Elmar Mammadyarov: "I am encouraged by things I heard in Moscow"
On March 7, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has completed his two-day official visit to Russia, timed to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijani-Russian diplomatic ties. Mammadyarov held talks with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov, as well as opened a diplomatic exhibition dedicated to the anniversary and visited the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with Elmar Mamedyarov about the outcome of his visit to Moscow.
- How would you assess the results of this visit?
- I am very pleased with the results. There were no open topics in my discussions that took place with Sergei Lavrov yesterday: we talked about regional issues, the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and cooperation in international organizations, as well as signed a plan for political consultations between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries. Today there were meetings in the parliament with Dmitry Rogozin. Frankly: "I am encouraged by the contacts I had and things I heard at the talks.
- What topics were raised at the meeting with Dmitry Rogozin?
- Due to the fact that Dmitriy Olegovich is co-chairman of the Azerbaijani-Russian intergovernmental commission, we spoke about the entire complex of economic issues. In particular, we are striving to increase the freight turnover between our countries. Dmitry Olegovich is a resolute man, when he arrived in Baku and heard that there is a delay in the passage of goods across the border, he went to the border to get acquainted with the situation on the spot. His visit was very important, since the issues related to the delay of cars at customs points, to date, have been solved almost completely, and Rogozin's direct, personal involvement helped it very much. Military technical cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, which is developing quite intensively, was also discussed.
I think that the current level of trade turnover of slightly more than $2 billion is absolutely unsatisfactory for our relations, and we must work to at least double it. In this regard, we discussed the possibilities of intensifying contacts at all levels, exchanging visits both at the level of parliaments and at the level of heads of government. There are many interesting topics here, so we agreed that the intensification of visits should be implemented at the end of the year.
- What will be decisive trends in the Russian-Azerbaijani relations in the foreseeable future?
"The 25 years past since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Azerbaijan, which is a little longer than one generation, have laid a confident base of mutual respect, mutual understanding and good-neighborliness. They will remain the trend of the subsequent bilateral relations between our countries. Azerbaijan is a supporter of building good-neighborliness with all countries as part of our foreign policy. We try to adhere to this in relations with Russia, Iran, Turkey and Georgia, and we could be ready to do this in relation to Armenia, but unfortunately, it is not possible due to Armenia's unwillingness to hold serious negotiations.
- Speaking at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, you called the US a difficult partner. What partner, in your opinion, is Russia for Azerbaijan?
- Russia is a great power. In any case, it is easier for us to build relations with Russia than with the US, because we understand each other, as Gogol said, we shared the same 'Overcoat'.