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    PUTIN SPEAKS HIGHLY OF LEVEL OF RUSSIAN-AZERI RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, February 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- President Vladimir Putin positively assesses the level of Russian-Azeri bilateral relations.

    Russia's president said at the Friday talks with President Ilkham Aliyev of Azerbaijan that "in the past several years our relations have been developing very intensively and are currently at a high level, which we are very glad to note." According to the Russian President, bilateral trade-economic relations have been making headway. He noted that in the past two years the growth rate of the goods turnover has been annually increasing by 50 per cent.

    "We think together of carrying out serious projects in the trade-economic sphere," Putin stressed. He also recalled the first large seminar on Russian-Azeri cooperation, which is scheduled for March.

    The President of Russia said that "it will become an important stage in the development of our relations." For his part, Ilkham Aliyev highlighted "full mutual understanding on bilateral questions and on regional cooperation." In his opinion, relations between the two countries have been developing "comprehensively, successfully and dynamically."

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