Speech by Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the meeting with Koffi ‎Annan, UN Secretary General - New York, UN Headquarters, July 28, 1997‎

Dear Mr. Koffi Annan!

Firstly, I would like to thank you for kind words you addressed to me and to Republic of Azerbaijan that I represent here. I am very pleased to visit the USA under the invitation of Bill Clinton, US President and to meet UN Secretary General in New York. Mr. Koffi Annan, I congratulate you cordially once again on the occasion of your election to such a high post as the UN Secretary General and I wish you successes in settlement of global problems related with establishment of close relationships among world nations and maintenance of peace in the world.

I am very satisfied with warm reception in such an authoritative international organization and I evaluate the signing of Agreement on Absolute Ban of Nuclear Tests as a historical event and I state that the independent Republic of Azerbaijan is a peaceful country and it respects all legal norms accepted by world community.

The most painful problem of the Republic of Azerbaijan - the UN member - is occupation of some 20 percent of territory as the result of aggression of Armenian armed forces, harsh living conditions of more than 1 million citizens that were forced to leave their homelands. In the result of this aggression the economy and culture of Azerbaijan were subject to heavy casualties and destruction, tens of thousands were killed, wounded and taken hostage.

Mr. Secretary General, it is enough to look at the map of Azerbaijan in order to have a clear idea on suffered damage and getting familiarized with situation. The total of occupied territory of Azerbaijan makes some 16 thousand square km, and Daghlig Garabagh constitutes only 4 thousand square. Despite all of this Azerbaijan adheres to the peaceful settlement of this conflict. Unfortunately, Armenia ignores the appropriate resolutions of the UN Security Council for resolution of this conflict and keeps territories of Azerbaijan under occupation. But Azerbaijan doesn't give up its efforts for peaceful settlement of this conflict. For this purpose it keeps the regulations of Agreement on cease-fire signed with Armenia in 12th May, 1992 and we will keep them furthermore. We appreciate highly the principles for peaceful resolution of this conflict, determined at Lisbon Summit of Heads of the OSCE member-states in December of last year and on the basis of these principles we are ready to take concrete steps. We want soon release of territories of Azerbaijan from occupation, return of our refugees to their homelands and restitution of territorial integrity of our Republic, for this purpose we put always peaceful initiatives forward. But Armenia doesn't want to give up its aggressive intentions and ignores principles adopted by world community.

Dear Mr. Secretary General, I would like to inform you that we are very pleased that the OSCE Minsk Group is co-chaired with three the most authoritative powers of the world - USA, Russia and France and we consider that joint statement signed by presidents Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and Jacque Chirac in Denver is an essential step taken towards soon resolution of this conflict.

I would like to remind especially illegal arms deliver from Russia to Armenia. This issue must be subject of serious concern of international organizations, especially that of the United Nations. Because it is not secret that in the conditions when a long-lasting cease-fire established in the war, acquiring of huge volume of arms by Armenia threatens peaceful resolution of this conflict and establishment of peace in the region.

It is only Azerbaijan among former Soviet Republics that doesn't host military bases and armed forces of any foreign country. Doesn't this fact itself prove that Azerbaijan enjoys a genuine independence? I declare once more that the independence of Azerbaijan is eternal, irreversible and steadfast.

Currently the social-political situation of Azerbaijan is stable, great works for civil and democratic state building and reforms are carried out. We achieved a lot of successes on the way of integration of the economy of our country that selected the market economy based model with that of world community.

The contracts signed with authoritative oil companies from different countries on joint exploration of oil fields located at Azerbaijani sector of Caspian Sea opened wide possibilities for joint use of abundant natural resources of Azerbaijan. Investment of large capitals to our country will result in establishment of new enterprises, and consequently, opening of new jobs. I declare that the doors of Azerbaijan are opened for the foreign businessmen and all favorable conditions for their activity in Azerbaijan are made available.

Dear Mr. Koffi Annan!

Stating my satisfaction with the current status of relationships of our country with different UN bodies, I highly appreciate the relief actions conducted in Azerbaijan within the frames of UN Development Program and I underline the importance of works that are being done for declaration of Sumgayit a free trade zone.

Mr. Koffi Annan! At the end of our meeting I invite you - the UN Secretary General - to visit Azerbaijan.

Mr. Secretary General, allow me to present you a fine Azerbaijani carpet on behalf of our Republic.