Russian, Iranian and Azeri Presidents Meet in Baku, Agree on Strategic Cooperation

BAKU - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani to discuss new energy and transportation projects in the Caspian Sea region.

At the meeting Putin, Aliyev and Rouhani signed a joint declaration that committed each country to intensifying their cooperation in efforts to fight terrorism, settle regional conflicts and develop energy and transportation ties in the Caspian Sea region

“Azerbaijan and Iran are good neighbors and important partners for Russia…the three countries have a shared interest in coordinating our approaches on a broad range of regional and global issues. We have to continue promoting our multifaceted, practical approach towards trade and economic cooperation,” Putin said.

The talks also focused on coordinating a renewed push for the construction of a transport corridor that would link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.

India, Iran and Russia first proposed the plan in 2000, but Western trade sanctions on Moscow and Tehran in recent years have severely hindered the project’s development.

“We believe that this cooperation serves the joint interests of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, in addition to the interests of the whole region,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

The trio also agreed to coordinate their efforts in the natural gas industry, including the delivery of gas to the European and Asian markets.

The simultaneous meeting of the three leaders was a historic first. Putin has gone to great lengths to cultivate close ties with Azerbaijan and Iran, both of which have been at odds with the West issues ranging from human rights to nuclear technology development.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

10 August 2016 14:38