Russian-Azerbaijani relations reach new level of strategic partnership

Russian Minister Alexey Ulyukayev concluded his three-day visit to Azerbaijan yesterday. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Dmitry Rogozin, Russian vice prime minister and the head of the Russia-Azerbaijan inter-governmental commission, will visit the republic this month.

Such regular visits of high-ranking Russian officials reaffirm Sergey Naryshkin’s statement that Moscow is interested in expanding and strengthening the strategic partnership with Baku. Ogtay Asadov noted that Russian-Azerbaijani relations had reached a new level of strategic partnership.

Azerbaijan is dedicating June to Russia, as noted by Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ogtay Asadov at a meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin.

Vladimir Yevseyev, the head of the Caucasus section of the Institute for CIS Countries, said that cooperation between Moscow and Baku was so multilateral that there were several possible reasons for visits of high-ranking Russian officials to the South Caucasus republic.

“I think it is a matter of realizing contracts for exports of weapons worth $5 billion, so the appearance of Rogozin in this aspect seems logical,” the expert supposes.

One of the many topics that will be discussed during the visits is development of integration processes in the Eurasian space to lift any tensions that may occur in the context of Armenia joining the Customs Union.

“Certain aggravations in Azerbaijani-American relations are motivated, firstly, by negative interpretations of the proposals that the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick made for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the anti-Azerbaijani statements by U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar taken as interference in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan. Russia would want Azerbaijan to regard the situation as the refusal of the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. In Yevseyev's words, Russia is concerned about the increase in American transit through Azerbaijan, forcing Russia to cooperate with the republic more intensively.

 “It is principally important for Russia to have Azerbaijan act as a transportation corridor to transit electricity from Russia to Iran, an energy corridor,” noted the expert. “But I think that we need to form relations not based on sales of weapons, because this is a means of war; instead, we need to search for other large infrastructure projects we could cooperate in together,” Yevseyev added.

“Russia is set to improve relations with its partners, one of them being Azerbaijan. And here, we are tied to the diaspora and many other things,” concluded the expert.

 

Oktay Akhverdiyev, ex-head of a section at the Cabinet, an economic expert, has described the prospects of economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan: “Today, there are about 500 Russian companies working in Azerbaijan. This means basically two decades and the number grows every year. Trade turnover grows, it is over a billion. Although weapons have a big share in this billion."

 

The expert noted that, in his opinion, relations between the two states should be intensified, based on mutually-beneficial bilateral relations: “The problem is that Azerbaijan and Russia should work more actively and form economic ties based on bilateral relations in the future as quite firm countries, in economic terms. This is my opinion. There are other options, but I believe that it would be more efficient on the basis of bilateral economic relations. For example, we had very productive light industry in Soviet times. In that case, for instance, Russia could show interest in the issue. Azerbaijan, in its turn, having high financial resources, can invest in certain Russian regions with the Azerbaijani community, to keep them busy, to engage them in intellectual activities, not just trade. In other words, taking into account a solution to such a social problem, Azerbaijan can and certainly should, I believe, invest in certain Russian regions for this purpose. Of course, all this should be mutually beneficial, not just a “one-way street” case.

 

Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev and Azerbaijani Minister for Economy and Industry Shakhin Mustafayev have recently discussed the formation of a common Russian-Azerbaijani investment fund. Akhverdiyev noted: “Starting the formation of an investment fund will mean years of negotiations. If the two states are the founders, they will need to donate part of their financial resources to the fund and so on. But then, when the issue about using the fund will be raised, there could be problems. So I suppose that it should be reversed: first, they need to find projects to interest both sides. For example, it can be a pipeline construction or some other major project that would need big investments and so on. First of all, they need to discuss and agree that a certain facility would suit the interests of Russia and Azerbaijan, After that, they will raise the issue of financing it. Then they can create a clear investment project. It can be called a fund. Other names can be given to it. They need to finance solutions to the problem. I know from experience that when funds are formed, everyone contributes a share and then starts discussing what to build. Some say they need to modernize the railways. Someone else wants a power plant or something else. We get disorder, pointless talks from year to year and everyone sticks to their own opinion. So I think that we need to start with a joint project, establish what we both need, then we can find finances for the cause.

Azerbaijan dedicates June to RussiaRussian Minister Alexey Ulyukayev concluded his three-day visit to Azerbaijan yesterday. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Dmitry Rogozin, Russian vice prime minister and the head of the Russia-Azerbaijan inter-governmental commission, will visit the republic this month.Such regular visits of high-ranking Russian officials reaffirm Sergey Naryshkin’s statement that Moscow is interested in expanding and strengthening the strategic partnership with Baku. Ogtay Asadov noted that Russian-Azerbaijani relations had reached a new level of strategic partnership.Azerbaijan is dedicating June to Russia, as noted by Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ogtay Asadov at a meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin.Vladimir Yevseyev, the head of the Caucasus section of the Institute for CIS Countries, said that cooperation between Moscow and Baku was so multilateral that there were several possible reasons for visits of high-ranking Russian officials to the South Caucasus republic.“I think it is a matter of realizing contracts for exports of weapons worth $5 billion, so the appearance of Rogozin in this aspect seems logical,” the expert supposes.One of the many topics that will be discussed during the visits is development of integration processes in the Eurasian space to lift any tensions that may occur in the context of Armenia joining the Customs Union.“Certain aggravations in Azerbaijani-American relations are motivated, firstly, by negative interpretations of the proposals that the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick made for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the anti-Azerbaijani statements by U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar taken as interference in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan. Russia would want Azerbaijan to regard the situation as the refusal of the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. In Yevseyev's words, Russia is concerned about the increase in American transit through Azerbaijan, forcing Russia to cooperate with the republic more intensively. “It is principally important for Russia to have Azerbaijan act as a transportation corridor to transit electricity from Russia to Iran, an energy corridor,” noted the expert. “But I think that we need to form relations not based on sales of weapons, because this is a means of war; instead, we need to search for other large infrastructure projects we could cooperate in together,” Yevseyev added.“Russia is set to improve relations with its partners, one of them being Azerbaijan. And here, we are tied to the diaspora and many other things,” concluded the expert.Oktay Akhverdiyev, ex-head of a section at the Cabinet, an economic expert, has described the prospects of economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan: “Today, there are about 500 Russian companies working in Azerbaijan. This means basically two decades and the number grows every year. Trade turnover grows, it is over a billion. Although weapons have a big share in this billion."The expert noted that, in his opinion, relations between the two states should be intensified, based on mutually-beneficial bilateral relations: “The problem is that Azerbaijan and Russia should work more actively and form economic ties based on bilateral relations in the future as quite firm countries, in economic terms. This is my opinion. There are other options, but I believe that it would be more efficient on the basis of bilateral economic relations. For example, we had very productive light industry in Soviet times. In that case, for instance, Russia could show interest in the issue. Azerbaijan, in its turn, having high financial resources, can invest in certain Russian regions with the Azerbaijani community, to keep them busy, to engage them in intellectual activities, not just trade. In other words, taking into account a solution to such a social problem, Azerbaijan can and certainly should, I believe, invest in certain Russian regions for this purpose. Of course, all this should be mutually beneficial, not just a “one-way street” case.Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev and Azerbaijani Minister for Economy and Industry Shakhin Mustafayev have recently discussed the formation of a common Russian-Azerbaijani investment fund. Akhverdiyev noted: “Starting the formation of an investment fund will mean years of negotiations. If the two states are the founders, they will need to donate part of their financial resources to the fund and so on. But then, when the issue about using the fund will be raised, there could be problems. So I suppose that it should be reversed: first, they need to find projects to interest both sides. For example, it can be a pipeline construction or some other major project that would need big investments and so on. First of all, they need to discuss and agree that a certain facility would suit the interests of Russia and Azerbaijan, After that, they will raise the issue of financing it. Then they can create a clear investment project. It can be called a fund. Other names can be given to it. They need to finance solutions to the problem. I know from experience that when funds are formed, everyone contributes a share and then starts discussing what to build. Some say they need to modernize the railways. Someone else wants a power plant or something else. We get disorder, pointless talks from year to year and everyone sticks to their own opinion. So I think that we need to start with a joint project, establish what we both need, then we can find finances for the caus
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