Trilateral Baku summit - expectations of the parties - COMMENT

Development of events and new meetings may be regarded as an indicator of ensuring interests

Baku. 10 August. REPORT.AZ/ Trilateral summit of Azerbaijani, Russian and Iranian Presidents has been held.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baku a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin. Liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories as well as issues of mutual economic interests were also discussed in the meetings with the Iranian President.

After the meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, H.Rouhani said that Iran has always supported Azerbaijan's territorial integrity: 'Regional conflicts must be resolved by peaceful means. Iran has tried for peaceful settlement of the conflict as a neighboring country of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Iran is ready to do its best for the conflict resolution'.

He also noted importance of inviolability of borders of the countries and development of free trade relations between the two countries.

The sides touched upon the issue of abolition of the visa regime between the countries.

President Ilham Aliyev said that the intergovernmental joint commission has been working very successfully: 'Opening of Iran car plant in Neftchala during the visit is an important event. This year, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran has increased by 66%'.

Ilham Aliyev said that in the near future, pharmaceutical factory, to operate under Iranian technology, will be created: 'Also important steps are being taken to establish North-South transport corridor. By the year-end, Azerbaijan will extend its railway to the Iranian border. Today a memorandum was signed to accelerate implementation of the North-South transport corridor. Azerbaijani side intends to participate in financing this project in the future'.

President Ilham Aliyev stated that Iranian citizens can visit Azerbaijan under a simplified visa regime: 'Issues on the environment, the Caspian Sea were also discussed in the meeting. There is no seriousdifference of opinion in any issue. The aim is to strengthen political and economic relations'.

Realization of the projects 'Simplified customs corridor' and 'North-South', which are aimed at easing customs procedures, were discussed in the trilateral meeting, held with the participation of Russian President.

Notably, total length of 'North-South' project is over 7 000 km. This is a route to transport multimodal cargo starting from Helsinki to Mumbai port, India and Southeast Asia passing through Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The route will reduce period of transportation from India to Russia from 45 days to 23. Implementation of the project depends on completion of the construction of Astara (Iran) - Astara (Azerbaijan) railway by the Iranian side.

The Baku summit is expected to give an opportunity to the countries to expand their cooperation in the fields of energy, transport, tourism, recruitment, customs and in other economic sectors. Relevant potential is not excluded. For example, Azerbaijani Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev told reporters that Russian companies have invested 2.8 bln USD in Azerbaijan.

However, in addition to the common interests, each country has its own interest in the summit.

Russia has been imposed sanctions by Western countries for its Ukraine policy. A situation is a little different regarding Iran. After the agreement on nuclear program, sanctions imposed against Tehran have been reduced. In this regard, in addition to perspective political objectives, Moscow and Tehran have also economic interests. On the other hand, the quickest, safest and economical way between Iran and Russia passes through Azerbaijan. Therefore, Azerbaijan's mentioned neighbors are intended to use such an opportunity for their own advantage. So, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia decided to create working groups on areas of mutual interest.

Of course, Azerbaijan's main purpose in such events is to liberate the occupied territories.

Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev: 'Russia makes efforts for adoption of a compromise decision, which will satisfy Azerbaijan and Armenia in Karabakh conflict settlement. You have spoken of Karabakh. This problem is really of former Soviet Union. I'm aware that this is a sensitive issue both for Azerbaijan and Armenia. We make efforts for adoption of a compromise decision, which will satisfy Azerbaijan and Armenia. There shouldn't be a winner in this issue. People of both countries should be winners and the two countries should solve this difficult issue in terms of the interests of today's and future generations'.

It should be noted that on 10 August, Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in Russia. This statement, issued before Armenian president's visit to Russia, once again demonstrates Moscow's traditional stand regarding Nagorno Karabakh.

In his speech at the summit, President Ilham Aliyev stressed that Nagorno-Karabakh's current status quo is unacceptable: 'International community and international organizations recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and support fair solution of conflict within the framework of international law. The conflict must be resolved in accordance with the standards of international law and within Azerbaijan's territorial integrity'.

The trilateral summit declaration states: 'The sides recognize that unresolved conflicts in the region are significant obstacles to the regional cooperation as well as necessity of their peaceful solution within principles and norms of international law as soon as possible and under the adopted decisions and documents through negotiations was stressed'.

Thus, the summit has defined aims and interests of the sides. Three states expressed their expectations. So, development of events and new meetings may be regarded as an indicator in ensuring interests. Next meeting in this format is planned to be held in Iran. 

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