St. Petersburg, June 21, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin as part of his working visit to Saint Petersburg.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said:
-Dear Ilham Heydarovich,
Let me welcome you here in St. Petersburg.
Everybody is aware of the fact why we have assembled here. The reason is a long-lasting Karabakh problem, whose settlement is up to us. However, using this opportunity, first of all I would like to talk about our bilateral meetings against the background of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which has recently ended. I would like to note with regret that for the known reasons last year and this year we saw a slight decrease in the volume of our trade. It is driven by reduction in energy prices and differences in the currency exchange. We know these reasons. Taking the opportunity created by our today's meeting, I would like to talk about this and all the issues that make up the content of our bilateral meetings, including the humanitarian aspects. We are aware of Azerbaijan`s sensitive approach to the teaching of Russian language. We know that branches of our universities successfully operate in Azerbaijan.
We highly appreciate all this. I hope that this work will continue on all fronts. I am very pleased to see you. Welcome.
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President Ilham Aliyev said:
-Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.
First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting us to visit Russia again. Taking this opportunity, I would also like to congratulate you on the occasion of the successful organization of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This year's forum is a jubilee forum. The forum has become one of the most important venues for discussing and addressing the issues of global politics and economics over the years. Azerbaijan has actively participated in the forum. We are particularly pleased that a document on the establishment of a large energy facility in Azerbaijan – through partial funding from the Bank of Russia – was signed with your participation.
Of course, today's key topic of discussion is the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I thank you for your initiative to hold this meeting and for Russia's constructive role in the settlement of this issue. The conflict is protracted. The status quo is unacceptable as Russia and the other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group stated. We fully support this statement. However, in order to change the status quo, de-occupation of the Azerbaijani territories, which have remained occupied for more than 20 years, must start. Today we will have a detailed talk about this issue. We hope that we will be able to give constructive dynamics to the negotiation process, which practically had not been conducted in the past two years.
Of course, this meeting is a good opportunity for discussing a wide range of bilateral relations in both economic and other areas. I think that a decrease in trade is temporary. We are looking for ways to restore and increase it. I believe that we will achieve this. We have active mutual relations in energy sector and good prospects for cooperation in the field of transport. The humanitarian issue has always been of particular importance. This is what brings our peoples closer to each other. It is impossible to build relationship without this. Both Russia and Azerbaijan characterize our relations as strategic partnership.
Once again I express my gratitude to you for the invitation. I am looking forward to seeing you in Azerbaijan soon.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.