Russia decorated President Geidar Aliev of Azerbaijan with the medal, For Contribution to International Security.
Vladimir Rushailo, Russia's Security Council Secretary, awarded him the medal on council behalf. Following a Rushailo-Aliev conference, the decoration ceremony was attended by a Russian and an Azeri delegations, and numerous journalists.
President Aliev is actively promoting Russian-Azeri law enforcement and secret service team efforts against organised crime, international terrorism and drug traffic, said Vladimir Rushailo.
While on a three-day visit to Azerbaijan, Mr. Rushailo joined hands with Ramiz Mekhtiev, President Aliev's chief of staff, to draw a 2003/04 partnership programme for the two national Security Councils, which has been signed by now.
On President Aliev's authorisation, Vladimir Rushailo invited Ramiz Mekhtiev to an international anti-drug conference, to gather in Moscow within the year. Mr. Mekhtiev is also welcome as observer to a secretarial session of Collective Security Treaty Organisation countries' Security Councils, Moscow, March 19-21.
Partnership within the Commonwealth of Independent States is among Russia's top foreign political priorities. Russian-Azeri contacts-bilateral and within the CIS and the Caucasian Four-are being upgraded to a strategic partnership status. "The Caucasus has developed into a crucial geopolitical node within that partnership," said Mr. Rushailo.
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