Azerbaijan is rapidly and energetically changing, becomes a dynamic country that develops at high rate, the pace of development of Azerbaijan’s economy is one of the highest in the world, Russian president Vladimir Putin said at a press conference in Baku.
«That is impressive. And we wish our friends success,» Russian President said, adding that Azerbaijan is an old and traditional reliable partner of Russia.
«We are closely cooperating in Caucasus, the Caspian region, within the framework of the CIS and in the leading international structures. A strong friendship tradition and mutual respect between our countries, governments and peoples lies on the basis of such as a cooperation,» Putin said.
According to Putin, the sides thoroughly discussed the key areas of strategic partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan, outlined the plans for further development of this partnership, especially in the trade and economic spheres.
«In this regard, I can note that, despite the known decline in the global economy, our trade relations are developing successfully. According to various estimates, last year the growth ranged from 37 to 47 percent. To date, this is one of the obvious records in relations between the two countries,» Putin said.
The Russian president also added that Russia traditionally holds one of the leading places in the trade turnover with Azerbaijan, namely the second place. The first place is held by Italy.
«But we all know that this is mainly due to the deliveries of hydrocarbons to the Italian and European market, whereas the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia is much more balanced, as the experts say it has a noble nature,» Putin said.
The Russian President added the trade turnover includes machines, equipment, food, in short, all essential both for the economies of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.
He also said that reaching such high rates is greatly contributed by intense inter-regional and cross-border ties.
«It’s sufficient to say that the close relations, business relations with Azerbaijan are supported by more than 70 regions of the Russian Federation,» the Russian president said.
Over 500 Russian companies operate in Azerbaijan and their activities cover a wide range of fields that are important for socio-economic development, he said.
«This includes thermal electric complex, automotive industry, finance, insurance activity, and healthcare. And it is well known, that this in fact covers the household level, but indeed it is of great economic importance,» Putin said. «Everybody knows that quite a large number of Azerbaijani citizens work in Russia. Their number is counted by million, and over a million. Plus, considering Azerbaijanis which have Russian citizenship, this figure amounts to 2 million people.»
Putin went on to add that Russia and Azerbaijan are the major international players in the energy sector.
«The mutually beneficial cooperation in this sphere is also being carried out. Now, I will not repeat everything; the scope of works is very large and has a tendency to expand. Now you were participating at the signing of corresponding agreements between the Russian state company Rosneft and Azerbaijani partners,» Putin said. «New directions and formats of cooperation in fuel and energy complex are being assimilated.»
«As you know today I have already mentioned, that the agreements were signed, but they have a prospect for 15 years, maybe even for 20 years. It means that, a good foundation for cooperation for years to come is being laid,» Putin said.
According to Russian president, humanitarian ties play a special role in strengthening friendly and neighborly relations.
«An intergovernmental cooperation program in this sphere till 2015 was approved during this visit. We have discussed preparations for the III Baku International Humanitarian Forum, which will take place in Baku from October 31 to November 1. It can be said with certainty that since 2011, in a relatively short period this forum has become a major social event,» Vladimir Putin said.
According to him, a great attention during the negotiations was also paid to the resolution of Caspian region’s problems.
«We are interested in this region becoming a region of peace and cooperation. Many unsolved issues are present in this region. These are related to the issues of security, border delimitation, as well as to the conservation of Caspian Sea’s biological diversity and so on,» Putin said.
He went on to add that Russia is very interested in the resolution of all these issues, and naturally, with the consideration of the interests of all Caspian states.
«It is characteristic that the friendly visit of a detachment of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla to Baku is timed to our negotiations. The detachment includes the missile ship «Dagestan» and a small artillery ship «Volgodonsk.» The Azerbaijani sailors are planning to carry out a return visit to Astrakhan in late 2013,» Vladimir Putin said.
According to him, during the negotiations the sides discussed topical international issues, including the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
«I want to underscore that Russia actively contributes to the quick settlement of the conflict, which is possible only by political means,» the Russian president said.
«In conclusion, I would like to note that the talks have once again demonstrated the common attitude to strengthen all-round cooperation between the two countries. I once again I thank all our Azerbaijani friends and colleagues for kindness, hospitality, for business mood in the course of our work today and for the results that have been already achieved,» Vladimir Putin said.