Vladimir Putin congratulated Ilkham Aliyev on his appointment as Prime Minister.
During their conversation, the Russian President invited Ilkham Aliyev to make a working or official visit to Moscow and expressed hope that the pre-election struggle and internal processes in Azerbaijan would not affect the two countries’ bilateral relations which had been developing rather positively in recent years. Bilateral trade is growing: in 2002, it rose by 70% and in the first five months of 2003 by 20%.
Ilkham Aliyev underlined that Russia would remain Azerbaijan’s strategic partner.
The Russian President asked Ilkham Aliyev to convey his best wishes to the Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev and expressed hope for his early recovery.