From the Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev with Secretary - General of NATO Javier Solana while being on his visit to Baku, Azerbaijan - September 30, 1998

Heydar Aliyev: Distinguished Mr. Javier Solana!

I cordially welcome you and I am pleased to see you again in Baku.

Javier Solana:  I am glad to come to Azerbaijan again. I am pleased to see you, the prominent political leader, and exchange views with you.

Heydar Aliyev:  I remember our meetings in Lisbon, Madrid, Baku, as well as in New-York during my first official visit to the United States.

Javier Solana:  I also remember those meetings. They are of great significance for establishing and strengthening cooperation between the independent Azerbaijan and the North Atlantic Alliance.

Heydar Aliyev: I also emphasize the importance of these relations. During my visit to Brussels in the May of 1994 and in 1996 I signed "Partnership for Peace" program in the headquarters of NATO and presented the document for joining to the program. Relations with NATO improve rapidly. Azerbaijan highly appreciates this cooperation and intends to further it in the years to come. In my opinion, Mr. Solana`s visit gives a chance to discuss some issues in this regard.

Javier Solana: I entirely share your views. I evaluate negotiations during this visit as a continuation and development of previous meetings. A number of events took place around the globe at the end of our century. Today this process is globalized, hence security isssues are on the focal point. It is possible to acquire more from the views exchanged with an experienced politician, like President Heydar Aliyev.

Heydar Aliyev: I think Mr. Javier Solana you know that political, economic, social, moral and psycological conditions have been set up for comprehensive development in Azerbaijan. All conditions have been established for the development of market economy. Along with setting up of new infrastructures, present infrastructures operate properly. In short, broad reforms have been carried out. All actions have been taken for integrating Azerbaiajn into the world community, market economy, secular, legal and democratic state building. To achieve security in the world at the end of our century is very crucial. Particularly, it is of great importance for Azerbaijan. The existence of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict not only threatens the security of our independent state, but also hampers the process of state building. Regardless of immense damage and of over a million IDPs, we make efforts to settle the conflict peacefully. It is more than four years that we achieved ceasefire. I further note the importance of settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in accordance with the three principles adopted in the Lisbon Summit of OSCE. You are aware of the activity of the Minsk Group of OSCE, and of the proposals made by the co-chairs-Russia, the U.S., and France. I hope that it will be possible to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Javier Solana: Mr. President, I carefully watched the successfully organized international conference in Baku on the restoration of historical Silk Road that was on the focal point of the world.

This conference was of utmost significance not only regionally, but also internationally, since it served the realization of invaluable initiative. Thus, I extend my appreciation to Mr. President Heydar Aliyev for initiating and for having the conference organized in Baku. Participation of high ranking delegates from more than 30 countries and international organizations in this prestigious conference proves that countries are willing to advance towards the future by holding close economic cooperation. It is not just an economic issue, but also an intention of achieving a security. I want to emphasize that cooperation is being established between Asia and Europe thanks to the wise and prescient policy of the President Heydar Aliyev. Implementation of the program will boost Azerbaijan`s prestige in the world community and help integrate its economy into the world economy.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Solana, I thank you for your kind words and for your high appreciation to international conference of Baku. With the restoration of historical Silk Way we establish a milestone of history at the crossroad of the third millennium. For the first time, delegates from 32 countries, including 9 heads of states, delegates of 13 international organizaions came together in Baku. All shared the same views on this project. It is worth mentioning that crucial economic issues have been discussed in a comprehensive way, and furthermore, important documents have been adopted aiming at maintaining peace and security in the areas that the Silk Road cross. Azerbaijan takes key actions in this regard. I think that the cooperation between the countries should serve to ensure security of peoples of the world, including the people of Azerbaijan.

Javier Solana: Mr. Heydar Aliyev, I share your views, and I am pleased that I had an efficient talk with you today. I look forward to meeting you again.

Heydar Aliyev: I extend my gratitude to you, Mr. Secretary - General, and I am sure that your visit and the negotiations conducted will be beneficial for the two involved parties.