Statements and joint press conference of the Presidents of Poland and Azerbaijan after the ceremony of the signature of the documents in different fields of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Poland - Warsaw, Presidential Palace, August 26, 1997

Aleksander Kwaƛniewski: I welcome all of you. It is a historical visit, because we have never hosted the President of Azerbaijan in Poland.

I welcome Mr. Heydar Aliyev. We just signed several documents. They must create an effective ground for cooperation between Poland and Azerbaijan in political, economical, legal, cultural, scientific spheres and in tourism.

Poland is interested in the development of cooperation with Azerbaijan. Mr. Aliyev and I met in various international forums from Paris up to Madrid. I suppose that it is the right time to establish bilateral relations between our countries to use the opportunities both of Poland and Azerbaijan. I mean regional and international opportunities both.

I want to thank Mr. Aliyev for his obvious and cordial support to the membership of Poland in NATO in the high-level Madrid meeting. I said it during our personal meeting. The support of Azerbaijan, a member of CIS, is of great importance for us. I would like to thank you on behalf of Poland and the Poles for your obvious support to the sovereign decision of Poland and the decision of NATO concerning our membership in it.

Mr. President, I want to convince you that while presiding in OSCE next year, Poland will make its efforts to reach the fair solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. We think that Poland can play an important role in this issue as a chair. In our opinion, it is an achievement to avoid war. However, there is a confilict over the Nagorno-Karabakh; we`ll try to ensure a peace there. Poland is ready for cooperation with Azerbaijan in this issue, too.

Mr. President, I want to express my satisfaction. I welcome you, the ministers and members of the whole delegation of Azerbaijan who have come to Poland. I hope that the three-day visit will be an important point in the relations between Poland and Azerbaijan. Thank you.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President!

Ladies and gentlemen!

The relations between Azerbaijan and Poland have a rich history. They date back to the Middle Ages. There are a lot of facts proving the historicity of the relations between our nations. However, not any leader of Azerbaijan has ever visited Poland. Thus, this visit is of great significance for the development of our relations. It is an important page in the history of relations of Poland and Azerbaijan.

Therefore, having accepted the invitation of Mr. Kwasniewski with pleasure, I visited Warsaw, Poland.

The history of Poland is known in Azerbaijan. Throughout their history, the Poles struggled for national independence and statehood. We all are glad that Poland is an independent and developing country now. Therefore, we support the steps made by Poland to strengthen the security in Europe. We supported the admission of Poland to NATO; we thought that it would help strengthen security in Europe, it fits the will of the Polish nation. The will of the nation is above all.

Now it is the stage of establishment of intensive relations between Poland and Azerbaijan. The documents signed today, especially the statement on the development of friendship and cooperation between Poland and Azerbaijan is significant. The documents establish normative-legal grounds for deepening and developing our cooperation in all the fields. I convince you that we shall fulfill  all the obligations  undertaken in the signed documents.

But it is just the beginning. We must continue it. Today I invited Mr. Kwasniewski to Azerbaijan. After my visit to Poland, we shall look forward to the official visit of the Polish President to Azerbaijan.

Using the opportunity, I want to thank Mr. Kwasniewski and Poland for the support to the adoption of the document on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE.

You know the history of this conflict. It broke out in 1988, in the Soviet time with the aim to annex Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Province of Azerbaijan and join it to Armenia. Unfortunately, the Soviet administration could not prevent the conflict, which turned into a war later. As a result of the conflict  20 per cent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Over a million Azerbaijanis have been forced to leave their homes; most of them have been living in hard conditions, in tents for five years. Azerbaijan suffered great human and economic losses.

Our nation suffered also  losses. However, we agreed to  sign a ceasefire agreement  in the May of 1994; we have been maintaining it for over three  years. Another specific issue is that there are no foreign peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone. It is a positive factor on the background of  events currenting in our region. As Mr. Kwasniewski said that there is neither war, nor peace. We try to reach peace; we want peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in our region. At the same time, we can not reconcile with the violation of the sovereignty  and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Thus, while discussing the conflicts in different parts of Europe, adoption of the principles for the peaceful solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict attention was paid  at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE last December.

However, the Armenian party held a non-constructive position again and did not let the adoption of the document. We had to appeal to several heads of states, including Mr. Kwasniewski; thus, it became possible to adopt the document on the principles of peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, 53 member-countries of OSCE out of 54, including Poland, supported that document. I thank Mr. Kwasniewski for the support of our fair position.

What are those 3 principles? They are the recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Armenia, granting a self-administration status to Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan, ensuring the security of the entire population of  Nagorno-Karabakh - both of the Armenian and Azerbaijani population. There is nothing unnatural in these principles. They meet the interests of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as of Nagorno-Karabakh. But Armenia didn`t agree with it. Because it wants independence for Nagorno-Karabakh.

But we can never agree with the establishment of a second Armenian state within Azerbaijan. The Armenian nation has determined its fate, there is the Republic of Armenia, which is a member of the UN and other international organizations. Therefore, we can never allow the establishment of another Armenian state in the territory of Azerbaijan. But granting the highest status of self-administration is in harmony with the international law; it is even higher than the existing ones in the world practice.

Anyway, we hope that the world community will strive for the peaceful solution of the issue. The Minsk Group of OSCE co-chaired by the USA, Russia and France is engaged in this issue now. We cherish great hopes on them. We rely on the support of Poland, which is going to preside over OSCE next year.

We have other problems. Today we talked about them. The most important is that we signed the documents. We consider the friendship and cooperation with Poland as  significant part of our foreign policy. The relations with Poland are of a strategic partnership. We shall do our best to expand our cooperation, to strengthen our friendly relations. Thank you for your attention.


Question: The question is addressed to both presidents. Did you discuss the issue on the transportation of the Azerbaijani oil to Europe via Poland? What decision did you reach?

Heydar Aliyev: We exchanged views on that issue. But I can respond your question broadly.

The Caspian basin contains huge oil and gas resources. The oil and gas deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea are being exploited over 50 years; during those years, hundreds of thousands tons of oil has been produced. The new stage of the development of the natural resources in the Azerbaijani territory, including the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea is under way.

In 1994 we signed a contract on joint oil developments in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea with the consortium of the world`s biggest transnational corporations. The contract implies production of 600 million tons of oil and huge amount of gas. The term of the contract is 25 years. Later other contracts were also concluded .Up to now we have signed nine contracts on the development of oil deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea. During my recent official visit to the USA, four contracts were signed in the White House, Washington. The territories of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as well as their sectors in the Caspian Sea contain huge resources. All this creates grounds for the joint development of all these oil deposits. Many transnational corporations are interested in them. Transportation of this oil to the world market is an important issue now.

Now two pipelines are being constructed for the transportation of the Azerbaijani oil to the Black Sea. They lead to Novorossiysk, Russia and Supsa of Georgia. However, it is planned to construct a big pipeline till the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

But it is not enough. It is important to construct pipelines from the Central Asia to the Black Sea and Mediterranean  via the Caspian, trough the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

At the same time, the Eurasian transport corridor has been established, which is in charge now; transportation is realized from the Central Asia to Azerbaijan and Georgia via the Caspian Sea, to Europe via the Black Sea and vice-versa. Transportation of oil and gas is of great significance for Europe, as well as for Poland. I talked to Mr. Kwasniewski on it; Poland has opportunities to secure its energy resources and must use them for the solution of the issues of transportation.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: I confirm what Mr. President said. We touched upon this issue. It is an interesting project. We intend to continue the negotiations.

Question: Did you discuss the issue of opening the embassies?

Aleksander Kwasniewski: Yes, we did. Today we launched new horizons for the cooperation between Poland and Azerbaijan. One of the important features of this cooperation must be the opening of the Polish embassy in Baku and the Azerbaijani diplomatic representation in Warsaw. We are not among the richest countries of the world, so it is hard to implement it into life immediately. But the embassies must be opened.

Heydar Aliyev: I support this idea. I think that the Azerbaijani embassy in Poland must be opened.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: Mr. Aliyev and I spoke that we could sign so many documents in the absence of the embassies. We don`t think that bureaucracy may prevent from the elaboration of new documents. We need representations; they symbolize mutual relations, mutual interest. Soon we can talk about our embassies.

Question: You told that you signed important contracts. We wonder what kind of documents they are and which of them you consider decisive.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: I think that the signature of so many documents during the first visit of the Azerbaijani President to Poland is an important fact. The statement we signed is an important document. It reflects the political will of both countries. The contracts on the establishment of the legal base, on the elimination of double taxation, as well as on transportation and tourism between our countries are very significant.

The contract on tourism will allow the expansion of tourism between our countries. The contract on science and culture is also important. Shortly, each contract is of special significance. The most important is that we have signed so many documents today. It will establish strong and suitable relations between the two remote countries.

Heydar Aliyev: I totally agree with you.

Question: The question is addressed to the President of Azerbaijan. Mr. Aliyev, how precious is the experience of Poland, which has joined the European structures, including NATO, for you? Does Azerbaijan intend to repeat the experience of Poland in the European integration?

Heydar Aliyev: In general, the experience of Poland is valuable for us. Its experience in the  struggle for independence, freedom and statehood, as well as in the establishment a democratic, legal state and market economy is valuable for us. We also appreciate the experience of Poland in strengthening the European security, in recognition by the European structures. I know that Poland strives to join the EU. We praise it. We signed a statement with the European Union on cooperation. The membership of Poland in the EU will be positive for us. Azerbaijan is a member of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council; we actively cooperate within that structure. The experience of Poland and our cooperation within the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council are useful for us. Life will show what will be in future.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: We`ll work.

The newspaper "Azerbaycan", August 27, 1997