Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, talks and makes a speech at the meeting with high officials of Caterpillar Company – Chicago, Hotel Hyatt Regency, August 5, 1997

El Russi: Your Excellency, President Heydar Aliyev! I want to thank you once more for finding time to meet us. We feel greatly honored to welcome you in Chicago of the State of Illinois.

Mr. President, we would like very much that you visit one of the enterprises of our Caterpillar Company, but we know that your schedule is very tense. We shall be very much honored if you and the members of your delegation visit one of our enterprises.

Heydar Aliyev: I would like to visit one of your enterprises. But you see that I have no time at all. even five minutes. I suppose that our cooperation will continue, on my next visit I shall fulfill your request in my next visit…

El Russi: Thank you Mr. President!

Warry Stabs:  Mr. President, yesterday in your speech you said that you feel very proud of the birth of your grandson, you are very glad. When we presented you a vase as a gift, you said that you will present it to your grandson. We decided that in the early years of you grandson he will not need it, therefore we decided to give you this toy which will be useful to him. We have here a bulldozer and to caps for him.

I am very pleased that today I meet the representatives of your company. Caterpillar is a very popular, influential company in the world. You do much work in all the corners of the world. I heard many things about Caterpillar even 10 years ago. When I was in Moscow and worked the first deputy-prime minister in the Soviet Union, I knew well that Caterpillar was cooperating closely with the USSR. At that time, you were doing many things in the Soviet Union. I knew them, I was aware of everything.

 Now I am President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. I think about the interests of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan. I think that our cooperation with your company is of great importance. Irrespective of our desire, you have already joined this cooperation.

 Your information here today shows that the contracts signed by us with the oil companies of the U.S. and other companies since 1994 have created conditions for many USA companies and companies of other countries to take a constructive part in the implementation of these contracts. Many people thought then that if we sign contracts with such companies like Amoco, Chevron, Pennzoil, Unocal, Mobil, Exxon, McDermott and others, then we must cooperate only with those companies. But as I know and as it is evident from your information here today, each contract has attracted various companies, mostly the USA companies, and they are signing contracts collectively. It is quite natural. We think that there is no other way to carry out the contracts, because a single company is not able to do everything connected with the realization of this or that contract.

 Thus, the companies of foreign countries are coming and will come to Azerbaijan. Our duty is to create all necessary conditions for their functioning. Your information today is an evidence that Azerbaijan has really opened its doors widely to the world companies. There are favorable conditions in Azerbaijan for business and cooperation. An independent economy is being formed in Azerbaijan; any company can come and occupy its own place there.

 I knew that Caterpillar was doing business in Azerbaijan. But perhaps I knew only five per cent of the information you supplied now. The other 95per cent learned from you. For example, you said that you have a big office in Baku, the floor of which is 1500 square meters, and your representative Genj Aslan is working in our republic. But I do not know where your office is. I simply want to say that we have such a freedom, such an independence that it is easy for foreign companies to came to our country and join different organizations to do their work. We never apply any restriction to the activities of any company. We never apply control on their activities as in the past times. I think that it must be as it is.

 Yesterday in my speech, I noted that there is a freedom of activities in Azerbaijan. Your activities in Azerbaijan are a visual proof of what I said.

 I met the president of your company yesterday. He also made a speech at the reception. But only today and here, I understood exactly what the present state of Caterpillar in Azerbaijan is and what the future of its cooperation in Azerbaijan is.

 You have paved the way to Azerbaijan yourself. I support it. If in future you need my assistance I am ready to render it.

 Construction of gas-compressor stations is very important for us. I am well aware of it. I control this process. But I did not know that Caterpillar was taking part in it. Of course, Caterpillar is a big family. The companies in its composition are involved in various spheres of work. I congratulate you. I tell it once more that 1 fully support your company. I believe that you will do a lot of work in Azerbaijan in future as well.

 You know that we have signed 9 contracts with the oil companies of foreign companies. We signed the first contract in 1994. Our activities are not restricted only to oil developments and the oil industry. We have many things to do in other areas, too. I hope that you will and must do many things in other spheres, as well. Therefore, our partnership is a long-term partnership. You are our partner. We shall create all necessary conditions for the work of your company in our republic.

 I think that as a partner of Azerbaijan, your duty is to propagate Azerbaijan in the United States more and more. You see, you witness the scope of freedom in Azerbaijan. You must disseminate this information in the USA widely, wherever it is possible. Of course, I do not urge you to go CNN and speak about it, , though it is also possible.

 You know that one of the problems that we are facing is the repeal of Section 907 to the "Freedom Support Act" adopted by the USA Congress. Yesterday I spoke to you about it in detail. You know our condition. You know that our greatest problem is the peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Azerbaijan can not be blamed in anything connected with this conflict. We have not attacked Armenia. We have no territorial claims to Armenia. Armenia claims to our territory. Armenia has made an attempt to annex the Nagorno-Karabakh province, which is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Therefore Armenia has waged a war against Azerbaijan.

 The duty of each country is to defend its territory, the motherland. We do the same. That is why we cannot be blamed in this conflict. I said it yesterday, because of some reasons and due to the assistance of a number of states to Armenia the armed forces of the latter have occupied 20 per cent of the Azerbaijani territory. One million people in the occupied territories have fled and become refugees and displaced persons. They live in tent camps in very hard conditions. Now you see what kind of injustice was done to Azerbaijan in 1992. We have been subjected to an armed aggression and we have been punished by the Congress. Have you ever witnessed such an injustice?

 Of course, it has reasons. We know that there is a strong, influential Armenian lobby in the USA. In 1992 when Section 907 was adopted, not everybody knew Azerbaijan in the USA well. Through the propaganda, the Armenian lobby managed to make the Congress adopt such an unjust decision. For several years, we have been trying to repeal this Section. We want to prove that we are friends of the USA.

 The USA has great economic interests in Azerbaijan, we fully satisfy these interests. The USA has also great political interests in the Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, as well. In such a case is it fair to commit such an injustice against Azerbaijan?

 I am in the USA on an official visit already for 10 days. I had many meetings, held many negotiations. I am very pleased that all my meetings, negotiations had a positive effect. In my meetings in the White House and in the Congress, and in other circles I became convinced once more that the people here already know the truth. The mass media also knows the truth.

You know that Congressman King has submitted a bill to the Congress for the repeal of Section 907. Now it is necessary that the Congress vote for it. If a large group of congressmen sign the bill, support it before it is discussed at the Congress this problem may be solved in the nearest following months. We have been given promises by many people. And now my request of you is to join your efforts fully for the solution of this problem.

 Caterpillar has many great friends in the Congress. You have close relations with many Congressmen. You must make them understand that they are to act fairly. We do not want to force anyone, we simply want everything to be just. If this problem is approached fairly, objectively, disinterestedly, Section 907 may soon be repealed. I invite you to cooperate with us in this issue.

 It is necessary to put an end to the Armenian- Azerbaijan conflict, to solve it peacefully. I call you to cooperate with us in this issue, as well. I ask you to make use of all your opportunities. We shall make long- term cooperation with you in the 21st century. For this, it is necessary to establish peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. There must be peace and stability in Azerbaijan, and in the region wholly. Measures must be taken to prevent the beginning of the war again. This is our aim. Thank you ever so much.

 The document was taken from the edition “Together towards the New Century”