From the talk of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with the Prime Minister of Japan Ryutaro Hashimoto - The residence of the Prime Minister, February 26, 1998

Ryutaro Hashimoto:  Mr. President Heydar Aliyev I cordially  welcome You. I am pleased to meet you and greet you on behalf of the Japanese people and myself. I express you my gratitude that you have accepted my invitation and paid an official visit to Japan. Very fruitful meetings lie ahead and I think this visit, being a historical event, will become an important stage of the further development of contacts between Japan and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

I am interested in Azerbaijan since my early age. This interest motivated me to get even a small piece of information about your country with great pleasure. You are an outstanding statesman of our epoch and I am well acquainted with your life and activity.

Japan, the "Country of rising sun", situated at the beginning of the "Great silky way", which had trade links with Azerbaijan as early as in the past centuries has always displayed an interest in your republic. The peoples of our countries have always been close to each other. Japan attaches a special significance to the steady development of cooperation with Azerbaijan situated in a very important territory from a geostrategical point of view.

I express my confidence that this visit will become the beginning of a new stage of relations not only between the two countries, but also in the history of political, economic and cultural contacts among the countries situated along the "Great Silky Road".

The government and society of Japan attentively follows up and persues with interest the work done under the leadership of President Heydar Aliyev in the field of successful construction of a legal, democratic and secular state and in the implementation of reforms in Azerbaijan, where there is a progress all the time. I believe that the independent Azerbaijan will occupy a worthy place in the world community.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Prime Minister, I express my gratitude for the sincere words and hospitality. I appreciate you for the invitation to pay an official visit to Japan and stress that this visit has a great historical significance.

We attach special importance to the further deepening and strengthening of cooperation with Japan - one of the most developed countries of the world in all the spheres.

I want to state that a great work has been done in Azerbaijan in socio-political sphere, as well as in the construction of a legal and democratic state,  in conduction of  reforms. But despite the achievements, we have also problems in our republic too.

I must tell you that the Armenian armed troops committed an aggression against Azerbaijan, occupied 20 percent of the territory of our country and over a million of our citizens have been  forced to leave their native places, at present they live in hard conditions in tents.

The negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan confilict over Nagorno-Karabakh have been held within the framework of the Minsk Group. The principles for the settlement of this conflict have been adopted at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE in the December of 1996 and the co-chairs of the Minsk Group - Russia, the USA and France have advanced proposals for the peaceful solution of this conflict. We need your support in this issue. We need Japan to support the just cause of Azerbaijan in the  international organizations and forums.

We do our utmost for the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict, however, the Armenia ignores the resolutions of international organizations and commonly accepted legal standards. We want the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, inviolability of our borders and return of our refugees home. And therefore, Azerbaijan has accepted  the proposals forwarded by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group as a basis and continues its efforts aimed at the settlement of this conflict based on the Lisbon principles.

Ryutaro Hashimoto: Japan supports the independence of Azerbaijan, its sovereignty and territorial integrity and we are for the  peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict on the principles adopted at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE. Japan supports the just cause of Azerbaijan and denounces the violent seizure of the territory of any country by another country.

Your visit to Japan marks a new stage in the development of contacts between our countries. The Azerbaijani-Japanese documents are of great significance and they create a good legal basis for our continuous and developing cooperation.

Japan attaches great importance to the cooperation with Azerbaijan in all the spheres, including political, economic and cultural. In the mid of the next year the embassy of Japan to Azerbaijan will be opened in Baku. Japan is ready to render permanent assistance to the socio-political development of Azerbaijan.

Japan assumes to implement an appropriate program on rendering aid to Azerbaijan in the training of personnel and consecutive improvement of socio-political situation in your country, which has chosen the road of the market economy, and which is successfully conducting reforms. I suggest establishing closer links between our countries. The government of Japan has allotted the most preferential credit to Azerbaijan for the construction of the "Severnaya" steam-to-gas power station in the sum of 20,7 billion yens (165 million US dollars). Besides, the most favourable credit at the rate of 75 million US dollars was allotted to finance at the reconstruction of the EP-300 facility in the ethylene-polyethylene plant. The favourable credit at 165 million dollars is extended for 40 years. Moreover, no repayment will be done by Azerbaijani within the first 10 years. And within the next 30 years, the credit will be repaid by 0,75% annually. And the preferential credit in the sum of 75 million dollars will start to be repaid on the expiry of 3 years by 2,5% annually. At the same time, Japan has granted aid to Azerbaijan at the rate of 400 million yens (3 million and 250 thousand US dollars) to increase the production of foodstuffs.

Medical equipment for the sum of 1,7 million dollars will be sent to Azerbaijan for a TB hospital. The government of Japan will expand the humanitarian aid to your country. At the same time, it will begin to render first aid to the refugees of Azerbaijan through the High Commissiones of the United Nations for  Refugees.

We highly appreciate the contacts of independent Azerbaijan with the international financial structures and support the affiliation of Azerbaijan to the Asian Development Bank and the World Trade Organization.

Recently, a meeting of donor-states rendering aid to your republic was held in Tokyo. This event will have a positive impact upon the further expansion of the aid to Azerbaijan. Japan supports the projects on the development of economy of your republic. I think that it is very  important to expand cooperation of our countries, in particular, in the sphere of energy. We cherish great hopes on Azerbaijan as a new source of energy in the world market.

I express my gratitude for the conditions created for the Japanese companies engaged in joint oildevelopment  in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea and emphasize that the further development of contacts in other areas both our countries.

I highly appreciate the share holding agreement signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and the Japanese "Mitsui". It is a constituent part of much greater development of mutual contacts between our countries.

Japan positively regards the project of reconstruction of the airport in Nakhichevan. Japan also intends to assist in funding the completion of construction of the Cancer Center in Baku.

Mr. President! I highly appreciate your visit to Japan as historical event once more. Many heads of states have paid visits to Japan. However, such a deep interest shown in your visit by the public and mass media is one of the unique events in Japan. I have a list of the meetings held by you. Such an intensive work causes admiration.

Heydar Aliyev: The great interest shown in Japan in the consistent development of cooperation with Azerbaijan in all the spheres proves the successful prospects between our countries. I appreciate you, Mr. Prime Minister for the attention shown to our independent state.

I stress with a feeling of deep satisfaction the great success of my visit to Japan. I highly appreciate the "diplomacy of Silky Road" declared by you and  the development of all-round relations with the states of the Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Thirty-three countries are now situated along this road, which lies once from Asia up to Europe and for the discussion of issues connected with the future of the "Silky Road", we have decided to hold an international conference of the representatives of those countries in Baku, in May, 1998, with the participation of the European Community, and we would wish a Japanese delegation to take part in this conference as well.

Ryutaro Hashimoto: A Japanese delegation will take part in this international conference.

Heydar Aliyev: I remember with satisfaction the direct participation of the Japanese "Toshiba" in the construction of an air-conditioner plant in Azerbaijan. The "Itochu" also has a great share in the "Contract of Century" on joint oil developments in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea. The "Mitsui" Company has been attracted to the implementation of another project. The negotiations with numerous Japanese companies have successfully resulted during this official visit.

I stress the great significance of the study and application of the rich experience of Japan in Azerbaijan. I am confident that the help rendered by this country to our republic in the training of personnel education will be much useful.

I emphasize the necessity of expansion of cooperation of our countries with international organizations. Azerbaijan supports the election of Japan as a permanent member of the Security Council of UNO.

Mr. Prime Minister I invite You to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan.

Statement of Heydar Aliyev on February 26 in the building of the government of Japan after concluding bilateral documents between Japan and Azerbaijan

Mr. Prime Minister dear friends! I congratulate you on the present event, on conclusion of very important documents - the "Joint Statemnet on friendship and partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Japan" and on "Joint statement on cooperation in the sphere of trade and economy between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Japan". I think that the conclusion of these documents, in particular, the statement on friendship and partnership and commercial cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan and other documents will open a new stage in the cooperation between our countries. I declare that we shall fulfill the obligations undertaken by our countries and will be reliable partners.

"Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is eternal" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, appeals and decisions) - vol.14, Azerneshr, Baku-2005, p.383