Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev for the media after the signature of the Ukrainian - Azerbaijani intergovernmental documents - Kiev, Mary Palace, March 24, 1997

Mr. President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I and the delegation from Azerbaijan which accompany me feel a deep sense of pleasure and satisfaction for being in Ukraine, Kiev. From the moment of the arrival here we were surrounded by great care and warm welcome and hospitality. This is natural, because we established good and very friendly relations between our countries and peoples there, and they have developed in the course of the official visit of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma to Azerbaijan in the July of 1995 and our following meetings and discussions in various international organizations. These relations have been reflected in the documents, signed in Baku and in the documents, signed here today.

Today, President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and I had a very, cordial and open talk about the problems, on the relations between our countries, our cooperation and at the same time, on the problems of our country, Europe and the world, and in particular, on the CIS of which we are members. With all the above said, I completely agree with Leonid Kuchma and our views coincide in all the issues. This gives more confidence in the fact that we need to actively work together, to expand and deepen cooperation.

And the declaration on deepening and development of cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan, signed between the Presidents of Ukraine and Azerbaijan serves it. We attach great importance to the document on cooperation in the oil and gas industry. All other documents, of course, are no less important and create a good legal basis for the successful implementation of our cooperation.

The main outcome of the previous period, besides of many documents signed today, is the friendly relations between Ukraine and Azerbaijan, and we are determined to develop and strengthen them. They provide the further strengthening and development of the independence of our countries, their sovereignty, construction of a democratic, civil countries and the implementation of economic reforms in order to overcome the socio-economic difficulties of the transition period as soon as possible.

In all these matters we share the same views and opinions and the documents we have signed today will help us to carry out successful work in our countries, strengthen and develop our friendly relations.

Mr. Kuchma, I express my gratitude for the kind welcome, hospitality, sincerity and warmth shown to us, to me and the delegation accompanying me. I want to assure you that we shall be faithful to this friendship, to all the agreements and documents that have been signed.

Question: Are Ukraine and Azerbaijan strategic partners after signing a number of international documents?

Leonid Kuchma: if we take into account the visit of Heydar Aliyev, I have no doubt that Ukraine and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. The strategic partnership is not only in the economy, it is first of all in politics. In our policy we support each other by all the existing means for making our countries independent and sovereign not only declaratively, but in essence. And for that purpose we have to arrange our economic opportunities. I am pleased to announce that Ukraine will implement it into life.

Question: In regard with the signed documents, when the first Azerbaijani oil will be transported via Ukraine?

Heydar Aliyev: I think I have to answer this question first... You know that two pipelines are being built to export the early oil from Azerbaijan to the world markets. A pipeline built by us through the territory of Azerbaijan will provide the transportation of oil to Novorossiysk port of Russia on the Black Sea. The Russian side promised that soon they will take necessary measures in its territory and the pipeline will operate. The second pipeline will be built through the territory of Georgia till Supsa of the Black Sea. Construction of the pipeline began this month. A consortium of international oil companies, which carries the entire project on oil production in the "Azeri" and "Chirag" deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea, promises to complete the construction of the pipeline by the end of 1998. Once the pipeline is ready, it will start to transport the oil...

Leonid Kuchma: Heydar Aliyev gave comprehensive information, thus, I have nothing to add. I would only wish that all the plans in Azerbaijan were implemented. I would like to raise another question which Heydar Aliyev did not. It is in the fact that Azerbaijan, taking into account the great potentials of the Caspian Sea invites the Ukrainian side to take part in the future oil projects.

Thank you.