The statement of the President of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev for representatives of mass media of Azerbaijan and foreign countries - December 6, 1996

Dear ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

Today we have wide discussions with representatives of the public and therefore the press conference is delayed a little bit, and it created some difficulties, first of all, for the journalists who have come to our republic. I hope you will consider it a valid reason, now I am before you and ready to answer all your questions.

However, I spoke in Azerbaijani but even if the speech was not translated, I think you are anyway familiar to a certain extent with the information that I delivered. Therefore I consider there is no need to make a special statement. Probably, it will be better, if I answer all the questions you are interested and worried about at once. Please.

Question: Esteemed mister President, time demands new approaches to the Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) problem. Unfortunately, some people do not understand it and our colleagues from some mass media have interpreted that the Azerbaijan delegation and the Azerbaijan diplomacy have supposedly suffered a defeat in Lisbon. Mister President, please tell us about results of this meeting and the signing of important documents.

Answer: I told already today about the results of the Lisbon summit in Azerbaijani language. I regret to say, we did not have a translation. At the same time, answering your question, I can say that certainly, mass media in our country is absolutely independent and can freely write what they like. However, they should not write anything which is not true.

The Lisbon summit of heads of states and governments has come to the end successfully as a whole. I consider that it has come to the end successfully both for the Republic of Azerbaijan and for the Azerbaijani delegation. The situation was very difficult there. Azerbaijani party was trying to get a special article in the final document of the Lisbon summit and this article would have reflected main principles of the peace settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict. These are principles of territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, granting Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) the status of self-management on the basis of self-determination within the Republic of Azerbaijan and guarantees security for Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and for its population in all. The 20-th article in the project had been made up on the basis of these principles. However, the Armenian delegation did not accept this article and using its right of veto, consensus, blocked to its adoption. And though this article did not satisfy us completely, nevertheless we considered that if it was adopted, all three elements of principles - territorial integrity, a high autonomy of self-management for Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) within Azerbaijan and guarantee of security for all population of Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) - would find their reflection in final document of the Lisbon summit.

However, the Armenian side did not override its veto. Then we put a veto on the whole document, that is, on Declaration of the Lisbon summit. It caused very big anxiety for the heads of states and governments, because in this case the summit would come to the end without adoption of any document. Numerous negotiations were taken place with us; we were elucidated that it was undesirable and very sad. To end the summit in that way we also on our part clarified our position. Up to the last session, even on December 3, prior to the beginning of the session at noon, the "document was taken in square brackets" as it is said in a diplomatic language. That is, the document had no consensus of the Azerbaijan delegation which put the veto on it.

At last, as a result of numerous meetings, negotiations, talks, consultations of heads of states, governments, representatives of various delegations with us, we were offered an alternative variant - that statement which is already known to you and it was published, - if all participants of the summit, members of OSCE agree with the formula reflecting main principles of settlement of the conflict, but Armenia puts the veto in that case all other members of OSCE and that come to 53 or 54 states, - can express their general opinion and common will in the special statement of the acting chairman of OSCE. And the acting chairman of OSCE would speak on behalf of all OSCE members and this formula would be reflected in its statement.

We considered it acceptable and agreed with it only at the beginning of the last session, provided that it would be adopted. And when such a statement was announced at the session by the acting chairman at the, we overrode the veto and the general document of the Lisbon summit was adopted. Thus, we accepted the document of the summit, because it was noted there that this statement was included into documents of the Lisbon summit. It is the document of the summit which contains principles of the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict, consisting of three items: territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Armenia, legal status defined in the agreement on the basis of self-determination which gives Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) the highest degree of self-management within Azerbaijan and guarantees security for its all population. It is emphasized in the statement that it is supported by all members of OSCE except Armenia, and included into documents of OSCE. And we have returned back with this document. Therefore, let them consider as they wish. But I consider that during the period of our membership in this organization and since the time it has been engaged in this conflict, for the first time OSCE adopted such a document in which main principles of the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan were reflected.

Question: Esteemed President, you are a leader looking for peace in the Caucasus and all over the world. The Lisbon Summit is an obvious example for that. How Azerbaijan can help neighboring countries and other Turkic states for an establishment of peace, prosperity and stability in the Caucasus? Thank you.

Answer: As you know, the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict lasts for already eight years. Armenia has launched military aggression against Azerbaijan, 20 percent of the territory has been occupied by Armenian armed forces and more than 1 million citizens of Azerbaijan have been expelled from occupied lands and now they live in tents in heavy conditions. In May, 1994 we stopped fire, there is a regime of cease-fire for 2 years and 7 months. We think to continue this regime henceforward. We wish to solve the problem peacefully. And for the settlement of the problem by this way, we wanted to get support for main principles of these peace talks in Lisbon summit to make it not only our offer but also make them to be acceptable for the states of OSCE, that is, to be confirmed by them. We achieved it. We will act by this way as well as in the future. Today I have already declared and declare once again that we do not want to begin military actions, we do not want war. We want the final peace. I consider that we can eliminate this conflict on the basis of the given principles.

As to the conflicts in other countries, yes, in the Caucasus there are conflicts of Georgia - Abkhazia, Georgia - Ossetia, or the Chechen-Russian conflict, the Chechen-Ingush conflict which is rather feeble. Yes, there are alike conflicts in the Caucasus. I wish all of them to be settled peacefully, no war, no more shots anywhere. We will make use of all our opportunities for the settlement both our conflict and the conflicts in neighboring countries.

Question: Heydar Aliyevich, before asking you a question, I wish to say that probably, I am the only person in this hall to whom you are indebted - you are indebted interview to me for four years. When we talked with you in Nakhchivan and I told you that a time would come and people would invite you to Baku, you smiled. And I said: then you will give me an interview. I have come here for this purpose. I will be waiting for your decision after the press conference. And now my question is: at the most tragic moment when you decided to sign or not to sign the document how you felt the attitude of the head of the Russian government Victor Chernomyrdin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eugenie Primakov? Was it a diplomatic politeness or strong support of your position?

Answer: First of all, dear Korsunsky, I welcome you in Azerbaijan and I am glad for your arrival in our republic. Certainly, I will pay my debt and you will get an interview from me. I am grateful to you that you came to Nakhchivan from Saint-Petersburg in a heavy period for me - in 1990 and 1991 when I was living in Nakhchivan. At that time Nakhchivan was in blockade, by the way, it is also in blockade now, but today we have an opportunity to help to it. I went there because of prosecutions in Moscow and Baku and was living there as an ordinary inhabitant. I remember, I answered your questions and then you published the interview in the newspaper "Chas Pick". I am grateful to you too that you fairly acted concerning our conversation and published everything what I told you. Therefore, I am very glad to meet you. I hope, I'll meet you personally today or tomorrow.

Now, as to your question, I should say that the prime minister of the Russian Federation mister Chernomyrdin who headed the delegation of Russia, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia mister Primakov took a very active part in this process. I met them before and during the summit. They understood my position, accepted my veto on the general document with sympathy. But at the same time, they and as well as the heads of other delegations, were very anxious that the summit might have ended without adoption of any document. Russia, as you know, is the co-chairman of the Minsk group, therefore, Russia was bearing special responsibility. Besides, Russia together with Finland, which is also the co-chairman of the Minsk group, had put forwarded an offer in Helsinki on the eve of the Lisbon summit and this offer made a basis for the 20 article of the final document of the summit. But, the article was not adopted as a result of the veto by Armenia. And when there was a search for the alternative version, the Russian delegation, mister Chernomyrdin and mister Primakov took the most active participation in it and I am grateful to them for it.

The head of the Russian delegation, the prime minister mister Chernomyrdin also spoke when the statement of the acting chairman of OSCE was adopted on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict. To my mind, he supported this statement very strongly and assured that Russia would do all to settle this conflict. I am very satisfied with it. It was not, as you said, a diplomatic politeness, but a real support.

Question: Today the international isolation of Armenia is already a fact, owing to the exact foreign policy strategy of Azerbaijan. Is it possible to realize the Yugoslav precedent in relation to Armenia within the limits of OSCE - that is, to deprive Armenia of voting rights at forums of OSCE?

Answer: Well, you know, I cannot speak on behalf of OSCE. But personally, I would not like the acceptance of such decision in relation to Armenia. I declared today and in Lisbon that anyway we want to find mutual understanding between Azerbaijan and Armenia. And I am hopeful that though the Armenian delegation in Lisbon behaved destructively, soon there was adopted the statement of the OSCE acting chairman on behalf of all members of OSCE, people in Armenia would have to think and, probably, some steps would be made to achieve mutual understanding and find an opportunity for the further intensification of negotiating process, certainly, on the basis of those principles which were stated in the statement of the summit.

Question: Mister President, the final decision on the status of the Caspian Sea was not accepted at the last meeting of the Caspian littoral countries in November in Ashgabat. It is interesting for me, in what stage now the solution of this question is and what are the perspectives of the status?

Answer: You know, to make now any decision on the status of the Caspian Sea is extremely difficult. Even I would say that it is actually impossible. Attempts to develop any basis are being made for definition of the status of the Caspian Sea. I, for example, consider that it will take a lot of time, maybe, for years. And as to the position of Azerbaijan, it was stated at the meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Caspian littoral countries on November 12 in Ashgabat. Our position and position of Kazakhstan were the same - we offer sectoral division of the Caspian Sea for use of its bottom and mineral resources. Three other countries - Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan - offer other variant which is unacceptable not only for us, but, I consider, basically is unacceptable. Therefore, no decision was accepted there. Such a general statement was made to hold the meeting of ministers and exchange opinions on problems of the status of the Caspian Sea. In fact, Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan signed the agreement on foundation of the joint company for using of resources in coastal waters of these countries of the Caspian Sea. We do not object to it, if they can found it, let them do it.

Question: Mister President, does Azerbaijan have intention to become a member of NATO? Which organization Azerbaijan considers as a guarantor of stability and peace in the region, and also the guarantor of the settlement of the inter-regional, interethnic conflicts existing in the region? What do you think about direct dialogue with Armenia? Is it possible?

Answer: As an answer to the first question, I can say that we signed the program of the NATO "Partnership for peace" in 1994 and within the limits of this program we cooperate with the NATO.

As to the second question, that which organization Azerbaijan considers the guarantor of stability and settlement of the conflict, you know, peace settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is being discussed. The OSCE and the Minsk group, the Minsk conference created by it, take corresponding measures on this question. The Minsk conference was created by OSCE in 1992 especially for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict. We consider that the Minsk group, the Minsk conference of the OSCE have even great opportunities to achieve the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Therefore, we will continue the cooperation with the Minsk group within the limits of the OSCE, especially after we have got the statement, the document of the OSCE, which includes main principles of the resolution. At the same time we, certainly, make use of all the international organizations, including the United Nations, our mutual relations with such countries as the USA, Russia which have in this respect more opportunities than other countries to render positive influence on a course of negotiating process. We will use these opportunities as well as in the future. However, we consider that the OSCE and the Minsk group are now the important tools for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

Concerning the third question I can tell that, certainly, direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not interrupted. This dialogue is carried out by Vafa Guluzadeh - the representative of the President of Azerbaijan, Libaridyan - the representative of the president of Armenia. And at the meeting with the president Ter-Petrosyan in Lisbon, we agreed to continue this dialogue actively. By the way, such statement was made by the president Ter-Petrosyan in the final session of the summit.

Question: Mister President, at which stage are the negotiations now concerning the admittance of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe?

Answer: You know that they have admitted us there, as they call it, as a guest or a candidate for the Council of Europe. We hope somewhere at the beginning of the next year Azerbaijan will be admitted to the Council of Europe.

Question: At the previous summit in Budapest, the position of Armenia was not as sharp as now. Two years have passed since then and an impression is made that now the most intensive days begin during the period of an armistice. How do you think, what is the real value of results of the Lisbon summit and what can be the role of Russia in the changed situation?

Answer: You know, the result of the summit is that in its final, basic document the conflict is not mentioned because the 20-th article was not included into the document at Armenia's persistence. There is one more document of the Lisbon summit which is the statement made on behalf of the summit by the acting chairman. I have said it and I am repeating now: it is a good basis and I consider it to be an important document which opens a new stage in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan for achievement of the full peace, settlement of the conflict. Because at the meetings within the limits of the Minsk group, Armenia refused to accept the formula on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Recently they even declared that Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) can gain self- determination but not within Azerbaijan - and it is not clear where and how. Therefore now, when all participants of the summit - members of the OSCE, except Armenia, voted for this statement, representatives of the United States of America, Russia and Finland declared that they supported this statement and negotiations would go just on its basis. The prime minister of Ireland made a speech and declared complete support for these three principles on behalf of 15 countries of the European Union, and all these open absolutely new page, a new stage in the realization of peace talks. After the summit, the Armenian side should reconsider their positions to some extent. And I hope we will continue dialogue and carry out more intensive negotiations for achievement of peace on the basis of these principles.

As to the role of Russia, it remains the co-chairman of the Minsk group. Finland will not be further the co-chairman of the Minsk group, it will be replaced by an other state. And Russia remains the co-chairman. Therefore, Russia as the co-chairman of the Minsk group and as the country which has very close relation to the Transcaucasian region, Armenia and Azerbaijan, certainly, can play a big part in the resolution of this conflict, in achievement of peace. And I hope for it.

Question: Dear President, during heavy fights in Lisbon what country supported you most? How you estimate the position of Turkey? According to principles of the Lisbon summit which type of assistance the Azerbaijan people expect from Turkey in forthcoming years? And why are you speaking in Russian?

Answer: I answer in Russian to the questions asked in Russian. That is why, you might consider it valid.

I want to inform you that our position there, it is possible to say, was supported by all the states. However, it is clear that first of all the states entering into the Minsk group are engaged in this problem. There are also the United States of America, Russia, Turkey, Germany, France, Finland and other states among them. All of them supported our position. Others supported too. I held many meetings there. For example, I met the vice-president of the USA mister Gore, the prime minister of Russia mister Chernomyrdin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany mister Kinkel, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France mister Herve de Charette, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain mister Rifkind and other persons - presidents, prime ministers. In general, many meetings were held. The president of Turkey, my dear friend Suleiman Demirel, was constantly engaged in our question. At once, after my arrival in Lisbon on December 1, I held a special meeting with Suleiman Demirel. He invited me to the embassy of Turkey in Lisbon. There, we discussed this question as well. Turkey always supports our position - both in the past and in Lisbon.

What do we expect from Turkey? We expect Turkey to be with us, in future together with us. The Turkish president Suleiman Damirel and other leaders of the country say that the sorrow of Azerbaijan is the sorrow of Turkey if it is good for Azerbaijan, then it is good as well as for Turkey. When Azerbaijan grieves, Turkey also grieves. It is really a principle of our friendship and brotherhood and we will continue our friendship only on this principle.

Question: Mister President, you spoke about the meeting held with Levon Ter-Petrosyan after your speech on first day of the summit. Realizing the importance of the summit, we watched live broadcast a course of this meeting from Portugal by means of satellite. The summit ended and your short dialogue at this time was taken place with Ter-Petrosyan. I wonder, what was the subject of your conversation? As a continuation of my question, I want to ask: How do you think, does a practice of strong or weak diplomacy lead to self-assurance? Thank you very much.

Answer: Are you speaking about our meeting with Ter-Petrosyan after the summit? Yes, a day before we had a talk and at the end of conversation both president Ter-Petrosyan and I declared that despite sharpness of our speeches, we would continue negotiations process - we would negotiate within the limits of the Minsk group and direct negotiations would be continued. That meeting lasting for a few seconds was devoted to it.

As to weakness or powerfulness of diplomacy, it is a theoretical idea. I do not want to waste time for it.

Question: How do you see the future of CIS?

Answer: I would like to see the CIS more influential union. Because the CIS has not reached a desirable level yet. In the world there are examples possible to be compared. For example, the European Union, other unions. Democratic principles in mutual relations should prevail in the activity of the CIS. The CIS should determine priority directions in its activity not, expand its activity on different fields. It is clear that the CIS experiences its organizational period and there occur big problems this period. It should be considered that the CIS consists of countries which have recently achieved independence. Each country has problems, especially in economic-social sphere. Therefore, in this condition, it would be naive to think of becoming the CIS at the level of, for example, the European Union. It seems long, many years will be required to reach such level. However, we should aspire to achieve it and follow this way. For example, Azerbaijan has a desire for it.

Question: Esteemed President, Azerbaijan, which I visited two years ago, has really attained great achievements. If we add the profit expected from oil to it, Azerbaijan will get even great successes. My question - when will oil flow by oil pipelines? When Azerbaijan will receive profit from oil? Thank you.

Answer: First, thank you for comparing everything that you have seen here two years ago and fairly noticed and said the changes which have occurred in Azerbaijan. Thank you. Because some people coming to our country cannot correctly estimate the situation. Secondly, inside our country there are such people who are in opposition, see everything through black glasses and estimate negatively. Therefore, thank you for a positive estimation.

There are changes taken place in the field of economy in Azerbaijan. These are results of economic policy, economic reforms, the beginning of process of privatization, realization of land reform, adoption of the law on transfer of the land to the private property, liberalization process of export-import, liberalization of economy carried out by Azerbaijan.

By opening the doors of Azerbaijan, we invited the foreign companies and firms to our country. As there was no stability in the last years, people did not trust and come to Azerbaijan. In the last two years, full stability has been established in the country and companies of foreign countries observe it too. As a result, the capital investment in Azerbaijan increases day by day. These investments are connected, first of all, with oil contracts signed by us. I believe that our oil contracts are being realized in time. A few one-two months ago, I heard the information about it. The report presented to me says that the envisaged program is carried out in due time. We are not late for anything. The oil pipeline for export of the Azerbaijan oil through Russia will be ready at the end of this year, and at the end of 1998 the construction of an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan through the territory of Western Georgia up to Black Sea port Supsa will come to the end. The construction of this oil pipeline will start in 1997. We think of the big oil pipeline. I hope that in 1997 the decision will be made about it.

I know the Turkish public is interested whether there will be an oil pipeline of Baku-Ceyhan? I also want it and I am trying for it.

Question: Mister President, two years ago I took interview from mister Hasanov. He noted that both internal and foreign policy of Azerbaijan depended on oil. In today's situation the Garabagh problem is the basic question in external and internal policy of Azerbaijan. In your opinion, in what degree the Caspian oil will help to settle the Garabagh problem?

Answer: I do not know who told you that internal and foreign policy of Azerbaijan depended on its oil. You said Hasanov noted it? I do not think so, Hasanov does not consider it either. Our external and internal policy is a policy which does not depend on anything, it protects national interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan, provides the state sovereignty of Azerbaijan and directed making Azerbaijan the state equal in rights in the world community.

Our internal policy is the building of legal, democratic state, providing and development of democratic principles, maintenance of a freedom of speech, press and conscience. These are our internal policy and at the same time we will carry out economic reforms, realization of the privatization program, carrying out land reform, transfer of the land to a private property and, thus, revival of Azerbaijan's economy by means of these reforms and making a basis of our internal policy. Azerbaijan has a big economic potential. I consider that if land reform comes to the end in Azerbaijan - two or three years are necessary for it - then the nature, in general the soil of Azerbaijan will give very big harvest and it will make the most part of our production. Azerbaijan has at the same time a big industrial potential. After realization of privatization, the industry of Azerbaijan will enter a new stage. And this in itself will give a big result. Let's add to it the achievements of a petroleum industry in the future. All these will improve social and economic situation inside Azerbaijan and create condition for mutual trade relations with foreign countries and for introducing our economy to the world.

As to how much oil can influence on the settlement of the Garabagh conflict, I do not know, maybe, it will help. However, it is impossible to connect them directly.

Question: The agreement has been signed on quartering of the Russian military bases in territory of Armenia. This agreement has not been ratified by the Russian State Duma and parliament of Armenia for a long time. Yesterday, the constitutional court of Armenia has prematurely made a decision about its conformity to the constitution of Armenia and recommended to ratify it. Do you see any result of the Lisbon summit in it? Thank you.

Answer: Thank you for the information. I did not know it. Probably, there is also any connection in it. I don't know. And I have basically considered and I consider that there is no necessity for the quartering military bases of the Russian Federation in territory of Transcaucasia, in particular, in Armenia. Why it is necessary - I do not understand. For example, I consider it absolutely superfluous. If Armenia has concluded the contract and not ratified till now and yesterday the constitutional court has suggested its ratification, this is domestic affair of Armenia. I am actually against the quartering of the Russian armed forces in territory of Transcaucasia.

Question: Esteemed President, the delegation of Azerbaijan in the Lisbon summit achieved everything possible and in comparison with the Budapest summit it made an important step forward. But, this time Armenians did not make a correct conclusion of a position of Azerbaijan in the solution of the Garabagh conflict as well. In a word, they are not satisfied with granting Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) a high status, security of all population in Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Now everybody is thinking of one question: in what direction will Armenians conduct the further peace talks?

Answer: It will be conducted in the same direction. That is, the recognition of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, granting high status to Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) within the Azerbaijan state, these are supported, accepted by the member-countries of OSCE in the Lisbon summit. And we will conduct negotiations on the basis of these principles.

Question: Esteemed President, former heads of the state up to you could not achieve any positive result at the international meetings on Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Being still in Nakhchivan in the condition of blockade, you have explained to people unsuccessfulness of results of Jeleznovodsk talks. After becoming the head of the state, you have directed all your energy for the achievement of peace in Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and protection of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The regime of cease-fire and the Lisbon victory once again have proved it. Mister President, after the Lisbon summit which victory can the Azerbaijan people expect owing to your political wisdom? Thank you very much.

Answer: You know, we want to solve the problem in peace way. The peaceful solution of the question does not correspond to the word "victory". The victory, as a rule, turns out in fights, someone wins victory over another man. But, negotiations and mutual agreement are necessary for the settlement of the question by peace way. It is necessary to make certain concessions to each other, certain compromises should be made. We can achieve peace only in this case, by this way. The conclusion of peace is not anyone's victory - neither in Azerbaijan, nor in Armenia. It is a general victory. Peace for Azerbaijan means that the occupied Azerbaijan's territories should be cleared of Armenian armed forces, these armed forces should be withdrawn from there, refugees should be returned to their lands. Peace should be concluded, the mutual trust should be established, contradictions, mutual enmity should be liquidated and former communications should be restored between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Despite our wounds are deep, losses are heavy, we should look forward. It is impossible to have enemy relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan constantly. I said about it to the president Ter-Petrosyan at our meeting in Lisbon: if you think that Azerbaijan and Armenia will remain enemies for ever, it is impossible, it will not be so. Time will pass and we will achieve peace, mutual trading and economic relations of neighbors will be restored. It will be for the sake of citizens of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Going on this way, certainly, it is impossible to speak about a victory. Here it is a question about mutual agreement. We will go along this path.

Question: Recently attempts in conducting presidential elections are observed in all hotbeds of conflicts in the Caucasus. And including, the so-called "the Nagorno-Karabakh republic". How do you think, is it incidental or a component of any big purposeful policy?

Answer: You know, it is impossible to answer it unequivocally - whether quite by chance it is accident or a result of purposeful policy. It might be incidental or the purposeful policy. It has no great value.

Question: If Armenia does not submit to principles of the statement enclosed in the final declaration of the OSCE Lisbon summit, what measures will be taken by the Azerbaijan government?

Answer: Armenia still opposed it at the session of the summit when the statement was declared. Thus, Armenia stated its attitude to this statement. Therefore, we can hardly expect that Armenia will submit to this statement. However, Armenia can not but agree with the existing reality. In fact, it is noted in this statement that all members of the Minsk group and all participants of the summit - members of OSCE support it. Certainly, Armenia could have enjoyed the right to veto. However to oppose always to everybody will not be advantageous for them. Armenia should consider it.

Question: Dear President, I will take your time, but as the representative of the newspaper "Garabagh" - the publication of the population which has suffered most, I have some brief and concrete questions. The first question is connected with the Lisbon summit. People, in particular, people from Garabagh, had great hopes connected with this meeting. The second question: doesn't the prolongation of the cease-fire regime create basis to make this conflict closer to Palestine-Israeli conflict? How can you explain it - the Azerbaijani side makes concessions, but the Armenian side toughens its demands. That is, is it necessary to negotiate with Armenia which does not come to an understanding about our concessions? The third question is connected with economy. The process of privatization in Azerbaijan has already begun and proceeds, according to the information received, vouchers will be distributed in January, 1997. From this point of view, what will refugees have from privatization - the lost lands, the destroyed houses, the destroyed property and what else? Thank you.

Answer: I already said that the document adopted in the Lisbon summit opens a new stage in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. I am repeating, the main principles have been determined and reflected in this document for conducting peace talks. Therefore, I consider that the Lisbon summit has brought us closer to the settlement of this question.

I am answering to your second question. You said that prolongation of the cease-fire regime can lead to a condition of the Palestine-Israeli conflict and as we make concessions, Armenia will toughen their demands. First, I want to say that we have not made any concessions. If someone considers that we have made concessions, he is mistaken. The formula of three elements, offered by us, is not a concession and is completely equitable to interests of Azerbaijan. As to a prolongation of the question, as fast as it will be solved, it will be better. However, there are some objective reasons. If in the past Azerbaijanis had not left Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and our districts had not been occupied, certainly, it would be easier to solve the conflict. This condition has very much complicated the process of negotiations. But I consider that we are on a right way and can solve the problem just by this way.

About privatization. Privatization is the core for revival of our economy. It is known that our property has completely been destroyed in the occupied lands by the Armenian invaders. But after clearing these lands, we will receive great help from abroad on their restoration. The international organizations, the World Bank have given us great promises. Owing to it, everything will be restored in this territory; people will also return to their places and use their property.

Vouchers will be given to all population of Azerbaijan irrespective of a place of residing, of being a refugee or an aboriginal. Everybody will make use of vouchers with the same rights.

Question: You always emphasize the importance of an establishment of stability in the Caucasus - up to the OSCE summit and during the meeting. Your desire is supported as well as by the Turkish people. When you left for Lisbon, a transport accident happened in Turkey. According to the information of press, Abdulla Chatly, who was close to Tansu Chiller, the former Prime Minister, present Minister for Foreign Affairs, died in this accident. This person had made a number of sabotage in the Caucasus before and earlier in Azerbaijan. Have you got any information about Abdulla Chatly's activity in Azerbaijan?

Answer: I am neither familiar with Abdulla Chatly, nor the incidents connected with him. If Turkey possesses such information about Abdulla Chatly had done something in Azerbaijan, that is, if he is guilty, I am asking both you and Turkey to investigate the case and give us information. It is known that certain Farman Damirgol by name had made statements on your TV and in the newspaper "Hurriyyet". He had really lived some years in Azerbaijan. When the Popular Front was in power in Azerbaijan, he was working in parliament. Then here, in March, 1995 attempt of coup was made by special police group. This group was headed by Rovshan Javadov. Farman Damirgol also took part in this attempt of coup. Damirgol is guilty of this matter. Therefore, it would be better if he spoke about his sins.

Question: Both the government and the public of Turkey follow very closely the events developing in Azerbaijan. You said that in Lisbon summit Turkey supported Azerbaijan on the Garabagh question. However, there is also such opinion in Turkey that some political circles of Turkey intervene in internal political affairs of Azerbaijan. How these statements are met in Azerbaijan?

Answer: Very friendly and brotherly mutual relations have been established between Turkey and Azerbaijan, our states and people. I wish them further strengthening and expansion. I know that the heads of state and government of Turkey, in particular, the president, my dear friend Suleiman Demiral, share my opinion. Intervention, as you noted, of certain political circles in internal affairs of Azerbaijan, certainly, is inadmissible. These should be prevented. All that done by Farman Damirgol and the officials related to him are known there. These political circles should know that it is impossible to intervene in internal affairs of Azerbaijan.

Question: Turkey has followed the events connected with the attempt of the coup d'etat very closely attention. There is an information that you have learned about this attempt of coup from Suleiman Demiral when you were in Denmark. Firstly, is it true? Secondly, you noted that Farman Damirgol was accused of collaboration in attempt of coup. But he was sent to Turkey by special plane. Why he was not made answerable for it?

Answer: Really, the president of Turkey esteemed Suleiman Demiral has informed me on preparation of such attempt. However, at that time I did not know that Farman Damirgol and other citizens of Turkey were taking part in it. After a coup attempt was prevented, we have arrested Farman Damirgol. But as he was a Turkish citizen, we handed him over to Turkey party.

Question: How did that affect the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations?

Answer: All these cannot render any influence on Azerbaijani-Turkish mutual relations. Our communications are indestructible. Therefore such trifles cannot exert influence upon our big affairs.

Question: Dear President, you have just said that Farman Damirgol was guilty. Are there arguments of his guilt?

Answer: Yes, the information on his guilt have been given to corresponding Turkish bodies.

Question: Esteemed President, we follow closely the American-Azerbaijani mutual relations. You have telephone conversations, an exchange of letters with the US president Bill Clinton. You have a close contact with him. After Bill Clinton is re-elected the president, do you expect a new stage in his policy, to tell the truth, in the policy of the USA, will America continue to support Azerbaijan?

Answer: I want to tell that mutual relations of Azerbaijan and the United States of America are at very high level. We will continue these mutual relations. I am very glad for Mister Bill Clinton's re-electing president. Because personal mutual relations have been established between us. I consider that when he starts again to perform his duties of the president, there will be a progress in our attitudes.

Thank you. I wish to express my gratitude to you for your visit to country. If there were any inconveniences, please take into account that I have returned from Lisbon last night and today I have been dealing with all these issues since morning. So tomorrow you may stay here and be our guest.

I am very glad that correspondents from Turkey have arrived in Azerbaijan. I express my gratitude to each of you, you are our guests. If somebody of you wishes to meet me personally, we can do it tomorrow. Thank you.