President Vladimir Putin and President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan talked one on one, after which the delegations of the two countries joined the heads of state.
Over the course of negotiations Mr Putin and Mr Aliyev discussed key aspects of bilateral relations and problems of regional security.
Mr Putin said Russia as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group on settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh was ready, given the consent of Azerbaijan and Armenia, to act as an intermediary and guarantor for any agreements likely to be reached by the two governments. Russia’s principal objective was to help achieve a peace without victors and losers, the Russian leader said.
Mr Putin pointed to the wisdom of preserving the mechanism for political consultations within the Caucasian quartet. In his opinion, personal meetings between Caucasian leaders could boost regional stability and the solution of conflicts.
Mr Putin and Mr Aliyev said they were in favour of further trade and economic contacts between the two countries. The Russian side reaffirmed its determination for close cooperation with Azerbaijan on fuel and energy – from mining and processing of hydrocarbons to their transportation. This concerned above all the oil pipeline to Novorossiisk.
Cultural cooperation between the two countries was another subject under discussion. Mr Putin expressed particular thanks to Mr Aliyev for his consistent policy of expanding cultural ties with Russia and supporting the Russian language in the republic.
Mr Putin and Mr Aliyev approved the initiative advanced by President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan to hold a five-way meeting of Caspian leaders.
At the end of the negotiations, the two Presidents made statements for the press and replied to journalists’ questions.