Ilham Aliyev received Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov.

Speaking at the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear Sergey Viktorovich, I am pleased to see you again. Welcome to Azerbaijan! It is a good tradition that we have been hosting you for years now. Our minister also regularly visits your country. Your current visit is dedicated to the first anniversary of the Declaration on Allied Interaction signed in Moscow on February 22 last year. It is a significant step in the development of relations between our countries. This Declaration essentially reflects the spirit and nature of our relations and the positive resources generated by our ties. It lays out the path for mutual activity in the coming years.

I must say that last year was marked by the very dynamic nature of our engagement. There were several meetings at the presidential level. You visited Azerbaijan, and your counterpart visited Russia. There were reciprocal visits by the heads of governments and parliaments of our countries, as well as visits by other officials. This shows that our relations are fully developing, critical issues are being addressed, and we have gotten off to a good start this year. Your visit to Azerbaijan at the beginning of the year will also give a special impetus to our interaction this year.

If we begin to list the areas of activity that bring us together, it will probably take a lot of time. We can count the areas where our work is not so active yet. However, this does not remain unnoticed either. This is why we hope for serious mutual steps in the fields of traditional interaction – political dialogue, energy, transport, trade, humanitarian cooperation and alliance, which we need to bring to the level of interaction.

I would also like to note with pleasure that the pre-coronavirus dynamic of mutual visits between the citizens of our countries is being recovered now. Clear evidence of that is that, according to the information provided to me today, Russian and Azerbaijani air carriers perform 135 flights per week. In my opinion, this record figure indicates that citizens of our countries are visiting each other with great pleasure.

Of course, we will also talk about issues related to regional security today. I do hope that 2023 will be a year of progress in the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Or at least we hope so. I would like to thank the Russian government and you personally for your active involvement in this process. I think that Russia, as our friend, ally and neighbor, has a special role in helping regulate interstate relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Last year, a substantial effort was made in this direction, and documents defining the conceptual nature of the future peace agreement, namely the mutual recognition of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the two countries, were adopted. This was confirmed by the documents adopted in Prague and Sochi last October. These documents have laid the foundation that can be used for reaching a peace agreement. In any case, we are determined to do positive and constructive work together with the Armenian side and our friend and neighbor, Russia, to quickly turn the page of this hostility and return peace to the South Caucasus.

Of course, the agenda of our relations and today's talks are not limited to the areas I have mentioned. Therefore, we will go over those items in detail. I am sure that the results of the visit will be positive as usual. Welcome again.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

- Thank you very much, dear Ilham Heydar oglu. First, let me pass on President Putin's sincere greetings and warm wishes to you. He personally pays special attention to the development of our allied interaction. As you said, these days, we are celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration during your visit to the Russian Federation last year. It is beyond doubt that this Declaration established a new level of mutual activity and determined ways to deepen it and raise it to a qualitatively new level. As you noted, practical cooperation is developing very efficiently and extensively in all directions. This includes your regular contacts with the President of the Russian Federation and meetings between the heads of government and ministers of the two countries.

We are in regular and personal contact with my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, and, as it has just been said, in an online format. Undoubtedly, the turnover of goods, an indicator of our economic cooperation, is also reaching record levels, and this is not the limit. You have discussed with President Putin the preparation of several mega-projects that will be not only bilateral but also regional and even global in substance. You and many of our partners are interested in these projects. This shows how promising the interaction with the participation of Russia and Azerbaijan as leaders of this region is.

Of course, we are interested in the development of cultural relations. We have quite a few significant days. Last year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and this year, we celebrated the first anniversary of the Declaration on Allied Interaction. In spring, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev. We are planning a series of events together with our Azerbaijani friends. I am sure that these events will demonstrate the mutual interest of our citizens in each other, in our history, and in the pages of our shared history that have continued to this day and helped us maintain friendly, family and kinship ties between our countries.

I completely agree with you that the indicators of the recovery of visits by our citizens further demonstrate this situation and our efforts to develop relations in the humanitarian and educational sectors. We appreciate your personal and your government's attention to supporting the Russian language and creating all conditions for Azerbaijani citizens who wish to speak Russian and use it at work, as well as to give this opportunity to their children.

Dear Ilham Heydar oglu, as you have emphasized, regional security remains a very relevant topic in our bilateral and multilateral relations. Many of our international colleagues, including those located far from this region, are showing great interest in creating conditions for progress in the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. As President Putin has repeatedly said, we welcome all efforts aimed at stabilizing the situation and creating conditions for all countries located in this region to have the opportunity to cooperate in the interests of their countries and peoples based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

Let me sincerely thank you for receiving me, and I am sure that this visit will help us to move forward along the path laid out by President Putin and yourself.

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President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, Sergey Viktorovich. I would also like to ask you to convey my greetings and best wishes to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and express my gratitude for such a kind attitude to the memory of Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev. We appreciate it very much. Thank you.

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