the Federation Council, and showed documentaries on television. Many events were held in the regions of the Russian Federation, not only in the capital, but also in Kazan, Astrakhan, Dagestan, on the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), where Heydar Aliyev is highly respected and remembered, including the ceremonial trip of the Moscow-Tynda train and events at Angoya station, where the station building bears the name of Heydar Aliyev, who supervised the construction of the BAM as the First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. This prominent project for the whole Soviet Union is associated with Aliyev’s name.
This is what I would like to say for starters, and we will speak on other matters after the press has left.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, President Putin.
First of all, I express my gratitude once again for the invitation to attend the EAEU summit. As was mentioned today, this is the first time I have attended the summit of this organisation, although, as we have already exchanged views with our colleagues, we work regularly in the CIS and other international organisations and, of course, in the bilateral format.
I would like to express my gratitude for such respect for the memory of Heydar Aliyev. We very much appreciate it; everybody in Azerbaijan knows this very well. As you noted, special events were held in Moscow, at governmental institutions and in the regions.
I should say that Heydar Aliyev and you, Mr President, have laid the foundation for today’s relations between Russia and Azerbaijan. It was after your visit to Azerbaijan in 2001 that relations reached a completely new level.
Today we describe these relations as allied, not only de facto, but also de jure. As you noted, at the beginning of last year, we signed a Declaration on Allied Interaction, which we implement and which is the most important political document reflecting the spirit and nature of our relations and the aspiration of our countries for even closer interaction.
Of course, today we will also talk about regional issues. I would like to take this opportunity to express gratitude for Russia’s efforts to normalise relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. We very much appreciate those efforts, and the fact that you will participate in the trilateral meeting today also shows that the Russian Federation attaches great importance to Azerbaijan and Armenia finally reaching a peace agreement. I think that after the Armenian leadership’s recent statements on the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, as well as the recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan with specific figures for the area of the Republic of Azerbaijan, it will be much easier to agree on other points of the peace treaty, because that was the main factor on which we could not come to terms.
So once again, Mr President, I expect that today in the trilateral format we will also take another step towards the normalisation of relations between the two countries. As for the bilateral agenda, it is broad enough. We will go through it in detail.
Thank you again for the invitation.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.