Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the Yalta summit of the heads of the GUUAM member - states - July 20, 2002

Dear heads of states, friends!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Let me express my sincere gratitude to organizers of this summit and first of all, our friend, the President of Ukraine Leonid Danilovich Kuchma for hospitality, creation of excellent condition for our work in this fine place of Crimea.

It is pleasant to me to note that the Yalta summit is already the fifth meeting of heads of the GUUAM states, and at the same time, the second summit which is held in the territory of the member state of our Organization, beyond the framework of other international events. By the way, both these summits have been held in territory of Ukraine, in beautiful Yalta.

We have created the unique structure of regional mutual activities in which all five countries possess the equal rights and opportunities. I think nobody has doubt in a generality of our interests and that we are necessary to each other.

Within the last years, our Union has confirmed its viability and shown significant potential for cooperation. The solid basis has been laid down for development of the cooperation originating from historical, traditionally close ties between our peoples. Purposes and main directions of our joint activities have been defined.

In today`s meeting, alongside with others, two documents, which will promote strengthening our relations and cooperation with partners inside the organization - "Regulations on Council of Ministers for foreign affairs of the GUUAM states" and "Temporary regulations on Information office of GUUAM in Kiev" will be signed. I am sure that these bodies will play the important role in strengthening and development of our mutually advantageous cooperation.

Our meeting in Yalta is being convened during the responsible historical moment, during an epoch of deep changes, serious threats and great expectations, in condition of development of new architecture of security. Processes, occurring in the world, and first of all globalization, open new opportunities, simultaneously put new duties and requirements before our countries.

Our states, which have passed difficult struggle for independence of ten years, steadily follow a way of construction of the democratic societies based on principles of pre-eminence of law, political pluralism and market economy in the world system.

In this context, we consider cooperation within the limits of GUUAM as the possible factor which should promote strengthening the sovereignty and independence of our states, providing their steady development and growth of well-being of our people, integration into the world system.

On a way leading to achievement of objects, we face with numerous threats and menace from the viewpoint of safety of our states. I mean such phenomena and actions as aggressive separatism, terrorism, religious and national extremism, interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, the armed aggression, occupation of territories, illegal traffic in arms, narcobusiness. All these threats were most brightly showed in armed confrontations which have been perpetrated in territory of three states out of five members.

Therefore, we should express our deep concern concerning absence of real achievements on a way of peace settlement to these conflicts. The observable tendency of reconciliation with behavior of aggressors and separatists, and sometimes an obvious connivance to attempts to fix and legalize a situation in a zone of the conflict, aspiration of some intermediaries to "easy", so-called settlement, on the basis of "happened fact" and a recognition of ethnic cleanings and occupations, only lead to increase of intensity and postpone the prospects of originally fair settlement of conflicts.

I also should say that the more time passes, the international organizations, which are engaged in settlement of these conflicts, separate groups of the leading countries, which were united for the settlement of conflicts, the more often, unfortunately, take such position - a position which cannot be acceptable, a position which cannot provide the settlement of conflicts on the basis of international law, the sovereignty of each country, its territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers. I especially dwelled on it, because, on the one hand, we hear statements by all international organizations and by the great states about necessity of observance of principles of the international law on providing the sovereignty of each state, territorial integrity of each country, inviolability and indestructibility of frontiers. Yes, such statements are made often, but at the same time, when a practical work is carried out concerning the resolution of a conflict, many of them, unfortunately, recently try to convince us that it is necessary to reconcile the happened fact, it is necessary to find any ways. And which ways can be except observance of principles of international law? If principles of international law have been approved by the United Nations Organization, OSCE and other international organizations, in which we trust and to which we cherish great hopes, which declare firmness of the principles, and in practice advise us to look for any other ways, then a certain double standard turns out. It seems to me the most dangerous tendency, which we start to observe, just consists of this question. If this tendency is not stopped, in general it can be put an end to existence of the international law, it will be in hands of different strong or superior countries which have gained certain superiority for some reasons. But we cannot agree with it. I considered necessary to take your time a little bit to dwell on this very important question. And this question is at this stage - I have the bases to speak about it, as having an experience on regulation of conflicts in the Southern Caucasus by peace way - this tendency, unfortunately, spreads more widely. We should stop it.

The standard norms and principles of international law, defined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act and both other documents and decisions of the United Nations and OSCE, are the basis on which the prompt peace settlement of conflicts should be based. The further infringement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders of the independent states will lead to even big accidents. Together with cherishing hope to the aid of the international community for the peace settlement, we should unite our efforts within the limits of GUUAM against these threats and creation of condition for the resolution of conflicts.

From the very beginning, our countries have attracted attention of the world community to seriousness of these threats and inadmissibility of their connivance and search of ways to remove them easily. Events of September 11, 2001 shook all over the world. The acts of terrorism, accomplished in the USA on this day, have evidently shown all of us our general weakness before the international terrorism and the extremism representing the most serious threat to the world and safety in our planet.

Our states have joined the international coalition against terrorism from the very beginning. Azerbaijan has declared its participation in an antiterrorist coalition immediately and remains loyal to its position. Bringing its contribution to this struggle, our union has also acted with corresponding statements, condemning these barbarous acts of terrorism. However, we should not be satisfied with it.

In this connection, I wish to emphasize importance of documents which we will adopt today - "Declaration on joint efforts for providing stability and security in the region", and also the agreement related to cooperation in the field of struggle against terrorism, the organized crime and other dangerous crimes.

Our cooperation is grounded on the general interests finding its manifestation in many spheres. Economic cooperation takes special place among them within the limits of GUUAM. Our countries will receive invaluable advantage from development of mutually favorable trade and economic relations. I am sure that "Agreement on creation of a zone for free trade between the GUUAM states" which will be signed today, will serve as a good background.

Much will depend on perfection of national legislations in trade and economic and other proper spheres, improvement of practice in application of laws and implementation of accepted decisions. It is necessary to regulate activity of branch working groups, and also to support development of direct communications between businessmen and business-circles of our countries. "The Agreement on establishment of Business Council of the GUUAM member - countries", which will be represented to signing today, is devoted to the solution of these problems.

Cooperation in transport sphere plays great role in strengthening and development of our relations. This cooperation is based on a favorable geographical position of our states. We should carry out some other important works in order to provide effective and safe transport corridors functioning in space of GUUAM, through which TRACECA and other strategically significant routes pass. It is a question connected with not only development of a transport infrastructure and favorable condition for transit, but also prevention of any sort of illegal transfers via these corridors.

Dear colleagues!

The major elements of strengthening international positions of GUUAM are regulating political and practical cooperation within the limits of the international organizations and development of transregional projects in the above mentioned fields. We have already positive experience of mutual activities in the United Nations, OSCE, the Council of Europe, dialogue is conducted with other regional structures and countries, the attention from NATO and the European Union to GUUAM grows. These achievements should be developed in the future as well.

I am glad to see the guests, who are participating here, representing various international organizations and states. I consider that it is an obvious evidence for recognition of potential and authority of our union in the international community and confirms expediency of acceptance of "decision on the status of observers in GUUAM`s activity". This decision will promote expansion of geopolitic scale of GUUAM, strengthening opportunities and dynamics of its international contacts, creation and development of new frames of interstate and inter-regional cooperation.

An initiative by GUUAM about creation of a cultural corridor of Europe - Caucasus - Asia, which will serve development of exchanges in spheres of culture, religious, science, education, is the hopeful project within the limits of wide prospects of humanitarian cooperation. I believe that "protocol on cooperation in the field of culture", signed today, will give the necessary impulse to realization of this initiative.

Dear friends!

At the end, I would like to note that results of the present GUUAM summit are the best answer to all pessimistic opinions about weakness of our union. The documents, accepted today, are one more serious step on a way of development of GUUAM as an organization. Realization of the purposes and duties, defined in the final documents in present and previous summits of GUUAM, will lead not only to development of cooperation in political, commercial - economical, humanitarian and other areas, but also will strengthen positions of our states in the international community and allow bringing the worthy contribution to the integration process in the world.

Thank you, dear friends, for attention!