Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the Republic of France (December 19-22, 1993)

Establishment of mutually beneficial cooperation and friendly relations with all the countries of the world, including the Western Europe`s largest and most influential countries is of great political and international importance for the independent Republic of Azerbaijan. The political significance of these relations is conditioned by the fact that these countries have real opportunities to render comprehensive and practical assistance to Azerbaijan for being properly represented in all the international and regional organizations, for the integration into the international security and cooperation system and into various European structures and institutions.

The official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to France in the December of 1993 marked the beginning of the intensive development of relations with the Western European countries.

On December 20, Heydar Aliyev was welcomed by the French authorities in an official ceremony at Elysee Palace. The French President Francois Mitterrand met the Azerbaijani President at the stairs of the Palace. Then the French-Azerbaijani negotiations of the two presidents took place. Cooperation between France and Azerbaijan was discussed at the meeting.

Later, Heydar Aliyev and Francois Mitterrand signed an agreement on friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation between Azerbaijan and France. Heydar Aliyev also signed the Charter of Paris for a New Europe.

In his statement to the journalists after the ceremony Heydar Aliyev addressed Francois Mitterand: «The agreement on friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation we have just signed is a new stage of the international relations of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Here at Elysee Palace, we laid the foundations for long-term cooperation between Azerbaijan and France. It is a historic event for the Republic of Azerbaijan,for a state which achieved its independence only two years ago.»

On December 21, at his residence Heydar Aliyev received French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. Peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed. Later at the national center of the French enterpreneurs, Heydar Aliyev met the representatives of business circles of the country. The Azerbaijani President informed them about the economic potential and reforms implemented in the country. Heydar Aliyev delivered a speech also at the Diplomatic Academy.

On the same day, at UNESCO headquarters Heydar Aliyev was presented a UNESCO Memorial Medal by its Director- General Federico Mayor.

In his statement on December 21 at the press conference dedicated to the official visit to France, Heydar Aliyev expressed his satisfaction with the visit and its results. Heydar Aliyev noted: «While being here I realized that the relations between Azerbaijan and France had been very weak and there was few information about Azerbaijan in France. Sometimes biased information about Azerbaijan misleads. Therefore, in my opinion, my visit to France not only created conditions for the further development of bilateral relations, but was also important in terms of conveying true information on Azerbaijan. I do not think that we achieved all these over the past few days. Nevertheless, we laid the foundation of what we consider is important.»

On the same day, Heydar Aliyev met the French Minister of Economic Affairs.

On December 22, the Azerbaijani President exchanged views with the Chairman of the Senate on bilateral relations and their prospectives.

On the same day President Heydar Aliyev completed his first official visit to the Republic of France and returned to Azerbaijan.

With this visit President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev took the first step towards the integration of Azerbaijan into the European countries.