ST. PETERSBURG, June 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday beginning a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, he would like to discuss the current decline in bilateral trade.
"The problem which has brought us here is known - it is the Karabakh problem we have inherited from the past. But I would like to use this opportunity to speak about our bilateral relations as well, especially in the context of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum which has just ended here. I would like to note that due to known reason we, regrettably, observe a certain decline in trade," Putin said at the beginning of his meeting with Aliyev.
According to Putin, both of them knew why bilateral trade is declining - falling prices on energy sources and fluctuations in the exchange rate.
Apart from that, the Russian president said he wants to discuss humanitarian aspects of bilateral cooperation. "We know how careful Azerbaijan is about the study of the Russian language and how successful are branches of our higher educational establishments in that country. We appreciate it and I hope such work will be continues in all directions," Putin said.
Aliyev, in turn, congratulated Putin on the success of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. "It was a jubilee forum this year. Over the past years, it has become one of the most important venues for discussions of issues of global politics and economics," he said.
Azerbaijan, in his words, took an active part in the forum. "And it is especially pleasing for us that a document on building a major energy facility in Azerbaijan, which will be partially financed by a Russian bank, was signed in your presence," the Azerbaijani leader said.
Touching on the current decline in bilateral trade, Aliyev said he is sure it is a temporary phenomenon. "We are looking for ways to resume and expand it. I think it will ultimately happen. Apart from that, we have close cooperation in the energy sector and good prospects for cooperation in the transport sector," he said, adding he would be glad to see Putin in Azerbaijan.