President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov.
Welcoming the Russian foreign minister, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear Sergey Viktorovich, I am very pleased to see you in Azerbaijan. You are welcome!
Your visit is a good opportunity to discuss important issues of our bilateral cooperation, especially on the eve of the New Year, in order to outline plans for our joint work in 2019 and analyze what has been done this year.
I must say that 2018 was a very fruitful year for the development of our relations. There were many meetings at the highest level, including my visit to Russia in early September and the visit of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to Azerbaijan in late September. As part of these visits, we discussed very important issues of our cooperation and outlined ways for further interaction. Many documents were also signed and I am sure they will be successfully implemented. This will give an additional impetus to the development of our relations.
We actively cooperate within international institutions. Just recently, a week ago, an informal CIS summit was held in St. Petersburg. This was a very important event for the consolidation of the activities of members of the organization. This year, a new composition of the intergovernmental commission was formed. It has started work actively and will meet in the near future. A new composition of the Russian-Azerbaijani Business Council has also been put in place. In other words, we have already given momentum for trade and economic relations and investment projects, and I think that the results will be very good.
Of course, we will also discuss issues related to the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today. We do hope that a new impetus will be given to the settlement process in 2019 and, of course, we count on the efforts of Russia as one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries to resolve the conflict. We actively interact in many areas. I would also like to note with satisfaction the results of our work on the creation of the North-South corridor. We work hard in this direction, relevant transport agencies are working very fruitfully, we already see good results this year and will promote this project together with our other partners and neighbors so that it is completed as soon as possible.
And the last thing I would like to mention in the presence of the media is our humanitarian cooperation. As you know, the regular Baku Humanitarian Forum was held recently in Baku under the patronage of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan. President Vladimir Putin sent a message to the forum participants, and this is an important international platform for discussing humanitarian issues.
Let me once again express my satisfaction with the way our relations are developing, and I am sure that there will also be good results in the future. Welcome again!
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:
- Dear Ilham Heydarovich,
Thank you very much for this opportunity to be received by you in connection with the events that are opening in Baku through the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation tomorrow and in which Azerbaijan has been presiding for the past six months. Congratulations on the very successful performance of these functions by your colleagues. We operate under the assumption that this organization should continue to mobilize our joint actions within the framework of the Black Sea cooperation.
Let me pass on to you the best wishes and greetings from Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He very much appreciates your personal relations, which allow us the opportunity to advance our strategic partnership, the agreements reached during your recent contacts – and this year there have already been six, according to our calculations, including the exchange of visits. They are being fulfilled, and tomorrow’s meeting of the intergovernmental commission will probably contribute to further progress in the areas that you have agreed. This includes trade facilitation, digitalization of the budget and tax sphere, transport cooperation, creation of joint ventures, and also what you mentioned – humanitarian contacts in various areas, including interaction between the regions of Russia and Azerbaijan. This is also a very important area of our cooperation. We appreciate the interaction with Azerbaijan in the international arena – in the United Nations, the Council of Europe where attempts are being made to revise key provisions of the organization’s charter which guarantees equal rights to all Council of Europe member countries in all structures of this organization. We also work together in the OSCE.
And, of course, we want to continue to promote direct dialogue between Baku and Yerevan on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I know that you have had contacts with the Prime Minister of Armenia, and my colleague and friend Elmar Maharramovich Mammadyarov has had contacts with acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Today, of course, we will be very interested in listening to your assessments of how you see progress. We want this settlement to take place on a fair and mutually acceptable basis. Russia both in its national capacity and as a member of the “trio” of Russia, the United States and France, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, will do everything in its power to facilitate achievement of such agreements. Thank you again for this opportunity.