First VP Mehriban Aliyeva: Azerbaijan-Russia relations based on firm, good traditions of neighborliness, friendship

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 23

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Relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are based on firm, good traditions of neighborliness and friendship, Azerbaijan’s First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva said during the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

“First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for inviting me to come to Russia on an official visit,” Mehriban Aliyeva noted. “I am very happy to be in Moscow again; Moscow for me is a close and dear city, where I spent my student years, and I am happy to see Moscow every time. I would also like to thank you for awarding me with a Russian state award, the Order of Friendship. This is a high assessment of my activities aimed at promoting friendly ties between Russia and Azerbaijan.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to convey to you greetings and best wishes from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, who highly values relations with you and attaches special importance to bilateral ties,” Azerbaijan’s first vice-president added. “Regular meetings between you and Mr Ilham Aliyev determine the versatile and dynamic nature of our bilateral relations. I would also like to pass on to you a proposal from the President of Azerbaijan to visit our republic at your convenience.”

“Relations with the Russian Federation hold a very important place in the foreign policy of Azerbaijan,” Mehriban Aliyeva said. “As you noted, we are seeing positive dynamics in all areas. We maintain regular political dialogue at the level of heads of state. Azerbaijan and Russia support each other in the international arena. As you pointed out, economic cooperation is already bearing fruit, and this is gratifying. I would like to note that tourism from Russia to Azerbaijan is constantly on the rise. Last year, 900,000 Russians visited Azerbaijan, and this year we expect the number to increase.”

“Naturally, I would like to make special mention of our relations in education and culture,” Mehriban Aliyeva added. “I think they are truly an example to follow. You know that Azerbaijan has deep respect for the culture of the people living in Russia, Russian culture as such and the Russian language. Branches of Lomonosov Moscow State University and Sechenov Medical State University are operating successfully in Baku, our capital. This year, we launched the joint implementation of the dual master’s degree program at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In Azerbaijan 338 schools offer instruction in Russian, and 14 state universities have Russian-language departments. About 11,000 Azerbaijani students study in Russia. And, of course, the many-thousand-strong Russian community of Azerbaijan is making a befitting contribution to the overall development of our country.”

“Thank you again for your invitation, warm reception and hospitality,” Azerbaijan’s first vice-president said. “I am confident that Russian-Azerbaijani relations will develop successfully for the benefit of the people of both countries.”

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