President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev: Dear Dmitry Anatolevich, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Once again, I would like to warmly welcome the President of the Russian Federation to Azerbaijan. We attach great importance to the official visit of the President of Russia and are confident that the visit will serve to strengthen the friendly and good-neighbourly relations between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Our talks have been very useful, and we have discussed a wide range of bilateral issues, questions of regional cooperation and international relations. And I note with satisfaction that we are in basic agreement concerning all the items on the agenda.
The content of relations between Russia and Azerbaijan has expanded and been enriched. We are actively cooperating in the political sphere, economic ties are growing, trade continues to increase apace and its overall structure is improving. We are cooperating in the transport sector, cultural spheres, in security and in strengthening security measures in our region, and this is not an exhaustive list of all the issues currently under discussion.
Today we signed some very important documents that will determine the direction of our cooperation in the future. Among them, I would single out a joint Declaration on Friendship and Strategic Partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan. The very name of the Declaration speaks for itself. We see each other as friends, as countries that can call each other strategic partners. And this is not just a form of words: it constitutes the very essence of our relationship. These relations have a solid foundation and a profound history, and today are based on the principles of friendship, good neighbourliness, equality and mutual benefit. The Declaration covers all areas of our bilateral cooperation and it is very gratifying that what we in Azerbaijan consider the number one issue — the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – is also reflected in the Declaration. It says there that the conflict should be resolved on the basis of the principles and norms of international law, according to UN Security Council resolutions and the decisions of the OSCE relating to territorial integrity, sovereignty and the inviolability of state borders.
We are grateful to Russia for taking this position and are confident that this position, as well as Russia’s active participation as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group dedicated to the settlement of the conflict, will bring about the desired results.
We are now actively discussing issues of energy cooperation, both existing ones and prospective ones. Cooperation in the energy sector has a good history and excellent prospects. Cooperation in oil and gas sphere is also based on historical achievements, and today we are considering new projects that are of mutual interest that will maximise the efficient use of hydrocarbon resources.
Our countries are also involved with issues related to the settlement of the status of the Caspian Sea. We are neighbours in the Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea, and the level of cooperation between our countries is largely dependent on the reciprocal development of processes in the region and on issues of economic integration.
The cultural content of our relations is expanding. Today, I told Dmitry Anatolevich that in Azerbaijan there are more than three hundred schools in which Russian is taught, 19 of them purely Russian schools, where instruction is only in Russian. Recently, it was decided to establish a branch of Moscow State University in Azerbaijan. In Azerbaijan, the largest Russian community in the south Caucasus, there are a lot of newspapers published in Russian. In other words, everything that is necessary for the cultural well-being of Russian-speaking citizens in Azerbaijan is being done. For this reason the content of our cultural cooperation occupies an important place in our relations, and we will continue to make efforts to ensure that it takes on new forms and features new projects. In other words, talk about our bilateral relations and the role they play here in the Caucasus can go on for quite a while. I do not want to take up an inordinate amount of your time, but I do want to say that on all the issues that were discussed we have a common understanding, a shared sense of what has been achieved and — most importantly — good prospects for the future.
I am confident that the visit will continue as successfully as it began and will become a very important step in the further development of our relations and the rapprochement of our nations.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Ilham Heydarovich! Ladies and gentlemen!
I would like first of all to thank the President of Azerbaijan and all our Azerbaijani friends for the productive meeting that has taken place in hospitable Baku, and to fully agree with the assessments that you have made of Russian-Azerbaijani relations. All our discussions were friendly and reflected the excellent state of our relations and our auspicious plans for the future.
Russia and Azerbaijan have long been linked by ties of friendship and of strategic partnership. And the Declaration that was signed today contains both of these in its title.
We held extensive talks, and in all frankness I can say that I am completely satisfied with their results, in particular the signing of the documents referred to in the Declaration and the other agreements that we have just signed here.
We extensively discussed trade and economic ties. In recent years these ties have shown a very positive momentum. Once again allow me to cite a figure which, in my view, eloquently testifies to the development of our relations: during the last four months the current level of trade is twice as high as it was during the corresponding period last year. It is particularly gratifying that this has occurred, not only as a result of the growth in energy supplies and other trade in energy resources, but also because of more complex exchanges as well as traditional forms of trade. I think this is a very good trend. We simply have to maintain it in the future.
In recent years, our economies have grown at a faster rate, which creates opportunities for the future development of joint projects in such priority areas as energy, industry, transport, banking and agricultural business. The presidents and governments of our countries are paying particular attention to all these issues.
There are prospects for new agreements in the field of hydrocarbons that will enable us to make maximum use of the potential that we have accumulated, and I think that in the future this will also prove to be another example of our economic cooperation. Our economies are so closely linked that they are in effect complementary, and we literally proceed along the same track in these relations. For us there are no transit problems: we work with each other, and we have an enormous geopolitical advantage in this sense.
I agree with the assessment that Ilham Heydarovich offered concerning cultural cooperation, cooperation in science, education and the arts. I would like to once again thank Ilham Heydarovich for measures to preserve Russia’s cultural heritage in Azerbaijan.
We greatly appreciate those decisions that were made concerning the opening of the Baku campus of Moscow State University, another example of our cooperation. It is clear that receiving quality instruction will give students the possibilities of focusing on Russia-related topics and to study in Azerbaijan.
It is also important to talk about the multilateral partnership within the Commonwealth and the special programmes that Azerbaijan is a part of.
I hope that the coming festival of young performers, to be held in Baku this autumn, will prove a showcase for new talent and will be a beautiful and significant event in Azerbaijan’s cultural life.
We discussed other topics. We didn’t try to avoid the problem of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. This is a complex process, and we will assist moving it forward however possible. There have been minor hitches but in any case we fully support the resumption of direct talks between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which were held on 6 June in St Petersburg. I would emphasise yet again that Russia will continue to assist in the search for mutually acceptable solutions in this matter.
Another issue Ilham Heydarovich raised was the Caspian Sea. We talked about the work that we need to do and of the possibilities for the upcoming summit, but agreed that we should hold off on them until its agenda had been finalised.
We also reviewed an agreement on security issues in the Caspian. This is consistent with the decisions which were taken last year in Tehran and other documents can be prepared in this regard. It is a good idea to organise the relevant meetings of the heads of Caspian states for this purpose.
Once again, I would like to stress that the talks were an important stage in the development of Russian-Azerbaijani relations and the strengthening of strategic partnership and friendship between our countries, between our peoples.
Let me once again thank President Ilham Aliev for his genuinely friendly and productive cooperation.