President of Russia Vladimir Putin : Dear Mr President!
First of all, I am very happy that you accepted our invitation to come and visit. Secondly, we have another opportunity to talk about issues of mutual interest, namely our bilateral relations and various international issues that are extremely sensitive for our entire region.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev : First of all I would like to thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for the invitation! It gives me great pleasure to be here! We have spent a few hours together and had the chance to talk and to see some exciting horse races.
Of course, this represents a very good opportunity to see each other again, to exchange views on bilateral relations — which we consider to be progressing very well — and to discuss regional issues. We share similar approaches to these matters, and we would describe our relationship as a strategic partnership. We are committed to this partnership.
Once again, thank you for the invitation. I am always happy to visit Russia. I was very interested to come to Rostov, a city which I have never visited. I am pleased to have a look at the city and to get to know better this part of Russia.
Vladimir Putin : I would like to say that we are all impressed by the rate of economic growth in Azerbaijan −34–35 percent — and this is not the first time we have observed such a rate. That is absolutely amazing!
You can say what you like about the higher energy prices from which Azerbaijan has greatly profited, but there is no question that the real reason behind this growth is something else entirely. Without doubt, it is the result of the sensible economic policies instituted by your government.
Ilham Aliev : That really is the case. Over the past three years we have seen our economy grow by 96 percent. Of course, the oil factor is important, however, it is not the only one. Our bilateral economic relations also play a role. We have seen an increase in trade. In fact, it has tripled over the past three years. This is an indication of our countries’ potential and of our close relationship, because business generally develops profitably where there is a good political base. And that exists between our countries. We hope to strengthen these relations in all areas.