From the conversation of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev with the delegation of the Romanian Senate - June 13, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: Welcome to Azerbaijan! There are friendly relations and cooperation between Romania and Azerbaijan. We want to expand this cooperation.

I paid an official visit to Romania five years ago. President Emil Constantinescu paid an offficial visit to Azerbaijan in 1998. During those visits we signed significant documents.

A big international conference on the restoration of the Great Silk Road within TRACECA was held in Azerbaijan in September 1998. The Romanian delegation headed by President Emil Constantinescu took part at the international conference. We had broad discussions here and signed a very important joint document.

Now I intend to pay another visit to your country by the invitation of President Emil Constantinescu. Soon I shall meet the ambassador in order to discuss and determine an available date.

Once I said to your ambassador that we should keep in touch more often. You have a good ambassador here. I suppose that soon I shall meet him and discuss a number of questions with him.

Distinguished senators, your visit is of great importance for the development of the Romanian-Azerbaijani relations. You have got acquianted with Azerbaijan, led useful negotiations in our parliament. Our speaker said that you attended the meeting of the parliament today. You have also met the Prime Minister. But you still have more opportunities to learn about Azerbaijan more. I welcome you once again.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru (chairman of the commission on foreign policy of the Romanian Senate): Mr. President, I want to thank you for receiving us today. It is a big honor for our delegation.

Mr. President, let me deliver you the best regards of President Emil Constantinescu and hope to see you in Romania this year. You started your speech with good news.

Heydar Aliyev: I knew that you would mention that.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: Mr. President, I thank you for accepting this invitation. I assure you that you will be welcomed in Romania. The Romanian people welcomed you five years ago, too.

Heydar Aliyev: I still remember this with thankfulness.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: Mr. President, you are well known in Romania for all what you have done, do and will do for Azerbaijan. It will be a big honor for us to host you in Romania. But, Mr. President, I recommend you to hurry till November. Because then there will be the elections in Romania.

Heydar Aliyev: What elections?

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: Both general and presidential elections.

Heydar Aliyev: In November?

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: So we hope that you will pay the visit to Romania before November.

Heydar Aliyev: Thanks for informing me.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: Mr. President, I also deliver you the best regards of our former President Ion Iliescu, who welcomed you in Romania in 1995. He is the leader of my party.

Mr. President, we have come to Azerbaijan at the invitation of the Azerbaijani parliament. We have had an interesting program. We have contributed to the expansion of the cooperation between the two countries during our visit.

The expansion of relations between Romania and Azerbaijan are connected with the mutual visits of the presidents.

At the same, the parliaments of the two countries also contribute to the development of the relations. Our policy completes the policy of the presidents.

The program for our visit prepared by your MPs allows us exchange views on the relations between the two countries. We have also learned about the achievements of your country since the independence.

Mr. President, the fact that Romania is the second country to recognize the indepence of Azerbaijan is pleasent for me. The ongoing processes, reforms in our coutries are very alike.

We highly appreciate your policy of integration into Europe. Romania is a European country. We also accept Azerbaijan as a European country. Mr. President, Romania will fully support Azerbaijan in admission to the European Council. Yesterday we discussed it with your MPs. I can assure you that the Romanian MPs at the European Council will support Azerbaijan in all the processes. At the same time, Romania supports your efforts for restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and for securing the stable economic development.

Mr. President, the political relations between our countries are on a high level. I am sure that your visit to Bucharest will strengthen both political and economic relations between our countries.

Our delegation is not governmental. However, the level of the economic cooperation is of great significance for us, too. The capacity of our bilateral economic cooperation can not reach the level of our political relations.

Mr. President, let me express my opinion on some issues. I want to use this opportunity.

First, it is necessary to research and analyze the situation in this field. It is also important to open the embassy of Azerbaijan in Romania. It would help the development of the relations between our countries.

The second issue is connected with the cooperation in the oil export. According your decision, the Azerbaijani oil is supposed to be exported through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. We want you to pay attention to the opportunity of exporting the oil via Constanta. Once you said that there is enough oil to export. Thus, we thought that there would be enough oil to export both through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and via Constanta.

Mr. Ambassador told me what he was said by an Azerbaijani expert that Azerbaijan can export 100 million tons of oil to the West in 2004.

Heydar Aliyev: 100 million tons?

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: More exactly, 100 million tons of oil can be exported from this region via Azerbaijan. Of course, the Azerbaijani oil is the major factor here. Mr. President, I hope that some part of the oil can be exported also via Constanta. There are two roads to Romania: from Constanta to the north through the Danube, from there through the pipeline going to the North Sea. Its lenght is 1700 km. Another pipeline lies to Trieste. Realization of such a project would help the development of relations between our countries.

Third, traditions of oil industry of our country are worldwide known. Some people, who visit Romania for the first time, see oil derriks there. But I have seen oil derriks in the Caspian Sea for the first time. As you are aware, Romania has big opportunities in the sphere of oil eqiupment, and experts.

We highly appreciate the cooperation between the Azerbaijani Oil Academy and the Ploiesti Oil University. I suppose that we may have a useful cooperation in this field. Romania may be a door for Azerbaijan into Europe.

Mr. President, relying also on your support, I am optimistic about the development of our relations.

Heydar Aliyev: I thank you for delivering me Mr. Constantinescu`s regards. Please deliver my best regards to Mr. President, as well. I am satisfied with the good relations between our countries. We meet at the forms of international organizations often. I have accepted Mr. President`s invitation. Thank you for informing me in time. I shall try to pay the visit till the elections in Romania.

I am also glad to receive Mr. Iliescu`s regards. We have had good friendship and cooperation. During the hard times after the overthrow of Ceausescu, Iom Iliescu had great services. We met in many international assemblies. I visited to Romania for the first time at his invitation. He also paid a visit to Azerbaijan at my invitation. Please, convey my best regards to him. He is always welcome to Azerbaijan.

You have mentioned a few issues. It is necessary to have the embassy of Azerbaijan to Romania and the embassy of Romania in Azerbaijan. I have talked to Mr. Constantinescu about it. The Romanian ambassador arrived in Azerbaijan a few months ago. We shall also try to open our embassy in Romania. Of course, Azerbaijan is a smaller country than Romania. Our economic means is limited.

You have seen only one part of Azerbaijan in Baku, not the other part. 20 percent of our territory has been occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Over one million citizens have been withdrawn from their homes. They have been living in tents for 7-8 years.

We want to solve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict peacefully. But we can not reach the peace because of the non-constructive position of Armenia. Romania is one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. Your statement that Romania supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is important for us. We also support the territorial integrity of Romania.

I know that there have been some problems with the Hungarian minority in your country. I am very glad that you have solved the problem peacefully.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: We have a bilateral agreement.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Constantinescu has told me about it. You signed an agreement. But the war which started 12 years ago in our country has not finished yet.

I thank you for the statement. I hope that you will remain in your position further.

Azerbaijan is a European country. We have accepted the European values along our own national values. Following democracy, economic reforms, market economy, Azerbaijan demonstrates its loyalty to the universal and European values. Therefore, we want to join the European Council.

Some says in Azerbaijan that we do not need the European Council. Because it demands many things. But we are a part of Europe.

On the 28th of this month the admission issues of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe will be discussed at PACE. From your statement I understand that MPs from Romania will vote for Azerbaijan.

You mentioned oil, Constanta. Here we are engaged in the restoration of the Great Silk Road and the realization of TRACECA of the European Union. Romania, particularly its port-city Constanta plays an important role in the Great Silk Road. Therefore, our cooperation in this field has a bright future. You are right when saying that this route can be prolonged till the north of Europe through the Danube.

During my negotiations with Helmut Kohl in Germany a few years ago, I said that it is possible to reach the north of Europe from Azerbaijan via Georgia, the Black Sea, Constanta, the Danube and Germany. A few centuries ago this route was used for the trade links between the West and the East.

As for oil, Azerbaijan has much oil. We are starting the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Last April we put Baku-Supsa oil pipeline into operation. Tankers carry the oil of Baku from that port to different countries. But we can use the port of Constanta as well, because Baku-Supsa pipeline will be expanded in future.

Romania is historically an oil country like Azerbaijan. You mentioned about the relations between the Azerbaijani Oil Academy and the Ploiesti Oil University. After the World War Second the Soviet Union had friendly relations with Romania. In the 1940-1950s many experts from Azerbaijan worked in the oil industry of Ploiesti. This shows the relations between our countries.

In the past close relations were established between Pitesti and Sumgayit. Pitesti is a chemical city like Sumgayit.

I think that our relations in all the fields, particularly in the oil sphere must develop. We shall do our best for it. I hope that we can solve some concrete issues till my visit to Romania.

I am aware of the existence of Constanta-Trieste oil pipeline. ENI-AGIP of Italy has proposed its use. They suppose to export oil to Italy from Trieste. As you see, I am aware of all the variants. We check the possibilities of each of them.

I am very satisfied with you meeting. Azerbaijan and Romania have close friendship and cooperation. Our parliaments have to contribute to the development of these relations. I thank you for your job.

Ghiorghi Prisacaru: Mr. President, we know that you have very few time. We do not want to misuse it. I thank you for receving us and for your words. Our nations have similar problems, ongoing socio-political processes, mentality. When Romania intended to join the European Council, we were also asked whether we needed. I agree with you that "Europe" must be implied as values. Because it is impossible to live isolated from the rest of the world. We have to be united and live in a common system of values.

Mr. President, I thank you. We shall be waiting for you in Romania.

Mr. President, let me present you this photoalbum reflecting the life of Romania. You have got acquianted with Romania very well. The contents of the album may remind you Romania.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much.

Translated from the newspaper "Azerbaycan", June 15, 2000

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani - Romanian relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - Europe