Moscow, February 22, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin have made press statements.
Statement by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
-Dear Ilham Heydar oglu!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The Declaration on Allied Interaction between Russia and Azerbaijan that the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and I have just signed marks the transition of our interstate relations to a qualitatively new level. This strategic document has become the central element and the main outcome of the negotiations.
And it is quite symbolic that the Declaration on Allied Interaction was signed in the year of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Russia and Azerbaijan. Over the past decades, the Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation has noticeably strengthened and expanded, getting filled with many specific mutually beneficial projects in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres. And we, of course, are committed to the further all-round development of the truly close allied cooperation based on strong traditions of friendship, good neighborliness, mutual respect and consideration for each other's interests.
The entire range of topical issues on the bilateral agenda was discussed in detail today. First of all, we discussed the possibilities and prospects for building up mutually beneficial trade and economic ties. I would like to note that by the end of 2021, mutual trade increased by 16 percent and reached almost $3.4 billion, while the total volume of mutual investments is about $6 billion.
The Russian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental commission will soon hold a regular meeting. We also plan to send Russian business missions to Azerbaijan to explore opportunities for developing cooperation in the field of energy, agriculture and a number of other sectors.
Russian business entities are interested in cooperating with Azerbaijan in the field of power engineering, are ready to assist in the modernization of Azerbaijan’s electric networks, as well as join projects in the field of renewable energy sources.
An effective partnership has also been established in industry. Last year, a joint plant was opened by “GAZ Group” and “Azermash” for the production of commercial and special-purpose vehicles. With Russian participation, the technical renovation of the rolling stock of the Azerbaijani railways and the Baku Underground is currently underway. A joint service center of “KamAZ” is being built in Azerbaijan.
We consider it important to further strengthen cooperation between our two countries in the financial sector. This would clearly be facilitated by a more active use of national currencies in mutual settlements and the connection of Azerbaijani banks to the financial message transmission system of the Bank of Russia.
Cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals has intensified. Our countries are working as partners in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus infection. During the most acute period of the pandemic, teams of specialists from leading Russian medical institutions were sent to help Azerbaijani doctors. Deliveries of the “Sputnik V” vaccine to the Republic of Azerbaijan have been organized.
Cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is also at a traditionally high level. Recently, the Days of Azerbaijan started in Moscow, within the framework of which exhibitions, concerts, literary readings and many other colorful events will be organized. In turn, in early March, Azerbaijan will host the next Youth Forum of the two countries.
We are grateful to the Azerbaijani leadership for supporting and promoting the Russian language and culture in the Republic. Let me remind you that there are more than 300 schools teaching in Russian in Azerbaijan, and most universities have Russian-language faculties. During the talks, Mr. President reminded that the number of schools is not 300, but 340 – we can’t catch up with you. We are very grateful to you and attach great importance to this. Let me also mention that over 11,000 Azerbaijani students are currently studying in Russia, more than a thousand of them at the expense of the federal budget.
Naturally, special attention was paid to the issues of normalizing relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. As you know, yesterday I had a telephone conversation with the prime minister of Armenia. The importance of the full implementation of all trilateral agreements between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia on Nagorno-Karabakh, reached at the highest level, has also been reaffirmed.
We consider it important that life in the region is getting better and entering a peaceful course. More than 50,000 refugees have already returned to their homes. Issues related to the reconstruction of economic infrastructure, protection of historical, religious and cultural sites are being addressed.
The Azerbaijani side gave a high assessment to the activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and, in general, Russia's contribution to stabilizing the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. Our peacekeepers conduct round-the-clock monitoring of the situation and ensure the maintenance of the ceasefire, carry out mine clearance work, participate in humanitarian actions and provide assistance to the local population. Russian military doctors are taking preventive measures against the coronavirus, including vaccination with the Russian medicines.
We have agreed to continue to promote the speedy unblocking of all economic and transport ties in the region. We are talking about full restoration of the passenger and cargo communication between Azerbaijan and Armenia and other countries of the region, preparations for the implementation of specific joint projects in such areas as trade, industry, agriculture and infrastructure. All participants in this process are interested in this: its direct participants – Azerbaijan and Armenia – and, of course, all the neighbors of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Another priority task is to launch the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. For its part, Russia has done and will continue to do a lot to achieve all the above goals and objectives. Of course, we will continue to provide all possible assistance in resolving any contentious issues, including border issues, and help in resolving existing acute problems.
In general, today's talks have clearly shown that Russia and Azerbaijan have a common interest in ensuring stability and security in the Caucasus and Caspian regions and developing integration processes throughout the Eurasian space.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to Ilham Heydar oglu for the productive joint work today. I am convinced that the agreements reached today will serve to further strengthen the entire range of Russian-Azerbaijani relations for the benefit of the two countries.
Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, first of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation to pay an official visit to Russia. I am very glad to be visiting Moscow again. Our meetings are regular in nature. Less than three months ago, we also met and discussed important issues of the bilateral agenda and regional issues, and the intensity of our meetings is clear evidence of the dynamic nature of the development of our relations. Russia and Azerbaijan are bound by centuries-old ties of friendship and good neighborliness, which today, as Vladimir Vladimirovich noted, are reaching a qualitatively new level.
There is a very broad legal framework between us – 245 documents have been signed. But the Declaration signed today is of particular importance among them. This Declaration brings our relations to the level of an alliance. This is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. We have been moving towards this day stubbornly, for a long time, building up the potential for cooperation, building relations based on sincerity, good neighborliness, pragmatism, and taking into account mutual interests. Specific work on the Declaration on Allied Interaction began just over a year ago. And during this time, relevant expert groups of our countries agreed on a very extensive document consisting of 43 provisions and covering almost all the main areas of our activity.
The first paragraph of the Declaration says that the parties will build their relations on the basis of mutual respect for independence, state sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. This provision attests to the nature of our relations. It is evidence that these relations have stood the test of time and are based, as I have already said, on friendly feelings, mutual interests and aspirations for the future. The document not only sums up the results of many years of joint work, but also opens up great prospects for the future. We will build up political cooperation. We will support each other in international structures, as before, we will increase mutual trade, the volume of mutual trade, and we will resolve all issues that are on the agenda.
Vladimir Vladimirovich and I spent more than five hours together today. Time passed very imperceptibly. Five hours of intensive communication, and this in itself is an indicator of how close and sincere our ties are. We are confident that new opportunities are opening up in the trade and economic sphere. Vladimir Vladimirovich noted a significant increase in trade. I am sure that this year these positive trends will further increase.
This year, as you know, marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In April, we will celebrate this date, and we are approaching this milestone with a good start.
There are very promising opportunities for increasing mutual investment. Today we also discussed in detail the possibilities of deepening cooperation in the transport sector, and not only in a bilateral, but also in a multilateral, regional format, taking into account the new situation in the region, the new geopolitical realities. There is already a cooperation platform, the “3+3” format. I am sure that after taking the first step, the parties, members of this platform, participants of the platform will continue to cooperate, including this area. The issue of opening communications in the region was also discussed today and, I think, has very good prospects.
I am grateful to Vladimir Vladimirovich for giving a high assessment to our activities, to our joint activities in humanitarian cooperation. This area is always in the spotlight of the presidents. We can say that we are giving an appropriate impetus to the development of this sphere. And the figures that Vladimir Vladimirovich cited in terms of the number of schools with teaching in Russian and the number of students from Azerbaijan studying in Russia are indicative. They speak for themselves. I would like to add to this that more than 15,000 students are receiving education at Russian-language departments of higher educational institutions in Azerbaijan. The interest in learning in Russian is growing. There are also branches of Moscow State University and the Sechenov Medical Academy in our country, and we expect to increase the potential for cooperation.
Also this year, we plan to restore the regular holding of the Baku Humanitarian Forum, which was interrupted due to the pandemic. It was held and will continue to be held under the patronage of the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan.
Today we also discussed issues related to the participation of Russian companies in the work in the liberated territories. There is a lot of interest. To date, 14 applications have been received from Russian companies, and we are closely examining them. I believe that this is a new area of our cooperation – it will be useful from a practical point of view and will also strengthen the level of our interaction.
And, of course, we have also discussed in detail the post-conflict situation in the region. We are grateful to Russia and personally to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for their role in ending the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia and in post-conflict settlement efforts. I think that given such a long-term confrontation – about 30 years – and such huge losses that Azerbaijan was faced with, the fact that after a little over a year Azerbaijan and Armenia are already involved in at least two international formats, namely, the working group at the level of vice-premiers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as the “3+3 platform”, which includes Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia, is already an indicator of our intentions. Of course, we expect the Armenian side to fully comply with all the provisions of the Declaration of 9-10 November 2020 regarding the withdrawal of all Armenian armed forces from the territory of Karabakh, as well as the opening of communications between the main part of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is a legal obligation of the Armenian side. Unfortunately, work in this direction is progressing at a very slow pace. As I have already noted, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has played an important part in ending the war, moving the settlement from the hot phase to the phase of political settlement. And Russia is our main partner in finding ways to normalize relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia today. There are opportunities for this. Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated its readiness to start work on a peace treaty, which will also cover the issues of clarification of borders, delimitation and other issues that are necessary for countries interested in regulating relations between themselves.
The new realities in the region, I am sure, will usher ample opportunities. Azerbaijan is set for a peaceful future. We don't need war. We never needed it. The liberation of the Azerbaijani territories, the restoration of our territorial integrity by military means was a necessary measure, and our readiness to resolve this issue by political methods in the post-war period is another confirmation of our intentions. I am sure that Russia and Azerbaijan will together continue to make a significant and, I would say, decisive contribution to the strengthening of peace in the Caucasus, to the strengthening of cooperation in the Caspian region and in the Eurasian space.
Once again, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, thank you for the invitation and for your hospitality. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the friendly and allied people of Russia continued success and new achievements.
President Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
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