Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the official reception, organized by the National Oil Corporation of Japan in honour of the President of Azerbaijan. Tokyo, February 25, 1998

Mr. President,

Distinguished leaders of large Japanese oil companies!

Mr. Ambassador, dear friends!

I cordially greet you and express my pleasure in connection of my official visit to Japan, for being in your country and meet you.

Today we met and discussed the issues on the further development of our cooperation, had an open, friendly conversation, and I think that we agreed on how to move forward in our cooperation.

Oil companies of Japan are pathfinders in the implementation of the Japanese-Azerbaijani economic relations. You built the bridge connect Japan and Azerbaijan not only in the field of economy, but also in other spheres.

After the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Japanese oil companies arrived in Azerbaijan. They established good relations and cooperation. Years and decades will pass and the Japanese-Azerbaijani relations will develop, we shall have a very broad cooperation and our people will often pay mutual visits. Then, they will realize and appreciate these relations, friendship and cooperation founded by the oil companies of Japan.

I welcomed you in Azerbaijan and did everything possible to make our cooperation begin and develop. You can be sure that I shall actively help it in the future, too.

Azerbaijan is an ancient oil country it is also called the Land of Fire. The commercial oil production in the world first began in Azerbaijan in 1848 and the first oil well gushed. Azerbaijan has made a great contribution to the development of the oil industry in the world. In the onset of the 20th, 90 percent of the oil in the world came from Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani oil has played a huge role in the industrial development of Russia and all the countries which were parts of it in the past. Now a new phase has opened in development of the oil industry of Azerbaijan. It started when we gained our freedom, national independence and became the owner of our natural resources, country and own destiny.

Thus, we have large reserves of oil and gas, I believe, we have established very strong economic relations with many countries in the world, signed a number of contracts, and, finally, we have began to cooperate with Japan and the Japanese oil companies within a short time. Our economic cooperation, as well as all other reforms of cooperation are based on the principle of mutual benefit. On this basis, we have signed several contracts with you and continue our cooperation.

There is no oil in Japan, but it has something which does not exist in other countries, including Azerbaijan. Japan is an economically, financially, technically and technologically developed country. People are very closely supervising the rapid economic development of Japan all over the world, especially since the 1950s. We have a sincere attitude towards you in Azerbaijan, too and watch the development of Japan with great interest, as it develops the scientific and technological progress in the world. Scientific and technical discoveries and technological progress in Japan have a huge impact on the development and progress of the economy in the world. You, Mr. President, are rightly proud of all this. We are glad to see your success as your friends. I sincerely wish you success.

We know the history of Japan and the great diligence and high intelligence of Japan, the Japanese people, they gladden and please everyone. Your experience, everything which you have done and are doing, is widely used in the world. We also try to actively use your experience.

Azerbaijan has a long and very rich history. Throughout its long history the Azerbaijani people have made a tremendous contribution to the world civilization. But the economic and intellectual resources of Azerbaijan have not been used by our people for decades and centuries. I mean, we did not have freedom and independence. Now we have the opportunity for such development, and we have established very good, close, friendly relations with many countries in the world. In this regard, we attach great importance to our relations with Japan. We want to cooperate with Japan in all the spheres and develop friendly relations between our peoples. We want to use your experience, however, we are ready to provide you with all the valuable things which may interest you in Azerbaijan.

As I said, the basis of our cooperation is the cooperation that started in the oil industry. I am sure that it has a great future. You can be sure that we are reliable partners. We believe that Japan is a reliable and honest partner for Azerbaijan, too. Together, we shall move forward with our joint efforts.

 I held numerous meetings, especially with the Japanese business community yesterday and today. I had a meeting and a very interesting conversation with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan today. We have meetings, negotiations and signatures of important documents between Japan and Azerbaijan ahead. The two days which we have left behind, show that the visit is successful. You, dear friends, create maximum conditions for the visit to be successful.

 I have met many of you in Azerbaijan, Baku. Now I meet you in Japan, Tokyo. I hope that these meetings will continue in Azerbaijan and Japan. I shall be glad to meet each of you in Azerbaijan. I hope that you will use this opportunity.

I want to wish the Japanese people happiness, prosperity, peace and success. I wish you - the major oil companies of Japan every success. I believe that you will make Japan a major oil country.

I propose a toast to you to Japan, to the prosperity of your country, your people and to the further development of friendship and cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan!

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