6 April 201622:19

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Baku, April 6, 2016

654-06-04-2016

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Thank you, Mr President.

Indeed, this visit is the result of your agreement with the presidents of Russia and Iran. In your speech, you voiced a desire to streamline an international format that, as you have aptly noted, is important from many standpoints, including from the standpoint of closer trilateral political cooperation, and cooperation in the areas of security and counter-terrorist efforts. Considering the fact that terrorist supply routes and traffic pass through the territories of these three countries and their neighbouring states, it’s important to cooperate in thwarting these developments.

Moreover, we have common interests in utilising our geostrategic and geopolitical status for developing transport routes, expanding economic ties and energy cooperation. These issues have been discussed in the past, although in a somewhat uncoordinated manner. I hope that tomorrow, based on your agreements with President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, we’ll be able to create a political framework that would enable our respective ministries to work out these transport and energy projects in a more detailed manner.

It goes without saying that our bilateral relations are ones of strategic partnership. My colleague and I are to meet separately tomorrow. We’ll deal with the agreements you reached with President Putin in July 2015 when he visited Baku. By the way, he sends his warmest greetings and wishes to remind you that you have an invitation to visit Russia. Certainly, Russia’s relations with Azerbaijan is an important element of Russian foreign policy.

It is a coincidence that the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, that has been and is still being addressed by Russia as a neighbour of Armenia and Azerbaijan and as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, has faced a serious challenge due to the circumstances you mentioned, specifically, the resumption of hostilities that are the largest outbreak in many years.

Thank you for the kind words regarding the Russian Federation. Indeed, the Russian side has done its best, at the Prime Minister level, at the Foreign Ministry level and, of course, at the level of the Defence Ministry, to help the conflicting parties reach a ceasefire agreement. We will be ready to help prevent this agreement from being violated. Mr Aliyev, as you said, it’s important to appease tensions. I hope the events of the past few days will prompt further actions in this respect. We’ll be proactive in promoting a political settlement.

We have proposals that we’re trying to put forward, along with the co-chairs, in the interest of facilitating agreements between Azerbaijan and Armenia. I hope that we’ll be able to concentrate on these issues in the short-term and the long run. We’ll discuss this today and tomorrow. We completely support the initiatives that have been proposed by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. They have visited Baku, they will visit the demarcation line tomorrow, and they will go to Yerevan the day after tomorrow. In our opinion, we can implement some confidence-building measures in the near future with the assistance of the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Society and to create the essential conditions for resuming the political process.

Thank you for this reception. I am looking forward to productive talks during this visit.

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