Russian, Azeri presidents talk energy and borders

The Russian president has finished an official visit to Azerbaijan. The issues of international security and energy supply were on Dmitry Medvedev’s busy agenda while meeting with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.

Talking about regional security, Medvedev outlined that it was very important for Russia to ensure peace in the Caucasus region. The Russian president also stated that he would continue mediating in the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Both presidents signed a number of bilateral agreements. One includes a deal sealing the demarcated border from the junction of the Russian, Azeri and Georgian borders to the Caspian Sea. They also pinpointed rational utilization and protection of waters of their trans-border river, the Samur. During a joint press conference, the Azeri president emphasized that both he and his Russian counterpart agree on the terms of the Caspian Sea delimitation issue.

The visit involved the signing of an agreement on larger imports of Azeri natural gas to Russia in 2011–2012. In 2011, Russian will buy up to 2 billion cubical meters of Azeri gas, compared to 1 billion in 2010. Starting 2012, the amount will exceed 2 billion, the Russian energy company Gazprom announced.

The deal came as a supplement to a long term agreement between Gazprom and Azerbaijan’s Socar that was signed in October 2009.

As for Azerbaijan’s planned participation in the Nabucco project, Russia treats other countries’ energy projects with respect but proceeds from its own economic interests, Medvedev told the news conference.

“We should take care of economic interests; they are always pragmatic, because it is the sphere where the money is earned,” said the Russian head of state.

“Various projects exist, and we cannot and should not hamper each other,” he said. “Let those projects that bring the profit win.”

During the opening talks on Friday, the two presidents expressed hope that the visit will further improve friendly relations between the countries.

“Your visit will play a highly important role in the further development of our ties, especially as we have plenty to discuss,” said Aliyev. He added that relations between the countries are “relations between two strategic partners.”

Medvedev, in turn, added that the sides’ regular meetings both in Baku and Moscow are a sign of “close, strong and friendly relations” for many years to come.