From the talk of President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with the chairman of World Health Organization - 31 March, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: You are welcome to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has established today good contacts with the World Health Organization as an independent state. Our minister informs me that the contacts between your organization and Azerbaijan are of great benefit and very efficient. I am very pleased with it.

Your organization is the oldest one. It is certainly one of the most important organizations for all the people. Health of people is one of the global problems in the world. Therefore, your field of activity gains overall respect and we also approach it with great esteem.

On the whole, I am satisfied that Azerbaijan has entered your organization after gaining the state independence as well as all other international organizations. We can already feel now that your organization renders definite assistance to us in struggle with some diseases in Azerbaijan and systematization of public health work. At the same time, we hope that this cooperation will become more efficient in the future. I think that your visit to Azerbaijan and closer acquaintance with Azerbaijan will certainly assist our future cooperation. You are welcome.

Mark Danzon (chief of European Regional Bureau of the World Health Organization): Mr. President, I express You deep appreciation for You have received me today. It is a great honour for us, the World Health Organization, that You receive us.

Mr. President, we know about Your authority in the world and the work implemented by You in the field of public health. We also know that You have carried out the relentless struggle with many diseases. I can cite as an example the following fact: when we struggled against poliomyelitis in 1995, You also helped to do a mass vaccination of the population against this disease, to be more precise, You headed implementation of this measure. I can say that in the conditions when great changes take place in the republic owing to such a personality as You, significant work should be done in the field of public health too. Of course, this process has also a technical side. However, putting health in the forefront in the country led by such a personality as You is of great significance.

Mr. President, I must tell You with satisfaction that I have been re-elected to this position. But even before my appointment to this post, I had excellent links with your republic, i.e. with the Ministry of Health. I assure You once again that these links will reach a higher level and we will attain to even closer cooperation.

Our organization has a general joint program of cooperation with Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan. I will watch closely implementation of this plan into life. I will do my utmost in this connection so that attention and assistance to your republic would rise still more as a result of this cooperation. In particular, our cooperation in struggle against infectious diseases will rise to a higher level.

Mr. President, I must say that your country has achieved excellent results and progress in many fields of health protection. Struggle with malaria is one of them. Your country has attained great success in this field. Moreover, your progress is evident even in comparison with some European countries and it inspires us.

You know that we feel great concern over the fact that tuberculosis goes up both in Europe and in the world on the whole. Your republic has taken a serious stand in the struggle with this disease carrying out a fundamental fight against it. Although my present visit to Azerbaijan is very short, I have learned a lot about what was done here on the whole and in the field of health protection. I want to say and I stress it with satisfaction that You are a leader of all these accomplishments. I am very pleased with one more thing and it is the legislative base which has already been created in your country in the field of health protection, in the field of struggle against diseases.

Mr. President, in conclusion allow me to express You my admiration, respect and say that I am very quiet. I am very quiet because whoever comes to Azerbaijan and takes interest in health care here, this person will find a comfort having seen the serious attitude of a leader as You who focuses such a serious attention to the problems of health protection in his country. And we understand it perfectly since the field of health protection is, as You have mentioned, one of the most important problems for a human. And Your such an attention towards this work raises our internal comfort. I express gratitude for the work carried out by You. I express gratitude that You implement with honour Your duty before the people and state once again that if any of our representatives comes here and witnesses all these deeds in the country, he will feel an internal comfort.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank You, I appreciate You. Your kind words and opinion over the work accomplished in Azerbaijan are very valuable for us. But I think that health protection is such a field which needs constant improvement. Even if any disease is prevented, we cannot rest on our laurels. We should approach it seriously not to have it resumed again.

For instance, malaria was fully liquidated in Azerbaijan in due time. But excessive confidence in some period and inattention towards this work led to a new outbreak of the illness. We thought there was no longer such a problem in Azerbaijan. But it arose again. I say it in order that the Ministry of Health would not rest on its laurels.

The high evaluation given by You certainly inspires us and our public health employees should be also inspired. But at the same time, I repeat: "You are a doctor and specialist in this field, so You know it better than me, but I also know just as a human that we should be constantly on guard to prevent new outbreaks of the diseases that have already been eliminated. And therefore, You should strictly control us in the period of our cooperation and certainly, render assistance. And we should try to make use of this assistance more efficiently and eliminate all the infectious diseases in Azerbaijan. We can do it although we have definite problems - our minister has probably told You about them. And despite it, we together with You can prevent and liquidate all the infectious diseases in Azerbaijan.

I appreciate You for the assistance rendered by You until now. I hope our cooperation will be henceforth more fruitful.

The "Azerbaijan newspaper", 1 April, 2000