To the participants of the 6th Eurasian Economic Summit - September 30, 2003‎

Distinguished participants of the summit!

I warmly greet you, the participants of the summit held under the auspices of Suleyman Demirel, President of Turkey, and at the initiative of the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation and wish you successes.

This summit, which is held every year with the support of the Turkish government changed into a good tradition bringing together the statesmen and politicians of the Eurasian states, MPs, diplomats, representatives of a number of international organizations, NGOs and economic bodies for strengthening the multilateral relations established among our countries and peoples and cultural integration.

I extend my thanks to the President and government of Turkey and the functionaries of the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation, of which I am an honorary chairman, for the continuation of this tradition and organization of the event at high level.

It is remarkable that the 6th Eurasian Economic Summit coincides with a great event of historical importance for Azerbaijan as well, that is the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, under leadership of the prominent politician and statesman Mustapha Kemal Ataturk.

One of the important tasks facing Azerbaijan after the restoration of its independence is building a democratic and legal state, transition to free market economy and integration to the Euro Atlantic structures.

Basic line of our policy since 1993, the reforms in the sphere of economy, legislation and others of the country. Adoption of the Constitution of the country in 1995, reflecting the universal democratic values, presidential, parliamentary and municipality elections held on multiparty basis, the Constitutional Court founded for the first time in the history of the country and other numerous events are important steps on the path of development of Azerbaijan.

Signature of the "Contract of the Century" in September 1994, new contracts signed for the development of the energy resources of the Caspian Sea have created great opportunities for the revival of the economic potential of our country and gowth of foreign investments. More than $ 6 billion have been invested by foreign companies to the oil industry of Azerbaijan so far. Overall investment will reach 18,3 trillion manat and foreign investment $ 3 billion in 2004.

Successful oil strategy of Azerbaijan has considerably influenced the constructive and intensive character of our relations with the countries of the region. Realization of such projects as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and East-West energy corridor, restoration of the historic Great Silk Road have created favorable conditions for strengthening the regional security.

GDP of Azerbaijan increased by 29,6 percent to 29,6 million manats in 2002 in comparison with 1998. Industrial production increased by 20,5 percent and agriculture by 41,8 percent in that period. GDP increased by 10 percent for several years.

Azerbaijan is open to the world, it has built bilateral contacts with many world countries, and member of international organizations, communities and financial bodies. The prestige of our country increases day by day in the world community, and it actively participates in the implementation of regional and international policy.

Diplomatic efforts of Azerbaijan connected with the settlement of the Armenain-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the framework of OSCE have considerably weakened the position of Armenia. But the Armenian administration continues to drag his nation into disaster following the ideology of aggressive nationalism, separatism and terrorism. Azerbaijan is for the peaceful settlement of the conflict according to the international law. However, our patience is not endless. We shall never agree with the solution of the conflict on the basis of status quo and will not yield an inch of our territory to anyone.

After 9/11 Azerbaijan joined the US-led anti-terror coalition and kept intransigent position against terrorism. Azerbaijan, suffering from Armenian terrorism, cooperates with international bodies and various countries for the elimination of this problem.

Nowadays, our country lives the next stage on the road of development of democracy. The presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan on October 15. Legislative basis has been established in the country meeting international standards for holding free, transparent and fair elections. I believe the wise choice of the Azerbaijani people.

I am confident that the present summit will play an important role in the development of our multilateral cooperation and in strengthening peace, stability and confidence in our region and Eurasia.

Taking the occasion, I once more convey the regards of the Azerbaijani people to the participants of the summit and wish successes to its work.

Heydar Aliyev

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, October 2, 2003