President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has held an expanded meeting with Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin first posed for official photographs.
Welcoming the meeting participants, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear Mikhail Vladimirovich, dear guests. I am very glad to welcome you to Azerbaijan. We met at the beginning of the year and agreed on your visit. I am very delighted that you have found time to visit Azerbaijan. I know that you met with our Prime Minister yesterday. As far as I know, you discussed a very wide range of important issues of our interaction.
Since the beginning of the year, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and I have set a good tone and dynamics in our relations. We have met several times during the year. Just yesterday, we had the opportunity to talk by phone on important issues of the bilateral agenda. So the presidents, as they say, set the tone for the entire spectrum of our relations. Of course, all relevant agencies are working in this direction.
Of course, we are very pleased that the volume of mutual trade is reaching the pre-pandemic level, and I am confident that the dynamism will be continued. Because what is being discussed today, including the issues being discussed during your visit, will help us build up the potential for mutual trade. We also see good dynamics in the volume of cargo transportation. But as far as transit cargo is concerned, I think we are reaching record levels, somewhere around 50-60 percent, and there are great prospects for growth. Of course, in terms of transit and logistical infrastructure, we will build up the potential for mutual cooperation, primarily on a bilateral basis, and, of course, with the involvement of neighboring countries, because Russia and Azerbaijan have been actively investing in transport and logistical infrastructure in our countries for many years. Of course, strengthening the potential of transport corridors, primarily North-South, will be in the interests of all countries involved in this project and will open up additional prospects, including those for business.
I looked at some statistics before your visit. I was pleased that the number of flights is growing rapidly. We have more than 130 flights a week, which means that we have practically reached the highest rate. The tourist flow from Russia is also growing. This year, there was growth of around 80 percent – of course, there was also a drop due to the pandemic. We have not yet reached the pre-pandemic level, but I think we will. Taking into account the friendly relations between our countries, taking into account the fact that the Declaration on Allied Interaction was signed this year and we repeatedly demonstrated the allied nature of our relations throughout the year, taking into account the fact that we expect to significantly expand the agenda of trade and economic cooperation, I think that the number of flights will grow.
I know that the Interregional Forum was successfully held yesterday. This is also an important element of our bilateral cooperation. We maintain close ties with about 80 subjects of the Russian Federation. Of course, as part of this event, both in previous years and yesterday, I am sure that new tasks have been identified. So the agenda is quite broad. We are working hard on seven road maps. I am sure that approaching the end of the year with such good results, we will set the same dynamism next year as well. Welcome again.
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Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin said:
-Thank you, dear Ilham Heydar oglu. First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation to visit Azerbaijan. I am visiting your country as Prime Minister with great respect. I also want to thank you and the entire team of Ali Hidayat oglu for the very warm welcome extended to our delegation. We have a large delegation. Four heads of our regions are here, key regions that interact with Azerbaijan. Taking this opportunity, I want to sincerely congratulate you on the national holiday – National Revival Day, which was celebrated in Azerbaijan yesterday, and convey the best and sincerest wishes of President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. You said that you just had a talk with him last night.
Our governments are working very hard to implement the decisions that you-our presidents, have made. Yesterday, Ali Hidayat oglu Asadov and I participated in the 11th interregional forum, which practically touched upon the entire agenda of mutual relations. The highest priority was given to energy, industry, transport, cultural and humanitarian sphere. As a result of the talks, we signed a number of agreements on the development of cooperation in various fields. The transport sector is very important. It is quite special. We are convinced that joint infrastructure and logistical projects will become a new driver for building up the entire range of cooperation. Here I would like to note separately the western route – the North-South International Transport Corridor. By 2030, we expect to increase its transportation volumes to 15 million tons per year.
We also traditionally attach special importance to cultural and humanitarian ties. As you said, this year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. A whole series of ceremonial events was held to coincide with this important event. Next year, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of outstanding Soviet and Azerbaijani statesman, your father Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev.
In Baku, as we noted yesterday, there are branches of our universities – Moscow State University and the First Moscow State Medical University named after Sechenov. They are operating successfully. More than 11,000 students from Azerbaijan are also studying in Russia. And such development of direct contacts between our people, their acquaintance with rich history, culture and traditions will strengthen our relations.
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The head of state thanked for Vladimir Putin’s best wishes and asked the Prime Minister to extend his best wishes to the Russian President.