States News Service, USA
March 13, 2009 Friday



TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SERGEY LAVROV FOLLOWING TALKS WITH AZERBAIJAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN
AFFAIRS ELMAR MAMEDYAROV, BAKU, MARCH 12, 2009

MOSCOW, Russia


The following information was released by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of the Russian Federation:

Foreign Minister Lavrov : Esteemed colleagues,

We are meeting here today in the framework of our traditional
intensive bilateral dialogue, for which the presidents of the two
countries set the tone and content in full accordance with the
Declaration on Friendship and Strategic Partnership, signed in July
last year.

We examined the prospects for advancing our relations across the
board. We are pleased with fast trade growth and believe this process
will grow even more effective. In particular, we are interested in the
active work of the Intergovernmental Trade and Economic Cooperation
Commission. We have quite a few ideas under consideration of our
agencies. They are about large energy projects; in particular, good
prospects exist in high technologies and mutual investment. I think
the amount of economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan will
only grow in the interests of our economies and, of course, the
citizens of our countries.

We cherish ties with Azerbaijan in the humanitarian sphere and the
attention that the Azerbaijan leadership pays to the Russian language
and culture. A branch of Moscow State University was unveiled in Baku
the other day with participation by President Ilham Aliyev. Plans
exist for branches of tertiary education institutions of our countries
to be mutually opened soon. There are prospects for carrying out other
humanitarian projects.

We also discussed regional problems, primarily the Nagorno Karabakh
issue. The declaration signed last autumn in Moscow with the
participation of the Presidents of the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan
and Armenia contain clearly defined guidelines for further movement
forward, the parameters we are keen to reach in the framework of the
process in which the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs - Russia, the United
States and France - act as mediators.

We also examined Caspian problems, the steps taken in development of
the decisions of the Second Caspian Summit held in Teheran in autumn
2007, primarily the measures realized to promote economic cooperation
among the Caspian states, and the contacts being maintained to make
Caspian security more effective. We feel that in the coming months we
will be able to advance on these issues and to prepare the ground for
the next Caspian Summit which back in Teheran it was decided to
convene in the capital of Azerbaijan.

International collaboration questions of mutual interest also were
discussed - in particular, cooperation in Europe and the UN. Our
delegations closely cooperate in the appropriate structures of the UN,
OSCE and Council of Europe and render mutual support in accordance
with the principles of relations between strategic partners.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank our Azerbaijani hosts
for the hospitality. I look forward to continuing dialogue with Elmar
Mamedyarov, whom I am inviting to come to Moscow at a time convenient
for him.

Foreign Minister Lavrov : (answering a question concerning
military-technical cooperation). Russia carries it out with many
countries, in the course of which it does not violate any
international obligations or its legislation and avoids making any
destabilizing supplies to any region. It is on these principles that
we cooperate in the military-technical field with Azerbaijan and
Armenia. No one makes any secret of this.

As to the fuss that arose around a certain document that appeared in
the Azerbaijani and Russian media, this document, as has already been
repeatedly stated and proven, is a forgery. It essentially does not
meet any criteria of this kind of documents, contains information that
is totally baseless and, what is of no less importance - contains
grammatical errors which cause questions about where this document was
compiled.

Question : Will Russia extend the contract for the use of Gabala Radar
Station?

Foreign Minister Lavrov : Russia is interested in cooperation with
Azerbaijan regarding the use of Gabala Radar Station. Of course, we
will realize this interest through arrangements with our Azerbaijani
colleagues.

Question : Does any dialogue exist between Ankara and Moscow on the
Karabakh problem?

Foreign Minister Lavrov : An early settlement of the Karabakh problem
would meet the interests of many countries, including those situated
in this region. We discuss this theme with our Turkish partners solely
in the mainstream of the efforts that are being made with mediation of
the three OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. No one conducts any talks
inconsistent with this format with anybody.

Question : Are any talks currently being conducted on the joint use of
Gabala Radar Station by Russia and the United States?

Foreign Minister Lavrov : You know that with the consent of the
Azerbaijan leadership that suggestion was made in July 2007 by
Vladimir Putin in the context of a package proposal to foster joint
work on tracking missile proliferation risks. There was no response to
this offer, at least a satisfactory response. It remains valid. When
and if our American and European partners show interest in this
proposal as an alternative to unconstructive plans of deployment of a
third positioning area, we will be ready to return to it, naturally on
the understanding that the leadership of Azerbaijan reconfirms its
consent to that option.