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Baku to host first trilateral meeting of Russian, Azerbaijani, Iranian presidents

The summit proposed by the Azerbaijani leader will be held in such a format for the first time

BAKU, August 8. /TASS/. Joint economic projects and regional security issues will dominate the discussion at the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Azerbaijani and Iranian counterparts Ilham Aliyev and Hassan Rouhani in Baku on Monday.

The summit proposed by the Azerbaijani leader will be held in such a format for the first time.

North-South project

Baku views the upcoming meeting of the three leaders as a very important event. "It has a great importance as it serves towards advancing the North-South transport corridor project that is important for the entire Eurasia," deputy head of Azerbaijan’s presidential administration and chief of the administration's foreign relations department Novruz Mamedov told TASS.

Not only the economies of these three countries but dozens of other Eurasian states are expected to benefit from the project’s implementation that will "give a new impetus to developing political, cultural and humanitarian ties in the region," he said. "This will be a modern Silk Road - the most convenient, rational and the shortest route for shipping transit cargos from South and Southeast Asia to North and West Europe," Mamedov said.

Moscow notes that the major focus at the meeting will be made on transport projects. One of the main goals of the summit in the new format is considering opportunities on promoting promising infrastructure projects, first of all in the sphere of transport, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said earlier.

The sides will discuss the construction of the Rest (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway, which will become a part of the North-South transport corridor, Ushakov said. Management of Russian, Azerbaijani and Iranian railways has been discussing this project since 2008. Russian Railways said during the discussion that the company could act as the operator for this project, he said.

Energy, security and Caspian

The leaders will also discuss prospects of boosting trilateral cooperation in the trade and economic area with the focus on the energy sector, Ushakov said. "We pay high attention to cooperation in the energy sphere, particularly to implementation of an exploration and development project for oil and gas fields, primarily in the Caspian region," he said, adding that the sides plan to discuss this issue at the meeting.

The presidents are expected to exchange views on a number of pressing regional and international problems. "The three countries are neighbors, they face similar problems, including global economic crisis, the situation near our borders and in particular near borders with Afghanistan and in the Middle East in general, the issues of fight against terrorism," Ushakov said.

Moscow plans to suggest enhancing the information exchange on international terrorist organizations, he added. "This could efficiently curb the transit of militants, weapons and drugs via the territories of our countries," he said.

Experts say the trilateral meeting will be also devoted to the Caspian issue. The sides could try to overcome differences in positions linked to defining the borders of national sectors in the Caspian Sea and dividing its bottom. Russia and Azerbaijan have almost solved this issue, but no agreement has been reached with Iran. This is one of the stumbling blocks on achieving a comprehensive decision on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

Iran expects that the upcoming meeting in Baku will strengthen relations with Russia, develop regional ties and enhance Tehran’s positions on the international arena. IRNA news agency reported that this would be the eighth meeting between Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani.

The three presidents are due to adopt declarations reflecting major areas of further cooperation of the countries.