Russian FM: “We Should Not Oppose Principles to Each Other”


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 2. ARMINFO-TURAN: Perspectives of development of
Azerbaijani-Russian relationships have been discussed by the two
countries’ Foreign Ministers – Elmar Mamedyarov and Sergei Lavrov –
today in Baku.

Mamedyarov told journalists after the meeting that during the talks
they have exchanged opinions on a wide range of questions. Mamedyarov
said that in the past years relationships between the two countries
“have been rapidly developing” and reached a level of strategic

Mamedyarov noted that “there are no problems in the
Azerbaijani-Russian relationships, there are questions, which are
resolved through the dialogue.”

Lavrov said he is satisfied with results of the meeting and added that
“Russia highly appreciates strategic partnership with Azerbaijan.”

On February 16 in Moscow the two countries’ presidents announced this
year a “Year of Azerbaijan in Russia.” “This is a very important
event, considering several centuries old history of our friendship and
bilateral relationships,” said Lavrov. The plan of programs within the
framework of Year of Azerbaijan in Russia reflects “interests of
Azerbaijani and Russian people” in development of bilateral ties in
field of science, education, culture and etc.

In addition, Lavrov said development of trade-economic relationships
and growth of trade turnover has been discussed during the
meeting. The perspectives of further cooperation in field of energy
“considering possibilities that Russia and Azerbaijan will open for
themselves from cooperation with other countries, including transport
corridor North-South” has been also discussed, said Lavrov.

With regard to the Caspian problem, Lavrov said “the necessity to
resolve all the remaining questions within the framework of five
Caspian basin states has been confirmed.”

The side shave also touched the issues of international policy and
exchanged opinions on reforms in UN, OSCE and CIS. Lavrov said that
the sides have agreed to work together to settle these issues.

Karabakh conflict settlement was also a subject of
discussion. Mamedyarov added that Russia backs the approaches
discussed by Azerbaijan and Armenia within the framework of “Prague
process.” Lavrov said that Russia together with other OSCE Minsk Group
co- chairs “helps Azerbaijani and Armenian sides” and hopes for
achievement of agreement.

Asked by journalists, Lavrov said that he disagrees with the opinion
of the U.S. Department of State that Russia is not actively engaged in
the settlement of conflicts on the post-Soviet space.

He said during the past 2-3 months Russian OSCE MG co-chairman
together with his counterparts from U.S. and France has been working
hard to achieve the conflict settlement.

In addition, Russia also takes effort to settle conflicts in Abkhazia
and South Ossetia as a member of the friendship group of UN General
Secretary and Joint Control Commission. With regard to situation in
Transdniestr, Lavrov supported opinion of Moldova President Voronin
that signing of the Stability Pact would create additional security

Asked if principle of territorial integrity or right of nations to
self-determination is a priority for Russia, Lavrov answered: “We
should not oppose these two principles to each other, they both have
been fixed in the UN charter and must not be applied to the Gdetriment
of each other.”

Lavrov said problems of Collective Security Treaty have not been
discussed at the meeting with Mamedyarov, because Azerbaijan is not a
member of this organization. “We have discussed activities of
integration groups on the CIS space, in which Azerbaijan and Russia
participate,” said Lavrov.

Asked about Russia’s attitude towards Azerbaijan’s cooperation with
NATO, Lavrov said: “Azerbaijan is a sovereign state and as a sovereign
state it chooses foreign political partners for itself. We respect
this choice. Russia also has established relationships with NATO and
this is our sovereign choice.”