The statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev and the President of the Republic of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma at the joint press conference - Kiev, Marinsky Palace, March 25, 1997

Distinguished Mr. Kuchma!

Ladies and gentlemen!

My official visit to Ukraine is coming to an end. I am very pleased with it, with the friendly environment and our discussions and decisions on the further cooperation between our countries.

Mr. Kuchma, let me thank you for hospitality to me and to the entire delegation of Azerbaijan.

Mr. President, I would also like to thank you for awarding me with the Order of Yaroslav Mudriy, the highest award of Ukraine. I am returning to Azerbaijan with a Ukrainian award, which I consider is a key factor for the development of our relations.

Mr. President, you paid an official visit to Azerbaijan in 1995. This is my official visit to Ukraine now. I invite you to plan another visit to Azerbaijan. I will look forward to your next visit. I am sure that you will realize it if you have a chance. Even though various documents were signed in Baku in 1995 and in Kiev now, much is to be done for the implementation of a significant document, which is the declaration on the further development of cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan signed by us yesterday. It lays on us more duties, therefore, there is a need for more meetings. Thus, I invite you to Azerbaijan.

Let me tell my impressions on Kiev and Ukraine. The Kiev Pecherska Lavra, which is an old monument of Ukraine made a great impression on me. I am glad that I visited it. I thank you for the title of the honorary guest of Kiev. I agree with Mr. Kuchma in his statement about the outcomes of our meetings and signed documents. During our negotiations we found out that our positions on many issues, such as cooperation within the CIS and European security are similar. Ukraine follows the policy of the market economy and democratization and defends its independence. It is our policy, too. Independence is the greatest historical achievement for Azerbaijan and we are going to maintain it.

Mr. Kuchma, I extend my gratitude to you and our friends in Kiev, Ukraine. I also thank the press that accompanied us yesterday and today. Thank you.

Question: Distinguished presidents, how do you appreciate the perspectives of the CIS on the eve of its summit? The next question is addressed to Mr. Kuchma: What do you comment on the statement of the Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov which confirms that Armenia was provided with Russian military equipment free of charge and secretly? 

Leonid Kuchma: I assume that we can speak about the results of the CIS summit only after it is held on March 28. But we intend to participate with great hope and express our position on the CIS there.

I think that the current shape of the organization can not satisfy any of its member countries. First of all, we want to see the CIS as a union of equal members. We want each member country to have an equal vote irrespective of its territory and number of population.

Your second question is very complicated. During my visit to Azerbaijan I witnessed refugee camps. It was shocked. Those people have lost everything and their future are problematic and uncertain. Therefore, I suppose that all the parties must observe the decisions of the Security Council, which clearly state what to do. I assign the foreign and defense ministries to look into this issue and elaborate an official position on it.

Heydar Aliyev: I agree with the statement of Mr. Kuchma on CIS. I also think that the union should be democratic and effective. Moreover, it should meet international standards and ensure equality of its member-countries. Unfortunately, it has not been achieved yet. But it is possible. Therefore, we need to create favorable conditions and set a mechanism for the improvement of the activity of CIS. We`ll repeat our position on March 28. I hope that the effectiveness of the activity of the union will be improved after the summit.

Question: I address my questions to both presidents: Can any third party, particularly Russia prevent the plans of Ukraine and Azerbaijan in creating an oil corridor? How would you comment on the events in Belarus? 

Heydar Aliyev: Some forces really want to prevent our plans. When we signed the first contract on the joint exploitation of oil deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea in 1994, there were many protests, disagreements and obstacles against us. They still exist today. As an independent country Azerbaijan uses its rights. Even though some forces try to prevent our plans, they will fail.

As for the events in Belarus, I have limited information on them. I have learnt the news only from TV. I also wonder what is happening there. Perhaps Mr. Kuchma can answer this question.

Leonid Kuchma: I agree with Mr. Aliyev on the first question. I thank him for his confident position. I would like to add something. We will see if Russia maintains the interests of the czarist Russia or modern democratic Russia. The oil production of Russia declines, so it may need new energy sources. Then why does Russia obstacles the plans of its neighboring and friendly countries? Democratic thoughts can win all the obstacles.

As regards to Belarus, the recent events seem not clear to me. But every nation has its right to determine its way of development.

Question: My question is addressed to Mr. Kuchma. Armenia states that Ukraine supplied Azerbaijan with weapons and military equipment. How do you comment this statement? The second question is addressed to both presidents: Did you discuss the role of Ukraine in the solution of Nagorno-Karabakh problem? If yes, how can it be?

Heydar Aliyev: I think that I can answer the first question. Mr. Kuchma can add something if needed. Ukraine has never supplied Azerbaijan with weapons secretly. Today I state that Azerbaijan has not been provided with any weapons since the ceasefire agreement on May 12, 1994. The statement made in Yerevan is not true. I am sure that Mr. Kuchma can confirm my words.

Leonid Kuchma: Of course, I can, because it is true. No weapons have been supplied.

Heydar Aliyev: As far as the role of Ukraine in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is concerned, I discussed it with Mr. Kuchma. It is an important issue for us. Stability in the Caucasus is also of great importance for Ukraine, since the region is close to Ukraine geographically. Furthermore, Ukraine led by President Kuchma is interested in peace and stability in other countries. We discussed it and agreed that the Lisbon declaration on the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which includes the principles of recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Armenia, high autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan and security of the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh are good basis to achieve peace.

Leonid Kuchma: Our position is to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. It was our position at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE.

Question: Distinguished Mr. Aliyev, what is your impression on the banknote factory? What is the reason of the interest of Azerbaijan in it? 

Heydar Aliyev: I will answer the second part of your question immediately. I didn`t even know that there was such a factory in Kiev. But when I was introduced the program of my visit, which included a visit to that factory, I was intrigued and went there with great pleasure. The factory made a strong impression on me. It is a huge factory with modern equipment and can produce high quality products which meet the international standards. I am glad that Ukraine has such a factory and has created a promising industry. It is like this from economic point of view, and from political point of view and that of the statehood it is an important attribute of the independence of Ukraine. Ukraine is a big country with huge potentials and ability to create its own securities. It symbolizes the independence of Ukraine as I stated before. I also asked the president of the Ukrainian National Bank to meet his Azerbaijani counterpart. I want him to get acquainted with the banknote factory. We may make orders in future.

Question: I address my question to Mr. Kuchma: Today the Ukrainian mass media informed that the draft appeal of the presidents of Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development on financing two projects, which are the Transcaucasean Transport Corridor and Transportation of the Caspian oil to Europe via Ukraine must be agreed in your negotiations. Is there such an appeal? If yes, then is the draft appeal ready? 

Leonid Kuchma: This question has been raised several times. The Ukrainian government supposes that if the corridor for the transportation of the Caspian oil to Europe is definitely set, then the three presidents better make a joint appeal to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. This opportunity should be further researched. President Aliyev and I agreed on this issue and soon the Ukrainian-Azerbaijani joint commission will start working on it.

Question: Mr. Kuchma, can Ukraine hope that the Azerbaijani oil may be an alternative to the Russian oil in future? Mr. Aliyev, how would you comment the appointment of the president of Nagorno-Karabakh the prime minister of Armenia? 

Leonid Kuchma: We do not count other countries` income. As I am aware, the discovered oil resources of the Caspian Sea may be a possible alternative source for many countries, not only for Ukraine. We are interested in the development of this region. So we can import the Caspian oil parallel to the Russian oil.

Heydar Aliyev: We consider the appointment of the leader of the Armenian community Robert Kocharyan the prime minister of Armenia as a negative and not understandable fact. Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh and several districts around it were occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Kocharyan took an active part in that bloody war and occupation. He presides over the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh and is called the “president” of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It opposes moral values and the norms of international law. Therefore, this appointment is not accepted by us. Our relevant bodies have expressed our position on this fact.

Question: I address my questions to both presidents: Did you discuss the treaty on armed forces in Europe? How do you see the European security model of the 21st century? 

Leonid Kuchma: Do you mean the contract on flank limitations? Yes, we discussed it. Our positions overlap in this case. Taking into consideration that this problem is of paramount importance not only for Azerbaijan and Ukraine, but also for Moldova and Georgia as well, we agreed to continue our discussions on this theme.

Heydar Aliyev: I also think so. We discussed the question. Our positions on this problem are similar. During our negotiations we reconfirmed our positions and decided that we should continue discussions among Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. Their positions are also close to ours.

As for the second question, you may be aware of the adoption of a special decision of the Lisbon summit of OSCE. We voted for that decision. I think that the document on the European security model of the 21st century includes real and implementable principles. We support them.

Leonid Kuchma: I agree with Mr. Aliyev on this problem. We understand its complexity and importance. Thus, the progressive steps of the countries should be appreciated. I mean the reconciliation agreement between Germany and Czech Republic. Hungary and Romania concluded a similar treaty. Ukraine also intends to sign a treaty with Romania and Poland. All these steps lead to strengthening security in Europe. But there are still some problems, which cannot be solved. One of them is separatism. Though separatism was condemned at the 50th session of the UN General Assembly, it still increases in different forms. This may lead to instability in Europe and in different parts of the world. Thus, we shall try to implement the principles declared by OSCE. Thank you.