Speech of President Heydar Aliyev at Gulustan Palace at the reception on the occasion of the 22th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran - February 9, 2001

Distinguished Mr. Ambassador!

Distinguished Iranian guests!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I heartily congratulate all the friendly Iranian people on the occasion of the 22th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, wish you peace and prosperity.

Now the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have attained a new character. The history of an bilateral relations is very ancient. It`s so ancient that even our scientists can not give its precise definition. But one thing is known that we are not only neighbours, but lived together for a long time. Our historical roots, the same of the religion, spiritual values have always joined and brought us together.

Iran is a great and powerful country. After the Islamic Revolution many changes have taken place in Iran and the country has developed more. Now the economy, welfare of people, science, culture have developed in Iran. We appreciate all of them as a friendly country and wish the Iranian nation the successes.

I am very glad that today the delegation of the Ardabil province of Iran is in Azerbaijan. Ardabil province heads this delegation. I especially welcome the guests from Ardabil and wish them good days. I know that they have held some business meetings and will continue their affair. All of them are a small part of our relations, and the relations between the two countries will develop in the field of economy, culture, science, humanitarian sphere.

Ardabil is a very dear and holy for us. You name it Central Azerbaijan, or not?

Ahad Qezai: Its name is Ardabil.

Heydar Aliyev: Ardabil is a great province. Ardabil is the home of Shah Ismail Xatai, his grave is there. We have relations with all the provinces of Iran and wish to continue them in future. Especially with the provinces near the Azerbaijani-Iranian boundaries. For example, the Eastern and Western Azerbaijan, that is, Tebriz, Urmia, Gilan which are near to us from geographical point of view. Now the boundaries are open, the distance is short, that`s why people may drink tea here in the morning, eat kabab in Gilan in the afternoon, eat pilaf in Ardabil in the everning. Today it is possible. This is our great achievement. It is the yield of the Iranian Islamic Revolution for the nation and at the same time an obvious indicator and example of the independence of Azerbaijan.

We are proud that Azerbaijan became independent at the end of 1991 and its nation lives freely. The process of establishment of a democratic and legal state is going in Azerbaijan. Democracy develops in Azerbaijan. Our country develops on the principles of the market economy and tries to establish close relations with the world economy, to get advantage from it. We achieved good results in these fields.

A historical event has taken place for Azerbaijan in the recent years. Azerbaijan was admitted to the EU. This is great estimate to the protection of democracy, human rights and political, legal, economic, social reforms conducted in Azerbaijan.

Each state has its own rights. Azerbaijan follows this way and do it in future. But we never think that one country should direct or advise to other. One of the main factors of the independence and liberty of the nation is that they and the government elected by nation choose their state system and policy. At last we achieved our goal and follow our road.

At the same time we are adherent to peace. We have relations with our neighbours on the principles of good terms, kindness, mutually profitable cooperation in future. We do not interfere in the internal affair of any country and consider it inadmissible. Because, as I said, every nation, every country determines its future, state system and fortune itself.

At the same time we respect the state structure of every nation. This is the main priority of our internal and external policy.

The independent Azerbaijan established friendly, cooperative, fraternal relations with Islamic Republic of Iran on these principles and will obey them in future. The humanitarian relations were expanded between the two countries. These are connected both with the present and the past. Before there were no boundaries between the two states. The people easily visited each other. There are many Azerbaijanis whose ancestors lived and grew in Iran or vice versa. In the past we lived together and this fact determined it.

Our people always missed the time when the boundaries will open and they will meet their relatives. Now it`s possible, many such relations have been established in the last 10 years. Many Azerbaijanis came to Iran, found their relatives, the graves of their ancestors and holy places. At the same time people came Azerbaijan from Iran and found their relatives. This is our historical ancient. We should always remember it. Because if we forget the history, not appreciate it, did not note its shortages, we should not establish our relations and works in future.

The Islamic Republic of Iran occupies a special place in our foreign policy. Trade, humanitarian relations are very broad and there are good achievements in the field of science, culture, education. We want it to be permanent, durable and develop. We often visit each other. I visited Tehran twice in the last 4-5 years. Now I have to visit Iran at the invitation of distinguished Mr. Hatemi. We simply could not fix its date with the ambassador. I will visit Iran as soon as we fix its date.

We agreed that after my visit Mr. Hatemi also will pay an official visit to Azerbaijan. It is particularly important, because Mr. Hatemi has never been in Azerbaijan. I have been in Iran many times. All these are very important for the development of our relations. Such kind of meetings are useful for both sides, it clarifies some issues and develops the relations. That`s why I received the invitation with pleasure and will materialize it.

The achievements of Iran in the last 22 years are obvious. Iran develops, the welfare of people improves. Democracy is being established in Iran. When the presidential elections will be held?

Ehed Qezai: Mr. President after 5 or 6 months later.

Heydar Aliyev: In 5-6 months. Some days ago I learned that there are 5-6 candidates. One of them is a woman, isn`t?

Ehed Qezai: Yes.

Heydar Aliyev: You see, many changes have taken place in Iran. Five years ago the candidacy of a woman in Iran was impossible. We see, observe all of them and highly appreciate them. The goals of Azerbaijan and Iran are the further development of wishes of the nation. These wishes are that the two countries became friends, fraternal as was before. The relations have to strengthen, expand and develop.

I convey my best regards to the Iranian nation on the occasion of the holiday. I congratulate the Iranians for the achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I hope that Iran going on its way will develop and support its position in the world community. I congratulate all of you once more and wish you good health, happiness, prosperity and peace to the Iranian nation.

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, February 10, 2001

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Azerbaijan - Asia