President Aliyev receives Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces [UPDATE]

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, First Deputy Minister of Defense Valery Gerasimov.

Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– Dear Valeriy Vasilyevich, you are welcome! It is a pleasure to see you again. I am glad that your visits to Azerbaijan are of regular nature due to the important meetings with your NATO colleagues. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Russian side for the fact that Baku has already become a traditional venue for meetings of top military commanders of Russia and NATO. This process has been going on for three years. Of course, the choice of Baku is very important and valuable for us. We view it as a sign of trust and respect. Also, of course, we believe that these meetings are of serious help in reducing the risks both in our region and the world. Therefore, of course, the situation in the region and the world will depend on your meeting with your colleague today.

Of course, every such meeting is a good opportunity to see each other again and review the agenda of cooperation in the military and technical sphere. As we noted together with you last year, there are good results here, there is already a history of relations and plans for the future. Of course, we expect to continue cooperation in this direction, as well as in the military sphere. As for bilateral relations between our countries, we can summarize the results of the year, which was very successful in terms of strengthening our cooperation. My regular meetings with President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and other leaders, and other reciprocal visits have contributed to an even greater convergence of our countries. We are now actively working on the economic agenda. As was the plan, five roadmaps are being implemented, and now there are seven roadmaps on cooperation in various fields. There are good results in each direction. The results are also good in the trade and economic sphere. Last year, our trade grew by more than 20 percent, in the transport sector, in the tourism sector. A record number of Russian tourists, more than 900,000 people, has visited Azerbaijan. And last month, in January, there was a further increase, so we will easily reach a million this year. This, of course, is a sign of relations between our countries because Russians feel comfortable, at ease and at home here. So the results of last year were successful. This year has also begun with an important meeting with you. I think it will also be completed with good results. And I wish you a good meeting with your colleague.

Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valeriy Gerasimov said:

– Thank you, dear Ilham Heydarovich. Let me express my gratitude for once again providing a platform for a meeting with the military leadership of NATO. In fact, the current international situation and all its difficulties involved, when there is no stability and there is no signs of it, in particular at the borders of Russia and, in the Middle East, the escalating fight against international terrorism – all this necessitates meetings of the military leadership and discussion of a number of issues. At the same time, against this backdrop, the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan are encouraging as being old good-neighborly relations sharing a common history. And against the background of the economic development projects you have mentioned, cooperation between our military agencies is expanding, in particular the military-technical cooperation and other activities between our armed forces. This is very good. We all, our armies developed from one army, from the Soviet one, and we will continue to do everything in our power to improve our relations in the military sphere.

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