From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the President of the Development Association of International Cooperation of Japan– Tokyo, residence of the President of Azerbaijan, February 24, 1998

Mr. Toro,

Your sincere and friendly treatment pleased me very much. I express my gratitude to you for the interest of your company in establishing relations with the countries which have newly gained independence, including Azerbaijan with its peculiar position among these countries. I believe that the great potentials of Azerbaijan that is, its rich natural resources, including energy resources, its favorable strategic position, have attracted the attention of many countries of the world.

We chose the road of integration into the world economy, therefore, we opened our doors widely. The contracts signed with the greatest oil companies of the world will allow us make a good use of natural fuel resources in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea. The Japanese companies are engaged in this issue as well. I hope to extend the cooperation with them in future. In regard with the transition to the market relations several reforms have been carried out, the foreign trade has been liberated and the legal framework has been established for the investments by the foreign businessmen. There are also difficulties which the independent Republic of Azerbaijan faces. One of them is the military aggression of Armenia against our country and its grave consequences. But we strive to settle this conflict by peace and justice on the principles adopted at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE, and we rely on the support of the countries of the world, including Japan in the establishment of justice of our country. The transit routes are very important for the development of international trade. I highly appreciate the diplomacy pursued by Prime Minister Hashimoto regarding the recovery of the “Silk Road”. At the same time, I would like to mention that the Transcaucasian corridor that connects Europe with Central Asia is already functioning and yielding its fruits. I am sure that the international conference to be held in Baku, in May of this year with the presence of the delegations from 33 countries located on the “Silk Road” will contribute to the extension of foreign trade relations. Taking the advantage, I invite you to visit Azerbaijan.