President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Aliyev, colleagues, friends,
It’s been a long time since my last visit to Azerbaijan, which was in 2006. A lot of time has passed since then. Azerbaijan is changing rapidly and vigorously, it is a dynamic country that is developing very quickly. Its economic growth rate is one of the highest in the world. That’s impressive, and we wish our friends further successes.
Azerbaijan is one of Russia’s long-standing, traditional and reliable partners. We work closely in the Caucasus, the Caspian Region, within the CIS, and in leading international institutions. Our cooperation is founded on strong traditions of friendship and mutual respect between our countries and peoples.
We discussed key areas of Russia and Azerbaijan’s strategic partnership in detail and outlined plans for its further development, naturally first and foremost in trade and economic spheres.
In this regard, I can point out that despite the well-known global economic slump our trade relations have and continue to develop successfully. According to various estimates, they grew last year between 37 and 47 percent. This is currently an obvious record in the relations between the two countries.
”Azerbaijan is one of Russia’s long-standing, traditional and reliable partners. Our cooperation is founded on strong traditions of friendship and mutual respect between our countries and peoples.“
Russia has traditionally been one of Azerbaijan’s leading trading partners, holding second place. Italy holds first place, but we all know that this is mainly due to deliveries of hydrocarbons to Italian and European markets. As experts say, trade between Azerbaijan and Russia is much more balanced and distinctive. It includes machinery, equipment and food, namely everything that is vital to both Azerbaijan’s economy and that of the Russian Federation.
Intensive interregional and cross-border ties contribute considerably to attaining such high indicators. Suffice to say that more than 70 Russian regions have close business ties with Azerbaijan.
Let me point out that more than 500 Russian companies operate in Azerbaijan, and their activities cover a wide range of the most important sectors for socioeconomic development, including energy, car industry, finance, insurance, and healthcare sectors. And it is well-known that quite a large number of Azerbaijani citizens work in Russia (it is significant for the households, but for the economy too). They number in one million or even more than that, and taking into account Azerbaijanis who hold Russian citizenship, the number exceeds two million people.
Russia and Azerbaijan are major international players in the energy sector, where they are engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation. I do not want to repeat what we’ve already said, but the volume of work we do is very large and continues to expand. You just witnessed the signing of the relevant agreements between Russia’s state oil company Rosneft and its Azerbaijani partner.
New directions and forms of cooperation in the energy sector are being explored. As you know, I have already talked about this, we signed agreements that are calculated to last 15 or 20 years. That is, they lay a good foundation for our cooperation for many years to come.
”Russia and Azerbaijan are major international players in the energy sector, where they are engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation. New directions and forms of cooperation in the energy sector are being explored. We signed agreements that are calculated to last 15 or 20 years. They lay a good foundation for our cooperation for many years to come.“
Our humanitarian ties play a special role in strengthening our friendly, neighbourly relations. During this visit we approved an interstate cooperation programme until 2015 in this area. We discussed preparations for the 3rd Baku International Humanitarian Forum, which will take place from October 31 to November 1 in Baku. We can say with confidence that since it was first held in 2011, this forum has become a major social event.
During our talks we paid a great deal of attention to resolving problems in the Caspian region. We are interested in seeing this region become one in which peace and cooperation reign. There are still many unresolved issues here, relating to security, border delimitation, conserving biological diversity in the Caspian Sea and so on. We have a vested interest in resolving all these problems, naturally taking into account the interests of all littoral states.
It is symbolic that our talks coincide with a friendly visit of a detachment of the Russian Caspian Flotilla to Baku. The Dagestan missile ship and the Volgodonsk small artillery ship are among the vessels. At the end of 2013 Azerbaijani sailors plan to make a return visit to Astrakhan.
Naturally, during our talks we touched on current international issues, including the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. I would like to emphasise that Russia is actively facilitating the conflict’s accelerated settlement, which is only possible through political means.
In conclusion, I would like to note that our talks once again demonstrated our shared commitment to strengthening multifaceted cooperation between our countries.
I would like to once again thank all of our Azerbaijani friends and colleagues for their kindness, hospitality, the business-like manner in which our work today was conducted, and for the results achieved.
Thank you very much for your attention.