Speech of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev at the official reception of the Ukrainian embassy in Azerbaijan held on the occasion of the day of national independence of Ukraine. Gulustan Palace, 22 August 1997

Mr. ambassador!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I warmly congratulate you on the occasion of the national holiday of Ukraine – the day of independence and send my sincerest wishes to the people of Ukraine which is advancing along the path of building an independent state. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. The people of Ukraine has a rich history and brilliant traditions. The people of Ukraine have immensely contributed to the world civilization.

On August 24 1991, Ukraine declared its independence. It is the first of the soviet republics which declared its independence. This shows convincingly that the people of Ukraine longed for freedom and independence. The Ukranian people had grounds for having its own state. The people of Ukraine have own peerless culture and national dignity. This dignity has been manifested in the most diffcult periods of struggle for freedom and independence. The feelings of independence - "sамоstiynist"- was strong in Ukraine.

During the Soviet rule, throughtout the existence of the Soviet Union, there were always people in Ukraine who fought for independence. I remeber the time when the word "sамоstiynist"was treated most negatively by the regime of that period. Then "the Ukrainian nationalism"was denounced. Actually, this was not the manifestation of the nationalism. This was the manifestation of national feelings, the feeling of national self-perception, and "samostiynist"– aspiration for independence was absolutely normal. Thank God that the people of Ukraine has succeeded in this independence, or "samostiynist”. It is not by chance that as soon as it was possible, after the 1991 August overthrow attempt, the people of Ukraine declared own national independence. Today we are marking the sixth anniversary of this historic event.

Ukraine posseses huge economic potentials, vast territory, fertile lands, rich natural resources and very big intellectual potential. Ukraine, the largest country in Europe, is fully capable of existing independently all the times without dependening on anyone. I hope this will be the case. I hope that independence, national freedom will be eternal for Ukraine.

Most favourable, friendly and sincere relations have always existed between Ukraine and Azerbaijan, our nations. It was in the past and it is also in XX century. We bear witness to it. This has found its vivid manifestation both now, in the recent years, at a time when strong and very close relations have been established between Ukraine and Azerbaijan as sovereign and independent states.

We appreciate these relations and we are doing everything and will do so for the consolidation and comprehensive development of our relatons. We possess all the opportunities, all the conditions for it, and foremost, both we and Ukraine have strong desire for it. And this was vividly displayed during the official visit of the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to Azerbaijan in 1995 and the the visit of the Azerbaijani president to Ukraine in the early 1997.

Our states and governments have signed quite a lot of important documents and these documents determine the contractual-legal basis of our relations and provide maximum favourable conditions for our cooperation in all spheres. The most important is that we have signed an agreement on strategic partnership between Ukraine and Azerbaijan. We appreciate these relations. It is beyond any doubt that they are of legal nature as after Ukraine and Azerbaijan have gained their sovereignty, we are analysing both our policy and the policies of other neighbouring countries with which we have the closest ties. The document, which we signed in February this year which charactarize our ties as a strategic partnership, also manifests our deep analysis and naturally that of Ukraine.

We appreciate that Ukraine is determined to stand for its independence. We appreciate that Ukraine depends its independence, sovereignty in all international forums. We appreciate our active cooperation with Ukraine within the Commonwealth of Independent States. This cooperation is aimed above all turning the Commowealth of Independent States into an authentically efficient body. This cooperation is connected with the fact that there are many similarities in our views, positions and steps. All these bring us closer and are conducive to the emergence of extremely favourable conditions for the expansion and development of our economic relations.

Our meetings, talks and the signed documents envisage wide-ranging issues for the development of our economic relations and the Euro-Asia Transport Corridor, also joined by Ukraine, is of great significance. Azerbaijan is in the centre of this transport route. Azerbaijan plays an extremely important role in issue at transport between Europe and Asia. Azerbaijan is doing everything and will do so for the effective functioning of this transport corridor. We want other countries as well as fraternal Ukraine to gain maximum economic benefit.

It is my great pleasure to note that actually in all international forums – me and the Ukrainian President Leonid Danilovich find an opportunity to meet and exchange views. We undoubtedly support each other. It is my pleasure to highlight that at international forums Ukraine, its president and the Ukrainian delegation support Azerbaijan`s just foreign policy, in particular, Azerbaijan`s position in the conflict with Armenia and its position in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict peacefully.

There are convincing and specific facts to prove it. However, the brightest fact is that at the Lisbon summit of the OSCE, Ukraine unambigiously supported the principle of the peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorni Karabakh conflict.

President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and the Azerbaijani President meet in Madrid in July this year. We again exchange of views on a number of issues at the NATO ummit and at the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council there. Our views and positions also coincided here. All these are solid foundations for the further development and deepening relations.

We are well aware of the socio-economic and political processes ongoing in Ukraine. However, together with them, we know very well that the resolute position of Ukraine`s democratic, progressive forces as well as the firm stance of the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who has been elected by popular vote, are conducive to consecutive advancement. We are convinced that the further implementation of economic, social and political reforms programme will turn Ukraine into a stronger, mighty and flourishing democratic state in Europe and in the world.

We have profound respect for Ukraine and of the people of Ukraine and want it from the bottom of our hearts. Therefore, I have come to the Ukrainian embassy in Azerbaijan with profound respect. We are marking Ukraine`s independence day together with our Ukrainian friends here. I want once more to congratulate the people of Ukraine on the occasion of this historical event, on this holiday. I wish prosperity, happiness and successes to the people of Ukraine. I convey my cordial greetings and best wishes of the Azerbaijani people to the people of Ukraine. I am sending my best wishes to my friend - President Leonid Kuchma and wish him happiness and progress, peace and independence to Ukraine and new successes on the road of national liberation.

Thank you!

"Haydar Aliyev: Our independence is eternal"(speeches, statements, interviews, letters, addresses, decrees) in 12 volumes, the Azerbaijani Publishing House, Baku, 2004, page 21.

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani-Ukrainian relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - CIS