Yekaterinburg is hosting the sixth Russian-Azerbaijani inter-regional forum. The Departmental Chief of the Russian President on inter-regional and cultural relations with foreign countries, Vladimir Chernov, delivered a message from President Vladimir Putin and the President's Aide for Public and Political Affairs, the head of the Department of Social and Political Affairs at the Presidential Administration, Ali Hasanov, delivered a message from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
"In past years the Russian-Azerbaijani inter-regional forum has strengthened its credibility and is more confidently asserting itself as a big, important event in the life of the two countries," the greeting address of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the participants and guests of the forum says.
"It attracts the attention of the leaders of interested governments, non-governmental organizations, well-known scientists, politicians, cultural figures, representatives of business and expert communities of Russia and Azerbaijan, it is a popular venue for exchanging views on a wide range of important partnerships for our promising ideas and projects," the letter of greeting says.
"Azerbaijan and Russia have every opportunity to increase their interaction potential and give it an additional boost," Putin said.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the forum's participants on the opening of the forum and noted that this year the event is being held in Yekaterinburg – the administrative center of the Sverdlovsk region, with which Azerbaijan has traditionally close trade and economic relations. "The representatives of the large Azerbaijani diaspora actively participating in the socio-political, socio-economic and cultural life of the region play an important role in maintaining and strengthening these relations," he emphasized.
The President of Azerbaijan said that the inter-regional forums showed their viability and effectiveness in a relatively short period of time. "A constructive and open dialogue allowing for the creation of direct and mutually beneficial relations between Azerbaijan and the federal entities of Russia is held at these meetings," the statement says. Ilham Aliyev noted that the forum’s format allows to review a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from trade, economic and investment partnership to cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
"Assessing the current state of Azerbaijani-Russian relations, we can say with satisfaction that as a result of the joint efforts they have reached the level of strategic partnership," the President of Azerbaijan noted.
He also expressed confidence that the forum will give a new impetus to intensifying the integration processes and bring the two countries closer. He wished the participants successful work and achieving their goals.
Then a plenary session was held. As the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza reported, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Alexander Tsybulsky, noted the growth of trade turnover between the two countries in 2014 in comparison with previous years. He also said that VTB Bank and Lukoil will invest about $1.5 billion in Azerbaijani business.
The Azerbaijani Deputy Minister for Economy and Industry, Niyazi Safarov, in his turn, stressed that Russia is the only country engaging in such events with Azerbaijan. He spoke about the current level of relations between the two countries, recalling the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Moscow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War on May 9th and the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Baku on the opening of the First European Games on June 12th.
The Russian Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin, said that by conducting such an Russian-Azerbaijani meeting, the two countries better understand each other, opening up new possibilities for the organization of mutually beneficial bilateral projects. He said that St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko is expected to arrive in the capital of Azerbaijan in the near future.
The governor of the Sverdlovsk region, Yevgeny Kuyvashev, in his turn, proposed creating an Azerbaijani cultural center.
The head of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, has devoted his speech to cooperation with Azerbaijan, he emphasized that "a friend in need is a friend indeed, and Azerbaijan has proven that it is a friend of Russia." He said that a tourism project for 2016 is being developed, which will combine Baku, the Caucasian Mineral Waters resorts and historic monuments of the entire Caucasus.
The Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on the federal structure, regional policy, local government and Northern Affairs, Stepan Kirichuk, the chief executive of Narimanov district of Baku, Abdin Farzaliyev, the chief executive of Sheki district, Elkhan Usubov, Prime Minister of Tatarstan Ildar Khalikov and the chief executive of Gusar district, Shair Alkhasov, also addressed the meeting.