BAKU, November 20. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Baku on Monday. Bilateral ties and the prospects for the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement will top the agenda of the meeting. Besides, the Russian top diplomat’s visit is timed to the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"We will talk about regional and international issues. In particular, we will try to understand where we are within the framework of efforts on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement after the recent meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents (in Geneva on October 16 - TASS), "Lavrov said earlier.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Azerbaijan is Russia’s strategic partner in the Caucasus. "The Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation is based not only on the long-standing traditions of friendship and mutual respect, but also on the coincidence or proximity of positions on the key regional and international issues," the ministry said.
The tone for the interaction is set by the top-level political dialogue. Moscow noted that regular friendly contacts been the two leaders, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, determine the high dynamics of bilateral relations, make it possible to promptly tackle any issue and coordinate actions on various regional and international platforms.
On November 19, Sergey Lavrov was received by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. According to the head of state, Baku is satisfied with the way inter-state relations develop, which cover all areas and have very good dynamics.
Aliyev drew attention to regular high-and top-level meetings. "All that shows that relations [between the two countries] are at a high level. We have long described them as relations between strategic partners and are confident that we will continue to boost cooperation potential in the future," the Azerbaijani leader said.
Russia’s top diplomat conveyed greetings to Aliyev from the Russian president. "You recently met with the Russian president in Tehran. That was on November 1. He extends his warmest greetings to you and recalls your contacts with pleasure," he said.
Lavrov assured that Russia is committed to the implementation of all agreements with Azerbaijan. The Russian minister noted the positive dynamics of the trade turnover, which grew by more than 60% during the first nine months of this year.
The parties also discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is "very interested in resolving the issue at an early date." Sergey Lavrov highlighted Russia’s interest as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group in helping to seek a solution and ensure the movement towards a settlement.
Azerbaijan’s foreign minister earlier pointed to the need to intensify the negotiation process. "We believe that the negotiation process on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis should be put into motion. The time has come to resolve the conflict," Mammadyarov said.
He noted that Azerbaijan is in favor of "the talks that are not conducted for the sake of negotiations," adding that specific issues should be discussed.
The possibility of a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the OSCE ministerial meeting in Vienna on December 7-8 is being discussed.
Sergey Lavrov will continue to exchange views on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement during his visit to Yerevan on November 20-21.