Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the press conference in the special hall of the League of Nations during the 49th session of the UN General Assembly - September 29, 1994

Ladies and gentlemen!

A few minutes ago I delivered a speech at the General Assembly of the UN as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In my speech I disclosed the main principles of the Republic of Azerbaijan in international arena. There is no need to repeat them. I suppose that you are aware of my speech. However, I would like to speak briefly.

Azerbaijan is independent for three years. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan takes part at the General Assembly of the UN and addresses the Assembly on behalf of Azerbaijan for the first time. After Azerbaijan gained its independence, its internal and foreign policy is based on its historical, cultural and moral traditions. A democratic, legal, civil state is being created in Azerbaijan. Our society is being formed on democratic principles; in order to establish those principles in Azerbaijan necessary laws were adopted. The laws create conditions for the existence of democratic principles and people`s use of them. In this field our work is based on historical, national, moral values of the Azerbaijani people. At the same time, we benefit from democratic principles of well developed countries of the world.

The Azerbaijani economy has great potentials. We have chosen the road of market economy and take necessary measures for it. A republic that lived in the socialist system for 70 years, currently creates its own way benefiting from political and socio-economic principles of the well developed countries of the world.

The biggest problem for our republic is the state of war which has been going on for six years. This war is waged against Azerbaijan. The military conflict broke out because of the aggression of Armenian and is still going on. 20 per cent of the territories of Azerbaijan are under the Armenian occupation. More than one million people from the occupied territories have become refugees. Now they live in tents in hard conditions.

Despite all difficulties, we offer peace. Therefore, we have achieved a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We try to maintain the ceasefire and we shall do it further. During the ceasefire we want to reach a peace treaty. Such a treaty may contain some conditions. The Armenian armed forces must leave the occupied territories, they must be liberated, and the refugees must return home. According to the norms of international law, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored. We want to achieve peace based on the above mentioned conditions, and we strive for it. Today from the UN tribune I addressed the world community, superpowers, and international organizations to help us achieve peace.

That`s all what I intended to say. I don`t want to take your time any more. Thus, I would like to save the rest of time for replying your questions.

Question: Mr. President, I am glad to greet you here on behalf of the United Nations. Your country signed a contract with a consortium of oil companies. Now in agenda there is the construction of an oil pipeline for the transportation of oil. Which countries will that pipeline cross? 

Answer: In the recent three years when the signature of that oil contract was in the agenda, different problems emerged. The contract was concluded. Now the question is which countries will the oil pipeline cross?

No one can answer this question right now. Neither can I. Because there are some variants for the route of the pipeline. We should solve it with the consortium that signed the contract with us. I can just say that the route of the pipeline must suit the national interests of Azerbaijan at first. Of course, it will also depend on the plans of the oil companies which signed the contract. At the same time, the route must be useful economically.

We could sign that contract after the negotiations held for three years. We shall be able to determine the route of the pipeline, as well.

Question: Mr. President, yesterday the Washington Post wrote that Azerbaijan wants to cede the Nagorno-Karabakh. How should it be understood? 

Answer: I suppose that the writer made a big mistake. How can we yield our lands? Then there was no need to make war for six years. Azerbaijan lost 20 thousand people, while over one hundred thousand people were wounded in those six years. More than seven hundred towns, villages and settlements have been destroyed in the occupied territories. How can we cede the Nagorno-Karabakh after such a great war? Secondly, the Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. What country in the world would cede its territory to another one? So, that is false information.

Question: Mr. President, the ceasefire regime has been observed for over four moths. At the same time, there is information that Azerbaijan is collecting its troops in the east of the Nagorno-Karabakh. What can you say about that? 

Answer: Where did you get this information? 

Reporter: The information comes from the Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Answer: This information is not true. First, the ceasefire was our initiative. At the same time, we have stated many times that we support the ceasefire regime. I declared it from the UN tribune today; I told that we want to achieve peace. We do not support the outbreak of the war again. Your information is unreasonable.

Reporter: Does it mean that no troops are collecting there?

Answer: No, they are not.

Question: Mr. President, did you meet the Armenian President here in the headquarters of the UN, New York? If yes, was the dialog with him useful? How do you imagine the dialog between the Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan in the next months? 

Answer: I met the Armenian President Mr. Ter-Petrosian here two days ago. Our meeting lasted long. At first we talked in the presence of the delegations, later face-to-face. We discussed issues on preparation of a peace treaty, mostly the problems preventing its achievement. For example, when we talk about the necessity of the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, we apply it to both Lachin and Shusha. No agreement on these issues has been reached between the parties yet. Meeting in New York we focused on these issues. We agreed to continue our negotiations on them. Both Mr. Ter-Petrosian and I have the same opinion that we need to achieve an agreement in order to maintain the ceasefire regime and sign the Great Peace Treaty. I can inform you only about it.

Question: Mr. President, you told that Azerbaijan will make a decision on the route of the oil pipeline if it suits the national interests of Azerbaijan and economically practical. If it crosses Turkey, would it be economically beneficial for Azerbaijan? 

Answer: I told that it must suit the national interests of Azerbaijan, the economic interests of companies of the consortium and be economically useful. If the pipeline`s crossing Turkey will suit all these requirements, then I`d welcome that idea.

Question: Mr. President, of what significance are your meetings, negotiations and speeches here in New York for the future of Azerbaijan, in your opinion? 

Answer: I think that they have great significance. Primarily, the President of Azerbaijan delivers a speech in the session of the General Assembly of the UN for the first time. It is an important event for a young and independent country. Making a speech from the tribune of the General Assembly, I was able to inform the world community about the current situation of Azerbaijan, the principles of the statehood and political structure of our country, our position in the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In my opinion, it is important to introduce the Republic of Azerbaijan to the world community.

Moreover, while being in New York I had some meetings, which are necessary for strengthening the position of Azerbaijan worldwide. My meeting with the US President Bill Clinton was very significant. We had a useful conversation. It was the first meeting of the President of Azerbaijan with the US President. I felt that Mr. Bill Clinton is interested in the problems of Azerbaijan and the region. I had a chance to disclose my principles and opinions on the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. I told him about my meeting with the Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian in New York. Here I also met the foreign ministers of some countries, heads of international organizations, and representatives of financial circles. All those meetings are important enough for today and future of Azerbaijan.

Question: Mr. President, what did you ask the US President during your meeting? Did you want the USA to be an intermediary in this conflict? Let me please ask you another question. It was declared that President Yeltsin and President Clinton achieved an agreement on the Russian influence in countries called "Near abroad". Does this fact disappoint you? 

Answer: I told Mr. Bill Clinton that the USA has to take an active part in activity of the international organizations, including CSCE and the Minsk Group in the solution of the conflicts, as well as in the conflicts in the Caucasus. I think that the USA`s participation in these processes will be useful. As for your information about the agreement between Mr. Bill Clinton and Mr. Boris Yeltsin, I am not informed of that, so I can not react that. Thanks for your attention.

Brief essays

Azerbaijan - International organizations

General historical background

Azerbaijan - UN

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - UN