Azerbaijani Politics 23 july — 09:12

Ilham Aliyev: I have very close relations with Putin

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'At the invitation of the President of Russia, I once again visited this country, and during my visit a very wide exchange of views took place - first of all, on bilateral issues and, of course, on the post-conflict situation. I positively assess the results of the visit,' Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with Azerbaijan State Television.

'As for bilateral relations, as you know, Russia and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. And it's not just words. There is no disagreement between us regarding the prospects for long-term strategic cooperation. We have very strong friendly relations, and personally I have a very close relations with Mr Putin. As between politicians who trust each other.

'This is very important, and during this visit the agenda of bilateral issues was discussed. We are currently working on seven road-maps. Each road-map is specific to a specific area. We are also having good results. This time we discussed more trade, economic, transport and humanitarian issues.

'As for transport issues, we, of course, discussed both the issues agreed upon in the previous period, the North-South transport corridor, its prospects, and the post-war situation, including the Zangezur corridor and the post-conflict period. There is no disagreement in our approach.

'We, Russia and Azerbaijan, believe that the war is over, the conflict is over. No revanchist tendencies should be allowed in Armenia, and after that, peace should reign in the region. The risks of war must be minimized and eliminated. There is no disagreement between us here, we adhere to the same position. As for the Zangezur corridor, I told Mr Putin that, according to the information we have, Armenia still does not show sincerity on this issue.

'If you noticed, at a press-conference I told Mr Charles Michel that all roads should be opened in parallel, and there should be no selective approach. That is, there should be no discrimination. But we see that here too Armenia wants to play some kind of game again. Armenia agreed to let the railway pass through the Zangezur corridor, although immediately after the war it objected. I said that we will force them. Some saw it as a threat. But I meant that we will convince them. However, it objects to the construction of the road. This is contrary to the Declaration signed on November 10.

'Because the ninth article states: roads are opening - rail and highways. How can we open a railway communication between Armenia and Iran and Russia, but at the same time not able to use the road to Nakhchivan? Could this be? It cannot be.

'We exchanged views on this issue with the President of Russia, and I believe that at the next stage, more encouraging news will come from Yerevan. It seems that Armenia has temporarily put an end to the activities of the Trilateral Working Group. This working group has not met since early June.

'The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia pays visits to Armenia, Azerbaijan and discusses issues in a bilateral format. In any case, our position remains unchanged, and the Zangezur corridor must be opened. The sooner Armenia realises this, the better for them,' said the President.

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