Russian MP’s anti-Azerbaijani remarks damage bilateral relations [PHOTO]


By Sabina Mammadli

Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Bocharnikov said that Russian State Duma Deputy Mikhail Delyagin’s anti-Azerbaijani statement is detrimental to relations between the two countries.

He made the remarks during a press conference in Baku on March 30.

“I consider such statements to be detrimental to relations between Russia and Azerbaijan,” he said.

The ambassador called the MP’s remarks unacceptable, adding that they did not reflect Moscow’s official position and had already been condemned by the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Delyagin previously described Azerbaijan as a ‘proxy state’ and suggested launching a tactical nuclear strike on Baku and destroying Azerbaijan’s oil industry on the Russian political talk show ’60 Minutes’ broadcast on the Russia TV channel. 1 on March 28.

He stressed that Azerbaijan “must be punished for its attempt to open a second front”. Delyagin accused the country of violating the truce in Karabakh and not respecting the trilateral declaration signed by Baku, Yerevan and Moscow in 2020. Moreover, the deputy called Azerbaijan a “real danger for Russia”.

The frenzy was quickly followed by a rebuttal from Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who urged Delyagin to control his personal emotions and refrain from making hostile statements toward Azerbaijan.

“This statement is the result of a personal emotional outburst. We urge you to control your emotions and refrain from making such statements, especially against our partners. Azerbaijan is one of our partner countries,” he said. said Peskov.

Later, Delyagin apologized for his remarks.

Bilateral cooperation

During the same conference, Bocharnikov said that the Azerbaijani-Russian statement on allied cooperation, dated February 22, 2022, brings the parties’ relations to a new level of development.

According to him, this document has become a key element of the meeting of the presidents of the two countries.

“The provisions of this declaration lay the foundation for our cooperation in accordance with international law,” he noted.

In response to payment difficulties caused by a change in the ruble exchange rate, Bocharnikov declared Russia’s intention to expand banking cooperation with Azerbaijan in national currencies.

He said switching to payments in national currencies will help solve this problem.

According to him, the expansion of banking cooperation in national currencies in accordance with the declaration will also contribute to solving the aforementioned problem. He added that positive steps had already been taken in this direction.

The diplomat also spoke about the visit of the Russian customs service to Azerbaijan in March, during which a pilot project for the simplification of the customs corridor for participants of foreign economic activity was presented.

In addition, Bocharnikov said that the majority of Russian regions are interested in long-term cooperation with Azerbaijan.

There is great potential for developing scientific cooperation between the two countries. In addition, relations in the humanitarian field are developing, he added.

“Over the past 30 years, relations between Azerbaijan and Russia have developed steadily and successfully in the political, trade, economic and interregional spheres,” the ambassador said.

Speaking about the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Azerbaijani-Russian diplomatic relations, he suggested organizing joint events on this occasion.

Every year, a large number of students leave for Russia within the framework of the state quota, and there are common ties through the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, according to Bocharnikov.

“We know that our partners are interested in the education of many young Azerbaijanis in Russia,” he added.

Economic links and foreign trade

Despite the current instability of Russia’s foreign trade and economic relations with other countries, Bocharnikov said that all contracts with Azerbaijan will be fully implemented.

In addition, the diplomat said that Russia supports Azerbaijan’s admission as an observer to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The ambassador said that Azerbaijan’s closer interaction with the SCO must come from within the country and that the joint participation in the organization of Azerbaijan and Russia will help to strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade, economy and culture.

“Azerbaijan has great prestige on the international scene, its authority is growing and joining the SCO would correspond to this trend,” Bocharnikov added.

The ambassador said in a separate speech that the Azerbaijan Foundation for Export and Investment Promotion (AZPROMO) has developed a concept of cooperation in the field of information technology that Russian companies will be able to use.

According to the ambassador, the parties in 2020 signed a document providing for cooperation in innovations and technologies, with which technology companies are actively cooperating.

Russian innovations, he claims, are in great demand on the Azerbaijani market.

“All Azerbaijani chain stores use Russian technologies. Besides, the two countries also cooperate in the field of space, which is of national importance for our countries,” he added.

Agriculture

Regarding agricultural exports, Bocharnikov said that Russia’s restrictions on wheat exports are only temporary and that all restrictions on Azerbaijani supply of tomatoes have been lifted.

According to the ambassador, Azerbaijan exported $1 billion worth of tomatoes to Russia in 2021.

“Azerbaijan’s exports to Russia increased by 38% in the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, reaching $123 million,” Bocharnikov said.

He said that Russia is ready to offer Azerbaijani projects for the supply of products to other markets.

“It is planned to increase the volume of cargo deliveries by rail and road from Azerbaijan to Russia and in the opposite direction we are working on this issue. It is also planned to expand trade through the use of sea transport,” Bocharnikov said. .

He mentioned that the Russian Export Center has tools to support the import of Azerbaijani goods.

“A solid basis for trade and economic cooperation will allow us to expand our existing potential,” Bocharnikov said.

In 2021, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia amounted to $3.3 billion, more than before the COVID-19 pandemic, the diplomat said.

Tourism

Bocharnikov also discussed opportunities for tourism in the current situation.

He said that the opening of the Azerbaijani-Russian land border will bring a large number of tourists to both countries.

The ambassador said Azerbaijan has always been a popular tourist destination for Russians and the ability to pay with MIR cards would help tourist flow.

“The flow of tourists from Russia to Azerbaijan has been actively increasing in recent times, and the ability to pay with cards of the MIR payment system would greatly contribute to increasing the number of Russian tourists to Azerbaijan,” Bocharnikov said.

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