Sunday, May 26

Russia and Azerbaijan expand cooperation

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The other day, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid a working visit to Moscow at the invitation of his colleague Vladimir Putin. At the meeting in the Kremlin, the leaders of the two countries discussed the development of trade and economic relations, future global joint projects and topical issues of regional security. Dmitry Saveliev, head of the Russia-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship Group, State Duma deputy, commented on how Russian-Azerbaijani relations are developing today.

– Dmitry Ivanovich, the recent meeting of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan was the first since their re-election. Based on the tone and subject of the meeting, what dynamics do you expect in the relations between our countries in the near future?

– The trend of steady rapprochement will continue in the bilateral relations of our countries. As Ilham Heydarovich Aliyev recalled at a recent meeting in the Kremlin, this trend of progressive development of relations between Russia and Azerbaijan is predetermined both by our good common history and mutual interests, and by the Declaration on Allied Cooperation signed two years ago. And Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, in turn, gave very clear figures: the trade turnover between our countries has already grown to more than four billion dollars, and Russian investments in the economy of Azerbaijan have reached six billion. In almost all significant areas, our countries have agreed on detailed roadmaps, dozens of cooperation agreements have been signed and are being implemented both at the state and regional levels.

– What recent agreements concluded between the regions of Russia and Azerbaijan seem particularly significant to you?

– Only in the last month, a representative delegation of Dagestan visited Baku, a regular meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Tatarstan was held, and the Russian Trade Mission in Azerbaijan held videoconferences with business representatives from Moscow and Krasnodar Territory. It is worth noting the recent initiatives in the field of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the northern capital of Russia. In April, Baku hosted the business forum “St. Petersburg and the Republic of Azerbaijan expand the horizons of cooperation” as part of the cultural and business mission to Azerbaijan of the Russian delegation led by the Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov.

During the event, a roadmap for cooperation between Azerbaijan and St. Petersburg was signed, a number of partnership agreements were concluded in the fields of education and medicine, transport and tourism, digitalization and trade. Also, just a few days ago, the Astrakhan Business Center in Baku was recognized as one of the best practices in supporting Russian exports. The issues of trade, economic and logistical cooperation between our countries were discussed during the recent visit to Baku by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and at a meeting in Moscow between Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikail Jabbarov and Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.

Interparliamentary and diplomatic cooperation is actively developing. In April, the deputies of the Milli Majlis paid a visit to St. Petersburg to participate in the meetings of the commission of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, and at a recent meeting in Moscow, the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia discussed further joint steps to implement the provisions of the Declaration on Allied Cooperation between our countries. Also, on April 4, we once again marked another important date – 32 years ago, diplomatic relations were established between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

I repeat that all these events have taken place over the past couple of months – this is the intensity of partnership between our countries at all levels today.

– The peacekeeping mission of the Russian military contingent in the Karabakh region has recently ended ahead of schedule. What can you say about the “sensitive” issues of regional security in the Caucasus – in your opinion, do the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia have a common understanding of solving these problems?

– Maintaining peace and stability in the South Caucasus is not even a matter of regional, but global security for almost the whole of Eurasia. This is an extremely important region both energetically, logistically, and, of course, geopolitically. And today, Azerbaijan inviolably preserves its sovereignty, continuing to systematically build mutually beneficial relations with its neighbors and partners, including Russia.

The Presidents of our countries are united not only by mutual trust and a common understanding of existing problems and tasks, but also by a common strategy of action. For example, both Russia and Azerbaijan are united in their rejection of the destabilizing military and political presence of “external players” in the South Caucasus. During the meeting in the Kremlin, Ilham Aliyev called Russia a fundamental country both in terms of regional security in the Caucasus and wider geography, stressing that a lot depends on the interaction between our countries today.

– This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of construction of the Baikal-Amur mainline. During the visit, the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia met with veterans of the BAM and employees of the railway industry. How do you assess the importance of this highway now?

– The grandiose construction of the Baikal-Amur mainline is a vivid example of the importance of cooperation between our peoples. As you know, the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, as the first Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, oversaw the construction of the BAM and played a huge, irreplaceable role in the implementation of this complex project.

At a meeting with veterans and employees of BAM, the President of Russia noted that it was the enormous amount of knowledge and experience of Heydar Aliyev, his managerial talent and unsurpassed personal qualities, attentive attitude to people that made it possible to successfully implement this large-scale project. Now our countries have a new joint project “roads to the future” – this is, of course, the North–South transport corridor, which was also discussed at the recent meeting of the presidents.

– In his speech, the President of Azerbaijan thanked Vladimir Putin and all Russians for honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, which was celebrated last year. And how do you assess the results of the anniversary events in Russia, which ones can you highlight?

– The year was full of memorable official events and creative projects, they can be listed endlessly. The most important thing to note is that the memory of Heydar Aliyev is honored in Russia not only on anniversaries. Officially, the year of the centenary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev has ended, but commemorative events in his honor continue and will continue. Just the other day, on April 23, in the cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg, in the New building of the Russian National Library, the Russian version of the book “Heydar Aliyev. 100 moments of life” and an exhibition of the same name has been opened, which tells about the life path and achievements of the Azerbaijani leader. Heydar Aliyev’s contribution to the development of Azerbaijan, the Soviet Union and, of course, to the strengthening of friendly, good-neighborly relations between our countries and peoples will never be forgotten.

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