From the talk of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev while receiving the US ambassador to Armenia John Ordway - Presidential palace, October 30, 2002

Heydar Aliyev: Honorable Mr. Ambassador, You are welcome to Azerbaijan. I also greet the US ambassador to Azerbaijan, as we have not met for a long time. I guess the purpose of your visit to Azerbaijan is to collect certain information connected with the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict and render assistance to us. If it is so, I welcome this initiative and I am very pleased of it.

John Ordway:Mr. President, first of all,I would like to express my gratitude that You have found time to meet us. I appreciate You for this. We are very pleased to meet You. As You have mentioned, we really pursue such a goal and this initiative comes from both of us, particularly, from ambassador Wilson who suggested that the ambassadors of the US in Azerbaijan and Armenia should pay mutual visits. Six months ago, Mr. Wilson visited Armenia and now, I am in Azerbaijan.

During my stay here, I have met students, the representatives of religious communities, opposition parties, deputies and officials. I obtained rather broad information about Azerbaijan. I tried to go deeply into the essence of the matter and understand Azerbaijan`s position. After that, I made sure even more that we all have to mobilize our power to attain the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Of course, the Minsk group and co-chairs deal closely with the settlement of this problem. And on our part, Mr. Wilson and I, try to back up this process and state our positions.

Both the co-chairs of Minsk group and its member-states consider that the matter should be settled peacefully. You also stated repeatedly that You are the adherent of such a solution. I have repeatedly heard it from President Kocharyan as well. Thus, it is necessary to seek for political compromises. There is a need for political will to reach the settlement of the conflict. As a result of its settlement, the development both of your country and Armenia, as well as the region on the whole will be provided. On our side, we will also do our utmost to assist it.

I also want to state that I am very pleased and delighted to be in Baku again. I had the opportunity to come here in 1996 too. Today, I am the witness of great and positive reforms in Baku. The structure titled "Young American political leaders" functioned at that time and I arrived here within the group of its representatives.

Heydar Aliyev: Excellent, you can compare.

John Ordway: Of course I can. But it baffles comparison, because this time I can see Baku more developed, more beautiful and more attractive.

Heydar Aliyev: I have listened to you rather attentively and approve your visit to Azerbaijan, as well as the work carried out here. It is very necessary for us and especially, for Azerbaijan. Because it is important that Armenia, Washington, Minsk group, as well as the co-chairs have reliable and full information about the realities of Azerbaijan - I am telling it as regards the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. I have no doubt that the US embassy to Azerbaijan, the ambassador and its members are certainly fulfilling this objective. Along with it, the visit of US ambassador to the country, which is the opposite party of the conflict, his collecting of certain information and its further summarizing are of great importance.

You are well-informed of the position of our state and personally of the Azerbaijani President regarding the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The position is well-known. I have repeatedly stated that we strive and should henceforth strive for the peaceful settlement of the problem. However, the protracting of the matter for a long period of time and nonfeasance of the promises over its peaceful settlement certainly rouse various states of public opinion in our society. I think You have heard and seen it these days.

Today, I reiterate that the matter should be settled peacefully. However, the problem has not been solved up to date and it much complicates the situation of Azerbaijan compared with Armenia. Not touching upon the internal political and economic situation in Armenia, I want to say that even a square meter of Armenian territory has not been occupied. Besides, there are no people appeared to be migrants in their own land in Armenia and there is no one living in tents. And above all, Armenia fully controls its territory. Territorial integrity is the basis of every sovereign state. The territorial integrity of Armenia has been preserved since the time of gaining state independence by it. But the things are different in Azerbaijan. The territorial integrity of our country has been violated and we cannot restore it until now, and that is the difference.

Certainly, the prolonging of the matter does not meet the interests of Armenia either. However, President Kocharyan sometimes tells me during negotiations that "we have lived like this until now and can still live after". Nagorno-Karabakh is directly linked with Armenia and on the other hand, it has proclaimed itself the "independent state". Of course, there is no state recognizing its independence. However, some political leaders pay visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and recognize it. Such facts exist.

I have been informed today that according to the Armenian press, 46 US congressmen have made declarations on the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh. They congratulate Arkadi Gukasyan and Nagorno-Karabakh on the elections held there, state that it is a full "democratic country" and even urge the states and countries to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Several days ago, I was informed that a discussion over the issue on the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh was planned in England, I do not know, it seems it was in the House of Lords or somewhere else.

While telling You all this, I do not want you to think that I blame the United States of America with this regard. I am speaking about this not to get you to explain me why the congressmen act like this for instance. I understand that you can tell me nothing. I am speaking about it because Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia can live in such a circumstance. But Azerbaijan can not. And this is the difference. Therefore, we treat with respect even any minor power that can help us with the solution of this matter. We have to find a way out of the situation. The matter should be settled either peacefully or the people should resume the war and liberate their lands. There is no third way. We set aside the war and consider it unacceptable. So, the only way remains - peaceful. But what else can be done peacefully, what measures should be taken? Our talk with you is just over this issue.

John Ordway: Mr. President, first of all, let me inform you that it is the president who determines foreign policy in the United States of America and not the Congress. And President Bush does not intend to recognize the structure named Nagorno-Karabakh. You all also know that no state recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent country.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Ambassador, I have mentioned that I am not concerned about it. I know that Mr. Bush, as well as all other states will never recognize it. The given matter does not make me anxious. I mention this fact to get you know that, for instance, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia can live in such circumstances. As to the politics, I know what kind of policy is carried out by the USA. However, President Bush could not achieve the abolition of article 907 by the Congress. External appropriations are allocated by the Congress. This year, the Congress has allotted again financial aid to Nagorno-Karabakh and the President has ratified it. And finally, you - the ambassadors of the United States in foreign countries are also appointed by the Congress. Thus, the Congress does not stay apart from the foreign policy. I simply answer you. But let us not stop on it and proceed to the main point.