From the conversation of the President of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with the Vice-Chancellor of Federal Republic Germany Ioshke Fisher, the deputy chairman of Bundestag Antye Follmer and members of the delegation accompanying them - Presidential Palace, May 21, 2001

Heydar Aliyev: Esteemed Vice-Chancellor!

Esteemed Vice-Speaker!

Esteemed guests!

I welcome you heartily in Azerbaijan and express my best wishes. I am very pleased, that you, esteemed minister, vice-chancellor have visited Azerbaijan accompanied by such a large representative delegation.

After gaining the state independence by Azerbaijan, there were established friendly relations and cooperation between Germany and Azerbaijan. Both sides have made efforts for the development of these relations for the last years. We attach great importance to our relations with Germany as in political, humanitarian spheres, as well as in all other spheres, in Azerbaijan. Therefore, I think that your present visit to Azerbaijan is very important for the further development of our contacts.

I am very pleased that the businessmen who arrived with you have carried out very fruitful meetings with some of our ministers and You also took part there. I hope that all this will have positive results, as until now we have achieved some success in this field. Many German companies work with success in Azerbaijan. We have got credits to the sum of 300 millions dollars for different branches from the bank system of Germany. We should carry out very large programs in energy sector of Azerbaijan in the future. We would like the German companies take part in the implementation of these programmes.

Esteemed Mr. Fisher, we have almost discussed all the issues with you face to face today. I can stress with satisfaction that we came to mutual understanding to cooperate on all issues more efficiently in the future. I am much pleased with the negotiations held with you. I think that in the future, your delegation and you personally will visit Azerbaijan more often.

We hope that as a member of the Minsk group, Germany will make double its efforts in the future in the sphere of the settlement of the most important problem for us - Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict, in the sphere of liberation 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands occupied by Armenians and return the Azerbaijanis to their native homes who were driven out from the occupied territories.

Our relations with Germany have ancient history. As you know, germans in their time lived here and in the beginning of century the German companies including "Siemens", carried out the work in oil industry and in the sphere of energy in Azerbaijan. When restoring one of the enterprises, we disclosed there electrical lines and it was found out that this was the work held by "Siemens" in Azerbaijan in the beginning of century. In Germany there are kind attitudes to Azerbaijan. The people are much fond of to learn the german language. Your ambassador also helps them in this matter. We can speak about many things. However, I think that we have spoken about these questions too long with you tete-a-tete. I tell you once again "You are welcome". Please.

Ioshka Fisher: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I want also to thank You on behalf of the parliamentary delegation headed by vice-president of German Bundestag Ms. Antye Follmer for this warm meeting and the exchange of views.

Today we held productive meetings with ministers, chairman of the National Bank and, first of all, with my colleague-minister of foreign affairs. As a neighbouring region, we are very interested in peace and stability in Southcaucasian region. We are the member of OSCE, which makes serious efforts in order to attain the peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. You have mentioned about Minsk group of OSCE. Germany is also the member of the Minsk group and to the best of their abilities which are limited of course, promote to the peaceful settlement of conflict. It is not a simple question at all, and in order to avoid sharpening of the conflict, we must find the way of settlement by peace way. And we will endow and do everything depending on us.

Both our countries are the members of the Council of Europe. Azerbaijan was recently admitted to the Council of Europe, and the membership of this organization obliges not only the Azerbaijan, but all the members of this organization in accordance with the principles of the Council of Europe, the development of democracy, guaranteeing human rights and ensuring of legal state as objectives. And if we reach in this walk of life the progress, then it will be one of the decisive wages in establishing of peace, stability and economic development of Azerbaijan.

Democratization, respect of human rights are all important aspects in our foreign policy. It is also important for our parliament and therefore, we declare everywhere great efforts be taken for establishment of legal state and democratization including Azerbaijan. Moreover, we are much confident that the modern economy can develop only on state-legal basis.

Mr. President, you marked that large economic delegation group was accompanying me. This testifies to the interest of our industrial enterprises, and also our banks in energization of economic mutual relations between Germany and Azerbaijan.

We have good relations which have ancient history. You have mentioned here about the company "Siemens", and about the solidity of investments which were made some time ago. The interest of our businessmen to Azerbaijan is very strong today and I am pleased that the spheres of cooperation includes not only traditional spheres, but such as oil-gas, mechanical engineering, construction of equipment. Our enterprises are interested in participation of works on reconstruction of Philharmonic Society in Baku, making contribution to the culture in that way. If we reach success in this sphere, I will be very pleased.

Heydar Aliyev: First of all, you should be engaged in Philharmonic Society.

Ioshka Fisher: It is very important. If the economic circles show interest, so we should examine them.

Heydar Aliyev: A lot of firms show interest to it. But we decided that germans would do it best of all.

Ioshka Fisher: As you have just said, when we build, we build very monumental work.

On the whole, we have very good opportunities from economic and political point of view for the further stirring to activity and further improvement of our relations. They are very good at present but although at a high level I think there still exists a whole series of opportunities for their further development. And if my visit helps this, we can consider it successful. Thank you very much.

Heydar Aliyev: Would you like to say anything? I think I met with you in 1996 when I was on an official visit to Bonn.

Antye Follmer: Taking into consideration the fact that as politician engaged in culture in the past, I want to make use of this case to thank You personally for the returning of pictures from Bremen gallery. We take it as an important sign of respect. And secondly, I would like to inform You that today we held an interesting meeting with the representatives of political parties and civil society. I noticed that you have capable women who work actively in the sphere of struggle for peace. I want to congratulate you with it. I would like them to play much greater part in the work of Parliament.

Heydar Aliyev: They were chosen in order to play a big part. As to me, I will support them and will be glad that they play a big role. We have good women as in Germany.

Antye Follmer: We are in need of in women just for this process therefore, sometimes they hit upon such ideas which never occurr men. It will be better not to go deep into this discussion now.

Heydar Aliyev: It is nice, let`s stop on this. We have perfect mutual understanding. Thank you for your visit. I ask to convey my regards and kind wishes to the federal chancellor Mr. Shreder, federal president and chairman of the Parliament.

Ioshka Fisher: Ms. Follmer will do it.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you.

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, May 22, 2001