BAKU: Relationships between Baku Moscow in Deadlock

Trend News Agency, Azerbaijan
May 11 2007

Relationships between Baku Moscow in Deadlock

Azerbaijan, Baku / Òrend corr A. Gasimova / The relationships between
Moscow and Baku is experiencing a difficult period, the chairman of
the Committee on International Relations of the Russian Federation
Council, Mikhail Margelov, said on 11 May.

`The difficulty is caused by the turning from mutual political impact
to economically expedient partnership and regional cooperation,’
Margelov said. He did not agree with the assumption that relations
had come to a crisis. `I am not denying the fact that the gas for
Azerbaijan has been sold for market prices since January and
Azerbaijan has stopped transportation of oil through Russia’s
territory. But the events are caused by economic reasons rather than
political ones. Our political aims and tasks remain the same. The
main purpose is to maintain regional stability in the Caspian region,
the prevention of spread of Iraqi chaos on Iran and other
neighbouring country, the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh situation
and other issues. The views of both countries mainly coincide in this
connection,’ Margelov added.

The relationships with Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, Baltic countries
and partly with Belarus are established for independent and
economically well-to-do countries. The occasion is rather positive
than negative,’ he stressed. `The bonds between the two countries
cannot be defined only by economic and political expediency at least
due to the fact that over 3mln Azerbaijanis reside in Russia, and
some 200,000 Russians reside in Azerbaijan. We have the
responsibilities to strengthen trade relations, cultural and social
bonds. Internal political stability in Azerbaijan is one of our
priorities for Russia,’ Margelov noted.

According to the chairman, Azerbaijan and Russia are on a temporary
break and further relations between the countries in partnership,
sound competition, and open policy conditions are difficult to be
foreseen. `At present Azerbaijan experiences the process of
self-identification in new political and economic conditions. Such
organizations as Organization for Democracy and Development GUAM
(Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), projects on new gas
pipelines laid through Georgia and Turkey, which touch the interests
of Russia, undoubtedly disunite the two countries,’ the politician
noted. However, there are common grounds as well. In 2006, the
turnover between the countries for the first time made up record
$1,5bln. The current task is to diversify the bilateral economic
cooperation, redirect it from energy field to other industrial
fields, agriculture, light industry, metallurgy and machine-building.
`The two countries have a vague historical experience of bilateral
partnership, human potential as well. The potential for co-operation
is almost unlimited. I am confident that the visit of the Russian
Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to Baku will promote further
extension of economic contacts and rapprochement in foreign policy
conditions,’ Margelov summed up.

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