Russia expects to implement huge joint energy projects with Azerbaijan: Foreign Minister Lavrov
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 10 / Trend /
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks in an interview with news agencies in Azerbaijan
Question: What steps are taken to consolidate the efforts of the CIS participating countries in combating negative consequences of the global financial-economic crisis?
Answer: Upon the decision of CIS Council of State Heads dated Oct. 21, 2008, a conference of the finance ministers of the CIS participating governments took place in Moscow, where the participants exchanged views on this question. Anti-crisis problems were also on the focus of attention during the meeting of the CIS Council of Government Heads, which took place on Nov. 14, 2008 in Kishinev. During the meeting it was recognized that the high mutual integration of the economies of the CIS countries requires coordinating steps for the minimization of the negative consequences of the crisis. Especially because the majority of the CIS states face such problems as, for example, limitation of access to the external sources of funds. The work in this regard was continued at the session of CIS Economic Council CIS on Dec. 12, 2008.
The anti-crisis measures are reflected in the Plan of measures for the realization of the first stage - 2009-2011 - of Strategies for economic development of the CIS for the period of up to 2020, which is planned to be submitted for the approval at the meeting of the CIS Council of Government Heads due on May 22 in Astana.
More "moved" the anti-crisis co-operation is made within the Eurasian Economic Community, where Azerbaijan is not a member. This was one of the key topics at the last session of Inter-Governmental Council of EurAsEC on Oct. 10 2008 in Bishkek at the level of Heads of State and on Dec. 12 in Moscow at the level of the Heads of Government.
Today already it is possible to speak of transition to the concrete combined actions in this regard. Under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister of Russia A.L.Kudrin, the EurAsEC Council for Financial and Economic Policy prepared complex joint measures to overcome the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. The measures were approved at the December session of EurAsEC Inter-Governmental Council. The plan for the practical realization of the measures is finishing to be devised.
The extraordinary summit of EurAsEC which took place on Feb. 4 in Moscow made an important decision on establishment of the anti-crisis fund. The finance of this fund totaling $10 billion is envisaged for providing sovereign loans and stabilizer credits to the participating countries, and also for financing the inter-governmental projects.
Q: Will any positions in bilateral trade and economical cooperation which amounts to $2 billion undergo any changes in the context of global financial crisis?
A: Indeed, goods turnover between our countries hit US 2.4bln last year. Overall the goods turnover displayed a double-rise over the past three years. It testifies for goods bases to further developing economic cooperation, gives an opportunity to rapture gradually from mutual trade on raw basis.
The current structure of bilateral goods turnover enables to minimize jointly negative outcomes of global financial-economic crisis. So, it is necessary take measures to consolidate quality changes in structure of mutual trade, increase share of goods with high added cost, particularly, machinery products. Furthermore, we plan to realize huge joint energy projects with Azerbaijan, which are being developed.
It will undoubtedly require from all interested organizations and enterprises to take active steps directed at increasing efficiency of economic cooperation. Our experts are sure Russia's remaining as a big commodity supplier to Azerbaijan. Russian entrepreneurs voice their readiness to develop hence their business in Azerbaijan. So, good turnover between Russia and Azerbaijan is predicted to remain in its 2008 level in 2009. I add that there is not any obstacle to involve Azerbaijan to antirecessionary measures taken under EurAsEC.
Q: Active talks are presently going on in connection with the implementation of Nabucco project, which also envisages Azerbaijan's participation in. Could Azerbaijan's participation in this project negatively impact on bilateral relations between Baku and Moscow?
A: Azerbaijan's decision on participation in energy projects is its sovereign right and we respect it. It also concerns Nabucco gas pipeline.
Major criteria to select the route for oil and gas delivery should be cost efficiency, reliability and ecological security. We are against excessive politicization.
Russia share common understanding of diversifying energy supply routes as a method of ensuring the European energy security. We realize projects constructing alternative gas pipeline routes to different regions of the continent. First of all it is dealt with North and South Stream routes. Nationwide, "Blue Stream" gas pipeline has been commissioned.
We support expansion of Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation in energy field.