Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the leaders of major Jewish organizations in USA - September 8, 2000

I welcome you with my heart. I am very glad to meet you again. These meetings already have traditional character in the certain sense. When I come to the United States of America, I always hold such meetings both in New York and Washington. It makes me very happy that some of you could visit Azerbaijan and are familiar with our republic.

Our friendship with you has special character. As in person of your organizations and each of you we see closest friends of Azerbaijan in all over the world, including in the United States of America. I wish our friendship to be always reliable and to continue. We have a need for it. But I believe that you, the Jewish organizations of the world, in particular, the Jewish community in the United States of America, certainly, have always been interested and will be interested in Azerbaijan as well as in the future.

At our previous meetings, I told you that Jews have lived in Azerbaijan for centuries, maybe, for thousand years, and left very valuable traces. In particular, in XX century, Azerbaijani citizens of the Jewish nationality have brought big contribution to social, economic development, and also to development of culture, science, education, art of Azerbaijan. We have always appreciated it highly. As time passes, some events become the history, their value becomes more and more significant. I consider that Jews in Azerbaijan live in good condition as well as today.

You know, approximately beginning from 1988, 1989, the intensive stream of Jews was observed from the Soviet Union to the western countries, USA, Israel. This process, at the same time, political processes in Azerbaijan have been much more complex because of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war and the extremely intense situation inside the country. However, since 1993, we have managed to provide internal political stability in Azerbaijan and migration of people sharply stopped. I can even tell you that the Jews people, who have moved in due time from Azerbaijan to Israel, today already come back to Azerbaijan. Recently such 40 families have come back to Azerbaijan.

They, naturally, are not dissatisfied with staying in Israel. But in the past they have been so connected with Baku, Azerbaijan, that the feeling of nostalgia has made them to return back. However, a life of those families, who have not left, stayed, improves day by day.

Today, there are four synagogues in Azerbaijan. One of them is in Baku, another is in Guba, and two of them are in Oghuz, Sheki zone. Besides, as you know, in Azerbaijan three Jewish communities function. The first is our Jews. They are called mountain Jews. If you wish to find roots of these Jews, it is necessary to define since what time they live there. These roots are very deep.

On the 7th of the month, I met the Prime Minister Barack. We had very warm and friendly talks. I met him in November of the last year in Istanbul as well, we had very pleasant conversation. He told me that they could not find roots of 11 Jewish tribes yet. I advised him to come and carry out researches in Azerbaijan. There you will find certainly. Mountain Jews live both in capital, in Baku, and in near regions to Baku.

So, there is a Guba region near to Baku, where the settlement named Red settlement is located. Only they live there. I remember, for the first time I was in Red settlement in 1952. Then I went there one year ago and did not know this place. There are such villas there, which you have not even here. They live very well.

It means, we have three Jewish communities in our country. The first is the mountain Jews, the second is the European Jews and the third is the Georgian Jews. Each community has its leader. But, when I meet them, heads of three communities come together. However another characteristic feature is that in our country there are Muslim concession, Christian, orthodox concession - basically Russians - and the Jewish concession. It means, we have three heads of religions. And three of them always walk arm in arm. Three of them always participate together in our state events.

On presidential elections of 1998 they together declared that they would support Heydar Aliyev's candidature and supported me up to the end. I polled 100 percent of voices of Jews. It is the small summary concerning our relations. Once again I want to declare by that our friendship is unbreakable.

I spoke about it at our previous meetings - we are in need of your help as a community possessing very big lobby, big force in the United States of America.

Azerbaijan and the United States of America have very good relations. These relations have rapidly developed for last five-six years. First of all, in the field of economy. Because all the biggest American oil companies carry out great work in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan sector in the Caspian Sea possesses very big oil and gas stocks. We have signed 19 great contracts. In these contracts investment of 60 billion dollars is intended. Approximately 30 percents out of it are shares of the companies from the United States of America. I know, there are one-two companies which belong to Jews: "Amirada Hess" and "Moncrift oil" with which we will sign one more contract tomorrow.

In April here, in Washington, in the Senate, we signed one contract. Tomorrow, we will sign one more. I was told history of that company. It is the company of one family, belongs to one family. It is the Jewish family.

Economic relations between America and Azerbaijan develop very intensively. But there is an obstacle for the development of relations - I said it as well as last time - the unfair act of discrimination against Azerbaijan.

In 1992, pro Armenian congressmen applied unfair 907th amendment against Azerbaijan connected with the Armenian - Azerbaijan conflict here, in the congress and consequently it was laid embargo on each aid by America to Azerbaijan. Since some years, we have been struggling to achieve abolishing 907th article. The government, President Clinton, Mrs. Albright, others repeatedly declared that it was unfair act and it should be abolished. Corresponding projects have been presented to the congress before connected with this question.

For example, the congressman from New York mister King has put forward such a project and aspired very much for it. However, in the congress several voices have been insufficient for abolition of this law, 907-th amendment. Or, for example, you know, last year senator Brownback presented a bill of the congress, the senate of America in connection with a big initiative - restoration of an ancient Silk way. In April of the last year, we, the presidents of 11 states, located on the Silk way, held the big conference in the building of the senate under the leadership of Brownback. From the government, Mister Sandy Barker addressed to the conference, as well as Mister Brzezinsky. Former State Secretary Mister Baker delivered a speech too. All presidents, including me, spoke too. All we have supported Brownback’s project. In the project, abolishment of 907th article was intended, but in the senate some pro Armenian senators again opposed this part.

However, a parity of voices has already changed to our advantage in the senate. There 47 voices have been voted for us, but against there were 53 voices. That is we needed three voices. But senators in the beginning promised that they would vote 60 voices. I was even told that the pro Armenian congressmen have used help of former congressman Doul. He influenced there his friends Sarbones, McCain, Abraham, and they have voted against us.

Though the question on the canceling the amendment 907 was not solved in our favor in this law, we consider 47 voices voted for us as the certain promotion. In this issue we also appreciate influence of your Jewish community acting in our favor. Therefore, I would like the continuation of the process of our cooperation, and strengthening the influence. But, only for the sake of justice. We do not want anything unfair. The matter is that to whom you speak, everyone says: the amendment 907 is unfair. But concerning voting… You name it democracy. But we name it the attitude of strong to weak.

Certainly, we are not guilty. Or we can not complain the God why Azerbaijan does not have such lobby as Armenians have. God has endowed each nation with something. He has endowed Azerbaijan with the fine nature, natural riches and in XXI century Caspian Sea, the Caspian pool becomes the largest oil region of the world. And the initiator of it is Azerbaijan. And Allah has given Armenians the mountainous area where they cannot live. They do not live in these mountainous places and they live in many countries of the world, including America. They have become rich here. What to do? Our destiny is so.

But we have such friends, as you. I consider that with such friends we can move ahead. However, this way is difficult. But, I consider, we can promote.

On the 7th of the month, we had a good conversation about it with dear Prime Minister Barack. I briefly informed you. And I am now ready to listen to you too.

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijan - USA

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - USA