Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the Russian Federation (July 2 - 4, 1997)

In 1991-1993 the relations between the two countries were far from normal. However, thanks to the political and diplomatic skills of Heydar Aliyev, who returned to power in the June of 1993, Russia accepted Azerbaijan as an independent country with wide prospects and created pragmatic relations with Azerbaijan.

The most important event in these relations was the official visit of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Russia at the invitation of the Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

The main event of the visit, the meeting of the Russian and Azerbaijani presidents took palce at the Kremlin on July 3. In the meeting which passed in the atmosphere of mutual respect and friendship, they discussed the issues such as the political and economic relations, the status of the Caspian Sea, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, illegal transfer of weapons from Russia to Armenia.

The meeting was followed by the ceremony of signature of bilateral documents. An agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual security between the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan, as well as a number of economic agreements, were signed.

The Presidents made statements at a press conference after the signature of the documents. President Heydar Aliyev noted that the signed documents would create a favorable legal basis for the forther development of cooperation in all the fields.

On July 3, President Heydar Aliyev met Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Egor Stroyev, speaker of State Duma Gennady Seleznyov. A number of issues on bilateral cooperation was discussed in the meetings.

On the same day President Heydar Aliyev made a speech at the meeting with the representatives of Russia's financial and business circles. He noted that Azerbaijan was ready to cooperate with the Russian companies in the field of banking, oil industry, oil refining industry, and reminded existence of relevant legislation.

President Heydar Aliyev also met Russian deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, later with the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Azerbaijani President spoke about the responsibilities of research institutions in the period of independence and emphasized the importance of the Academy of Sciences.

An official reception on behalf of the Russian President was held in honor of the Azerbaijani President at Granovit Chamber of the Kremlin on July 3. In his speech, President Heydar Aliyev spoke: “Everything inherited from the historical friendship of the Russian and Azerbaijani peoples are important for us. After signing these documents we are now stepping into a new phase of our relations, and I assure you that Azerbaijan will make efforts for developing and strengthening the friendly relations with Russia.”

On July 4, the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev met the Russian attorney- General, gave interview to “Echo of Moscow” radio station, made a statement at a press conference arranged by RIA Novosti News Agency.

Expressing his support to the democratic processes in Russia, Heydar Aliyev said: “We want to have friendly relations with all the countries, including democratic Russia.”

Positive trends are observed in the Azerbaijani-Russian relations after this historical visit. Signed on July 3, 1997, the agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual security plays a key role in this process.