Speech of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev at the joint press conference together with the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma - Presidential Palace, July 28, 1995

The statement to be made for the press has already been disclosed in our previous speeches. However, I shall state something, then I shall pass the floor to our distinguished guest Leonid Kuchma.

The official visit of the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to Azerbaijan is coming to an end. But, we shall go to the air conditioner plant. I am very satisfied that Leonid Danilovich accepted our invitation and paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. This visit was very fruitful. We could exchange our views on some issues, particularly on our bilateral relations. Much time has passed since Ukraine and Azerbaijan declared their independence. During that period serious political and socio-economic processes have taken place in both of the countries, as well as in other countries of CIS. That`s why, it is interesting for us to learn about what has been done in Ukraine since its independence.

It is interesting that Ukraine could get acquianted with the life in our country. It is the first visit of Leonid Kuchma to Azerbaijan. His visit, which is an important event, is coming to an end with successful results.

Of course, we discussed our bilateral relations, and exchanged views on the processes ongoing in Azerbaijan and Ukraine, and on the development of bilateral relations. We have achieved a lot of positive results. The documents signed by us prove it. We have also achieved an agreement on a lot of issues and assigned the responsible bodies to prepare the documents for being signed in Kiev, Ukraine. By the way, Leonid Danilovich has invited me to Ukraine. I think that I shall pay a visit. Legal documents for developing the relations between our countries can be prepared. Our relations will develop further.

It is important for us to learn the Ukrainian experience on transformations. The information we have learnt from Leonid Danilovich is also significant for us. We may use the Ukrainian experience in solving the problems of our country. We have also found out that our views on a lot of international and regional issues coincide. It is also important that Ukraine has confidently stated that independence is the main principles of the statehood.

Territorial integrity and sovereignity are main principles of international law. Our countries respect these principles. It is important for us that our view on these principles are identical.

We both condemned separatism in any form. When our countries face similar problem, our positions become alike. I am satisfied with the statement of Leonid Danilovich in this problem.

We think that we have big potentials to expand our economic relations, renew the communications. I hope that our principal position in these issues will be reflected in the activity of the representative bodies.

We also have potentials to develop our relations in scientific sphere. This kind of relations has benefits for our peoples. Besides, Azerbaijan has always been using scientific institutions and higher schools of Urkaine. We have a lot of scholars and experts trained in Ukraine. They still have connections with Ukraine. It may help us develop our relations in this field. Our cultures have always been a bridge for strengthening friendship between our nations.

During the day we have remembered many facts that unite our cultures. We want to develop this kind of relations. Thus, our creative people, men of literature and culture have an opportunity for it.

Ukraine is one of the biggest countries in Europe, it is going through economic transformations and taking steps for strengthening its independence. Ukraine is an important partner for us. We appreciate it and shall do our best for developing our relations.

The two-day visit of Leonid Danilovich Kuchma to Azerbaijan, which is an important event, is coming to an end with effective results. Leonid Danilovich, thank you for your visit. I hope that our personal relations will continue and help develop the relations between our countries. Thank you for your attention.

Question: I have two questions. The first one is related to the efficiency of CIS on solution of regional conflicts. The second question is: how real the assisstance of Ukraine on the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

L.Kuchma: I have stated it during our negotiations. I think that CIS has a future, if the position of each party is taken into consideration. Unfortuntaly, this conflict broke out even in the period of the Soviet Union. I state that the level of the conflict and the activity of the CIS member-countries, including Russia, do not fit the actual situation. Our duty is to inform the CIS member-countries about this position.

As for the role of Ukraine in the solution of this conflict, it is limited. Soon we shall appeal to make new proposals to the Minsk Group of OSCE. We are ready to be more active.

Question: My question is addressed to both presidents. What was the main topic in your negotiations?

L.Kuchma: Of course, the problem of energy bearers is the Problem 1 for Ukraine. You also understand very well that independence of each country depends on this issue. The Azerbaijani-Ukrainian relations in the oil industry are old. The normal activity of oil and gas complexes of the two countries are good for both of them. Ukraine is ready to solve this problem mutually.

Heydar Aliyev: I fully agree with Leonid Danilovich. However, it is hard to distinguish any issue. There are a lot of problems; each of them is of great significance. The issue mentioned by Leonid Danilovich is the most important one.We discussed all the issues for expanding our relations. The documents signed by us reflect them, too.

L.Kuchma: I can add this: the Azerbaijani oil is too important for Ukraine, while the Ukrainian wheat is of great importance to Azerbaijan. We have achieved a mutual agreement on this issue.

Question: My question is addressed to Mr. Kuchma. In Baku you mentioned that Ukraine and Azerbaijan are partners within the frames of CIS. After your negotiations, on what issues are Azerbaijan and Ukraine are expected to hold the same position?

L.Kuchma: It is very simple. We have the same position in all the issues of CIS.

Heydar Aliyev: I agree with this.

Question: Distinguished presidents, I would like to ask you about the economic issues. What issues did you raise for solving the current problems? And how long would it take to solve them?

Heydar Aliyev: We discussed a lot of proposals on the solution of problems. The more important for us is opening the borders of Azerbaijan with Daghestan, Russia. After the events in Chechnya this border was closed. But the transportation-communication through the border was closed earlier. Because the situation in Chechnya was very complicated even before the beginning of military operations. Azerbaijan has an access to Europe, as well as Ukraine via the railroad crossing that border.

Therefore, we discussed the measures for re-opening the borders and the railroad. Of course, this issue mostly depends on Russia. As you are aware, I have negotiated with President Boris Yeltsin, prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdyn and other officials of Russia on this issue. Last time I talked to them during the CIS meeting in Minsk on May 26. We do not possess the means for the normal work of the railroad.

But we took other options into consideration, as well. There is a proposal on establishing a joint holding of Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Georgia, which would transport goods to Ukraine through Georgia and the Black Sea. There is another attractive proposal on expanding this line eastwards through the Caspian Sea. We have other proposals, too. But economical efficiency, securty and other issues must be studied attentively. Approval of the countries supposed to take part in the projects is necessary, as well. Now we are working on it. I believe that we can find ways from this blockade.

L.Kuchma: I agree with Heydar Aliyevich. There are issues of strategic importance. Thus, we have discussed issues on oil and gas pipeline. They all are necessary to be discussed.

Question: Leonid Danilovich, you said that you would visit Armenia from Baku. Do you intend to cooperate with them like Azerbaijan?

L.Kuchma: Ukraine is ready to cooperate with all the countries.

Question: Leonid Danilovich, how are you going to solve the problems related to the Crimean Tatars.

L.Kuchma: Yesterday I discussed this problem with Heydar Aliyevich. Ukraine addressed CIS. I wrote Boris Yeltsin a personal letter that this issue must be discussed on the level of CIS. Because it is not a problem of Ukraine only. There are 270 thousand Crimean Tatars in Ukraine. Their situation is better than the situation of the refugees in Azerbaijan. Ukraine does its best in order to solve the problem. But I think that Russia, which declared itself a legal successor of the Soviet Union, as well as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan should contribute to the solution of this problem.

Question: Leonid Danilovich, will Ukraine take part in the development of the new oil deposits of Azerbaijan?

L.Kuchma: We discussed it. Ukraine is ready to take part within its capacity. At the same time, we proposed Azerbaijan to participate in the development of the oil deposits of Ukraine.

Heydar Aliyev: We want Ukraine to take part in the onshore and offshore oil deposits of Azerbaijan. A lot of oil companies of the world appeal us. We possess big oil deposits. Ukraine is in need of energy bearers. We proposed Ukraine such an opportunity.

L.Kuchma: During the Soviet time a large potential of the oil- and gas industry of Ukraine was created.

Question: Heydar Aliyevich, Russia is intemediary in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. How do you evaluate its role? The next question is addressed to President Leonid Kuchma. How can you evaluate the fact that Ukraine still does not have an embassy in Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev: Russia has been intemediary in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh for a few years. The conflict broke out in 1988. Then the Soviet Union could have prevented the conflict. Our nations have been peacefully co-existing in the same area for centuries. There were some conflicts, too. But none of them was so bloody and lasted so long. I mean that the then Soviet authorities are guilty in the outbreak of this conflict.

Then medium in the solution of the conflict was unsuccessful and one-sided. During the recent years Russia has been intermediary. Sometimes we feel its positive role. We cherish hopes on Russia. I always state that the solution of this conflict depends on Russia. As a legal successor of the Soviet Union, Russia has to solve the problem. Therefore, we appreciate the role of Russia.

Now Russia is an intermediary within the frames of the Minsk Group of OSCE. After the Budapest Summit in 1994, the Minsk Group was reformed; now it has two co-chairs: Finland and Russia. They act together. However, I think that Russia`s role is more important. I hope that Russia will play its historic role in the solution of this conflict and establishnment of peace in our region.

L.Kuchma: Why has Ukraine not opened its embassy in Baku yet? It was not good for our interests. However, today we corrected it. The score will be 1-1.

Heydar Aliyev: No, the score will be 0-0. Because Azerbaijan is also late for opening its embassy in Ukraine. Today we, the presidents, signed a document and took obligations to open embassies in each other`s countries.

Thank you.

Translated from newspaper "Azerbaycan", July 29, 1995

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani-Ukrainian relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - CIS