After the signing ceremony of Azerbaijani-Russian documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin made statements.
Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Distinguished guests! Ladies and gentlemen!
I would like to sincerely welcome the President of Russia to Azerbaijan again. Today's visit demonstrates once again how dynamically and successfully our relations are developing in line with the expectations of our countries and peoples.
During the visit, we have reviewed a broad agenda of our relations, discussed all issues of mutual interest and outlined further development of our relations.
The relations between Russia and Azerbaijan are friendly, neighborly and based on the history of our peoples, a common destiny, mutual interests and a solid foundation today.
We are very satisfied with the development of our relations in the political sphere. We cooperate in international organizations as friends and partners. Special attentionhas been paid to this issue today. We support each other in international organizations and will continue the policy of mutual support in international organizationsin the future.
We have also discussed regional issues today, in particular the issues of regional security and those related to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
As you know, the occupation of Azerbaijani territories has continued for more than 20 years. The territory under occupation is essentially unsuitable for life. Everything that can be destroyed has been destroyed. Twenty percent of our territory is occupied. The resolutions of international organizations are not being fulfilled. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions demanding an unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from our territories, but they remain on paper. Therefore, the speediest solution of this issue is in the interests of all countries of the region.
A settlement should be based on historical justice, international law and the decisions and resolutions of international organizations. Russia as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group plays an important part in resolving the conflict. I want to reiterate that an early resolution of the conflict will lead to stability, predictability and cooperation in the region.
We are pleased to see the growing trade between our countries, which is especially gratifying at a time of the global economic and financial recession. The structure of trade is very positive. There is active cooperation in the military and technological spheres.
There have been occasional media publications about the volume of our military and technological cooperation, which do not always correspond to reality. I must say that today the volume of military and technological cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan amounts to $4 billion and tends to increase. I am sure that this cooperation will be continued in the future. Azerbaijan is already among leading buyers of Russian technology, which is rightly considered one of the best in the world.
We have carefully discussed the issues related to energy securityas well. Our countries are actively cooperating in the power engineering sector. Important agreements in the field of oil and gas operations have been signed. And the agreements that have been signed today are a new page in the oil and gas cooperation between government agencies of Russia and Azerbaijan. I am confident that this cooperation will be very successful and effective.
We are countries producing and exporting energy resources. Naturally, our interests overlap. So I think that our active cooperation and the coordination of our effortswill determine very much in terms of regional energy. We are committed to establishing a sustainable cooperation and strengtheningour interaction with Russia in this important area of economic and political development.
Wehave also signed an agreement in respect of the transport infrastructure. There is extensive cooperationin this direction.
I believe that the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan in the humanitarian sphere can serve as an example. I should note again, in the presence of journalists, what we talked about: there are 335 schools in Azerbaijanwhere Russian is taught. Education in15 of these schools is provided purely in Russian, 27 of our universities provide education in Russian, and the number of Russian-speaking students of secondary, vocational and higher education institutions exceeds 100,000 people. This is an important indicator of our attitude to the Russian language, Russian culture and Russian literature. All the positive traditions of the past are carefully protected in Azerbaijan.
And the present-day dynamic development of our relations, of course, contributes to the fact that we are seeing good results in the humanitarian sphere. Most likely, the cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is the foundation on which we are building our relationship, a relationship of friendship and good-neighborliness based on mutual interest, based on mutual respect and trust, a predictable and stable relationship.
Of course, the visit of the President of Russia to Azerbaijan is first of all a testament to the fact that our relations are at a high level. At the same time, it gives a powerful impetus to the future development of comprehensive relations between our countries.
Once again, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich – welcome! We are always glad to see you in our country.
Statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin
- Thank you very much.
Dear Ilham Heydar oglu! Dear colleagues and friends!
I haven’t visited Azerbaijan in a long time. I was here only in 2006. It has been a long time. Azerbaijan is changing rapidly and vigorously. It is becoming a dynamic country that is developing fast. The pace of development of the Azerbaijani economy is one of the highest in the world. This is impressive. And we wish our friends continued success.
Azerbaijan is an old, traditional and reliable partner of Russia. We work closely in the Caucasus, in the Caspian region, within the framework of the CIS and within leading international institutions. At the heart of this cooperation is a strong tradition of friendship and mutual respect between our countries, between our states and peoples.
We have carefully discussed key areas of strategic partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan and outlined plans for its further development, first of all, of course, in the trade and economic sphere.
In this regard, I can note that despite the well-known decline in the global economy, our trade relations have developed and are still developing successfully. The increase, according to various estimates, ranged from 37 to 47 per cent last year. This is one of the obvious records between countries to date.
Russia has traditionally been one of the leaders in the trade turnover with Azerbaijan. We are in second place. The first place belongs to Italy. But we all know that this is mainly due to the supply of hydrocarbons to the Italian and European markets, whereas the trade between Azerbaijan and Russia is much more balanced and noble, as experts put it. It includes machinery, equipment, food, etc. In other words, all that is vital to the economy of Azerbaijan and the economy of the Russian Federation.
Such high rates are largely facilitated by extensive inter-regional and cross-border ties. Suffice it to that more than 70 regions of the Russian Federation maintain close business relations with Azerbaijan.
Let me note that more than 500 Russian companies operate in Azerbaijan, and their activities cover a wide range of sectors that represent great importance to socioeconomic development. This includes the fuel and energy complex, automotive, finance, insurance activities and healthcare. Although it is well known that this is actually a household level, it is still of great economic importance.
Everybody knows that quite a large number of Azerbaijani citizens work in Russia. Their number has reached a million, more than a million, and if we also add to that the Azerbaijanis who have Russian citizenship, the number will rise to 2 million people.
Russia and Azerbaijan are major international players in the energy market. We are engaged in a mutually beneficial cooperation in this field. I will not repeat that now, but the scope of work is very large and has a tendency to expand. You have just attended the signing ceremony of relevant agreements between the Russian state company "Rosneft" and Azerbaijani counterparts.
We are exploring new areas and formats of cooperation in the energy industry. Today, as you may know and as I have already noted, we have signed agreements, but they have a future of 15 years, perhaps even 20 years. So we have laid a good foundation for cooperation for many years to come.
A special role in the strengthening of our friendly and neighborly relations is played by humanitarian ties. As part of the visit we have approved an interstate program of cooperation until 2015. We have discussed preparations for the Third Baku International Humanitarian Forum, which will take place in Baku from 31 October to 1 November. It is safe to say that in a relatively short period of time since 2011, this forum has become a major social event.
We have paid significant attention in the negotiations to the solution of problems in the Caspian region. We are interested in this region becoming a region of peace and cooperation. There are still many unresolved issues here. They concern security, border delimitation, conservation of biological diversity of the Caspian Sea and so on. We have a vested interest in the fact that all of these issues are addressed and resolved, of course, taking into account the interests of all littoral states.
It is noteworthy that our negotiations coincide in time with a friendly visit to Baku of a detachment of the Russian Caspian Flotilla. It includes the missile ship "Dagestan" and the small artillery ship "Volgodonsk". At the end of this year, Azerbaijani sailors plan to pay a return visit to Astrakhan.
Of course, in the course of negotiations we also touched upon current international issues, including, of course, the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. I want to emphasize that Russia actively promotes the early settlement of the conflict, which is only possible through political means.
In conclusion I would like to note that our talks have once again demonstrated the general attitude towards strengthening the all-round cooperation between our countries.
I once again thank all of our Azerbaijani friends and colleagues for the kindness, hospitality and business approach demonstrated in the course of our work today and for the results that have been achieved.
Thank you very much.