ITAR-TASS News Agency
February 1, 2005 Tuesday

Russia's Lavrov visiting Azerbaijan, to discuss cooperation


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to discuss further
growth of Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation during talks with
Azerbaijan's officials here Wednesday.

The itinerary of his visit includes meetings with Foreign Minister
Elmar Mamedyarov, Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade, and President Ilham

"Promotion of economic ties, especially in the energy sector, will
have an important place at the talks," said Alexander Yakovenko, the
Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman.

"Russian-Azerbaijani relations are marked by strategic partnership,"
he said. "2005 is the Year of Azerbaijan in Russia, and 2006 will be
the Year of Russia in Azerbaijan".

"The sides will also pay much attention to building up common
approaches towards antiterrorist measures," Yakovenko said.

Nor will the sides bypass the problem of Nagorny Karabakh, a largely
Armenian-populated enclave that has been in conflict with the
government in Baku since late 1980's.

"Moscow hails continuing dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia on
that problem at different levels," Yakovenko said.

Lavrov and his Azerbaijani hosts will look into various aspects of
settling the legal status of the Caspian Sea and the prospects for
holding the second summit of Caspian littoral states.