From the interview of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, with the leaders of American banking and financial institutions -"Chicago club", August 5, 1997

Distinguished gentlemen!

I express my gratitude to the participants of the meeting for their kind words.  I am very satisfied with my successful visit to the United States of America. I, with special pleasure, emphasize the development of Azerbaijan - American relations to the partnership level and highly appreciate it as a main result of my visit. I would like to notify that the signed documents, meetings and negotiations I have held with Mr. Bill Clinton and with other high-ranking American government officials at the White House are of historical importance.

I want to note that the Republic of Azerbaijan that have chosen the path of market relations and have built legal and democratic state, where the idea of pluralism is widely spread through and human rights are strongly protected also have the encountered problems. The Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict is the most painful of these problems. It is well known that the Armenian Republics` military aggression that has began since 1988, to annex the ancient Azerbaijan land - Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, turned to a large-scale war in 1992-1993.  It brought about the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory. More than one million Azerbaijanis were driven out of their native land and were obliged to live in tents in difficult conditions. It also caused billion dollars of material and moral damage to our country. In spite of this, we support the peaceful settlement of the conflict and we will never stop our efforts in this direction. We try to solve this conflict on the basis of the adopted principles at the Lisbon Summit of heads of states of the OSCE member countries, and we hope that, as approved by the USA President Bill Clinton, this conflict will be settled in 1997.

I have to emphasize that the amendment № 907 that The Congress of The United States of America has adopted in 1992 to the"The Act of Freedom of the Defense" creates certain barriers to the Azerbaijan - American cooperation. Therefore, efforts of the American influential heads of financial and banking institutions` in the way to eliminate this unfair amendment is very important. We rely on it.

The implementation of the contracts that has been signed with a number of influential oil companies of foreign countries for joint exploitation of the oil fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea is under way. In this regard, I highly appreciate the documents signed at the White House on the August 1 between the"Chevron","Exxon","Mobile", and"AMOCO" companies of the United States of America and SOCAR.

I would like to notify that we pay special attention to the close relations with the world community in our republic. Among the CIS countries Azerbaijan is the first where the land was given to private ownership. The privatization is being successfully implemented. The inflation rate has dropped to zero. The purchasing power of manat has much increased.

I want to note once again that I am very pleased with the meeting with the leaders of prestigious banks and financial institutions of America. I invite the participants of the meeting to Azerbaijan.