Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the Russian-Azerbaijani negotiations with the participation of delegations of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation - Moscow, the Catherine Hall of Kremlin, January 25, 2002

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich. First of all, I want to express my gratitude to you for your invitation, the warm welcome and hospitality. We had a comprehensive exchange of views with you on important issues, as you said, in your home yesterday. I am very pleased of this conversation, because yesterday we discussed the important aspects of the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan and today we did it in our tete-a-tete conversation again. I also think that a year ago, Vladimir Vladimirovich, after your official visit to Azerbaijan in fact, a new stage has opened in the mutual Russian-Azerbaijani relations. With pleasure I can say that this year has been very productive. We were able to intensify our relations, to fill them with specific content and even get the results. Thus, our meeting today and the documents that we are going to sign reflect the practical results of your visit to Azerbaijan last year and the hard work that we have done this year.

As to your words about our attention to the Russian language and so on, it is an ordinary case in our country, because we consider it as the norm. We shall continue to pursue this line and indeed, this issue will not be changed. We opened the monument of Pushkin of course, with a sense of deep respect for his work.

Vladimir Putin: Geydar Aliyevich, if everyone in Azerbaijan is able to speak Russian as the President, then everyone will be just happy.

Heydar Aliyev: We opened the monument with a sense of great respect for Pushkin, because we all grew up reading his works and learned them by heart. How it could happen that this monument has not been erected till this day. This was inattention, but we corrected it. I am grateful that there are often the Days of Azerbaijani culture and exhibitions held here in Moscow. The Days of Culture of Russia and the Days of Culture of Moscow are also held in Azerbaijan. In addition, a lot of artists of Russia visit our republic as dear and close friends. Our people also visit Moscow. All of this is very natural and I believe that they are important factors for the further strengthening and developing our relations.

I am very grateful to you for paying much attention to our meetings and my visit. Of course, I understand that this is the manifestation of your attitude towards the Russian-Azerbaijani relations to Azerbaijan and you can be assured that I, as President of Azerbaijan, our government and country have the same feelings.