From the talk of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the delegation headed by Terry de Maure, President of the French oil company Total, in the Presidential Palace, Baku, November 6, 1998


(The delegation included member of the French parliament Mr. Lalouche, former Secretary-General of the UN Perez de Cuellar, former State Secretary for Energy and Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK Lord Lawson, former Minister for Energy in the government of Charles de Gaulle and former president of the European Commission Mr. Ortoli, president of Total for oil exploration and extraction Mr. Daniel Valo, vice- president of Total Mr. Aziz Ait Said, general director of Total in Azerbaijan Mr. Patrick Lantigne and others)

Heydar Aliyev: I am pleased with your delegation and its members. I hope that you will get to know Azerbaijan closer during this visit.


Terry de Maure: Mr. President, I congratulate you on your victory in the presidential elections. I think that during your new tenure you will develop your country.

Heydar Aliyev: Azerbaijan gained its independence just seven years ago. Besides, Azerbaijan has a lot of problems of the transitional period. Another factor which impedes to deepen these problems is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

…Four years ago we stopped the war and reached a cease-fire agreement. There is no war now, but peace has not been reached either. We want to solve all these issues peacefully, via negotiations. We rely on the Minsk Group of OSCE and its co-chairs Russia, France and the USA in the solution of the issue.

…Having been reelected, I understand how hard all these problems are. But I am zealous to work to solve the problems of my country.

The signature of a big contract between Total and SOCAR in the Elysian Palace, Paris last January shows the development of our cooperation. You can discuss your thoughts and views on that with Natig Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev, the heads of SOCAR.

Terry de Maure: Mr. President, Mr. Ortoli and Mr. Lalouche are very close to President Jacques Chirac and his advisors on foreign policy. I think that they will inform Mr. Jacques Chirac about your thoughts as soon as they return to France.

Heydar Aliyev: A statement on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, which is of historic importance, is a significant step to export the Caspian oil to the world markets. I suppose that you will be interested in it, too. Nowadays in Istanbul the delegation of SOCAR is negotiating with the Ministry for Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey on the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

Total, Elf Aquitaine are engaged in the oil industry. Azerbaijan has a diversified economy and great opportunities for cooperation. We are implementing the privatization programme into life. There are opportunities for foreign investors to buy property and make investments in Azerbaijan. Some French companies have already done it. For example, a brewery in Baku was purchased by a French company; we are expecting its opening. There are big opportunities in wine-making. I know that France has a historical experience in this field. "Castel" and other French companies operate here. Cooperation in industry, agriculture and banking is also possible.

Former Secretary-General of the UN Perez de Cuellar: Mr. President, I visited Baku 30 years ago. Then I used to work as an ambassador to Moscow and visited Baku as a tourist. I took a nice present from here. I congratulate you on your reelection. You have achieved a lot of successes.

Heydar Aliyev: Many changes have taken place during the recent 30 years. We gained our independence from the Soviet Union. I headedAzerbaijan 30 years ago, too. Later I worked in Moscow, then became President of the independent Azerbaijan. I am very pleased with your visit.

Member of the French parliament Mr. Lalouche: Mr. President, I want to convey to you the greetings by Mr. Jacques Chirac. We`ll help you in the solution of the problem. You mentioned that Mr. Chirac is active in this issue. We are always ready to assist you.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. I always rely on France. Before France became co-chair of the Minsk Group, Mr. Jacques Chirac told me that having historical relations with Armenia, France has more means to influence it. I hope that Mr. Jacques Chirac, as well as, the French parliament, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be engaged in this issue more seriously. Please convey my greetings and best regards to Mr. Jacques Chirac.

Member of the Board of Total Lord Lawson: I am the former State Secretary for Energy of the UK. We have been working actively on the oil production in the North Sea. Later I became Chancellor of the Exchequer; I was responsible for privatization. Thus, I attentively observe the development of your country. I wish you good luck.

Heydar Aliyev: You know that we cooperate with the UK. BP has earned a place here. During my official visit to the UK in July, I led important negotiations with Premier Tony Blair and others, we signed significant documents.

"The oil strategy of Heydar Aliyev, for the independence and welfare of Azerbaijan", 2nd volume, Baku, 2001

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