Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the official reception organized by the French embassy to Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 206th anniversary of the French revolution, the national holiday of France - Gulustan Palace, July 14, 1995

Distinguished Mr. Ambassador!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I congratulate you on the 206th anniversary of the French revolution, the Bastille Day. I wish you, the French people and government happiness and successes. The French revolution of the 14th of July occupies a prominent place in the world history. The 14th of July revolution and the changes carried out by the French in the aftermath paved a great way for democracy, protection of human rights, freedom of citizens all over the world. Thus, the French revolution enjoys great respect and appreciation in the world.

Having great traditions, the French Republic has made significant contributions to the world civilization over 206 years, while the French people have had a glorious way of development, created a mighty, democratic state protecting human rights and become an example for all the nations. The French hold an important place in the world history. The French people have made great contributions to the world science, culture and society. Therefore, the French people always enjoy great respect and appreciation. On this day, on behalf of the citizens of Azerbaijan I express my respect and appreciation to the historical service of the French people and send them my best wishes.

Establishing an independent state and a secular, legal society based on democratic principles, the Republic of Azerbaijan always tries to use the path and experience of the French people. It is my pleasure to note that the French Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan maintain close relations, which are getting stronger and developing day by day.

One of the first foreign embassies to have opened in Azerbaijan after the declaration of independence was the embassy of France. As Mr. Jean Perren already noted, he has been working as an ambassador here and serving to the development of the relations between France and Azerbaijan for nearly four years. The relations between France and Azerbaijan have resulted in meetings and documents signed between the heads of state.

At the invitation of President of France, Mr. Francois Mitterand, I paid a visit to Paris as President of Azerbaijan in December 1993 and had very productive meetings at high level. I had sincere conversations with Mr. Mitterand; as a result, we signed several documents on friendship, cooperation, as well as other issues. I consider it an important stage in the relations between France and Azerbaijan.

At the invitation of the state of France, I visited Paris on May 8 and took part in celebration ceremonies on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the victory over fascism. I met the French officials, had discussions with them and witnessed the country’s achievements.

The state, government and society of France is really a great example of democracy. We are aware of it and have witnessed it many times when being in France. I arrived in Paris in the evening on May 7. The elections had just ended in France and Jacques Chirac has been reelected president. We witnessed how excitingly the French people and the supporters of newly elected Jacques Chirac were celebrating it; we saw how people are free and live in democracy in France. France is a free country indeed.

Fortunately, I negotiated with the respected political figure Francois Mitterand, who had presided over France for 14 years and also got an opportunity to meet the newly elected president of France Jacques Chirac and congratulated him for his election. The French customs and traditions, including the state-building traditions are evaluable. I saw how highly human is respected in France: the ex-president Francois Mitterand and newly elected president Jacques Chirac took part in the celebration ceremony together. The French people congratulated both Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chirac, expressed its respect and esteem to them. This is really the most brilliant manifestation of democracy. It should be an example for us. We should apply it in our country. We should effectively use the French Revolution, the development path of the French people and the present experience of the French society in the establishment and development of statehood, of society and of democratic principles in Azerbaijan.

It is a pleasure for me to note that the heads of state of France make their efforts for settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which is the most painful problem of our country; as stated by Mr. Ambassador today, they continue their activities within the framework of the Minsk Group of OSCE for peaceful solution of the problem. On this holiday I express my hope that the state of France, new president Jacques Chirac and other high-ranking officials will not give up their efforts directed to the solution of the problem.

The 14th of July is a good date. The French revolution happened in 1789 and has been benefitting for 206 years. The 14th of July is a happy date. I congratulate you all, the French people, all who have assembled here on the occasion of this important date and wish you long life, the French people successes in future. I congratulate you and raise my glass in honor of the French people, state, and government. Thank you.

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani-French relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - Europe