From the talk of Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan with the delegation headed by Helmut Kutin, President of "SOS- Kinderdorf International" - Presidential Palace, July 20, 1999

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, I am greeting you in Azerbaijan and expressing my thanks to you for your attention and care for our country. Your organization has got world-wide fame and you realize good deeds in many countries. So you are well-known all over the world. Today with a great pleasure I appreciate your attention to Azerbaijan in this field, your aim to perform identical work you have done in other countries.

As a whole I have certain information on your activity in the world. I have also information on your initiative in Azerbaijan. However, I would like to listen to you.

Helmut Kutin: We are very happy to be received by the Azerbaijani President; he takes interest in our activities, supports us. We are happy that the Azerbaijani government- the Prime Minister, his deputies, also the ambassador pay great interest in this work. That`s why we have decided to build a children`s town also in Azerbaijan. That will be the first children`s town in this country, and we are starting our work with your blessing, your support. We really wanted to begin the work yesterday; but we could not, so we shall start tomorrow.

This year we are celebrating the semi-centennial of our organization. It was established by Mr. Meiner 50 years ago. Building of a children`s town in Azerbaijan is dedicated to the semi-centennial of the organization. Right now we have 6 million friends throughout the world and offices in 31 countries.

The friends of our organization in Germany have agreed with great pleasure to help the construction of a children`s town in Azerbaijan. However, support from the Azerbaijani side is also necessary for our work- We shall need people who will bring up and take care of children.

Organizing such work, our first president Mr. Meiner wanted that every child could have mother, siblings, home; they could live in same town, enjoy equal rights as the rest of children and be loved by the surrounding people.

Your Excellency, we are happy that your daughter has kindly agreed to become head of our organization here. We hope that one day we shall finish the construction of the town and you will visit it personally, children will meet and talk to you and get a real paternal care. We want to build "a town of hope, peace and mutual understanding" working together with you.

Mr. President, on behalf of our organization I want to express my gratitude to you for receiving our delegation. In principle, I am the representative of the children, their president. True, sometimes, I don`t observe the protocol rules entirely, but I am fully on the side of the children.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, thank you for your precious thoughts, proposals and your plans to work in Azerbaijan.

In human society, care for children is a sacred duty of every citizen. Being guided by this principle in our independent country, we raise the care for children as much as possible, especially we think much about orphans and take measures to improve their living and educational conditions. Your organization shows a good example to the society in connection with this problem. You have done much for 50 years. Your good deeds, care for children will never be forgotten. Your organization has erected such a grand monument to itself that it will live eternally. I am happy to get closely acquainted with your organization. I wish your organization great successes in future.

I express my satisfaction on your information about work-to-be-done in Azerbaijan. I like your thoughts and proposals. Perhaps, I value your proposal more than all the proposals I have ever received from other international organizations. I shall personally control the realization of your plans here.

You told me you wanted to start to work yesterday; as you couldn`t do it, you will do it tomorrow.

I also note it for myself and I will control daily how the work starts and goes on.

You have a great experience, you have been to many countries and the work you are going to do is paid great attention, and perhaps you will think why you have come to Azerbaijan so late.

You said perfectly well that you wanted every child to have parents, siblings, home with you aid. How wonderful it could be! We need it too much. As you know, Azerbaijan has been subjected to the aggression of Armenia since 1988. There has been war and battles; blood has been shed. A lot of children have become orphans and remain uncared. There are even children that have been injured and become invalids during the war. So I repeat it again that our country needs such a care more than other countries.

I am happy to be informed that you have defined the place for the children`s town with our representatives. If it is suitable for you, then plot is yours. And you can start your wok immediately. We are always with you in all affairs. You say you need to find people who will take care of children. Not only we shall do it, we shall also realize other works together. I am very much pleased with your plan and I am happy that my daughter presides over the foundation established by the organization here. I think this factor will also add to the success of the work. Thank you again.

Helmut Kutin: Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of children I am expressing thanks to you. We are happy that we met you and got your blessings. Now we are feeling quite sure. Since we have got you command "Forward", we need no paper, no document any more. We are grateful to you on behalf of the world children. Though we have come to Azerbaijan so late- you noted it- let me answer it with an English proverb: Better late than never. So beginning from today we are starting our work.

Heydar Aliyev: Very nice, good luck to you!