Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the official reception organized by the Japanese company "Itochu" in honor of the President of the Republic Azerbaijan- Tokyo, February 24, 1998

Mr. President of "Itochu" company,

Dear friends!

This morning I came to your country Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun at the invitation of Prime Minister Mr. Hashimoto, and immediately after the arrival, my business meetings began. 

Distinguished friends, I held the first meeting with you, President and heads of "Itochu". This is logical, because when Azerbaijan gained its independence, "Itochu" was the first major Japanese company, displayed interest in Azerbaijan and began to cooperate with us.

Your company came to Azerbaijan in 1996. I am happy that within a short time, our cooperation developed comprehensively.

We have discussed with you the state of our economic relations, the opportunities of further cooperation and your suggestions. I am personally pleased with the fact that you actively work in Azerbaijan and want to expand your activities. Today, I made a joke: "You probably want to occupy the whole Caspian basin?" There is a reason for this joke. You have really expanded your activities in Azerbaijan. I support it, because I attach great importance to the cooperation and development of relations between Azerbaijan and Japan as a whole.

It is obvious that the cooperation between the two countries, especially in the sphere of economy through the companies, above all, through "Itochu". I think that you and I have laid a good foundation for the cooperation for a very long period and our activities have been directed to the twenty-first century. I can see a good future.

We are interested in high technology, large financial resources and experience of Japan to be more presented in our region, particularly in Azerbaijan.

As you said it today, our cooperation is beyond the oil and gas industry. You are interested in other industries, including the construction of oil and gas pipelines. I am very positive about it. Thus, we laid the foundation of the Japanese-Azerbaijani cooperation with you.

I will have a meeting with His Majesty the Emperor, Prime Minister Mr. Hashimoto and many other public figures. However, the basis of all this is our economic relations. This is specifically reflected in the cooperation with different companies.

Today, apart from you, I met the presidents of the other Japanese companies. I am glad that you are not the only one who is interested in Azerbaijan. Maybe you would not want it, but you know that you have got such a great development only through competition. We also believe that the competition is of great importance.

I wish you and your company successes in your work. I want to express my confidence that our cooperation will last long. We are for a good and healthy partnership. I hope that our relationship will be exactly like that.

I wish your country, your people, prosperity, peace and success. I wish your company to be ahead of all the Japanese companies we shall help you in it.

I wish all of you good health and prosperity. Thank you very much for your attention.

Translated from the newspaper “Azerbaijan”, February 26, 1998