President Vladimir Putin has announced Russia is dissatisfied with either the scale or the quality of economic cooperation with Azerbaijan, RIA Novosti reports.
At a press conference Monday following talks with visiting Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev, Putin noted that trade turnover between the two nations had increased over the preceding year, but lamented: "We are not satisfied either with the scale or with the quality of economic cooperation or with the diversity of goods and direction of activity in mutual trade." He pointed out economic ties between the two countries might have yielded better results, noting cooperation has good prospects beyond the energy sector.
On the other hand, he indicated that Azerbaijan had not lost interest in promoting cultural links between the two countries, nor limited Russian language teaching in the country.
Aliyev responded by inviting Putin to visit Azerbaijan. He acknowledged the Russian leader's thoughtfulness for his country and its people.
"From his first steps," he commented, "Putin commanded the respect of the Azeri people, because everyone saw through his statements and actions that he really wants to forge closer ties with all (Commonwealth of Independent States member) countries, including Azerbaijan." He noted further that "one gets the impression that Putin knows everything about Azerbaijan, as, for that matter, he does about other CIS countries."