Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Baku, December 2, 2019
Esteemed Mr Aliyev,
Thank you for this opportunity to meet with you during my regular visit to friendly Azerbaijan. Indeed, we have a similar assessment of our relations: they are on the rise and developing steadily in all areas. This is borne out by your regular contacts with President of Russia Vladimir Putin, which you mentioned. You had a detailed conversation on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, and during the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi where you had a very useful bilateral meeting and took part in a very interesting multilateral discussion of global and regional issues.
We praised the visit of First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva to the Russian Federation and her contacts with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly Valentina Matviyenko. We appreciated her participation in a very important opening ceremony for the Azerbaijan Pavilion at VDNKh and her participation in the region-to-region forum.
We will definitely implement the initiatives that were discussed during this visit. They concern, among other things, a new theme in our intergovernmental economic cooperation, notably innovation and high technology. A special roadmap will be drafted and literally in several days the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan will review the state of affairs in this area.
As you said, trade is rapidly growing and is expected to reach $3 billion. Russia’s direct investment in the economy of Azerbaijan amounted to $1.5 billion. Over 70 Russian regions cooperate with Azerbaijan. More than 300 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani capital is becoming increasingly strong in Russia as well.
One more interesting and important result of Ms Aliyeva’s visit to Russia is the agreement on the bilateral youth forum becoming more regular. This is of principled importance for preserving continuity and historical memory and bringing up our younger generations as good friends and neighbours, which has always been typical of our relations.
As for our cooperation in international and regional organisations, we have always appreciated close teamwork and a striving to always consider each other’s interests. We will continue helping each other uphold our common positions, the important issues that are of special interest to both countries.
This includes a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. We are interested in the implementation of confidence measures and the development of humanitarian contacts, including those in the media. These agreements were reached at the Vienna summit and confirmed at the ministerial meeting in Moscow. They are gradually being carried out, and I hope the meeting of foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan this week will further promote these processes.
At the same time, I agree with you that there is still much to be done in long-term political planning. I completely agree with you that it is necessary to avoid rhetoric that is at variance with the fundamental principles approved by both states and fixed in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act.
I am sincerely grateful to you, Esteemed Mr Aliyev, for this opportunity to talk with you. I hope my visit, which will continue tomorrow, will help further promote trust and make our cooperation even more productive.