By Vafa Ismayilova
President Ilham Aliyev has said that a trilateral statement signed in Moscow on January 11 by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders aims to create a completely new regional situation and unblock transport communications.
Aliyev made the remarks at a tete-a-tete meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on January 11. The bilateral meeting was held after a trilateral meeting between the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders in Moscow on the same day.
Completly new regional situation
At the end of the trilateral meeting, the three leaders signed the statement set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region. The first statement signed by the three in November 2020 ended the 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that lasted from September 27 to November 10, 2020.
“This is the second statement signed in the two months since the war ended. It essentially draws a line under what happened last year. The statement is aimed at creating a completely new situation in our region and unblocking transport communications,” Aliyev said.
The president said that the statement was of great importance for Azerbaijan.
“It is of great importance for us because after more than 30 years Azerbaijan will have transport communication with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of the Republic of Azerbaijan through the territory of Armenia. Armenia will have a railway communication with Russia and Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan. We will also have access to the Turkish market through the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Turkish and Russian railway arteries will also be connected. In other words, this statement opens up great prospects,” he said.
Aliyev expressed confidence that the working groups established by the three leaders will work effectively.
“I am sure that the working group that we have established today will work effectively and regularly report on the implementation of projects to us. There is not one project – there are several ones. I am sure that all of them will be implemented,” the president added.
Aliyev once again thanked his Russian counterpart for his initiative to hold the meeting, describing it as very useful and fruitful as “ at the end of the meeting we signed a statement”. He also thanked Putin for his personal involvement in the cessation of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the signing of the November peace deal.
“I believe that you, as the leader of Russia, as a neighbour of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, have once again demonstrated your resolve, determination and wisdom. And today's meeting held on your initiative shows again how much attention you are paying to this issue. Of course, this makes us very happy, because the positive development of the situation in the entire region will largely depend on the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has already been consigned to history,” Aliyev stressed.
He noted that “completely new prospects are opening up that we, perhaps, could not even imagine before”.
The president said that the problematic situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan was finally resolved.
“The situation that evolved between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the years has been finally resolved. I am sure that there will be no attempts by the Armenian side to revise the Statement of 9 November, so that both peoples find the will and wisdom to think about the future and about reconciliation.
Thank you again for the invitation and for this initiative,” said.
Speaking about the state of bilateral relations, Aliyev underlined that the two countries experienced no significant decline in trade despite pandemic-related challenges.
“I am sure that we will make up for it all this year. And there is a very large and extensive agenda, including in the economic sphere. In the political sphere, Azerbaijan and Russia have long been strategic partners, and Russia's active participation in ending the war, as well as in the peacekeeping mission, speaks precisely of the fact that these are relations of strategic partnership, long-term relations which have very good dynamics,” the head of state said.
Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is committed to effective cooperation with Russia in all spheres, including the humanitarian one.
“You have mentioned the humanitarian cooperation between our countries. It has always been distinguished by great sincerity, efficiency and focus on specific results. In all other areas, too, we are committed to very effective cooperation this year and beyond,” he said.
Situation gradually back to normal
In his turn, Putin also expressed his satisfaction with the ending of hostilities.
“Of course, the most important event of the past year was the difficult situation and the way it unfolded in Nagorno-Karabakh. But I want to express my satisfaction with the fact that we have managed to end the hostilities and bloodshed,” Putin said.
He noted that Russia’s peacekeeping mission is fulfilling its functions and the situation as a whole is gradually returning to normal.
“And the fact that we have signed a joint statement, which is based on the desire to resolve the situation in the long term, I believe is extremely important,” Putin stressed.
The Russian president said that outside the context of the events related to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, the two countries also have a bilateral agenda. In this regard, he thanked Azerbaijan for the joint work, related to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
Speaking about very successfully developing Russian-Azerbaijani relations, Putin said: “This applies primarily to the economic component. We have many areas of joint work and many overlapping interests in this area – in the area of the economy. I very much hope that the work to resolve the situation in the South Caucasus, in general, will also benefit our bilateral relations of course, as I have just said. I proceed from the fact that this settlement will allow us the opportunity to build our relations on an even more close and systematic basis not only in the economy but also in the humanitarian sphere.”
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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