First Vice-president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva and Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation’s Federal Assembly Valentina Matvienko attended the 10th Azerbaijan-Russia Interregional Forum in the building of “Cosmos” at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, November 23.
At the Forum, where discussions were held on the most promising areas of the Azerbaijani and Russian economies, First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva and Chairperson of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko delivered a speech.
Address by First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva
- Respected Valentina Ivanovna.
Dear Forum participants.
I want to welcome all participants of the 10th Azerbaijan-Russia Interregional Forum.
Dear Valentina Ivanovna, I want to thank you on behalf of the Azerbaijani delegation, first, for your participation in the forum, and for your kind attitude to our country. I thank all the organizers and participants of the Forum for the sincere reception.
I want to thank the leadership of the Russian Federation, personally, President Vladimir Putin, for inviting me to come on an official visit to Moscow, and for the high award – the Friendship Order. I was greatly honoured to receive this order personally from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. I accept this award as a symbol of friendship and kind neighbourhood relations between Russia and Azerbaijan relying on mutual respect.
Interregional cooperation has been a significant part of our bilateral relations. Azerbaijan has been maintaining economic relations with over 70 subjects of the Russian Federation. Holding of interregional forums has turned into a tradition, playing a significant role in extending relations between regions. Participation of the heads of the two states in the opening of the previous forum in Baku testified that interregional cooperation has been attached importance at the highest level. In the framework of this forum, perspectives of mutual activity in the areas of digitalization and agriculture, as well as tourism were discussed in detail. I am hopeful, as in previous years, the outcome of this forum too will give their contribution to our bilateral relations.
Respected ladies and gentlemen, Azerbaijan and Russia are tied with centuries-long relations of friendship, kind neighbourhood, and mutual respect. Thanks to the political wills of the Russian and Azerbaijani presidents, their joint endeavours, our cooperation has turned into strategic partnership. Close friendly relations of the heads of states, their mutual visits and regular meetings have made the advancement of our relations more dynamic, both in a bilateral format and within the framework of international organizations. It is a rejoicing fact that the multilateral partnership between our countries cover practically all areas. Strong bilateral agreement-legal basis has been established, with over 200 documents signed. Intergovernmental and interparliamentary taskforces have been greatly contributing to the advancement of the relations.
Trade relations are one of the main directions of our cooperation. Russia is one of the main partners of Azerbaijan, holding the 1st place on the import of our non-oil products. Holistic actions have been taken on the development and diversification of the growing commodity turnover. Azerbaijan opened its first trade representative office in the Russian Federation. Azerbaijan-Russia and Russia-Azerbaijan business councils were established and are functioning successfully. Export missions of our producers are organized to various regions.
Dear Valentina Ivanovna, you have mentioned very optimistic figures. I will repeat them, because, I suppose, these figures are so positive that it is worth repeating them. A positive dynamic is observed in trade. For example, in 2019, the trade turnover made up 2.6 billion US Dollars, having increased by 19 percent, with 26 percent increase in the nine months of the current year. Our cooperation is extending on investments too. Some 700 companies have been registered in Azerbaijan with Russian capital. Russian investment into Azerbaijan has reached the point of 4.9 billion US Dollars, while Azerbaijan’s investment into the Russian economy makes up 1.2 billion US Dollars. Joint projects are underway currently in such areas as machine building and production of equipment, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and transport.
For example, “SOCAR Polymer” Plant has been built, companies of “Azerkimya” are undergoing modernization, production and assembling of trucks of “KamAz” Joint-stock Company and “Ural” trucks factory are carried out in Ganja Automotive Factory. Construction of a factory is currently underway in Hajigabul Industrial Park to assemble “GAZ” automobiles. Construction of the first phase of the “P-pharm” pharmaceutical preparations factory is nearing the end. Russian companies are participating in the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan. Exchange of electricity is carried out. Works are underway on creating the “North-South” energy corridor between Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran.
The Russian Federation is the main consumer of the agriculture products exported from Azerbaijan. We, in turn, import agriculture equipment and fertilizers from Russia. Signing of a programme of cooperation in the agrarian industry complex is expected for the years 2020-2022.
The area of transportation is a significant part of our cooperation. “North-South” international transport corridor is an important project in this area. As a result of implementing this project, volume of transit transportations on this route has grown 8 times, with over 60 percent increase in the first half of this year. Completion of the construction of the Baku-Russian Federation border motorway and joint construction of the automobile bridge over Samur River is planned for 2020. The “North-South” international transport corridor too started to function successfully.
Our cooperation in tourism is advancing dynamically. In 2018, the number of Russian tourists travelling to Azerbaijan was about 900 thousand. Russia is in the first place by the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan. And Azerbaijan is, in turn, one of the main investors for the tourism infrastructure of the North Caucasian region of Russia.
Recent years, our humanitarian cooperation has become significantly active. I would like to emphasize our cooperation in the field of education in particular. Branches of the Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University are operating successfully. Since this year, joint implementation of a programme on dual masters’ diplomas of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and the Moscow State International Relations Institute was launched. Teaching the Russian language in Azerbaijan has been maintained in full. Education in 338 secondary schools is conducted in Russian, with Russian-language sections in 14 state higher schools. Over 11 thousand Azerbaijanis are studying in Russia.
Dear friends, cooperation between our countries is multilateral, and there is a potential for extending this cooperation further. We are confident new mutually beneficial projects will be implemented by our joint endeavours, which accords with the spirit of the friendly relations and strategic partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.
I wish a fruitful work to the Forum participants, and the Azerbaijan-Russia relations to advance further for the sake of our countries and peoples.
In conclusion, I want to once more thank the leadership of the Russian Federation, personally President Vladimir Putin, head of the Russian Government Dmitri Medvedev, and you, dear Valentina Ivanovna. Today is the third day of my official visit to the Russian Federation. I want to thank for the warm and friendly environment I have enjoyed, and for the very useful and productive meeting I have had. I am confident that our relations will advance thanks to the political wills of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia, and, as you have correctly underscored, thanks to the friendly ties between them relying on trust. I am very delighted to be in Moscow. Moscow is a beautiful city. My student years are associated with this city. It is a dear to me city. Every time I come to Moscow, I feel joy, and each time I witness it becoming more beautiful.
I want to once more thank you, and all my friends. Taking this opportunity, I want to invite you to Azerbaijan. Thank you very much. I wish successes to the Forum. Thank you.
Thereafter, a ceremony of exchanging bilaterally signed documents took place.
The jubilee forum, which took place in the course of two days, aimed at advancing the business relations between the regions of Azerbaijan and Russia, being a unique platform for the state-private sector dialogue.
With the organizers being the Economic Development Ministry of the Russian Federation and the Economy Ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Forum continued its work at a plenary meeting.