Joint press conference of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev and Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto after the signature of the Azerbaijani-Pakistani documents, April 10, 1996

Heydar Aliyev: I am grateful for the decision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mrs. Benazir Bhutto on rendering assistance in the sum of one million USD for over a million refugees who have lost their homes as a result of the aggression, it is done in order to ease their hardships, to demonstrate in solidarity with the citizens of Azerbaijan from their homes by the military forces of Armenia. We are grateful to you and the government of Pakistan for your humanity.

Question: Mr. President, what would you like to say about the position of Pakistan on the Nagorniy-Karabakh conflict and the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan?

Heydar Aliyev: I am pleased to note that Pakistan, its government and the leaders of this country have always condemned Armenia in connection with this aggression and made statements. After the occupation of Kalbajar in April of 1993, during the discussions of this issue in the Security Council of the United Nations, which was chaired by the representative of Pakistan, as a result of principal position and support of Pakistan a serious resolution was adopted in connection with this aggression. In all international organizations, including the meetings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Casablanca, Pakistan expressed its principal position against the Armenian aggression in the recent years.

Question: What factor plays the major role in the Pakistani-Azerbaijani relations, economic or political relations?

Benazir Bhutto: Our relations are based on both of them. We consider Azerbaijan an important country and render to it economic and political support. We are members of the organization of ECO and conduct a regional cooperation with Azerbaijan. Today we have signed nine agreements. We consider our relations with Azerbaijan a political cooperation. We highly appreciate the work of Azerbaijan in the region and in Central Asia.

Question: Does Azerbaijan intend to promote the development of the oil industry of Pakistan in return for the support extended by Pakistan?

Benazir Bhutto: In general, we consider our relations with Azerbaijan special and do not intend to connect it to any of the oil issues. We are against the aggression. We can never accept the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands by Armenia by violating the international principles. Wherever there is aggression, we shall raise our voices in protest. This is part of our foreign policy.

Question: Your Excellency, what is your position in relation to the Kashmir problem? Do you know that the Indian army committed bloodshed in Kashmir?

Heydar Aliyev: In connection with the Kashmir problem Azerbaijan has always supported the position of Pakistan. In discussing the issue at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Casablanca there were different opinions. But the Azerbaijani delegation and I myself, as the President of Azerbaijan, not only supported the position of Pakistan, but also initiated the adoption of the resolution on condemning India and supporting Pakistan in regard with the Kashmir problem.

Question: Mr. President, speaking on the economic cooperation in the region, we cannot forget the instability in Afghanistan. What role can your country play in order to establish peace in Afghanistan for the expansion of economic cooperation in the region and how can it help?

Heydar Aliyev: Azerbaijan has always been a supporter of the establishment of peace in Afghanistan and today we have the same position. We have always expressed our position, and now I once more declare it. I believe that the major countries involved in this issue, can do more to solve the problems peacefully.

Question: Mrs. Bhutto, you just said that Pakistan wants to participate in the peacekeeping forces of OSCE for being placed in Nagorniy-Karabakh. What will be the role of Pakistan in that force and what assistance may your country provide to the formation of these forces? Pakistan attaches great importance to the development of regional cooperation. From this point of view, what specific activities does Pakistan propose to implement in order to turn ECO into an effective mechanism among the member states?

Benazir Bhutto: Pakistan has always been attentive to the efforts of OSCE to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan peacefully. We have expressed the desire to participate in peacekeeping operations as it is appropriate to OSCE. Of course, the details of this issue depend on OSCE.

On the example of the European Union, we see that the success of the regional economic cooperation depends on time. For the implementation of certain economic projects there is a need for time. Thus, it is necessary to prepare a material base and develop the details of individual projects. In this sense, we have proposals for the implementation of specific projects within ECO. For example, we have expressed our views on the establishment of common routes, shipping, common insurance and banking systems, and the Pakistani government has allocated funds for these projects.

We have a deep respect for the President of Azerbaijan, we closely watch his political career and welcome his efforts in implementing the reforms on democratic changes in Azerbaijan and promoting the country towards the market economy. These processes, building a democratic society and formation of market relations are not easy. It takes time. We support the President of Azerbaijan in these issues and I am confident that under his wise leadership the Azerbaijani people will benefit from these changes.