The talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with Federal President of Austria Thomas Klestil, Vienna, Presidential Office, July 4, 2000

Thomas Klestil: Mr. President, welcome to our country. I thank you for accepting our invitation and paying an official visit to Vienna. The bilateral mutual relations between Azerbaijan and Austria are very useful for both of us. Austria is very interested in the development of partnership in all spheres with Azerbaijan with a rich economic potential. I am confident that the negotiations, which will take place during your official visit and the documents which will be signed, will stimulate the further strengthen the relations between our countries.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, I express my gratitude to you, as the head of Austria for the sincere words and for the invitation to visit your country. I highly appreciate the work done in the field of continuous approach of relations between the two countries after Azerbaijan gained its independence.

The independent Republic of Azerbaijan, which has chosen the path of democratic development, measures and reforms for the construction of a legal, democratic and secular state are successfully implemented. As a result, we have achieved a great progress. Our republic builds its relations with the countries of the world on the basis of sovereignty and mutually beneficial partnership and attaches great importance to integrate its economy into the world community.

The most painful problem of our Republic faces is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over the Mountainous Garabagh. The Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, which is going on for 12 years and the occupation of 20 percent of our country by the Armenian forces, are contrary to all international norms. Have a look at a map, please. Over a million of our citizens were forcibly expelled from their homes live in tents in critical conditions for years. The cease-fire achieved in 1994 is an important step on the road to peace. To resolve this conflict peacefully the Minsk Group of OSCE was established in 1992. Perhaps you remember that at the OSCE Budapest Summit in 1994, Lisbon Summit in 1996 and Istanbul Summit in 1999 which we participated together. To resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict peacefully in Lisbon the summit adopted three principles and Austria supported the position of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, Armenia ignores the resolutions, decisions of the UN, OSCE and other international organizations and the legal norms recognized by all the countries of the world. To annex the Mountainous Garabagh, part of the territory of Azerbaijan, or to create there a new Armenian state is unacceptable and we shall never agree with it. Our country wants peace. We want to resolve this conflict on the basis of the principles adopted at the summit in Lisbon by the heads of the governments of the 53 countries that are members of OSCE. We are ready to give to Garabagh the highest status of autonomy within Azerbaijan. To resolve the conflict within the framework of the Minsk Group of OSCE there were negotiations and the, co-chairs of the Minsk Group, Russia, U.S. and France have made efforts in this area in the recent years. I am confident that the Republic of Austria currently leading the OSCE will productively use its abilities to help to eliminate the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict peacefully.

Thomas Klestil: Mr. President, I highly appreciate the achievements of the independent Azerbaijan confidently stepping through democratic developments thanks to your far-sighted policy. I am sure that the conflict faced by your country will be resolved peacefully in accordance with international norms and Azerbaijan will be one of the most developed countries of the world.

My country is now the chairman of the OSCE. To resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over the Mountainous Garabagh peacefully Austria will enhance its efforts and use all the opportunities. The delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, the chairman of OSCE Benita Ferrero-Waldner will visit the region in the middle of July.

Heydar Aliyev: I know that you, Mr. President also highly appreciate the partnership that established and incessantly growing between Austria and Azerbaijan, the negotiations and meetings held in Baku and Vienna on various levels and the documents we signed. Strengthening these relations more, of course, would be extremely beneficial to both sides. Finally, I invite you to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan.

Thomas Klestil: Thank you. I am pleased to accept your invitation.