Speech of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting of the delegations of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan - Presidential Palace, September 16, 1996

I welcome President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the delegation accompanying him. I am thankful to Mr. Nazarbayev for accepting my invitation and visiting Azerbaijan officially. I am sure that the first visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan will develop the relations between the two countries. A lot of issues prepared by our government will be discussed during our negotiations. The discussion of all these issues will develop the relations between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

Based on our common roots, languages, religion, traditions, as well as historical and economic relations, Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the relations with Kazakhstan. Being independent now, both of the countries have opportunuties to develop these relations. I am very satisfied with the visit of the President of Kazakhstan. I cherish great hopes in this visit.

The situation of Azerbaijan is known. Soon it will be the five years that Azerbaijan will have been independent. This five-year period has been very hard for Azerbaijan. The Armenian aggression started in 1988 continued within that period, too. As a result of that aggression, 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied, over one million people have been expelled from there live in hard conditions, mostly in tents. The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has affected our country both morally and financially. However, Azerbaijan supports the peaceful solution of the conflict. That`s why, we signed a cease-fire agreement with Armenia in May 1994. The cease-fire regime has been in force for over two years. It is the greatest achievement of our efforts so far. Now we are trying to achieve peace.

The negotiations on the solution of the conflict are underway within the frames of the Minsk Group of OSCE. Azerbaijan is ready to grant the status of high self-administration of the Nagorno Garabag within Azerbaijan, only after the liberation of our occupied territories and return of our IDPs homes. Even though our negotiations with Armenia and within the frames of the Minsk Group gave us big hopes, we can not implement our proposals into life because of the non-constructive position of Armenia. However, I believe that we shall achieve a compromise in the solution of the conflict.

Azerbaijan wants to leave in peace with all its neighboring countries. We have very good relations with Georgia, Iran, Turkey and Russia. If the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is solved in conformity with the proposals of Azerbaijan, then peace and a successful economic cooperation can be established. This would help the development of the economic cooperation of the Caucasus with the Central Asia, including Kazakhstan.

Mr. President, the Azerbaijani public is aware that you always pay attention to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Five years ago together with the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin you visited Azerbaijan and Armenia. Thanks to your efforts, the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia made a joint statement, which was never implemented into life though. When the Azerbaijani helicopter flying over the Nagorno-Karabakh was shot, along with our statesmen, the representatives of Kazakhstan perished. President Nursultan Nazarbayev also met the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Almaty in the August of 1992. The memorandum signed then, however, never implemented into life.

President of Kazakhstan was not indifferent to the solution of the conflict, though Kazakhstan has a lot of problems of its own. The actions of Nazarbayev are highly appreciated in Azerbaijan. President Nazarbayev`s advices and efforts may be useful in the peaceful solution of the problem. I thank Mr. President for all he has done. I hope that this conflict will be solved with the joint efforts.

Moreover, Azerbaijan was threatened by the internal political situation, which was not stable. The governments was overthrown. A civil war broke out in Azerbaijan in the July of 1993. Azerbaijan was being torn apart. Then the people demanded my return. The critical situation was eventually solved.

Three years have passed since then. However, different armed groups still tried to attempt coups d`etat. Those attempts failed thanks to the efforts of the people. Now the internal situation in Azerbaijan is stable. But different people living abroad still want to overthrow the Azerbaijani government supported by the people.

The stable internal situation allow us adopt the first constitution of Azerbaijan, hold democratic parliamentary elections. Now economic reforms and privatization are being conducted in Azerbaijan. Law on the agrarian reform has been adopted. The government is taking measures for effective use of lands.

Our state is pursuing the road of democratization and market economy and attracting foreign investments. A contract on the joint development of oil deposits in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea was signed.

These transformations are creating a new situation in Azerbaijan. Therefore, there are great possibilities to expand our cooperation with the neighboring countries, including Kazakhstan. I agree with Mr. Nazarbayev that the turnover of goods between our countres is low. I am sure that the meetings and negotiations which we held, as well as the documents signed in Baku will help to increase it.

The Caspian Sea is an important factor for our cooperation. It is also important for the pre-Caspian countries. The use of the reserves of the Caspian Sea effectively is also very important. Our position in it coincides. We can develop it and succeed.

As for the agreements on the Transcaucasian highway signed by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Azerbaijan, they are in force. They are approved by the European Union and financed within TRACECA. I think that this road is very important to link the Central Asia and Europe. I am satisfied with the statement of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on join this project.

Azerbaijan is interested in the proposal of Kazakhstan on the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Central Asian Economic Union; definite steps must be taken to use this opportunity.

I think that we have a lot of opportunities to expand economic, scientific-technical and cultural relations between our countries. Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan closely cooperate within the frames of international organizations and hold the same position on ongoing processes in many countries. I assure Mr. Nazarbayev that Azerbaijan will pursue this policy, cooperate with Kazakhstan not only in economic sphere, but within the frames of international organizations, as well.

It is an important factor that both our countries are member-states of CIS. Both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan try to make the activity of the commonwealth more effective. I highly appreciate the role of Kazakhstan in the establishment and effective activity of CIS. Azerbaijan also does its best for it.

The preparation, before the visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Azerbaijan allowed us lead our negotiations successfully, sign all the elaborated documents.

"Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is perpetual" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, addresses, decrees), Volume 5, Baku - 1998, page 307-311

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani-Kazakhstan relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - CIS