Russian President arrives in Baku for official visit

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Azeri capital for an official two-day visit on Thursday.

The Azerbaijan-Russian economic and trade cooperation, as well as mutual activity in the Caspian Sea will be high on agenda during the Medvedev’s visit, Russian Presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko was quoted as saying.

The Russian-Azeri talks will be first held on the presidential level.

During the visit, the Russian President is accompanied by his aide Sergei Prikhodko, Deputy Prime Minister and President’s representative to the North Caucasus Alexander Khloponin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, Russian business representatives, Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller, as well as the governors of a number of Russian regions, including Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Bilateral talks
Russian Presidential aide said that a border treaty and an intergovernmental agreement on rational use and protection of water resources of the Samur river, which is bordering the two countries, were expected to be signed during the visit.

Prikhodko added the border treaty would specify the state borders of Russia and Azerbaijan, adding that Azerbaijan signs first such agreement with Russia.

> Caucasus Map
Concerning the intergovernmental agreement, Prikhodko said that this document stipulates establishing the Russian-Azeri intergovernmental commission, which will regulate the use of water resources of Samur River on the parity basis.

“These documents will be a basis for further development of the strategic partnership between the countries and will contribute to the security and stability in the Caucasus”.

According to the Russian official, economic and trade cooperation would also top the agenda of the Russian-Azeri talks in Baku.

Russian-Azerbaijan trade turnover hit $1.78bn last year.

Prikhodko said the mutual activity on the Caspian Sea, joint exploration of natural resources, protection of environment, cooperation between the border regions of two countries, as well as oil and gas cooperation and mutual industrial investment activities would be discussed within the framework of bilateral cooperation.

Azerbaijani and Russian presidents are planning to mull the peaceful settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno (Upper) Karabakh and international cooperation in the Caspian region as well.

On the first day of his trip Medvedev will visit Heydar Aliyev’s grave and Martyrs Alley. Then the Russian President will attend the official dinner to be given on behalf of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Medvedev is also planning to visit the Baku State University, where he will be awarded the diploma of honorary doctor.
Gas deal
Azerbaijan State Oil Company SOCAR and Russian gas monopoly Gazprom are expected to sign a supplementary agreement to the contract on increasing of Azeri natural gas supplies during 2011-2012.

According to Gazprom Chairman, Alexey Miller, the company is keen on “buying the natural gas proposed by Azerbaijan at full volume”.

Azerbaijan has started gas deliveries to Russia on January 1 this year. Last October, SOCAR and Gazprom signed an agreement on the sale of Azeri gas with an option of increasing the volume of gas supplies in 2010-2015.

Gazprom first was planning to buy 0.5bn cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan. But later, the two countries have agreed to increase the volume of gas exports. Thus, Azerbaijani gas sales to Russia will make up 1bn cubic meters this year and will reach 2bn c.m. next year.