Azerbaijani-Russian bonds: a model relationship

By Nigar Orujova

Long-time partners Russia and Azerbaijan will continue to develop economic cooperation in the future according to two agreements signed during the sixth Russian-Azerbaijani Interregional forum in Yekaterinburg on September 30.

The documents were inked between the Russian council on the development of foreign trade and economic relations and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation, and included the Lotus Special Economic Zone public joint-stock company and the Azerbaijani group of companies Matanat-A.

Currently, Azerbaijani-Russian relations have reached the level of strategic partnership, as such economic forums give impetus to a deepening integration processes and further develop ties between the two countries.

The all-around strengthening of cooperation with Russia has been and remains one of the main priorities of Azerbaijan's foreign policy.

Azerbaijan is interested in intensifying investment and expanding the operations of its companies, further increasing trade turnover volumes in general, with Russia and its regions, said Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Niyazi Safarov at the event.

“Azerbaijan is actively cooperating in the investment field with Russia,” he said.

“Today, more than 600 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan. Russian investments in the country’s economy have recently amounted to more than $1.8 billion,” he said. “The leading Azerbaijani companies successfully operate in the regions of the Russian Federation. Direct Azerbaijani investments in the Russian economy have amounted to more than $1 billion for the last 10 years.”

Safarov said that the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan has deposited about $100 million in Gazprombank and $500 million in the capital of the VTB Bank, and added that SOFAZ has acquired a trade and retail center in Moscow worth $133 million.

The deputy minister noted that Azerbaijani-Russian cooperation is completely based on the principles of mutual respect and good neighborly relations.

He noted that a solid legal framework for cooperation has been created between the two countries that allows them to expand bilateral relations in the trade, economy, agriculture, fuel and energy, humanitarian, cultural, and other spheres.

The high level of political allows for a steady development in economic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, according to Safarov.

Over 40 business forums, roundtables, and business meetings have been held over the last five years.

At the meeting in Yekaterinburg, the Azerbaijani delegation was headed by Ali Hasanov, the assistant to the president on socio-political issues and the head of the Department of Social and Political Issues at the Presidential Administration, who addressed a letter to the forum from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The president said that interregional forums have shown their viability and effectiveness in a relatively short period.

“They are considered to be a marketable platform where positions are coordinated and efforts consolidated to work together, business contacts are established, and prospects for their expansion are discussed. In other words, constructive and open dialogue held at these meetings allows for establishing direct mutually-beneficial relations between Azerbaijan and the subjects of the Russian Federation,” the letter reads.

President Aliyev praised the fact that a separate roundtable with the participation of students, young researchers, and entrepreneurs from both sides is being simultaneously held at the event, which helps not only to search for more efficient forms and areas of cooperation, but also contributes to forging new friendships among like-minded youth.

Azerbaijan, Russia have potential to increase interaction

The Russian-Azerbaijani Interregional Forum has strengthened its credibility over the past few years and with increasing confidence, it presents itself as an important event in the lives of the two countries, said a greeting statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the participants and guests of the forum.

Putin's message was delivered to participants by Vladimir Chernov, the chief of the Russian Presidential Directorate for Interregional Relations and Cultural Contacts with Foreign Countries.

The Russian President's message also said that Azerbaijan and Russia have every opportunity to increase interactions and give it an additional boost.

Azerbaijani-Russian relations: a model for mutually beneficial cooperation

Azerbaijani-Russian relations are a model for mutually beneficial cooperation, partnership, and understanding, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu said at the event.

Today there are only a few issues on which the top political leadership of the two countries could not agree.

In turn, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin said Russia has a format of regional cooperation with other countries, but the Azerbaijani-Russian Interregional forum is unique.

He said, the country correctly identifies interregional cooperation as a strategic part of foreign policy, and this depends largely on the intensity of relations between Russia and Azerbaijan as a whole.

“If plans for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia are implemented, Azerbaijan will be able to increase its agricultural potential at times to increase the productivity of its agriculture,” he said, highlighting the potential for cooperation between regions of the countries.

Delivery of goods increases by over 50 percent

The real delivery of goods between Azerbaijan and Russia rose by more than 50 percent in the first half of 2015, despite a slight drop in turnover, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Russia Alexander Tsybulsky said at the event.

Trade turnover between Russia and Azerbaijan at the end of 2014 exceeded $4 billion and reached its historical maximum, he added. “The dynamics of bilateral trade, despite the global and objective difficulties of the last year, was one of the best among all the CIS countries.”

He said that Russia and Azerbaijan established an active and productive dialogue on many important issues in the foreign economic and political agenda.

Tsybulsky said that dynamically developing trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan is also becoming a solid basis for the development of civilized neighborly relations between the two countries.

Moreover, it was noted at the event that Ural, one of the largest regions of Russia, intends to supply engineering, medical, and pharmaceutical products to Azerbaijan.

The forum included expert meetings and roundtables where representatives of industry and businesses, the heads of enterprises from different economic sectors, and the heads of administrations from frontier territories discussed the problems of integration and cooperation in the transport, communications, tourism, humanitarian, and educational spheres.

For the first time, the forum also hosted the Russian-Azerbaijani Youth Forum.

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Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar

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