Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (February 22-25, 1994)

More intensive development and a qualitatively new stage in the Azerbaijan-UK relations started in the second half of 1993. After coming to power, Heydar Aliyev played an important role in developing these relations.

These relations were further developed by the visit of the Azerbaijani delegations led by President Heydar Aliyev to the United Kingdom on February 22-25, 1994, at the invitation of the British prime minister John Major.

Speaking about the importance of the visit, President Heydar Aliyev said: «It is the first visit of the Azerbaijani President to the United Kingdom. It is of great importance for us, for the Republic of Azerbaijan, because the United Kingdom occupies a leading position in the global political and economic system. It is a nice country with rich history and traditions, and we think that we can learn a lot from the British experience by creating thorough cooperation.»

On February 22, Heydar Aliyev met and negotiated with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Douglas Hogg, the GPT Company management, Director of Kaiser Engineering Company Graham Moore, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the President of BP Simon David, chairman of John Brown Company Ian Robinson. In his speech at the meeting arranged by the Confederation of the British Industry, BP and Statoil on the same day Heydar Aliyev provided information about Azerbaijan and its economic potential and invited the British businesspeople to Azerbaijan. On February 23, Heydar Aliyev received UK Foreign Minister Douglas Hogg and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Mrs. Gillian Shepherd in his residence.

An official welcoming ceremony for Heydar Aliyev took place at the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the same day. Heydar Aliyev was welcomed by the UK Prime Minister John Major and other officials in the ceremony.

The negotiations began between Heydar Aliyev and John Major right after the ceremony. The negotiations were followed by the ceremony of signature of the documents. President Heydar Aliyev and Prime Minister John Major signed several documents between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, such as «Agreement on friendship and cooperation», «Agreement on avoiding double taxation», «Memorandum on cooperation in the energy sphere», «Agreement on cooperation in the field of air transport», «Agreement on the protection and promotion of investments».

Later on the same day Heydar Aliyev visited the Royal Institute of International Affairs and delivered a speech there. After midnight he met the Azerbaijanis living in London at Hilton hotel.

On February 24, President Heydar Aliyev met a group of foreign journalists accredited in the UK and editors-in-chief of the British papers, answered to their questions. Later the President received the Minister of State for Overseas Development Baroness Chalker. On the same day Heydar Aliyev had a meeting at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

One of the most important meetings was held in the House of Commons, the lower chamber of the British parliament.

On February 24, in his residence Heydar Aliye met President of Buffalo Airways and Aviation Leasing Group Farhad Azima, a businessperson of the Azerbaijani origin from Iran.

Afterwards Heydar Aliyev spoke to the representatives of more than 35 mass media at a press conference dedicated to the results of his official visit to the UK.

Expressing his satisfaction with the results, Heydar Aliyev noted: «One of the most important outcomes of my visit to the United Kingdom is that we created a good basis for the development of relations between the two countries, and provided fairly enough information about Azerbaijan, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.»

Later on the same evening President Heydar Aliyev received the Turkish Ambassador to the United Kingdom Candemir Onhon. An official reception featuring the well-known scholars was arranged in honor of the Azerbaijani President at Oxford University, one of the oldest universities in the world.

A memorandum on scientific cooperation was signed between the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and the Royal Society of London, United Kingdom, during Heydar Aliyev`s official visit.

The visit, which ended on February 25, became another success of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy. The agreements signed between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom during the visit opened a new era in the mutual relations. According to Baroness Chalker, these agreements are corner stones of the relations between the two countries, on which a magnificent building of cooperation will be erected in future.