Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
– Distinguished President Rouhani,
Distinguished President Putin,
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I want to express my gratitude to President Rouhani for the invitation and hospitality extended. I am very glad to be visiting your fraternal country again.
Today we held meetings with President Rouhani and President Putin related to the further development of Azerbaijani-Iranian and Azerbaijani-Russian relations. We have been convinced again that our relations are developing very successfully, rapidly and are at a high level.
As for the trilateral format of cooperation, as you know, the first Summit was held at the initiative of Azerbaijan in Baku last August. Today's Summit shows that this format is very important and has a great future. Our tripartite cooperation is quite natural, because our nations are united by a common history, as well as geography. From time immemorial, our peoples have lived in close bondage with each other.
The trilateral format of cooperation is of great importance for regional security. I believe that our successful cooperation plays a very important role in the stability and security in the region. Of course, we are united by many economic infrastructure projects, which President Rouhani mentioned in his speech. Azerbaijan is the only country in the world that has a land border with both Russia and Iran, and this geographical location, of course, urges us to cooperate very successfully in all spheres.
In the time since the last Summit, very important events have taken place. Although a little more than a year has passed, the agreements reached last year are being implemented now. In particular, I should note cooperation in the economic sphere. Today, during the Summit, some figures were voiced. This year our trade with Russia has increased by more than 60 per cent and with Iran by more than 30 per cent. Last year, the trade between Iran and Azerbaijan grew by 70 per cent. This, first of all, shows that there are very sincere friendly relations among our three countries. Naturally, the economic sector and the business community see and take advantage of this. At the same time, the growing trade shows that our economy is developing successfully, and the sharp drop in oil prices in the world has not had a serious impact on our economy.
At the same time, in the period since last Summit Azerbaijan has improved its railway infrastructure and built the remainder of it to the Iranian border. There is also a bridge over the Astarachay River, and the first train crossed the Azerbaijani-Iranian border in March of this year. At present, the Azerbaijani part of the North-South transport corridor is fully operational. At the same time – I said this also during the Summit, so the press should know that – agreements have been reached between Iran and Azerbaijan on financing the Astara-Rasht railway. The document has been initialed and now – after the completion of internal procedures, after these procedures have been completed – this issue will also be resolved.
Our cooperation in the oil and gas industry has a history of its own. This cooperation is also natural because our three countries are contributing to the energy security of the world. At the same time, our countries have played a very important role in stabilizing the oil price. Today we see that OPEC and non-OPEC countries sincerely cooperate with each other. As a result of this cooperation, oil prices have now risen to an acceptable level.
We have connected our electricity systems both with Iran and Russia, and this also creates an excellent basis for regional cooperation. In a word, many issues have been resolved over the course of one year, and I am sure that as a result of the agreements reached today and the implementation of the Tehran Declaration, we will inform the public about even better results before the next Summit.
I want to say again that our cooperation is natural and sincere, that it rests on a foundation of friendship and mutual respect, and that this cooperation is very important for our peoples, our countries. It is very important for the region.
I would like to express my gratitude to President Rouhani again for organizing this summit at such a high level. Thank you.