Azerbaijani president receives delegation led by governor of Russia's Astrakhan region (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on Dec. 13 at 12:20)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 13

Trend:

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Governor of the Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation Igor Babushkin.

Welcoming the guests, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Welcome! I am glad to see you.

I am very glad that you are visiting Azerbaijan soon after becoming the governor of the Astrakhan Region. This is a very good sign, a sign of our partnership and friendship. Astrakhan and Baku share a long history of interaction, partnership and cooperation. We are located on the shores of the Caspian Sea, so the history of our relations goes deep into the centuries. When I visited Astrakhan, I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the city. I also received information on the history of cooperation, which in fact has always been very positive. We have an active interaction today. Azerbaijan has special relations with the Astrakhan Region of all the regions of Russia. Again, this is based on our history and on the fact that there have been a lot of joint projects lately.

As you know, the Azerbaijan Business Center was set up and opened last year. I am told that the Astrakhan Business Center is also ready for opening and the construction is almost complete. This is a very important event because we will promote trade through these business centers. Today I looked at the data for this year, for nine months. Our turnover growth is not very large, but at least it is a positive trend.

There is a lot that brings Astrakhan and Baku together. Of course, we should plan joint actions in the future in such a way that interaction becomes even closer. We already have direct flights. This is also a very positive aspect. We hope that both our tourists and tourists from Astrakhan will visit each other more. In general, the number of Russian tourists visiting Azerbaijan is growing. I think this year this figure will be close to 1 million people. So this is also a good indicator of cooperation, friendship and the fact that our citizens feel comfortable when they visit each other.

In general, the year has been very successful for Russian-Azerbaijani relations. There were a lot of high-level contacts, at the level of ministers, legislative leaders, business forums. A regional forum was held in Moscow not so long ago. Therefore, we are ending the year with good results in the political sphere and a significant increase in trade, and look to the next year with great optimism. I am sure that Russian-Azerbaijani relations will progressively develop for the benefit of our countries, peoples and, of course, we will strengthen traditional ties with our partners. Welcome again! I wish you a pleasant stay in Baku.

Х Х Х

Governor of the Astrakhan Region of Russia Igor Babushkin said:

- Thank you very much! Dear Ilham Heydarovich, first of all, let me express my assurances of highest consideration for you and thank you for the opportunity of a personal meeting. Indeed, for the Astrakhan Region, the Republic of Azerbaijan is one of the main partners in the Caspian region. Over a long period of time, close relations have been established in the sphere of trade, tourism and business contacts. The flagship of our economic ties at the present stage is, of course, external trade, which, as you already said, has a fairly large volume in 10 months, and we are seeing growth in percentage.

We link the prospect of expanding our trade relations with the operation of the Azerbaijan Business Center in Astrakhan, which was opened last year. We had the opportunity to see the progress of construction of the Astrakhan Business Center yesterday. I want to say that we are very pleased with the progress of work and expect to be able to officially open this center in early June. As you already said, such centers in Astrakhan and Baku will indeed become a good help for the development of our trade and cultural relations.

We believe that as an example we can cite the successful cooperation in the field of transport.

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