“Friendship traditions with Azerbaijan evolved over centuries. We value our close relations”
Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Ilham Aliyev: Mr Medvedev, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Azerbaijan. Your visit will serve the cause of further strengthening friendly and good neighbourly relations between Russia and Azerbaijan. We have a very broad agenda with Russia and the relations between our two countries have enjoyed positive momentum, reaching the level of a strategic partnership.
Your visit takes places against the background of an escalation in the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, this conflict has been going on for many years and has yet to be resolved. From time to time we have had to face up to provocations from the Armenian military. An incident of this kind took place earlier this month when Azerbaijan’s communities came under fire, over 400 buildings were damaged, and there were victims, including civilian casualties. Azerbaijan was forced to retaliate in order to prevent further military provocations and restore the ceasefire.
I would like to thank the Russian leadership for its timely and proactive contribution to de-escalating the situation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin had telephone conversations with me, as well as the President of Armenia, while Russia’s Chief of the General Staff contacted his counterparts in the two countries. This mediation effort made it possible to restore the truce. Although the other party doesn’t always respect it, overall we have been witnessing a de-escalation in recent days and view it as a positive development.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan is committed to a peaceful political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the norms and principles of international law, and the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council and other international organisations.
Your visit is also a good opportunity to discuss other matters on the agenda, including relations in trade, the economy, energy, transport and humanitarian affairs.
Let me reiterate that the relations between our two countries have been enjoying positive momentum, and are known for their friendliness, sincerity and mutual respect.
Once again, welcome to Azerbaijan.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Aliyev. First of all, I would like to thank you for this meeting. I haven’t visited this country for a long time. It is fair to say that this visit was long overdue. As you have said, our two countries are strategic partners. We have a number of joint economic and humanitarian projects, and there are many political issues of mutual interest that we discuss. It is obvious that we must take advantage of this visit to the maximum degree to push forward this agenda.
Of course, the current situation is anything but simple. You have mentioned the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
I must admit that this is naturally a matter of grave concern for Russia, since relations with both Azerbaijan and Armenia are extremely important for us. At the same time, as a member of the Minsk Group, and as a responsible state and permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia is committed to approaches that were outlined in the course of procedures promoted by the UN and other mechanisms.
We hope that the truce that has been achieved at this point will last, enabling the parties to discuss settlement-related issues at the negotiating table.
There was a time when I contributed to this effort, as I’m sure you remember. Let’s hope that these efforts do not end up in smoke and are not in vain. In any case, let me assure you that on its part the Russian Federation will do everything it can to this effect.
I would like to convey to you the best wishes from Vladimir Putin. Consultations have been taking place and are set to continue. You and I will discuss this and other issues, since the relations between our two countries are multifaceted, so there are always things to talk about. Thank you very much for this meeting.