Beginning of Meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev 2009-04-17 17:47:06 Barvikha, Moscow Region President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: We have established good relations: we are in regular contact with each other and discuss all the different issues, and this is certainly very important for developing full-fledged ties between our countries. I will not tire you with figures, you know them well yourself. I will simply mention that last year, in any case, we achieved good results in our trade and economic relations and saw our bilateral trade increase by 40 percent. This year, of course, will be considerably more difficult. Our task is to try to maintain what we have accomplished so far, all the more so as the growth in our bilateral trade resulted not just from trade in the energy sector. It was quality growth, and this makes it all the more valuable. We will make an effort to maintain this positive economic dynamic even in the crisis situation. There have also been a whole number of positive events in the cultural and humanitarian sector. An information centre and a branch of Moscow State University opened just recently in Baku, and an Azerbaijani language and culture centre has opened at Moscow’s State Linguistic University. This will undoubtedly have a positive effect on our relations and bring us even closer together. Welcome to Moscow! I am very happy to see you. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Thank you for the invitation to visit Moscow. This is a good opportunity to meet and exchange views on bilateral relations, which, as you noted, have been showing good development. I think that the friendly relations we have established at the personal level have also made their contribution. The dynamic growth in our countries’ relations has brought results in terms of both economic and political cooperation. Of course the global economic crisis has had an impact on our trade turnover, but the results of our bilateral trade until 2009 were certainly impressive. We are very close now to a figure of $3 billion. I am confident that, for all the difficulties, 2009 will also be a positive year, because we are continuing to expand our cooperation and are improving the structure of our bilateral trade. This has been made possible by the strong political relations between our countries, which have an influence on all other areas of activity. The opening of the branch of Moscow State University in Baku, and the Russian Cultural Centre (these events took place after our last meeting) show that we are implementing our agreements in practice. We hope to continue building up our cooperation in all different sectors of course. Azerbaijan sees Russia as a friend, neighbour and strategic partner. It is in the spirit of strategic partnership that we hope to continue our cooperation. Dmitry Medvedev: This is exactly what we will do.