Aliyev's visit to Moscow - What is known so far
On July 20, a meeting of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan took place in the Kremlin within the framework of Ilham Aliyev’s working trip to Moscow. It is not yet known what the presidents talked about behind closed doors, but experts believe that the majority of the discussion focused on the situation on the border of Azerbaijan with Armenia, and in Nagorno-Karabakh.
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During the part of the meeting of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan which is open to journalists, Vladimir Putin noted that in 2022 these countries will celebrate “a great holiday – the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations”.
“Our relations are recovering after the coronavirus, I mean, first of all, the economy. Last year there was a certain drop, now there is a steady growth and recovery. Russia confidently occupies one of the leading places in the economic sphere, and the intergovernmental commission is actively working with us, there are many areas for cooperation”, the Russian president noted.
He added that in the near future Russia plans to send a representative delegation to Azerbaijan, which will deal with Azerbaijani counterparts “on bilateral issues in different directions, including industry, transport, infrastructure, and some other issues”.
Putin also said that Russia is working to launch joint production of coronavirus vaccines in Azerbaijan.
“Of course, one of the most important issues remains the issue of resolving the situation in the region. I know that, of course, you pay much more attention, [attach] importance to it, and I want to thank you for finding compromise solutions. They are always the most difficult, but if we want – and we all want – settlement, then we must follow this path. Until now, we have been able to do this, for which I want to thank you”, Putin stressed.
President Aliyev’s statements
“The trade turnover has grown in the first six months. This is very important, since last year we had a drop of more than 10%. We are also actively building up cooperation in transport and transit relations. They gave me information that about 20% more cargo was transported along the North-South transport corridor than last year, so the corridor is already working, one might say, in a large volume”, said Ilham Aliyev.
Thanking Putin for Russia’s help to Azerbaijan in the fight against coronavirus, Aliyev also spoke about the role of the Russian language in the public life of his country:
“There are more than 15,000 Azerbaijani students studying in Russia, and 16,000 thousand Azerbaijani students are studying in Azerbaijan at the Russian language department”.
“And of course, the topic of the post-conflict situation in the region. I would like to express my gratitude to you for your constant attention to this issue, personal participation in solving very important and sensitive issues. We are in constant contact with you.
Over the past eight months after the end of hostilities, I think that our personal communication – both in Moscow in January and by phone – played a very important role in stabilizing the situation. We are determined to ensure that the post-conflict period is as painless as possible. I think we succeed in this by joint efforts”, added the President of Azerbaijan.
The main part of the meeting took place behind closed doors and it was not followed by the media briefing.
Azerbaijani experts put forward their assumptions about the topics that the presidents should have touched upon during the tete-a-tete meeting.
Former Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, diplomat Tofig Zulfugarov believes that an obvious imbalance has formed in the implementation of the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020.
“The Lachin extraterritorial corridor has been functioning for 8 months out of the planned 5 years, and the creation of the Zangezur unlimited extraterritorial corridor is being blocked. Pashinyan makes an attempt to present it as a simple communication route without the qualities of extraterritoriality.
The release of the occupied territories in the Kazakh region and the village of Kyarki in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is delayed.
The identification and withdrawal of the remnants of the occupying Armenian military contingent from the territory of Azerbaijan has not been carried out.
The entry and exit of foreign citizens through the Lachin checkpoint has not been brought into line with the legislation of Azerbaijan”, Zulfugarov said, referring to the list of topics that the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan could touch upon during a private conversation.
“In my opinion, this meeting of the presidents was necessary in the light of the latest events taking place on the border with Armenia and in Karabakh itself”, political observer Samir Humbatov argues.
“After the well-known statements of November 10, 2020 and January 11, 2021, in the territories under the control of Russian peacekeepers, Armenian armed groups violate the ceasefire and shell the positions of the Azerbaijani army.
Also, Armenia demonstrates a non-constructive position on the issue of opening the Zangezur corridor.
It was these issues and the issue of peacekeepers’ actions that went beyond the scope of their statutory responsibilities that made this meeting necessary”, the expert emphasized.