TODAY.AZ / Business

Russian envoy: 3+3 format to boost regional economic co-op

26 January 2022 [17:46] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Vugar Khalilov

Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Bocharnikov has stated that the 3+3 format will help expand trade and economic cooperation among its member countries.

He made the remarks at a press conference in Baku on January 26.

"Last year, a promising 3+3 cooperation format was launched at the initiative of the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan…The interest of the participating countries lies in achieving the normalization and unblocking of transport communications. The first meeting was held in Moscow, where we saw the interest of the parties," Bocharnikov said.

He added that the meeting in this format will continue and that the format is still open for Georgia, even though it is unwilling to participate.

Bocharnikov stated that Azerbaijan's participation in any organization, including the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), is a matter of sovereign choice.

He stressed that the EAEU member states now have cooperation experience in the field of digital technologies, support for small and medium-sized businesses, and a number of countries are interested in joining this organization.

“We see that the integration of countries into the EAEU has been beneficial from an economic point of view…The total GDP of the EAEU member-states has grown by more than four percent, mutual trade - by 30 percent, export to foreign markets - by 41 percent,” he noted.

Previously, Kazakhstan's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed granting Azerbaijan observer status in the EAEU.

Furthermore, Bocharnikov said that Russian investments in Azerbaijan exceed $4.2 billion.

“Some $2.9 billion accounted for the trade and economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia for 11 months of 2021…Taking into account December 2021, this figure may reach $3 billion,” he said

The ambassador emphasized that Russia's LUKOIL Company is active and productive in the Azerbaijani market and described it as a serious investor in the development of "green" energy.

"As for the energy sector, LUKOIL acquired 9.99 percent of the shares in the Shah Deniz project and its share today is 19.99 percent. The company also has a 25 percent stake in the Absheron Peninsula shallow-water development project (SWAP),” Bocharnikov highlighted.

He reminded that the presidents of the two countries met four times in 2021.

“Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov visited Russia in May 2021, where a plan of interaction until 2024 was drawn up… Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Sahiba Gafarova also visited Russia several times. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk visited Azerbaijan and met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev,” he added.

The ambassador said that the Azerbaijani and Russian business delegations are expected to pay reciprocal and productive visits in 2022.

“Russian regions are now drawing up the plans for holding meetings…I have seen a very big list of regions the representatives of which are interested in coming to Azerbaijan and conducting such meetings," he said.

A delegation from Russia's Udmurtia is scheduled to visit Azerbaijan in February, and other Russian regions such as Astrakhan and Dagestan are also interested in cooperating, Bocharnikov said.

He emphasized that 14 Russian companies had applied to participate in the restoration process of Azerbaijan's liberated territories, with these companies primarily focused on agriculture, railway construction, power facility fields, and other works.

"I cannot yet say how many of these applications will be accepted by the Azerbaijani side," Bocharnikov stated.

Representatives of Russian companies organized in 2021 two large business trips to Azerbaijan, where they discussed economic cooperation, including activities in the liberated lands.

The ambassador also noted the growing number of flights between the two countries. He stated that nine Russian airlines fly weekly from several Russian cities to Baku, and the airlines also seek permission to fly to other Azerbaijani cities.

Concerning the two countries' land borders, Bocharnikov stated that they are closed due to decisions made by Azerbaijan's operational headquarters, and he is unsure when the restriction will be lifted.

He added that passenger trips will be conducted via the Caspian Sea as well.


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