Maria Zakharova: Moscow and Baku have strategic partnership relations

Maria Zakharova: Moscow and Baku have strategic partnership relations

Russia and Azerbaijan have strategic partnership relations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a briefing yesterday.

"Russia and Azerbaijan have strategic partnership relations, based upon the principle of equal rights, good neighborliness, centuries-long friendship, a common history, culture and intertwined fates of millions of people," she noted.

According to the diplomat, the two countries enjoy mutually beneficial and reliable relations at the levels of heads of state, governments and parliaments. "Just in 2017 our heads of state met twice. There is a close relationship between Russia and Azerbaijan. 17 Russian entities have an agreement on cooperation in economic, trade, scientific-technical and cultural spheres with Azerbaijan,” Maria Zakharova said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that enterprises and companies of 70 Russian regions carry out export-import operations with Azerbaijan.

She added that economic relations between Russia and Azerbaijan have improved. “The volume of trade turnover between Russia and Azerbaijan in 2017 increased by 29% to $2.6 billion compared to 2016. The mutual investment between the two countries has also increased. There are more than 600 Russian-Azerbaijani joint ventures in the Azerbaijani market, of which about 200 are Russian capital. Direct Russian investments in Azerbaijan account for $1.5 billion. There is mutual interest in the development of joint bilateral energy projects," the diplomat said.

She further touched upon a serious mutual interest in implementing large-scale bilateral projects in energy, transport, innovative technologies, agriculture and other sectors.

"About 15,000 students from Azerbaijan study in Russia. Some of them study at public expense and others receive education on a commercial basis. There are branches of Moscow State University and First Moscow State Medical University in Baku. We are considering opening branches of other influential Russian universities in Baku as well. The two countries have agreed to mutually hold a year of culture,” Zakharova said.

She also said that Baku will host a joint Russia-Azerbaijan historical-documentary exhibition dedicated to the 95th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev’s birthday on May 10. Noting that Heydar Aliyev is the founder of Azerbaijan’s strategic partnership with Russia, the spokesperson said the presidents have a great role to play in strengthening friendly relations between the two countries. According to her, Russia views these relations as a top foreign policy priority.

Maria Zakharova said that Ilham Aliyev's confident victory in the presidential election in Azerbaijan is an important guarantee for continuation of this course.

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