Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the press conference in Oslo - Oslo, April 25, 1996

Ladies and gentlemen!

I arrived on an official visit to a friendly country at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Norway, Ms. Brundtland. Our delegation is also here with me. We held negotiations yesterday. I must note that our negotiations were productive. As a result of the negotiations we signed several documents between Norway and Azerbaijan.

We attach a special importance to the relations with Norway. Norway is one of the countries of the world which recognized the independence of Azerbaijan. Since then Norway has been interested in the economic cooperation with Azerbaijan. The «Statoil» and other companies of Norway have come to Azerbaijan and they have already began to cooperate with us.

At the same time the factor which made us to close cooperation is that Norway is one of the developed countries of Europe, it has obtained great achievements in the field of economy. Norway has also obtained great success in the sphere of democratic reforms. Norway has established its own state on full democratic principles and formed its society. All this cases are very attractive and interesting for us. This is also an experience to establish a legal, democratic and secular state in Azerbaijan. These factors are very important in terms of our closer relations with Norway and henceforth in the terms of their development.

Yesterday we had a broad exchange of views and held negotiations on these issues with Prime Minister Ms. Brundtland.  As a result of these negotiations, we agreed to develop the relations between Norway and Azerbaijan in future. At the same time, during our negotiations we focused on the events around the globe. Protracted military conflicts and their resolution were at the focal point of our negotiations. We had the same opinion on them. Besides, our opinions and views coincide in a number of other issues. This is a good basis for our further cooperation.

Azerbaijan is located in the Caucasus. But unfortunately, there is a number of military conflicts in the Caucasus, including the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the most serious and dangerous conflict of the world. This conflict inflicted a great losses and damage on Azerbaijan and its people. Twenty percent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied by the armed forces of Armenia and over one million Azerbaijanis have become internally displaced. They live in tents. This has aggravated the situation in our economy, as well as the situation general. We had broad talks with Ms. Brundtland about this. I informed her and I declare to you that Azerbaijan wants to solve the conflict with Armenia peacefully. Therefore, we signed a cease-fire agreement with Armenia. We have loyal to this agreement so far, and we shall try to observe it in future. We hold negotiations while cease-fire goes on. As a result of negotiations we want to put an end to the military operations and to the conflict. We are advocate of the constant peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Each country, including Armenia must observe the norms of international law in order to achieve peace.  In this respect, we have very preferential and constructive proposals. The proposals oblige the Armenian armed forces withdraw from the occupied Azerbaijani territories. The territorial integrity and the inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan must be provided. The Azerbaijani citizens must return home. The main principle of the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. We are also ready to grant an autonomy to Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan and to the Armenians living there. This autonomy can only be within the Azerbaijani territory. This status must never harm the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is in the fifth year of its independence. The independence of the state is a historical event for the Azerbaijani people. This independence is eternal for us. The independent Azerbaijan builds its life on democratic principles. A democratic and legal state is built in Azerbaijan and all the democratic principles are established in our country. Last November Azerbaijan adopted its first democratic constitution by referendum. At the same time the first democratic elections on the basis of multi-party system were held to the parliament of Azerbaijan. All of this created a good basis for democracy in Azerbaijan. Our economy is open to the whole world. We conduct reforms in the economy based on the principles of market economy. The privatization program was adopted and implemented. All this shows that within a short time Azerbaijan with its rich natural resources will become one of the most developed countries of the world. We feel very good in your beautiful city of Oslo. We are shown great hospitality here. Our meetings and negotiations take place in conditions of sincerity and friendship. All this shows that Norwegian-Azerbaijani relations have a great future and we shall do everything possible to achieve it. Thank you.

Question: President Heydar Aliyev commented in his statement on the expansion of cooperation between «Statoil» and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.  There is a question in this regard: Is the participation of «Statoil» in the development of new oil fields in the Caspian Sea, including «Shahdeniz» field intended?

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, we intend it. We hold active negotiations on this issue.

Question: Increase of oil production means increase of transportation of oil. As it is known, the Azerbaijani oil will be transported to foreign countries through the Russian and Georgian territories. Are there other options on oil pipelines and cooperation with the Norwegian organizations?  

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, you are right. We have concluded a treaty with Russia and Georgia on the construction of pipelines for the transport of early oil to Novorossiysk and Supsa ports of the Black Sea through the Russian and Georgian territories. But at the same time the construction of the main oil pipeline for the export of the Azerbaijani oil is set out in the project of the consortium. We cooperate with the Norwegian organizations about this issue and we shall keep cooperating.

Question: We would like to know how Azerbaijan appreciates the role OSCE and UN in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?  Did you discuss the issue of involving the Norwegian soldiers to the peace-keeping forces of OSCE in your meeting with the Norwegian Prime Minister?

Heydar Aliyev: We use the Minsk Group of OSCE opportunities to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and we will use it further. The Minsk Group of OSCE was set up to solve this conflict by peaceful means. It is true that the work of the Minsk Group and our work through it have not yielded any results so far. But we shall henceforth use this means. Achievement of a peace agreement and its implementation implies the involvement of international peacekeepers in our region. Prime Minister Ms. Brundtland responded to the questions of the Azerbaijani journalists during the meeting. She noted that Norway had issued a statement at the Summit of OSCE, in Budapest in December 1994. The statement says that if the peace agreement is reached and the OSCE peace-keepers are sent to our region, then Norway will send its troops together with them.

Question: You have already mentioned that the consortium has a project on the construction of an oil pipeline for the major oil export. But you did not say anything about the rout of that pipeline where this oil pipeline will cross and what place will be its destination. This is my first question. Here is the second one: There is no doubt that in its activity the consortium takes into the situation in the Caucasus, as well as in  Chechnya. To what extent is it taken into account?

Heydar Aliyev: Let us talk about the main oil pipeline at first. Of course, all the options were considered and studied thoroughly. There is no final decision on this issue yet. For this reason, it is too early be specific about it. Anyway, the construction of the main oil pipeline is still a project of the consortium. We will try to achieve the construction and operation of this oil pipeline.

What concerns the situation in the Northern Caucasus, I can say that we have concluded a treaty with Russia on the construction of the oil pipeline northwards, and we have taken into consideration the difficulties that might emerge on this route. But at the same time, these difficulties can be removed.

Question: Mr. President, I would like to know what is the situation in connection with the contract to be signed on the deposit of «Shah Deniz»? Do the negotiations come to an end in this area? Has the list of companies to take in exploitation of «Shah Deniz» been determined? What are those companies? Do you expect the participation of the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in funding the project of «Shah Deniz»?

Heydar Aliyev: Negotiations on joint exploitation of «Shah Deniz» come to an end. I suppose that a contract will be signed in the nearest future. A number of world companies are interested in this oil deposit. We hold negotiations with them. But I do not want to give information about the companies which will participate in this project. I just want to say that «Statoil» and «British Petroleum» have worked more in this oil field from the beginning, and of course, they are going take part in this project. 

About the financing of the project, the companies in the consortium usually deal with this issue themselves. If they are part of any project, it means that they take it into account and resolve the financial problems. They might use the assistance of the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other banks. Thank you.