Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the ambassadors and members of the diplomatic missions of foreign countries in Ankara - February 9, 1994

You probably have information about Azerbaijan. But it would be important to know some from me. 

There is socio-political stability in Azerbaijan now. Internal disorders which reigned in Azerbaijan some months ago have been overcome. As regards foreign policy, Azerbaijan takes keeping mutual and equal contacts with all the countries as a guiding principle and we conduct our foreign policy in this direction. Azerbaijan tries to participate in all the international organizations as many as possible and acts as an independent state in the international arena. Our republic establishes independent, bilateral contacts with all the states, at the same time pay great attentions to contacts with the neighbor countries. As you know, a history of many centuries connects Azerbaijan with Turkey. Azerbaijan was first recognized by the Republic of Turkey. National roots, traditions, language and cultural similarity of the Azerbaijani and Turkish peoples make the relations between the two states more important. 

Azerbaijan became a member of the Community of Independent States. As one of the 12 former Soviet states, Azerbaijan follows the way of strengthening of economic, cultural, scientific and technical contacts with these countries which were established historically. 

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan derives from the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan for six years. The issue, which emerged as “the Karabakh conflict” has changed into bloody conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan now. As a result of this war, the Armenian armed forces, profiting from some opportunities, occupied 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territories. The former Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast is completely under control of the Armenian armed forces. Besides, several regions adjacent to the former Nagorno-Karabakh Oblast were also occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Armenian armed forces controls a part of the Azerbaijan-Iran borders too. As a result of this, more than one million Azeris were forced out of their homes and lands and live under hard conditions. 

Azerbaijan wants to finish this war, to settle this problem peacefully using all the opportunities. For this goal, Azerbaijan on the first hand hopes much to the opportunities of the United Nations, its Security Council, tries to use the mediating opportunities of the CSCE, its Minsk Group, big states, including the USA, Turkey and Russia and a number of diplomatic steps were taken towards this direction. Unfortunately all of this has not yielded any results so far, bloodshed continues. 

It is necessary to know that the war is fought on the Azerbaijani lands. Armenia has not lost an inch of its territory in this war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

We make efforts to end this war. I note once more that we give priority in this direction only and only to peaceful way and peace negotiations. I suppose that the world community should make more efforts for peaceful settlement of this issue and should end the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and ensure the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. 

Unfortunately, the Armenian party wants to settle this issue with force and retain the occupied lands and seize more territories of Azerbaijan. Thus, it tries to impose its claims to Azerbaijan. Undoubtedly, we cannot agree to it in any way. 

We take necessary steps to defend the lands of Azerbaijan along with preferring peace negotiations. Opportunities were created for reliable defense of the Azerbaijani territories in recent months and I suppose that we shall gain more opportunities. But for your being diplomats, people of foreign policy, I want to say once more that Azerbaijan does not want war, but tries to end it. A condition for that is withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from our occupied territories. The territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan must be ensured and negotiations must be conducted between Armenia and Azerbaijan to establish peace. 

I noted at the beginning of my speech that stability was established in Azerbaijan. At the same time I want to say that Azerbaijan intends to implement state-building, changes in the society only but only by democratic means. We follow the way of forming and developing Azerbaijan as a legal and democratic state. 

Using all opportunities of the democracy in the world, Azerbaijan will follow the way of democracy further. We intend to build a legal, democratic, secular and civilized society in Azerbaijan. A multiparty society system was established in the republic and all the parties act completely free. All citizens enjoy the same rights irrespective of their nationality, religion and language. Protection of human rights is provided and all necessary steps will be taken in this sphere. In brief, Azerbaijan follows the way of democracy. 

In the sphere of economy, our way is a way of free economy and by implementing economic reforms, we can approach Azerbaijan economy to the economies of the advanced countries. 

I suppose that my brief information on Azerbaijan is creating some imagination about Azerbaijan, so I don’t want to take your time much. 

Translated from “Azerbaijan” newspaper, February 12, 1994