President Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, it gives me much pleasure to see you and meet with you in this new quality. I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to this high office. I am sure that this is a good choice. This is all the more so as the volume of trade between our countries has increased by 70 percent over recent times, and by 20 percent over the first five months of this year. This is very solid growth, and I hope that this and the efforts that the President of Azerbaijan and I have made are making themselves felt. I would like to ask you to convey to the President my very best wishes at the soonest possible opportunity. We are hoping for his recovery and for all to go well. We know that an election campaign is now getting underway in Azerbaijan, but I do hope that these internal political processes will not have a negative impact on our bilateral relations, and that the pace of their development will be maintained.
Ilkham Aliyev: Thank you very much, Mr President, for your warm words. First of all, I would like to carry out our President’s request and pass on his greetings to you and his warmest wishes for success in your work. We are also pleased to see that relations between our two countries are developing so rapidly in all different areas. We are working together well at the political level, and, as you pointed out, trade between our countries is growing fast and we are implementing a good many mutually beneficial projects. But I must say that it was probably your visit to Azerbaijan that gave the main impulse for the development of our relations. You know that we in Azerbaijan were waiting for a long time for a visit by the Russian President. When you took the decision and came to our country, we felt immediately how relations livened up and began moving forward in all areas after your visit. We value this very much. Our President has said that Russia is a strategic partner for Azerbaijan. This is our policy today and it will remain our policy in the future. For our part, we will do everything that depends on us to ensure that at all levels our relations bring us new successes and closer cooperation that will benefit our countries and our peoples. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the concern that you have shown for the President of Azerbaijan while he has been in hospital. We also value this very much, and we in Azerbaijan hold it very dear and will always remember it.
Vladimir Putin: I do not think thanks are required here; it is only the natural thing to do, after all. You can count on our help not only on these questions, but on any others, too. And if visits are so helpful, then I would like to invite you to Moscow on an official working visit. A time just has to be decided with the Russian government. I repeat that despite all the election affairs taking place, we do want to keep up the development pace of our relations, and we have plenty to talk about in a whole range of sectors, so I think a visit would be timely.
Ilkham Aliyev: Thank you, Mr President.