BAKU, August 13 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart from Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev are pleased with the development of bilateral relations, including record high trade volume and diversification of international ties.
"Indeed, relations between our countries are developing quite successfully. Despite the difficult situation of the global economy, our trade volume grew by 47 percent last year; it's a record figure for us," Putin said during a one-on-one meeting with Aliyev on Tuesday.
“Russia is one of the leaders in trade and economic ties with Azerbaijan,” Russian president noted. “Trade volume is growing, and what is especially pleasing, its structure is rather good, both on Azerbaijan’s and Russia’s parts.”
Putin noted that the two countries are maintaining relations in various areas. “We can safely say that these relations have a diversified character,” he said.
Azerbaijan's leader expressed confidence that Putin's visit would give an additional impulse to bilateral relations.
"Our relations are developing very dynamically, positively and successfully. They are spread across many fields, and today we have an opportunity to discuss bilateral agenda and regional issues," Aliyev said.
"/We have/ achieved good economic results, which are better than we anticipated as well as good results and prospects regardinghumanitarian issues. In other words, relations are developing quite successfully; your visit will mark a milestone in the development of our relations. I'm sure positive dynamics will continue," he stated.
Putin touched up initiatives aimed at developing the humanitarian coperation. "I know there are also your personal initiatives among them. We'll discuss them today. "I'm confident our meeting today will help develop relations. A large team arrived together with me together with the ministers in the key cooperation areas, so the work will be substantive, large, interesting and very useful," Putin said.
Humanitarian ties create solid base for closer Russia-Azerbaijan cooperation
Development of humanitarian ties between Russia and Azerbaijan creates a solid basis for strengthening cooperation in all other areas, Putin highlighted.
“Azerbaijan is very attentive to the development of the Russian language, to issues of education,” Putin noted. “Schools are offering Russian classes, Russian higher education establishments have their branches in Azerbaijan.”
According to the Russian president, cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is a key factor of cooperation between the two countries. “It creates a basis for work in all other areas,” he said.
The Russian leader noted that the two countries were developing relations in all other areas likewise “increasingly.” “I hope very much that we will be able to exchange views on what should be done to spur up cooperation, and I am sure it would be a useful work for years to come,” he said.
Caspian situation needs resolution
Russia and Azerbaijan are interested in resolving problems of the Caspian states, Putin added.
“At our talks, we paid much attention to the problems of the Caspian states,” he said. “Here, there still are a lot of unsettled problems,” such as issues of border delimitation, preservation of biological resources, etc. “We are vitally interested in solving all these problems in the interests of all the Caspian states.”
Border cooperation is a key component of bilateral relations, especially bearing in mind the situation in the Caucasian region and tasks of fighting against international terrorism. The length of the border between the two countries is 338 kilometers.
In September 2010, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a treaty on the state border. A supplement to this treaty fixes border crossing procedures (the two states have visa-free travel regime). The sides also signed an intergovernmental agreement on the efficient use and protection of the transborder River Samur. Under the agreement, the river is used on the fifty-fifty basis. A 38-kilometer section of the 230-kilometer river flows along the border between the two countries.
Russia to assist in settling Nagorno-Karabakh issue
“Naturally, during our talks, we touched upon pressing international problems, including that of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Putin said. “Russia is taking active efforts to promote the soonest resolution of the conflict, which is possible only through political means.”
The Azerbaijani president also noted the role Russia as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group was playing in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. “Quick resolution of this issue will lead to stability, predictability and cooperation in the region,” he said.
According to Aliyev, the resolution of the conflict must be based “on historical justice, international law and resolutions of international organizations.”
Lasting ceasefire has been established in Nagorno-Karabakh since May 1994, thanks to Russia’s mediatory efforts. As a co-chair of the Minsk group, Russia is continuing its participation in the negotiating process to settle the conflict. On November 2, 2008, a three-party meeting in Moscow between presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia yielded a declaration, where the parties reiterated their commitment to the political resolution.
Russia’s Rosneft, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR sign cooperation agreement
Meanwhile, Russia’s oil major Rosneft and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) signed an agreement on cooperation and key terms of oil supplies. The document was signed in the presence of the two presidents in Baku.
Minister of Energy Alexander Novak told journalists on Tuesday: “A fifty-fifty joint venture is being established,” he said. “It is supposed to be engaged in joint prospecting and developing of fields in Russia and Azerbaijan.”
“Apart from that, this joint venture will market its products and will jointly use the corresponding infrastructure to deliver oil and oil products,” he noted.
According to Novak, the two companies had signed a framework agreement. “Later on, the companies will look at details of various options of mutual supplies, purchase and sale of oil, possible swap deals, exchange of assets,” he added.
Earlier, Itar-Tass reported that Rosneft was interested in having additional oil to be refined at Russia’s Tuapse oil refinery, including oil not from Russian reserves. Now, the refinery’s annual output is four million tonnes and it is planned to expand its output considerably.
A new state-of-the-art facility is being built at the Tuapse refinery, which will make it possible to expand the capacity from five million tonnes to 12 million tonnes, with the output of light oil products at a level of 90 percent. It is planned to complete the modernization of the refinery in 2014.
Apart from that, Rosneft is expanding a sea terminal in Tueapse to increase its capacity from the current ten million tonnes to 17 million tonnes. Hence, the company is interested in increasing the Tuapse refinery’s capacity.