Speech of the president of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev in the meeting ‎with the members of the Society of Policy and International Relations - July 4, 2000‎

Dear Mr. Ambassador!‎

Dear Ladies and gentlemen!‎

I greet all of you quite sincerely and consider my meetings with you, members of ‎the Society of Policy and International Relations very important occasion while ‎being in Austria, Vienna. I express my gratitude to you that you have been ‎interested in meeting to me and gathered here today. It is natural that it is ‎connected with your interest to Azerbaijan. ‎

Mister Ambassador, I thank you for the speech you have just made here. You gave ‎detailed information about Azerbaijan. So, you said part of the words that I would ‎say. But I will find some words to say too. There are still a lot of words to be said. ‎I express my gratitude to you for giving very right information about Azerbaijan ‎and my biography. ‎

Dear ladies and gentlemen!‎

You know that I have come on the official invitation of the president of Austria. I ‎have been holding meeting since today morning. We have had very useful ‎meetings, negotiations with Mr. President. I have had meetings with the minister of ‎foreign affairs. I had meetings, good negotiations with chairmen of the parliament. ‎I have been in the executive power Vienna. I met and conducted negotiations with ‎federal chancellor. But now I came to meet you. I am in Vienna for the first time; I ‎come to Austria for the first time. So, I have great impressions during this short ‎period. Of course, I have read much about past, culture of Austria from the history. ‎But those I have seen amazed me. I mean beautiful architectural monuments, fine ‎palaces and drawing works in those palaces when I say what I have seen. But it is ‎past of Vienna and Austria. Today of Vienna, Austria is better than past. Because ‎Austria is one of the developed countries in Europe and have gained very great ‎successes. So, I express gratitude to all you- inhabitants of Vienna, citizens of ‎Austria for these successes. ‎

Of course, it is difficult to give the necessary information to you about Azerbaijan ‎during short time. But I will touch upon some matters. ‎

At the beginning of the XIX century Azerbaijan was divided into two parts in the ‎result of the war between Iran and Russia: northern part of Azerbaijan, where we ‎live now passed under the subordination of Russian empire, southern part- the part ‎in Iran was seized by Iranian empire. So Azerbaijan was divided. ‎

As it was said here, at the beginning of XX century, after collapse of Russian ‎empire Azerbaijan declared its sovereignty, founded national republic. But this ‎republic, this state, this government could not live long. After 23 months, the ‎Soviet power, Bolshevik power strengthening in the center of Russia moved ‎forward toward Caucasus and Azerbaijan lost its state independence at the end of ‎April, 1920 and since then it became a union republic in the composition of the ‎Soviet Union. At the end of 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union gained its ‎state independence. We are already independent state for nine years and we could ‎have occupied special place in the world unity. ‎

But Azerbaijan faced with many difficulties still in the composition of the Soviet ‎Union. You know, there were 15 allied republics in the composition of the Soviet ‎Union. Three of these republics, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia are in the ‎Southern Caucasus. We are neighbors with one another, - Armenia, neighbor with ‎Azerbaijan, still in the period of the Soviet power got into an argument in order to ‎occupy Mountainous Garabagh, which is an old and eternal part of Azerbaijan. ‎This argument was in the form of an armed conflict of separate groups at first. ‎

This conflict began by Armenia in order to occupy Mountainous Garabagh. ‎Mountainous Garabagh is red- painted territory in the map you see. After founding ‎the Soviet power Mountainous Garabagh status of autonomous region in ‎Azerbaijan 1923. Since then it has been as autonomous region in the composition ‎of Azerbaijan. History of Mountainous Garabagh and history of Azerbaijan show ‎that Mountainous Garabagh has never belonged to Armenia. But when ‎Mountainous Garabagh was given the status of autonomy in 1923 Armenians ‎living in Mountainous Garabagh were more than Azerbaijanis. So it has given the ‎status of autonomy. The situation was so during last 70 years. It means, 170 ‎thousand inhabitants lived in Mountainous Garabagh when argument began 70 ‎percent was Armenians, 30 percent was Azerbaijanis. Armenia considers that ‎‎"Mountainous Garabagh is an Armenian land, so it is necessary to consolidate it to ‎Armenia".‎

You see in the map the territory painted red is situated in the center of Azerbaijan. ‎It can not belong to Armenia and it is natural, it can not be consolidated to ‎Armenia. ‎

When this conflict began the Soviet Union was a powerful state and it is natural ‎that it was able to remove conflicts interior of its country. But it is pity that ‎leadership of the Soviet Union, government and personally Mikhail Gorbochov did ‎not take a correct stand. That is, instead of preventing this conflict- it is natural that ‎necessary measures were to be taken that this conflict not to turn out war, not to ‎turn out armed fight, - they took strange position, sometimes were neutral, ‎sometimes defended Armenia, but sometimes wanted Armenia and Azerbaijan ‎speak to each other. ‎

In such condition parliament of Armenia made a decision in 1988 that ‎consolidating Mountainous Garabagh to Armenia. Of course, this decision of the ‎parliament was contrary to the Constitution, laws of the Soviet Union. If these ‎were prevented, there would be no blood, no war. It is a pity that these were not ‎prevented. So, this minor conflict turned out a great war. ‎

The territory of Mountainous Garabagh was occupied completely in 1990 with ‎help of the armed forces of Armenia. All of Azerbaijanis living there were taken ‎out from the territory of Mountainous Garabagh and Mountainous Garabagh was ‎torn out by the subordination of Azerbaijan state. Then there was a war, battles and ‎losses of both this and that side and at last in 1991when the Soviet Union ‎collapsed, but Azerbaijan and Armenia gaining state independence this war ‎became more excited and turned out not only problem of Mountainous Garabagh ‎evidently, but a conflict, war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. ‎

Lately because of some reasons- those reasons are that, it is a pity that when ‎Azerbaijan gained sovereignty it faced with the second great problem. It was ‎absence of social- political stability in Azerbaijan. ‎

At that time some forces, armed group in Azerbaijan armed more defending ‎Azerbaijani lands against Armenia and after it some forces- both political forces ‎and separate armed forces tried power fight in Azerbaijan. This power fight broke ‎stability in Azerbaijan. ‎

Power was changed still in the period of the Soviet Union in Azerbaijan in 1990, it ‎was changed again in 1992 and civil war began in Azerbaijan when Armenia ‎occupied lands of Azerbaijan seven years ago in June of 1993- it is natural that ‎armed forces of Armenia enjoyed these reasons very skillfully and went out from ‎the territory of Mountainous Garabagh and began to occupy the regions, territories ‎around it where mere Azerbaijanis had lived and they had no relation with ‎Mountainous Garabagh region. ‎

There is a tragic page in the history of Azerbaijan at that time. These are January ‎accidents in 1990. Perhaps you have information about it, but it is very horrible ‎accident. It consists that as the Soviet government, its leadership did not stand right ‎position in Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict, acted unjustly against Azerbaijan and ‎in the result of these Mountainous Garabagh and some regions around it were ‎occupied by armed forces of Armenia people were against communist regime, the ‎Soviet government, they gathered to the squares, streets in Azerbaijan. People ‎objected to the Soviet government- both in the center, Moscow, and the ‎government in Azerbaijan and required their dismissal. In such situation the Soviet ‎government, Political Bureau of the party and its leader Gorbochov again ‎committed a great crime. That crime is that great troops were brought into Baku ‎during a night in order to avert the masses in Azerbaijan. ‎

I wan to say you, - it has been said here, and as you know my biography- as first ‎secretary of Communist Party I led Azerbaijan for 14 years. I know that great ‎military units of the soviet army were located in the territory of Azerbaijan. In spite ‎of these the Soviet government, Political Bureau, Gorbachov took and brought ‎troops into the town from other provinces of Russia. You know these operations ‎were so important for them that the minister of defense of the country Marshall ‎Yazov, minister of internal affairs Bakatin, first deputy of the minister of state ‎security and a number of other generals entered to Baku together with these troops ‎without informing. It was fired in the streets of Baku, quiet people were killed. ‎There were such cases that a man unaware of everything in his own flat was killed ‎at home- as bullet pierced the window. There were killed 135 men; about 700 men ‎were wounded at that night. All of these men are quiet people, doing nothing bad, ‎people who are in the streets at that time. ‎

It is natural that this great crime caused greater discontent against the Soviet ‎power, communist regime in Azerbaijan. At that time head of Azerbaijan ‎Communist Party was escaped to Moscow by military planes of Russia, the Soviet ‎Union. Because people were very angry to him. So, power was changed. ‎

But this internal situation did not become stable in Azerbaijan. Again I say the ‎reason of this war was from one hand injustice against Azerbaijan, Armenian ‎armed forces occupying some part of the territory of Azerbaijan, from other hand ‎separate forces enjoying this confusion within Azerbaijan fighting for power. In ‎the result power in Azerbaijan changed again in February of 1992. ‎

That is to say, the man who was head of Azerbaijan Communist Party and declared ‎president while the Soviet Union collapsed and others were dismissed ran to ‎Moscow. ‎

There was anarchy in Azerbaijan for three- four months. Then in June of 1992 ‎there was held elections and representatives of the popular front, who came from ‎among the masses won in these elections, were elected president. But there was not ‎unity among them again; there was again internal power struggle and enjoying ‎these armed forces of Armenia moved more. ‎

In the result of the civil war within Azerbaijan in June of 1993 Armenian armed ‎forces enjoying this condition managed to occupy the territories of Azerbaijan ‎more. In the result of it territories around Mountainous Garabagh, painted with red ‎color in the map were occupied by armed forces of Armenia. All these territories ‎include 20 percent of Azerbaijan territory, more than one million Azerbaijan were ‎taken out from this territory, and this war went on. ‎

People invited me to Baku in 1993 while starting civil war in Azerbaijan. My ‎biography was said here. But I want to say two moments that, I left Communist ‎Party, refused while living in Moscow as the Soviet government, Political Bureau ‎brought the soviet troops into Azerbaijan. After it I lived in Moscow for some time ‎and returned to Azerbaijan. But the leadership of the Soviet Union in Moscow and ‎the leadership of communist party of Azerbaijan did not allow me living in Baku. ‎So I went to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. As you see in the map it is also ‎Azerbaijani land, but from point of view of territory it was separated from the main ‎territory of Azerbaijan with the territory of Armenia. It is the result of that injustice ‎made in 1920. At that time the Soviet government drew the map so. ‎

I was born there, lived there for three years. Nakhchivan was in blockade, there ‎was hard condition, but I was obliged to live there. ‎

People required me in 1993. I came to Baku. It was necessary both to normalize ‎internal situation and to defend the lands. There was a terrible war. It was not very ‎easy to normalize the internal situation. Because some armed forces tried to coup ‎d`etat in Azerbaijan again in October of 1994. But we prevented it. At this time ‎people stood up and defended the president, the state. After 6 months great armed ‎forces wanted to overthrow the government in Azerbaijan and to terrorize against ‎the president of Azerbaijan with participation, help of some special service bodies ‎of foreign countries. It was also prevented. So, after 1995 internal stability could ‎be made in Azerbaijan. ‎

It is natural that in such situation - as I said Azerbaijan had lost those lands - but ‎in May of 1994 we held negotiations with Armenia and made such decision to stop ‎the war. We signed an agreement about ceasefire regime for the purpose of setting ‎the matter not by war, but by peace. There is not war, battles for six years. But we ‎haven`t achieved peace yet. Minsk group of OSCE- OSCE established an ‎organization named Minsk group in 1992- engage in settling the matter. Co- ‎chairmen of Minsk group are Russia, the United States of America, and France. ‎Co- chairmen did much, were in the region, held negotiations, learned positions of ‎Azerbaijan, Armenia and achieved some peace through their representatives during ‎these years. But it wasn`t possible to settle the problem. Because Armenia takes ‎non- constructive position, as occupied twenty percent of Azerbaijan lands,- uses ‎its advantage that "I have occupied these lands, the demand made should be ‎settled". The demand consists that Armenia requires giving independence status to ‎Mountainous Garabagh. ‎

This matter has been discussed in Budapest top meeting of OSCE in 1994, in ‎Lisbon top meeting of OSCE in December of 1996. At that time some versions ‎appeared for settling that matter with peace way. We accepted some of those ‎versions, but Armenia did not accept. If one of those versions was accepted in ‎‎1997, then we could achieve peace really and normalize the situation gradually. ‎But Armenia did not accept those versions. As you know, there was change of ‎government in Armenia in February, at the beginning of 1998. The president ‎Levon Ter- Petrosyan applied for retirement due to divergence of opinion in these ‎matters. After him there was a process of new president elections in Armenia. So ‎we lost 1998 year, we could do nothing. Minsk group of OSCE told us every time ‎to wait, creating any condition after new presidential elections in Armenia. ‎

As there was not any result in 1999, direct negotiations began between the ‎president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and me, the president of Azerbaijan ‎Republic. We began these negotiations in Washington in April. After it we met, ‎spoke for some times- twice in Geneva, once in Yalta, once in the border of ‎Armenia- Azerbaijan, in the territory of Nakhchivan. During these negotiations we ‎could move forward a little and the reason of it was that both sides, that is the ‎president of Armenia and the president of Azerbaijan agreed to make some ‎compromises in this matter. These compromises are more difficult, harder ‎compromises both for Armenia and Azerbaijan. But we could make such decision. ‎

You know that a terror incident occurred in the parliament in October of 1999. The ‎chairman of the parliament, prime minister and some deputies were killed, shot in ‎the building of the parliament and internal situation tightened in Armenia. It is ‎natural that we could not hold negotiations n such situation. ‎

We tried to restore these negotiations again in Istanbul top meeting of OSCE. Co- ‎chairmen, the president of America Bill Clinton, the president of FranceJacque Shirak, the president of Russia came there. But the president of Russia went ‎away, we did not meet him. Both president Kocharyan and I met two presidents ‎and the minister of foreign affairs of Russia and got supports to the compromise ‎agreement. But then time passed, we could not get any result again. ‎

So, the conflict has not been settled yet. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has ‎broken down. 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is under the occupation of the ‎armed forces of Armenia. More than one million Azerbaijanis derived from ‎occupied lands live in the tents in the different regions of our country- they are ‎shown with points in the map. Because we have not other place to accommodate ‎these people. We have accommodated them by freeing schools, kindergartens. We ‎have accommodated most of them in railway trains, rest houses. But it also is not ‎enough. Most of refugees live in tents. ‎

Just imagine, for instance, people live in tents for six- seven years. Foreign ‎representatives visiting there see a very terrible scene and coming back shed tears. ‎Because, really, it is impossible to meet such a terrible scene in the world. For ‎example, a five- years old child has not seen anything except a tent, he hasn`t seen ‎house, city, village, and lives under the tent. We are such hard condition. ‎

We want the matter to be settled in peace way. We are not supporters of war and I ‎state it in presence of you today. But Armenian side should stand constructive ‎position about it that the matter can be settled in peace way. Stating these to you I ‎want to say that I am optimist. Although it is very difficult to us, I suppose, we will ‎achieve to settle this problem in peace way. But I consider that direct meetings of ‎two presidents, presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan should be continued again. ‎At the same time Minsk group OSCE should increase its activity and OSCE should ‎increase its activity. ‎

You know, Austria is chairman of OSCE this year. That`s why I gave wide ‎information about this matter in my talks and gave offers today. Now the minister ‎of foreign affairs of Austria is in the post of chairman of OSCE. He will be in the ‎region on 16- 17 of this month and will hold negotiations both in America and in ‎Azerbaijan. We hope how will result these negotiations. However we cherish great ‎hopes to the Minsk group of OSCE. Three great states lead the Minsk group- the ‎United States of America, Russia, France. If all these states come to an opinion, ‎use international influence, of course, it is possible to settle this conflict. ‎

I want to give some other information about Azerbaijan. Having gained state ‎independence since 1991 Azerbaijan is in the democratic way. There is a process ‎of democratic, juridical, world state building in Azerbaijan. It is true, the ‎information I have just given you- breaking stability within Azerbaijan, tries to ‎coup d`etat and changing power for several times, of course, did not allow to ‎conduct this process properly. But after securing internal social- political stability ‎in 1995 we adopted the first democratic Constitution of Azerbaijan, parliament ‎elections and in 1998 presidential election were held before in 1993 and then 1998. ‎All democratic institutions have been ensured at us. Freedom of press, freedom of ‎speech, and freedom of conscience- all these have been ensured. It has been ‎secured both in Constitution and carried out practically. We are going in the way of ‎market economy, conduct reforms. ‎

For example, we privatized lands and gave them to peasants two years ago. We ‎have not still had governmental sector, collective farms, state farms in the ‎agriculture, peasants have got their lands and use. We see its positive results. ‎

Privatization program is carried out in other fields of economy. For example, trade ‎has been privatized 98 percent, or 98 percent of agriculture is in private sector, ‎about 70 percent transport is in private sector and most of other service fields, ‎infrastructure are in private sector. That is to say using values of Europe, practices ‎of the countries developed economically in the world we develop our economy. ‎

Beginning from 1990 Azerbaijan has passed both political and economical crisis. ‎The economical crisis was that Azerbaijan declined every year. Production of ‎agriculture, interior product decreased about 20-25 percent every year. Inflation ‎increased to the highest degree. We prevented these, created stability in 1995. We ‎abolished inflation entirely and prevented the economy from falling. ‎

Our economy has been developing since 1996. Interior product increases 4-5-6 ‎percent on average. For example, it increased 7 percent. It increased about 7 ‎percent in the first half of this year, production of agriculture increases about 3 ‎percent, industrial production increases 3 percent and there is development in all ‎other fields. Budget is performed completely. ‎

You know that salaries or pensions are not paid for months as budget is not ‎performed in most countries of CIC. We have prevented these, salaries, pensions- ‎all are paid. These are the results of economical reforms we carried out from one ‎hand, from other hand it is the result of foreign investment being involved to ‎Azerbaijan. ‎

Dear Ambassador stated here that, Azerbaijan has rich natural resources. It has rich ‎land, rich agricultural potential, great industrial potential and very rich ‎underground resources- oil, gas and other underground riches. ‎

You know that Azerbaijan is the oldest oil country. Still in 1848 oil by industrial ‎way was got in Azerbaijan for the first time in the world. For example: oil by ‎industrial way was got the United States of America about six years after Baku, ‎Azerbaijan and rendered services to the development of oil industry here. Then all ‎oil industry of Azerbaijan was seized by the Soviet government and all served to ‎the government. ‎

Now after gaining state independence all these belong to the independent ‎Azerbaijan state. That`s why we settle our problems ourselves and invited oil ‎companies of foreign countries possessing high engineering, technology, allocation ‎to Azerbaijan in order to use rich oil and gas fields fruitfully and to develop the ‎economy. A great agreement was signed in September of 1994 for the first time. ‎Creating consortium together with 11 European and American companies there ‎was signed contract with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. According to this ‎contract investment in the amount of 8 billion dollars should be put and 60 million ‎ton oil, more should be produced. ‎

I can say that this contract is carried out. We have created two oil pipelines in order ‎to export produced oil to the world markets: the first Baku- Novorossiysk, that is, ‎to the port of Novorossiysk of Russia in Black Sea, the second Baku- Supsa, to the ‎port of Georgia in Black Sea. Produced oil is exported by these two oil pipelines to ‎the world markets. But great oil is expected in Azerbaijan. The first contract was ‎signed in 1994. Then 19 contracts were signed. We perform joint works together ‎with 32 great oil companies belonging 14 states and each contract has its ‎perspective. About 60 billion dollars investment should be come to Azerbaijan ‎during 30 years on all these contracts. Of course, oil production will reach not 60 ‎million ton, but 100-200 million ton. ‎

So, we have been carrying out works about great export oil pipeline. This oil ‎pipeline will lie from Baku to Georgia, Tbilisi, from Georgia to the territory of ‎Turkey, to Ceyhan port of Turkey in Mediterranean Sea. This is about 2 thousand ‎kilometer. More than 1000 kilometers of it is in the territory of Turkey, 400-500 ‎kilometers is in the territory of Azerbaijan, the rest of it is in the territories of ‎Georgia. ‎

Some were supporters of the project of the main oil export pipeline of Baku- ‎Tbilisi- Ceyhan, but some were not supporters. ‎

At last we signed this contract in Istanbul in November of last year. The president ‎of Turkey Republic, the president of Azerbaijan Republic, the president of ‎Georgia, the president of Kazakhstan Republic signed the contract. Together with ‎us, Mr. Bill Clinton, the president of the United States of America, who ensured ‎realizing this contract, signed this contract. It is natural that, then this contract had ‎to be confirmed in the parliament and Turkey parliament has already confirmed ‎this contract. Now the consortium begins to act practically and in order to construct ‎this oil pipeline a new consortium- construction consortium of oil pipeline will be ‎formed and investment in the amount of 2 billion 200 million dollars should be put ‎here. This oil pipeline should be constructed and got ready during three- four years. ‎

Now we have opened great gas fields besides oil. Gas was produced in Azerbaijan ‎in past and Azerbaijan provided itself with gas. But those gas fields became old. ‎We signed another contract with some companies- BP, "Amoko", "Statoil" and ‎other companies. It the second contract and it is about "Shahdeniz" field in ‎Caspian Sea. We called it "Shahdeniz". It is simple symbolic thing. We have ‎opened great gas fields there. There is at least one billion cub meters, perhaps more ‎gas reserve. More gas is expected in other places. So we already hold negotiations ‎about exporting gas to the world markets want to take the necessary measures. ‎

So, we have performed great works with participation of great companies of the ‎world, the world unity in these rich oil and gas fields and these works have fine ‎future. But now foreign investments come to other sectors of Azerbaijan and are ‎being interested. Now the second stage of privatization program of Azerbaijan is ‎begun to be carried out. Great industrial institutions will be privatized. We wish ‎and it reflected in the law we adopted that every foreign citizen, foreign company ‎can come to Azerbaijan and participate in the privatization in Azerbaijan and can ‎put the necessary capital and do works.‎

We have adopted a lot of laws for foreign capital coming to Azerbaijan and those ‎laws allow foreign investors coming to Azerbaijan, getting profit by putting ‎investment. ‎

We know that there are some necessary terms for foreign investors of Europe and ‎America coming to any country, especially to the countries belonging to the USSR. ‎The first of it is social-political stability. We have maintained it in Azerbaijan. ‎Although Armenian- Azerbaijan conflict has not been settled yet, more than one ‎million citizens live in the condition of refugees in the tents, but have maintained ‎social-political stability within Azerbaijan.‎

The second term is the necessary terms that these are giving necessary ‎maintenances to the investors, liberal zing trade, generally liberalizing economy all ‎these have been provided. All other terms too. That`s why capital enters to ‎Azerbaijan now. ‎

The most of the investment came to the oil sector two years ago, but 60 percent of ‎the capital came to non-oil sector, 40 percent come to the oil sector. It shows that ‎foreign capital comes not only to oil sector but also other sector so, economical ‎opportunities of Azerbaijan are great and its future is well. ‎

As dear Ambassador said, Azerbaijan has very important geographical-strategic ‎position. That is to say Azerbaijan is a very important place between East and ‎West, Asia and Europe, a country situating on the shore of Caspian Sea, in the ‎south of Caucasus, possessing great opportunities, we have borders with Iran in the ‎south, Russia in the north. We have border with Turkey in a little distance. Our ‎border with Armenia has broken, we have border with Georgia.‎

Now most countries of the world show interest to Caucasus. There is some rivalry ‎among separate countries in the territory of Azerbaijan. But there are a lot of ‎military bases of Russia in the territory of Armenia and it has very big arms-SS-‎‎300 rockets, "Skad" plants, MIG- 29 and other modern planes. But we did not ‎allow it. Because we`re independent country. Armed forces of other country can ‎not be in the territory of our state. ‎

The thing hardening our condition is that, for example, it was appeared in 1997 ‎that the ministry of defense of Russia gave arms and Armenia illegally. It is natural ‎that Mafiosi groups act here. These are arms of the government. But separate men ‎earn money here probably. Of course, it makes the condition in the region more ‎terrible. ‎

Look at that map. You can see there, for example, rockets, arms, others in Armenia ‎can repulse which points, reach which points in Caucasus and especially in ‎Azerbaijan. It is natural that it makes the situation in Southern Caucasus ‎complicated. But we want peace, safety, be established in Southern Caucasus. ‎Southern Caucasus assumes great importance not only to Southern Caucasus, but ‎to all European - Asian countries. That`s why if peace is created between ‎Azerbaijan and Armenia, three Southern Caucasus countries- Georgia, Armenia, ‎Azerbaijan can collaborate very usefully and it is natural that a pact can be formed ‎in order great states to maintain their interests in Southern Caucasus and to ‎maintain peace, safety, security in Southern Caucasus.‎

Last year, in Istanbul top meeting of OSCE I offered to create such a pact and ‎addressed to Russia, America, European countries, Turkey and other countries to ‎gather and create such a security pact. Safety in Southern Caucasus, abolishing ‎conflicts really are very important for Russia, it is important to other countries ‎covering Caucasus, and Europe. We haven`t achieved it yet. I suppose done works ‎and especially development of economy will maintain getting some achievements ‎in this field too. ‎

I stated that Azerbaijan is a country, situating in crossway of Asia and Europe, East ‎and West. Perpetuating its old, national traditions Azerbaijan have been using ‎values of Europe, the world human values for two centuries. Being Moslem ‎country according to the national source, protecting its national moral values ‎Azerbaijan at the same time, began to appropriate values of Europe, human values ‎since XIX century. Synthesis of European values, world values with values of our ‎country has resulted very well in Azerbaijan. These were basis for founding ‎juridical, world, democratic state in Azerbaijan. Now we are going on this way. ‎Going on this way we want to integrate to the West, Europe more, we want to get ‎use of European, world values more. That`s why we are on the eve of entering ‎European Council now.‎

You know, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia have been admitted candidate to ‎European Council for four years. We have been collaborating with European ‎Council for four years. Georgia was full, real member of European Council a year ‎ago. But this year on 28th of last month Parliament Assembly of European Council ‎made a decision to admit Azerbaijan and Armenia to European Council together. ‎We appreciate it highly and consider that European countries, the countries ‎including European Council show great care, attention to Azerbaijan. ‎

But at the same time we understand that while entering European Council we take ‎new additional obligations and duties. We know how hard, difficult duties they are. ‎Because sometimes it is considered in Europe and America that if we declared ‎ourselves a democratic state we must be full democratic immediately. That is to ‎say, as France, Austria or America Azerbaijan also should be so democratic, or it ‎should be in other CIC countries too. It is natural that it is not real. Because you, ‎Austrians have gone toward democracy for ages, you have gone on this way for ‎decades. You haven`t been in the environment of democracy during one, five, ten ‎years. The main issue is to go on this way and consider this way strategic way. So ‎entering to European Council we take requirements of European Council that we ‎can carry out those achievements during shorter time than European countries ‎achieved. I suppose that now Committee of Ministers of European Council will ‎look through this issue and we will be able to be full member of European Council. ‎I assure that we will worthy of membership to European Council. ‎

The main issue standing before Azerbaijan state now is to protect state ‎independence, keep it and make it long- lived. We don`t want to lose our national ‎freedom, state independence. We want to live as an independent state. We want ‎our people to be free. We want to be owner of our fate, our country and it is natural ‎to set useful mutual relations with all countries, set friendship relations with all ‎countries, set peace relations with all countries. We are advocates of peace. We are ‎advocates of peace both in Southern Caucasus, in Caucasus and in the whole ‎world. Because XX century already ending, showed how many blows stricken to ‎the mankind with these wars. Everybody should come to a conclusion. ‎

We lead this policy, being in the eve of XXI century, third thousand years and ‎we`ll go with this policy in XXI century. ‎

I express my gratitude to you for your attention. If you have questions I am ready ‎to answer them.