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Tatarstan's President Visits Azerbaijan

Russia's Republic of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov during his Azerbaijani visit on March 2
BAKU -- The president of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is visiting Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Minnikhanov met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev upon his arrival on March 2.

Aliyev said after the two held talks that Azerbaijani-Russian relations are "developing successfully." He also said he is confident Minnikhanov's visit will contribute to the expansion of bilateral ties.

Minnikhanov said the close relations between his predecessor, Mintimer Shaimiyev, and former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev (Ilham's father), created a "firm basis for developing mutual cooperation."

Minnikhanov also met on March 2 with parliament speaker Oqtay Asadov to discuss political, economic, humanitarian, and cultural ties.

Asadov noted the close partnership between Azerbaijanis and Tatars within the Muslim fraction of Russia' s State Duma during the early part of the 20th century.

Minnikhanov thanked the Azerbaijani state and people for their hospitability. He praised the country's "rapid development" and the implementation of "major socioeconomic programs."

Azerbaijanis share cultural and linguistic ties.