Moscow, Russia, April 19
By Leman Zeynalova, Maksim Tsurkov – Trend:
Russia and Azerbaijan are linked by strategic partnership relations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing on April 19.
"Russia and Azerbaijan are linked by strategic partnership relations, based on the principles of equality, good-neighborliness, centuries-old traditions of friendship, a common history, culture and intertwined fates of millions of people," she said, when answering a question of Trend correspondent.
Zakharova noted that very intensive, mutually beneficial, and at the same time warm, trustworthy contacts are maintained at the level of the heads of states, governments, relevant ministries, departments, representatives of science and civil society.
"Only in 2017, our presidents met four times. Very close contacts were formed through the parliamentary line. A very strong interregional cooperation has been formed. Seventeen federal subjects of Russia presently have agreements on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation with Azerbaijan," she said.
Zakharova further stressed that enterprises and companies of 70 Russian regions carry out export-import operations with Azerbaijan.
"The situation in the trade and economic sphere is improving. Last year, the bilateral trade turnover grew by 28.58 percent compared to 2016 and amounted to $2.6 billion," she said, adding that the investment cooperation is gaining momentum.
Over 600 joint Russian-Azerbaijani companies, including about 200 companies with 100-percent Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan, while Russia's direct investments in Azerbaijan amount to about $1.5 billion, Zakharova said.
The spokeswoman further touched upon a serious mutual interest in implementing large-scale bilateral projects in energy, transport, innovative technologies, agriculture and other sectors.
"Today, the bilateral interaction in the humanitarian sphere remains an unchanged priority. We are satisfied with the dynamics of cooperation in the education sector. On average 11,000-15,000 students from Azerbaijan study in Russia. The branches of the Moscow State University and the First Moscow State Medical University are successfully operating in Baku, while the issue of opening branches of several other leading Russian universities in Azerbaijan is being considered," she said.
Zakharova further noted that the two countries have agreed on resuming the practice of holding mutual years of culture, which have already proved themselves.
"I cannot but mention a special event scheduled for May 10 in Baku. This is the opening of a joint Russian-Azerbaijani historical and documentary exhibition dedicated to the personality and role of Heydar Aliyev," she said.
Zakharova emphasized that the exhibition will be dedicated to the 95th birth anniversary of the outstanding statesman, who played a decisive role in the formation of independent Azerbaijan and laid the foundation for the strategic partnership policy with Russia.
"Such a return to the origins of our relations is very symbolic. This is a reminder of the colossal joint work aimed to strengthen and develop the friendship between our countries and peoples, which was carried out by the leaders of the two countries and which is viewed in Russia as one of foreign policy priorities," Zakharova said.
She further said that Ilham Aliyev's recent confident victory in the presidential election in Azerbaijan is an important guarantee for continuation of this trend.