Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the opening ceremony of the new building of the British Embassy in Baku August 24, 1995

Distinguished Mr. Ambassador!

Esteemed Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen!

Today, we have gathered in the opening ceremony of the new building of the British Embassy in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. I want to point out especially that the British Embassy in Azerbaijan began to function for longtime, two years. But a new building was arranged and repaired and we are participating at its opening ceremony today. On the occasion of this event, I sincerely congratulate British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, all the Embassy staff and the British nationals residing in Azerbaijan. I am sure that the Embassy will function well and efficiently although the building is not so large and has not a reception room.

Mr. Thomas Young noted that the British Embassy existed in Azerbaijan in 1919-1920, but for a short time. He said that it was so, because it had no firm foundation. It is true that not only the building of the Embassy, but our democratic republic which had been established then, lacked a solid base, therefore it did not last long.

But now, the Republic of Azerbaijan stands on a firm foundation as an independent state. Its foundation is the faithfulness of the rulers of the Azerbaijani state to the national independence and freedom. That is why I am confident that the independent Republic of Azerbaijan has a firm foundation and its future will be eternal. Thus, the British Embassy in Azerbaijan will also have a solid foundation in this building, or perhaps in a better one than this in future.

One of the factors ensuring the independence of Azerbaijan is that our republic has established mutually beneficial relations with all the states and we do it now, too, and we shall always endeavor to develop these relations.

I can note with great pleasure that interstate contacts established between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Azerbaijan develop in the positive direction and it produces its results. We highly appreciate these relations, and undoubtedly, will do our best to improve them in future. Some praiseworthy steps were taken in this sphere. The influential British oil company "British Petroleum" has a special place in our republic and jointly work in exploration of oil reserves of Azerbaijan along with Azerbaijan State Oil Company and other companies of the world.

I suppose that, this is the beginning of our contacts and I am completely sure that our cooperation with the United Kingdom will develop rapidly in all the spheres of economy, science, culture and humanitarian affairs.

Mr. Thomas Young disclosed some ideas about the situation in Azerbaijan. He said that they had great hopes for the parliamentary elections to be held on November 12. I express my gratitude. Because the greatest hopes for these elections are anticipated by the Azerbaijani people, community. I am satisfied that the establishment of political pluralism and democratic principles in Azerbaijan has been already appreciated by the world community as well.

I want to note once again that we have taken these principles as priorities for our state building activity and they have derived from our internal political life. We don`t do it to please anyone. We do it for the future of our people.

Mr. Ambassador Thomas Young said that he did not want to talk about politics, but he dedicated more than half of his speech to politics and internal issues of Azerbaijan as well. I suppose he also observed the controversy in his speech. But it is also interesting. We are not concerned about that the Embassies in our country are interested in our internal affairs, declare their opinions and sometimes give advices to us. Undoubtedly, they must not interfere into our internal affairs. But we don`t mention it when they do. Because, their intervention is not dangerous for us. We value these principles more than them.

Ten days ago, when we adopted a law on the elections, I said it then, and I want to note once more again, because this issue was touched, that every person enjoys the right to be elected, and any political party has the right to participate in the elections in Azerbaijan. We prolonged the period of registration for 20 days for the parties which have not yet been registered, and I wish that them to use this chance productively and Mr. Thomas Young assist them in their registration.

We want to beat a record in the world because of the number of parties in Azerbaijan. We had a conversation with the US Senator Mr. Shelby and Ambassador Kauzlarich some days ago. He once more said that they have 2 parties participating in the elections. But we have 45 parties and expect an addition of 10 more. Then the German Bundestag member Mr. Wimmer said in his conversation with me that they also did not have such a number of parties. That is why I want Azerbaijan to differ from the USA and Germany at least in one thing, in the number of parties. I want them to address the foreign Embassies.

I congratulate the British Embassy once more and the government on the occasion of the opening of the new building of the Embassy in Azerbaijan. I want to say that I hope Mr. Thomas Young and his distinguished wife and all the Embassy staff will work in this building efficiently and spend their efforts for the improvement of relations between the Great Britain and Azerbaijan. 

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, August 26, 1995.

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Azerbaijani - UK relations

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Azerbaijan - Europe