AZERBAIJAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES UES BOSS

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BAKU, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan, is for beefing up energy cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.

"Relations between our countries in every field develop very positively", Aliev said on Monday at a meeting with Anatoli Chubais, head of Russia's United Energy Systems.

There is between Moscow and Baku "full understanding on both economic and political questions", Ilham Aliev said.

"The policy of goodneighbourliness has led to very good results, including in electric energy", the Azeri president stressed. Energy exchange between our two countries has of late been stepping up, "which is our sincere desire", he noted.

Azerbaijan seeks "a fuller volume" of energy exchange in the future.

Aliev voiced the hope that Chubais' visit to Baku will promote such relations between the two countries.

In turn, the UES head spoke up for synchronising work of the energy systems of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Chubais informed Aliev that earlier on Monday he had a set of meetings with Azeri power workers, discussing particularly energy contacts between Azerbaijan and Iran.

"It is the building of new grids, which means that the question of synchronisation of energy systems will inevitably be brought up in the future", Chubais noted.

"We back the idea. Parallel work is certainly positive for Russia and Azerbaijan, too. It means we should think of how to move on to Iran", Chubais said.

To him, such discussion with Azeri power workers has shown that Russia and Azerbaijan have not only mutual interests in energy but also "joint interests beyond our countries".

Chubais said that Russia could prompt the build-up of energy exchange between Azerbaijan and Georgia. "Energy exchange between Azerbaijan and Georgia could be assessed in a new way", he said. "We are in the know about the debt problem and are ready to help".

The UES head stressed that the strengthening of energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia could be "a global factor for the dependability of the Transcaucasian energy system".

Anatoli Chubais set high store by energy cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan. "There are no undelayed problems requiring urgent help from the president", he said. "It is an indication that we have normal, working relations with Azeri power workers".

He stressed that the present volume of bilateral export of electricity between Russia and Azerbaijan "can build up". "We are following with interest the economic growth in Azerbaijan as a whole at a stable low level of inflation", said the head of the Russian energy holding.

To Chubais, the economic development of Azerbaijan shows that its demand for electricity will increase and, hence, Azerbaijan is "a strategic partner for Russia".

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