President Ilham Aliyev receives Russian foreign minister Lavrov (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 12:26)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 3

Trend:

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov.

Sergey Lavrov extended President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin`s greetings to the head of state.

President Ilham Aliyev thanked for Vladimir Putin`s greetings and asked the minister to extend his greetings to the Russian President.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear Sergey Viktorovich.

I am glad to welcome you to Azerbaijan again. Mutual visits, regular visits of foreign ministers have become a good tradition. Of course, presidents set the tone. This year I had two meetings with Vladimir Vladimirovich in Beijing and Sochi, in addition to our communication on the sidelines of international events. The presidents set the tone for the development of our relations and, summing up the results of the year – I think it is already possible to summarize them – we note that this year has been very successful for our relations. We have made significant progress in many areas, strengthened political interaction and actively supported each other in international organizations. I must say that the entire Azerbaijani delegation voted for Russia’s return to PACE and thereby expressed solidarity. Also, we always feel the support of the Russian Federation on issues of concern to us in international organizations.

Mehriban Aliyeva has had a very successful official visit to Russia. I would like to ask you to convey my gratitude to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for the invitation, for the attention, for awarding Mehriban Aliyeva the Order of Friendship, for the kind words that were addressed to her, for the very constructive conversation and negotiations that touched upon almost all areas of our interaction. Also, meetings were held with the Chairman of the Government and the Chairperson of the Federation Council. The anniversary Interregional Forum was a great success. And in the end, of course, the opening of the "Azerbaijan" pavilion at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements symbolized our close and friendly ties possessing a long history.

In economic terms, this year has also been successful. The turnover is growing every year. The results have not been summed up yet, but I think that there will be growth somewhere around 25 percent, not lower. In the transport sector, we have also achieved good results and expect the opening of a bridge over the Samur River in the near future, which will significantly increase trade and mutual visits. In other words, we could enumerate many areas but the main thing is that the momentum in our relations has been maintained and I think multiplied. This is very encouraging.

Of course, within the framework of this visit we will talk about the problems of resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, there were no visible results in this direction. I believe that the main reason for this is the counterproductive policy of the Armenian leadership, especially the statement that Karabakh is Armenia. And I am glad that both you and co-chairs from other countries made the right assessment to this strange, to put it mildly, statement. But we will continue our cooperation with Minsk Group co-chairs. In the near future, a meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia will be held. We look forward to your continued active participation in the negotiations. You are welcome again! I wish you a pleasant stay in Baku.

Х Х Х

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov said:

- Thank you very much, dear Ilham Heydarovich. Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you as part of my regular visit to friendly Azerbaijan. We really value our relations in a similar way. They are on the rise, are developing steadily in all areas, which is confirmed by your regular contacts with President Putin, as you mentioned. There was a detailed conversation in China, within the framework of your participation in the Valdai Forum in Sochi, where a very useful and bilateral meeting was held, and there was a very interesting multilateral discussion with your participation on key issues of world and regional politics.

We highly value the visit of Mehriban Arifovna Aliyeva to the Russian Federation, her contacts with President Putin, Prime Minister Medvedev, Chairperson of the Federation Council Matviyenko, her participation in the very important opening ceremony of the Azerbaijan pavilion at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, the participation in the Interregional Forum, and we will certainly implement the initiatives discussed during this visit. They concern, among other things, the addition of a new topic to our intergovernmental economic cooperation – the theme of innovation and high technology. A special “road map” will be developed. And in just a few days, the intergovernmental commission will consider the state of affairs in this area.

As you mentioned, the turnover is growing fast. It is already at $3 billion perhaps. Direct investments of the Russian Federation in the Azerbaijani economy amount to $1.5 billion. More than 70 constituent entities of the Russian Federation participate in cooperation with Azerbaijan, as well as more than 300 enterprises with the participation of Russian capital. In Russia, too, Azerbaijani capital is strengthening its positions. I think that another interesting and very important result of Mehriban Arifovna Aliyeva’s visit to the Russian Federation is the agreement to make the Youth Forum of Russia and Azerbaijan more regular. This is fundamentally important from the point of view of continuity, from the point of view of preserving the historical memory and educating our young generations both in Russia and in Azerbaijan in the spirit of friendship, good neighborliness, which has always been inherent in our relations.

And with regard to our cooperation in international organizations – regional, global and universal – we highly value our close interaction, the desire to always take into account each other's positions. We will continue to help defend our common positions, defend the important issues that are of particular interest to Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. This applies to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. We are interested in the agreements on confidence-building measures, humanitarian and media contacts that were reached at the Vienna summit and then at the ministerial meeting in Moscow this year to be reaffirmed so that they are implemented. They are being gradually implemented, and I hope that the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia this week will consolidate these processes. At the same time, I agree with you that a lot remains to be done with regard to a political settlement, a long-term settlement, and I absolutely support your thesis that rhetoric that contradicts the fundamental principles approved by both parties, the principles that are enshrined in the UN Charter and in the Helsinki Final Act, must be avoided.

So once again, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to talk with you, dear Ilham Heydarovich, and I hope that this visit, which will continue tomorrow, takes our relations to an even more trusting, even more productive level. Thank you very much!

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!

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