From the negotiations between the Azerbaijani delegation headed by President Heydar Aliyev and the Polish delegation headed by President Aleksander Kwasniewski - Presidential Palace, October 27, 1999

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, I welcome you and the Polish delegation in Azerbaijan. I am sure that the first visit of the Polish President to Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of the Polish-Azerbaijani relations.

Since we can use Russian, I shall continue my speech and negotiations in Russian in order to not to waste much time for translation. The chairman of the Polish-Azerbaijani Society sitting next to me knows Polish. He accompanied me in Poland in 1997. Since he does not have a big experience in translation, I am afraid there may be incorrectness in translation. Thus, I am converting to Russian now.

Mr. President, I thank you for your official visit to Azerbaijan, having accepted my invitation. In the recent years the relations between Poland and Azerbaijan have been developing intensively.

Mr. President, in August 1997 I paid an official visit to Poland at your invitation. We led useful negotiations there; I got acquainted with the life and the ongoing processes in Poland. We signed a joint statement on the development of friendly relations between Poland and Azerbaijan, as well as several significant documents, which created a legal ground for mutual relations. I still remember my visit to Poland, my meetings and negotiations with you and your government officials. I had an opportunity to communicate with Polish citizens, while walking in Warsaw. They made a great impression on me. The most important feature of our meetings in Poland was our declaration that we are going to strengthen and develop the friendly relations between our countries in all the fields, make our efforts for the cooperation of Azerbaijan with the "Partnership for Peace" programme of NATO and integration of Azerbaijan into the European structures.

Cooperation with you is very important for us, because Azerbaijan is a part of Europe, it is on the edge of the continent. As a country between Europe and Asia it plays a very important role in the relations between the West and the East. Thus, cooperation with Poland is of great significance for us.

We discussed it two years ago. I am glad that our relations developed since then and we met in the meetings of international organizations. Our people remember your support to the principles on peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in the Lisbon summit of OSCE in December 1996.

We appreciated your accession to NATO; I congratulated you on this even during the meeting in Madrid. I stated the position of Azerbaijan in the 50th anniversary of NATO in Washington. All these factors tie us very closely. Thus, we can develop our relations in political, economic, scientific, education and cultural fields.

Mr. President, today we discussed a lot of issues on world politics, the situation in the Caucasus, the peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I am glad that we reached an agreement on all the issues. That`s why we consider Poland as a friendly country for us.

Mr. President, I highly appreciate our personal relations, which are sincere. I am sure that we can discuss a lot of issues during your visit. Moreover, the representatives of our delegations have discussed some issues, reached an agreement and determined some perspectives.

I would like you to see Baku, visit some places of interest and get acquainted with our country. Our countries merge national traditions with universal values.

By the way, you can see some nice buildings constructed in Baku in the beginning of the century. The engineers of them were Ploshko and Zaslavski. I think that you will like Baku as I liked Poland. I was surprised how the Polish reconstructed Warsaw ravaged during the World War Two, during 50 years; now it is difficult to imagine that the city was ravaged.

I hope that you will feel hospitality of our people while you get acquainted with Baku. Of course, these factors will encourage further development of our relations. Welcome to Azerbaijan.

Aleksander Kwasniewski (President of Poland): Mr. President!

Ladies and gentlemen!

The first visit of the Polish president to Azerbaijan is a historic event. I hope it will become a tradition and the presidents will visit each other more often. We`ll continue the political dialogue we have been leading for several years.

I want to remember the first visit of the Azerbaijani President to Poland in August 1997. I want to thank you for nice memories and remind that we signed eight interstate contracts then. They must establish a ground for our further cooperation.

Today we are going to sign a statement and other contracts, which will be a legal ground for our further cooperation. I am satisfied of the development of our economic relations and development perspectives. Perhaps our ministers will speak about it.

A number of businessmen, entrepreneurs have come to Baku with me. I hope that their negotiations will motivate our relations. Mr. President, I ask you to pay attention to the negotiations between the two parties.

I hope the expansion of our relations in other fields, such as culture, tourism, which will help our nations know each other better.

Mr. President, I thank you for the support to our policy in regard to NATO. I thank you for the congratulations in Washington, for the words that the enlargement of NATO is not a threat to any country and the expansion must continue. Poland will continue its activity within the frames of "Partnership for Peace" and NATO.

I support the efforts on peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I have talked to you about it several times. We are ready to help you; we hope that the Istanbul summit may be a chance for these efforts.

We take an active part in the development of the regional cooperation. I want to remind you our meeting in Yalta several weeks ago. We want to develop the idea on the regional cooperation in the area between the Baltic and the Black Sea, the Southern Caucasus and the Central Asia. We want to participate in the project of transportation of the Caspian oil to the Western Europe.

You know that Poland applied for the membership of the European Union. We want to get ready for it by the end of 2002. It depends on many factors, such as our preparation and EU`s decision. However, pursuing the policy on the EU membership, we want to cooperate with the countries outside of the EU. We consider Azerbaijan as an important partner. We`ll do our best to develop this cooperation. We have come to Azerbaijan with this purpose.

We are glad to lead open negotiations. Mr. President, thank you for your hospitality and sincerity. We feel at home here. I think that our visit will be a significant step for the development of the Polish-Azerbaijani relations.

Mr. President, I thank you. Our ministers may inform us about their negotiations.

Heydar Aliyev: Let me say something, then we`ll listen to the ministers.

Mr. President, I thank you for your thoughts, your positive evaluation of the Polish-Azerbaijani relations.

As you are aware, Azerbaijan has faced many difficulties since it gained its independence. When we became an independent country, we were in the state of war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1994 we signed a ceasefire treaty; now we are trying to regulate the problem peacefully. We are working hard on this issue, using different means, also the efforts of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of OSCE. Since April direct meetings between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been organized. We have met several times and discussed some issues openly. We try to reach peace with some compromises, because such a situation can not continue further, 20 percent of the territories of Azerbaijan have been occupied by the Armenian armed forces; the occupied seven districts are outside the Nagorno-Karabakh. Over one million Azerbaijani citizens have been forced to leave those territories, they live in hard conditions, mostly in tents. Thus, we think that OSCE and the Minsk Group must intensify their activity. We hope that the summit in Istanbul will help the issue progress. We`ll rely on your support.

We try for integration with the European structures. After becoming independent we have determined the political course for establishing a democratic, legal, secular state. We have great successes in this field. We want to develop the market economy and integration with the European and world countries. We have been actively engaged in the attraction of foreign investments to Azerbaijan. Though our measures on political and economic reforms have some results, we still face economic and social difficulties. They are mostly related with the presence of over one million IDPs and refugees, who do not work anywhere and for whom the state must care. But we hope that the conducted reforms and development of the market economy and democracy will improve the better welfare of our population and the socio-economic situation in the country.

We actively cooperate with the EU, the European Council, OSCE and other organizations. I appreciate your preparation for the EU membership. Of course, we have no right of vote there, since we are outside of the EU, but we shall still support you morally.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: It is important, too.

Heydar Aliyev: We have the status of a guest at the European Council and we hope to be its full member. We hope that Poland, as a member of the European Council will help Azerbaijan be admitted, using its means and prestige. All the conditions, which are necessary to become a full member of the European Council, have been implemented in Azerbaijan as a result of reforms and measures. It is of a great importance for us.

As we said in Warsaw, we`ll do our best for the development of the economic relations and participation of Poland in the oil transportation. Poland took part in the economic conference on the restoration of the Great Silk Road, realization of TRACECA, held in Baku last September. Azerbaijan is of great significance in the realization of the programme; Poland is also interested in the restoration of the Silk Road. We appreciate it, since it is important and profitable for both of the parties. We`ll do our best to implement our duties according to the statement on restoration of the Great Silk Road adopted last September.

Development of the relations between Europe and Asia is of great importance. From this point of view, Azerbaijan plays an important role with its geostrategic position. We`ll do our best to implement our role for the further integration of the Eurasian countries. I think that our purposes and opinions on this issue coincide. I am satisfied with our negotiations today. I hope that during your stay we`ll be able to exchange views once more.

(Aleksander Kwasniewski thanked Heydar Aliyev and proposed to listen to the information of the delegation on the conducted negotiations).

Artur Rasi-zade (Prime Minister of Azerbaijan): Distinguished Mr. President of Poland! Distinguished Mr. President of Azerbaijan!

Within a short time we had an exchange of views on the economic situation of Poland and Azerbaijan. It was interesting for us to learn about the reforms conducted in Poland for several years. The Polish experience is well-known all over the world; we were pleased to learn about the conduction of reforms, as well as about the problems still existing. It was important to be informed about the programmes on different fields, such as metallurgy, military, customs and others, to be realized.

We spoke about the reforms in our country. Besides, we mentioned some mutually interesting projects. Poland is interested in the participation in oil refining, oil production.

The GUUAM programme, its economic issues were also paid attention. We also talked about INOGATE. Our country is its member, while Poland is still an observer. Construction of new pipelines and repair of old ones are supposed. Poland is interested in it; they raised the issue on transportation of the Azerbaijani oil via Odessa-Brody-Gdansk route. Ukraine pays attention to this project, too.

We also exchanged views on the economic relations with the CIS countries. As for our economic relations with Poland, its capacity doesn`t suit to today`s realities. So both of the parties will seek for the ways to increase turnover of goods between the countries. There is a lot to do.

As for the concrete projects, we discussed the cooperation in the field of railway, transportation, medicine, export and import of different conventional goods. We are interested in it; this programme is realized not only in oil and gas sector, but in non-oil sector of the country as well. We invited the Polish party to join our projects in the oil sector.

Today is the first day only. The continuation of our work in all economic directions is supposed to take place tomorrow. Tomorrow together with Mr. President we`ll lead an economic forum. A number of businessmen from Poland and Azerbaijan will take part in the forum. Possible projects will be determined there; we need to work for implementing them into life in future.

Blasnik (Deputy Minister of Economy of Poland): Distinguished Mr. President!

Mr. Prime Minister gave you detailed information. I can add two issues.

We listened to the interests of the Azerbaijan party. We talked about the possibility of construction of sugar and cement works in Azerbaijan or exportation of cement, Polish technologies, food to Azerbaijan.

We discussed issues on trade. We confirmed our support to Azerbaijan`s application on membership to the World Trade Organization. During the next stage of negotiations in Seattle in November Poland will reconfirm its position. We also said that Poland wants to develop the relations with the strategic partner.

Przemyslav Grudzinski (Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland): Distinguished Messrs Presidents!

Messrs Presidents, I would like to add two issues.

As Mr. President Aleksander Kwasniewski stated, Poland is interested not only in bilateral relations with Azerbaijan, but also in the representation of these relations in international forums, as well as in NATO. I think that NATO must lead an active policy regarding to Azerbaijan and the entire Southern Caucasus. We are ready to elaborate such a strategy. Mr. President, for it we must know your position, as well as the opinions of the Azerbaijani politicians. We propose two definite steps.

First, consultations must be held on all the issues which we have never negotiated over actively or concretely. They are mostly issues on security. Corresponding institutions may be engaged in these issues. We would like to start consultations this spring in Warsaw.

The second proposal is related to the development of diplomatic relations. We would like to arrange a balance in our diplomatic relations. I mean the presence of a regular mission of Azerbaijan in Warsaw. It would let regular relations between our governments.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: Mr. President, you got assured that we have ideas on the development of our cooperation. I am glad that the Azerbaijani party has the same attitude.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, I am also satisfied with coincidence of our positions. I consider it as an important condition to develop our relations.

Mr. President, your delegation is including a number of businessmen. Cooperation between different companies is important for our economic relations. Poland has led privatization, while this process is underway in Azerbaijan. In future all the economic and trade relations will be carried out by private companies and active businessmen.

We have done a lot to attract foreign investments to Azerbaijan. But not only to the oil sector. We offer the Polish businessmen and companies to make investments in Azerbaijan. We`ll create necessary conditions for it. Negotiations on cement or sugar works can be conducted. However, they are private companies now.

As for the consultations between the foreign ministries of Poland and Azerbaijan, I think that it is important; I support the active conduction of such consultations. Since we are trying for the integration into the European structures, close relations and regular consultations with Poland and other European countries are very important for us.

We also want our country to have an embassy to Poland. As you know, I have appointed an ambassador to Ukraine, who also carries out the duties of the ambassador to Poland. To be honest, we`ll try to open our embassy in Poland soon.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: Mr. President, please ask your ambassador where he wants to work - in Kiev or Warsaw?

Heydar Aliyev: I`ll ask after we make our decision on opening the embassy. Perhaps he will want to relocate to Warsaw from Kiev. Thank you.

Aleksander Kwasniewski: Thank you for your hospitality. We shall continue our conversation. So will our ministers.

Translated from Newspaper "Azerbaycan", October 28, 1999

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijan - Poland relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - Europe