A bilateral meeting has been held between President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
Welcoming President Ilham Aliyev, President Vladimir Putin said:
- Hello, dear Ilham Heydar oglu. Thank you very much for agreeing to come. Many questions have piled up. Of course, our trilateral meeting on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be in the spotlight. I was just talking to my colleagues – the Deputy Prime Minister you know very well, who deals with economic problems and the opening of transport corridors, the Defense Minister, the Director of the Federal Security Service to which the Border Service is subordinated and which is known to have made a significant contribution to the settlement.
In general, there are many questions there, but in any case, I would like to start our bilateral meeting by saying that next year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Of course, this is an event that we will need to celebrate. In this regard, I would like to note that our strategic partnership is developing very successfully. Suffice it to say that despite all the issues related to the pandemic and the associated restrictions in the economy, our trade turnover increased by 11 percent in the first nine months of this year. This is a good indicator. Some 900 Russian companies operate in Azerbaijan. Russia has invested $4.5 billion in Azerbaijan's economy. Russia is one of Azerbaijan's leading economic and trade partners. Of course, humanitarian relations are maintained against this background. I always talk about that in our meetings in the first place. I would like to thank you for your attention to the development and support of the Russian language. You have 304, in fact, as far as I know, even more, 340 schools with Russian-language education. A total of 34 percent of Azerbaijani schoolchildren study in Russian and learn this language in one way or another. This is a good indicator, an indication of the efforts of the Azerbaijani leadership and the Azerbaijani people to maintain close and multilateral relations. These relations are truly multifaceted. Both humanitarian relations and youth ties are developing. We have many such events supported at the global level. This creates good conditions for the development of our relations in the future.
As for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we are talking about it in a trilateral format. The Prime Minister of Armenia will join us soon and we will continue these discussions. But it seems to me that our peacekeepers are also playing a positive role here. The Russian-Turkish ceasefire monitoring center is working hard. Unfortunately, there are problems and incidents. Unfortunately, there are still casualties. We have gathered to see what has been done and what everyone should do to ensure that no such incident occurs, and also to calm the situation and create conditions for people to live comfortably and develop the region.
I am very glad to see you. Welcome.
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President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Thank you very much, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich.
First of all, thank you for the invitation. I am delighted to see you again. We have had a very active dialogue this year – we both met and often talked on the phone. We are very pleased with the development dynamics of our bilateral relations. But first of all, I would like to express my condolences to you in connection with the tragedy at the coal mine in Kemerovo region. Unfortunately, many people have died. I sent you a telegram yesterday. Today, on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I once again offer my condolences to you and all the people of Russia.
We have resolved many issues in a bilateral format, and today we characterize our relations as those of strategic partners. This is not just a phrase, it really is the case, and we intend to raise the level of our relations in all directions. As you mentioned, the trade turnover is growing. There is a strong mutual interest in economic cooperation, including cooperation between business circles. Of course, we are happy that our relationship covers many areas. At present, we are implementing seven roadmaps related to most areas of the economy, transport and humanitarian cooperation.
Thank you for appreciating our efforts to promote and preserve the Russian language in Azerbaijan, including those in the educational process. I would like to thank you also for the excellent conditions created for Azerbaijani students in Russia. In the run-up to this visit, I reviewed the latest information. More than 15,000 Azerbaijanis, Azerbaijani citizens are studying in Russian universities. In fact, this means a whole university. People receive very good education here, and this automatically becomes a bridge between our countries. This week has been very significant in the development of our relations. Earlier this week, I received the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and last night I received the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Your special envoy for humanitarian cooperation has been in Baku all week with a very important mission, such as the settlement of relations between Azerbaijani and Armenian intellectuals and cultural figures with the active participation of Russia. A major business conference of the Russian Export Center and “Roseksimbank” was held recently, this week. The conference was joined by more than 30 Russian companies. In other words, this week has been quite significant in characterizing only some directions of our interaction.
Of course, we will talk about the Armenian-Azerbaijani issue in detail today. I must note that since the beginning of the operation of Russian peacekeeping forces on 10 November last year, there have been no major incidents in the area of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers. There were no armed clashes, there have been no serious incidents. There have been certain incidents that were not of the nature of a systemic crisis. There have been armed clashes on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, but this is not the responsibility of Russian peacekeepers. However, of course, this forces us to pay close attention to all this, to talk about how we can control these risks, minimize them, including the trilateral format, and work on a comprehensive settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. We highly appreciate your role in this matter, the role of high-ranking representatives of the Russian government and, of course, the role of Russian peacekeepers in maintaining peace in Karabakh. We hope that this work will be continued next year and good results will be achieved.
Thank you very much again for the invitation. I would like to say again that I admire the beautiful nature of this land, which is the pearl not only of Russia, but of the whole world.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
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