Azeri economy should orient towards Europe, not Russia, minister says

Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
15 Jun 05

[Presenter] Azerbaijani Minister for Economic Development Farhad
Aliyev, who returned from an international economic forum in Russia,
has made an interesting statement. Aliyev believes that the Azerbaijani
economy should be oriented towards the West rather than Russia.

[Correspondent over video of Farhad Aliyev] Azerbaijan should expand
its economic ties mainly with the USA and European countries, the
minister said.

Commenting on the results of the ninth international economic forum
in St Petersburg, Minister for Economic Development Farhad Aliyev
said that the Russian market was attractive for Azerbaijan in terms
of agricultural export.

[Aliyev speaking to microphone] I think we can learn nothing serious
from our neighbour. We are in no way lagging behind our neighbours
in terms of development. We are ahead of them. Therefore, we should
try to integrate mainly into more developed countries, especially
Western countries, Europe and the USA.

[Correspondent] The minister said that the export and import operations
with Russia comprised 11 per cent of Azerbaijan's total trade and
oil products accounted for over 80 per cent of them. Therefore, Mr
Aliyev regarded as advantageous increasing export of agricultural
products to Russia.

[Passage omitted: Farhad Aliyev about exhibition of Azeri goods,
expresses hope that talks with Russia will yield results]