Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during a meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Baku, September 1, 2015

1633-01-09-2015

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Thank you, Mr Aliyev.

First of all, let me extend the warmest greetings from Russian President Vladimir Putin. He often recalls his visit to Baku on June 12 to attend the opening of the first European Games that were held here, his bilateral visit held the next day and his talks with you.

Russia and Azerbaijan are strategic partners in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Region. On the whole, we have very close positions on some of the most pressing issues in international relations. I maintain close contact with my colleague, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedyarov, and we discuss our cooperation in the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and on other international platforms. We value the ongoing inter-parliamentary cooperation, which is taking place at a very high level. We would like to thank you for the excellent organisation of the visit of three ships from the Caspian Flotilla to Baku in August 2015. We look forward to our Azerbaijani friends taking part in the military and technical exhibition that will take place in the Sverdlovsk Region this September. Your representatives have received an invitation.

You mentioned humanitarian ties – this is a deeply significant layer of our relations, which emphasises the closeness of our peoples and their spiritual affinity. Culture and education bring us close together. Today, on Knowledge Day, I spoke at MGIMO University, your alma mater and mine. Rector Torkunov warmly recalled you and your 2013 initiative to organise the first ever reunion of MGIMO graduates. We hope this will be a good tradition for all of the countries whose young people graduated from this university.

Our economic relations continue improving. Despite the current international environment, the intergovernmental commission is working, and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov is expected to visit soon. We are glad that supplies of Azerbaijan’s agricultural products are increasing. We would also like to thank you for your decisions that allowed to increase international freight traffic for our freight companies.

I appreciate this opportunity to meet with you to discuss our bilateral relations and the situation in the region, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. This is an issue on which we work closely together, under your guidance and that of the presidents of Armenia and Russia, co-chair countries,  trying to move towards a generally acceptable common denominator. I hope we will make progress.

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