Russian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental commission gathers for a session

A Russian-Azerbaijani governmental Cooperation Commission meets in Moscow today to discuss trade, economic, regional and humanitarian cooperation. The session will be co-chaired by Russia's Vice Premier Viktor Khristenko and Azerbaijan's 1st Vice Premier Abbas Abbasov.

According to Khristenko's press secretary, Stanislav Naumov, participants in the session will focus their attention on ways to deepen mutually advantageous economic cooperation, mostly that in the field of fuel and energy, development of cooperation between financial and banking structures, and the setting up of joint enterprises and other business associations.

They will also discuss technical retooling of the oil-and-gas and petrochemical complexes of Russia and Azerbaijan with the help of equipment produced by the two countries.

Yet another item on the agenda deals with cooperation between the border and customs services of the two countries. Naumov said the sides had been doing a lot of work to ensure that no terrorists or illegal migrants get across the border and no weapons and ammunition are smuggled from one country to another.

Finally, the commission will bring up issues dealing with cooperation in the spheres of culture, sports, education, and tourism. According to the press secretary, the two countries are busy working out a long-term program of cooperation in the tourist sphere.

Naumov also said that in 2002, the volume of commercial operations between Russia and Azerbaijan grew by 1.7 times as compared to 2001. In the first quarter of 2003, it increased by 17%.

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