From the conversation of President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with state Minister of foreign affairs of the Arabic Republic of Egypt, Mrs. Faiza Abul-Nadja - Presidential palace, 24 October 2002

Heydar Aliyev: I am very pleased with your visit to our country. Friendship relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan are comprehensive. We have always highly appreciated our relations and attached great significance to them. We would like to develop our relations in all the spheres. From this point of view, your visit to Azerbaijan and all other meetings you have held here would much assist the deepening of our relations. I hope your meetings here have brought you much use. As I know, you are still going to work here a little. Unfortunately, your visit is so short, but I hope next time you will come here for a little longer term.

Faiza Abul-Nadja: Mr. President, it is a great honour to me that you have received the delegation headed by me. You honoured us greatly. I am very pleased to visit this wonderful country Azerbaijan and its wonderful capital-Baku. I hope this visit to Azerbaijan is not the last one and I will come here again. Although my visit is short, it passes very effective. Azerbaijani colleagues and friends help us greatly. Mr. President, it is a great honour and pride to me to meet you personally. I want to dispatch you especial greetings from your friend and brother, President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak. I would like to hand you over his letter. In his letter he hopes that the relations between Azerbaijan and Egypt will strengthen and deepen in all the possible spheres. It is our aspiration. President Hosni Mubarak also expresses his satisfaction about favourable political relations established between Egypt and Azerbaijan. These relations are the indication of friendship and brotherhood between the presidents and warm relations between our peoples.

The leader of Egypt is very sorry about the fact that the political relations between our countries are not supported by economic contacts. He wishes our trade-economic links to reach a higher level of development. Our president charged me to head a joint committee between Egypt and Azerbaijan. The given committee will cover economic, technical and cultural co-operation between our countries.

We went through the transition period 25 years ago. So we have got a certain experience and we could share it with Azerbaijan. Switch to market economy and liberalization of foreign trade is a very difficult task. In this connection, I want to congratulate you, your government and your country with the progress attained for such a short period of time.

Cultural relations are also of great importance. I have got special instructions by our president to develop our co-operation in this sphere as much as possible. A little earlier, you took part at the opening ceremony of house-museum of Hussein Javid, the great Azerbaijani poet. The similar event was also held in Egypt. In October, in Egyptian city of Alexandria, the restoration of Aleksandr`s library was commemorated. As you know, the city was founded 17 centuries ago.

Heydar Aliyev: I watched that event on television. And my friend Hosni Mubarak participated at that ceremony.

Faiza Abul-Nadja: Mr. President, we want to express our gratitude to You and the government of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan also brought in a worth contribution into organizing that ceremony. The Azerbaijan Institute of Manuscripts sent several very ancient books to our lib. President Hosni Mubarak also asked me to tell you that Egypt supports the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The president also insisted on informing you about the position of Egypt over the situation in the Near East. President Hosni Mubarak tries by all means to persuade Israel to launch peaceful talks with Palestine.

I want to report with the feeling of sorrow that the beginning of war against Iraq can cause danger not only for Iraq itself, but also for the whole Near-Eastern region. President Mubarak asked the President of Iraq to let the UNO inspectors come to Baghdad and hold there necessary checks without any terms.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank You. I am very grateful to you for the letter and greetings sent by my friend, President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak. I shall carefully read the letter and certainly respond it.

The information presented by you and all the thoughts noticed are very important for us. I entirely agree with President Hosni Mubarak that our political relations are not of a needed level and our economic contacts have not reached any level yet. Unfortunately, we have not accepted any measures to develop those contacts within the last years. I am glad that now we have created the joint committee. It is headed by You from the Egyptian side and by the minister of economic development from the Azerbaijan. I think your present visit and foundation of the committee must be the beginning of a new stage of our economic relations. There are many possibilities in this sphere both in Egypt and in Azerbaijan. I do not object to your suggestion of producing medicine; you may implement joint work in this sphere. You may also do certain works over tea trading. But all this is not enough. It is not appropriate for Azerbaijan and Egypt to limit their economic contacts. So, you and our minister have to put forward other suggestions in order to deepen economic relations. It is impossible to advance appropriate suggestions in one day, so you can hold some consultations and evaluations in order to make them. We should develop our relations in other spheres too. Egypt and Azerbaijan have got great historical links. There is much common in our customs, traditions and cultural wealth. That`s why when the Egyptian culture and dances are shown here, or when the Egyptian music sounds, the Azerbaijanis accept all this as a part of their native culture.

I remember, at the beginning of 1960s, I mean 40-43 years ago, the Azerbaijani State Ensemble of dance and song was on tour concert in Egypt and it was successfully performing there for more than a month.

In 1973, when paying a visit to Egypt, I visited your opera-house in Cairo. I listened to Egyptian opera. We also have the remarkable house of opera and ballet, where splendid performances are staged. We could send its troupe to the Egyptian opera-house, I am sure they would successfully perform there. Each nation has its distinctive patterns of culture and art. Egypt and Azerbaijan are close enough and we should use it. When in Cairo, I felt to be in a very native place to me.

You have expounded to me the position of respected President Hosni Mubarak over the situation in the Near East. I want you to tell President Hosni Mubarak that presently, he is the most influential person in the Arabic world. At the same time, he is much respected in the USA and Europe. President Hosni Mubarak can do considerably more to get the Palestinian-Israeli conflict moving forward. I entirely agree with President Hosni Mubarak that the war against Iraq can significantly aggravate the situation in the Near East.

As you know, Azerbaijan appeared to be in a very difficult situation as a result of Armenian aggression. Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan`s territory. More than a million Azerbaijanis have been driven away from their own places. Unfortunately, the world community and large states still tolerate this injustice and do not accept any measures in order to overcome this situation.

We have been maintaining the cease-fire regime for already eight years and do not let the war recommence. The people are unable to stand it any longer. We are the adherents of establishing peace everywhere and also in the Near East. I think you will convey my words to President of Egypt and my friend Hosni Mubarak.