Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the Beijing Academy of Public Sciences – March 9, 1994

Ladies and gentlemen!

Dear friends!

I am very happy to have an opportunity to meet you – scholars, experts, workers of Beijing Academy of Public Sciences. I am also happy to deliver a speech in front of such a prominent and high-level audience. We all are aware in Azerbaijan that great socio-economic transformations have taken place and public sciences have significantly developed in China since the 1949 revolution. This Academy is the center of public sciences in the People`s Republic of China. Today I am honored to be here.

You have not only seriously contributed to development of public sciences, but also enriched science and society with new researches and ideas on the development processes of mankind. Researches of Chinese scholars in public sciences and interesting provisions on socio-political development of your country and of the world were attentively observed in the Soviet Union until recently. I express my tribute to you, the experts in public sciences and all Chinese scientists, who have significantly contributed to world sciences and played an important role in transformations in China in the last 45 years.

The Chinese is a great nation. China is a great country. I note with a great pleasure that following the revolution, the Chinese people held a worthy position in the world community, the People`s Republic of China has won an international reputation and influences the global socio-political processes.

The relations between China and Azerbaijan have recently been established. As you know, Azerbaijan gained independence two years ago - following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Diplomatic and trade-economic relations between our countries have been established and developing ever since. Thus, I can confidently state that the People`s Republic of China and Azerbaijan enjoy friendly relations. My visit to your country, my meetings and negotiations here are the yields of these relations.

In my meetings with the President of China Jiang Zemin and Premier of China Li Peng, we discussed a number of issues related to the relations between our countries. We signed important documents, which determine the perspectives of the future development of these relations. Mr. Jiang Zemin and I signed a declaration on the principles of cooperation between China and Azerbaijan. This document is a program for the future development of friendly relations.

Another seven documents on different issues of economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation were signed. They are a new stage in the Chinese-Azerbaijani relations. Our visit is coming to an end. Today we are leaving for Shanghai, tomorrow we shall leave for Azerbaijan. I want to say that we are satisfied with this visit and its results. We shall return home with good impressions. I especially want to mention the sincerity and hospitality rendered to us during our visit to China.

In my opinion, you, as experts in public sciences, can well imagine the processes that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and to the birth of independent nations, as well as, the processes still going on in Azerbaijan and Southern Caucasus. Nevertheless, I would like to inform you briefly about my country – Azerbaijan.

The processes ongoing in the Soviet Union in the period of Perestroika were complicated and controversial and did not produce the expected results. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of independent nations were relevant consequences of the socio-historical processes going on in the former USSR and in the world in the recent decades.

As a result, the Azerbaijani people achieved independence it has been striving for many decades. Recognized by the world community as an independent nation, Azerbaijan is a member of the UN and other international organizations. The independence was a historical event for the Azerbaijani people; our task and duty is to strengthen our independence and international positions. We do and will further try to maintain Azerbaijan`s independence. There are good conditions for it, in spite of difficulties and obstacles on our way. I assure you that the Azerbaijani people will never give up its independence.

Azerbaijan has strong economic, intellectual and scientific-technical potentials, as well as rich natural resources. Having an advantageous geopolitical location, Azerbaijan is at the crossroad between Asia and Europe and borders with Russia, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia, with the latter we are currently at war – I will inform you about it later. These are the conditions for Azerbaijan to develop as an independent country. Azerbaijan is an ancient country with rich history; the Azerbaijani people has made a lot of contributions to the world civilization. Since the ancient times, the Azerbaijani literature, art, culture have been known both in East and West. All these factors create a reliable foundation for our present and future.

Azerbaijan maintained close commercial-economic and cultural relations with many countries of the world in the Middle Ages and later. We have had such relations with China since the 12-13th century. The Great Silk Road passed through Azerbaijan, and the Chinese merchants visited our country. Located at the crossroad between Asia and Europe, Azerbaijan links both the East and the West. All these facts, which tell about our rich past history, traditions and opportunities, prove that Azerbaijan can live as an independent nation.

The main direction of our domestic policy is to protect human rights based on ensuring human freedom, free entrepreneurship, initiatives, establishing democratic and legal state and democratic society based on political pluralism and multi-party system. Our economic policy is the market economy.

Of course, such processes never develop earily and face many difficulties. But we are sure that Azerbaijan`s domestic life will be based on these principles.

Azerbaijan pursues the policy of establishing friendly, equal, mutually beneficial relations with all the countries of the world, especially with the neighbors and the countries, with which cooperation can be effective. Azerbaijan attaches great importance to developing the commercial-economic, scientific-technical and cultural relations with China. Therefore, we are here now. Our visit, meetings and negotiations here convince us that both China and Azerbaijan take mutual steps based on national interests and on strengthening the world community.

Having gained independence just two years ago, Azerbaijan has built diplomatic relations with many countries of the world and takes part in the activities of different international organizations. It is only the beginning. We do and will further strive to expand our international activity and to develop relations with foreign countries.

As experts in public sciences, you are acquainted with the Caucasus, a multinational, unique region with an ancient history and a number of complicated contradictions. Independent nations – Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, once parts of the former Soviet Union are situated in the Southern Caucasus. We have friendly relations with Georgia, while we are, unfortunately, at war with Armenia. Armenia`s aggression against Azerbaijan has been continuing for six years. It is important to provide true information on this military conflict everywhere, including China. The truth is that Armenia attempts to annex a part of Azerbaijan – the Mountainous Garabagh, which is home to both Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

Armenia has been warring against Azerbaijan for annexing the Mountainous Garabagh. The Azerbaijani people, undoubtedly, can not agree with it. The Mountainous Garabagh is a part of Azerbaijan. As a part of the local population of the Mountainous Garabagh was Armenians, an autonomous province was established for them within Azerbaijan in 1923. The province was successfully developing during the Soviet time. The local population was made up of Armenians (70%) and Azerbaijanis (30%). The area of the province was nearly 4,000 square kilometers. Just because of the nationalist circles of Armenia, later the authorities of the Armenian Republic set the task of capturing the Mountainous Garabagh and join it to Armenia.

That is why the conflict broke out. Of course, it could have been stopped within the Soviet Union then. However, some forces hindered it. Now Armenia and Azerbaijan are independent and they need to settle the conflict on the principles of international law and with the involvement of international organizations. We strive for it. But the Armenian side, enjoying their temporary military advantage, tries to realize their intentions by violation. Armenia has occupied 20% of the territories of Azerbaijan in the recent years.

Azerbaijan wants to solve the problem peacefully, through negotiations. We do and will further use the opportunities of the UN Security Council, CSCE and its Minsk Group, other international organizations, and superpowers for the peaceful solution of the conflict, but our main conditions are the unconditional withdrawal of the occupation Armenian forces from the Azerbaijani lands, assurance of the territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan.

If those measures do not produce any results, Azerbaijan will protect its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders by using its military might. During our meetings and discussions with the Chinese authorities, we got acquainted with the principal and fair position of China and its leaders.  This position indicates that territorial integrity of any country, including Azerbaijan, is inviolable; it is an unbreakable principle of international law, no country must be allowed to violate the territorial integrity of another country. Inviolability of borders is an unbreakable principle and any attempt to change borders by violation is unacceptable.

This position has been stated in the meetings of the UN Security Council and reconfirmed during negotiations with the Chinese authorities here. I would like to mention another important factor. Azerbaijan is a multinational country, where all the citizens enjoy equal rights irrespective of their nationality. We approach the Armenian population of the Mountainous Garabagh the same way; we guarantee their security and equal rights. As I noted, the Mountainous Garabagh was once an autonomous province and we are not against the autonomy for the Armenian minority there. The Azerbaijani government respects relevant international principles regarding this matter. I think that the information I gave you about Azerbaijan, its current situation and problems, is interesting for you. If you have any questions, I can answer with pleasure.

Question: Mr. President, thank you for your interesting speech. I work at the Scientific-Research Institute on Central Asia and East Europe of the Academy of Public Sciences. My question refers to the role of Russia in the Southern Caucasus. It is evident that Russia takes an active part in the processes going on in the region. How would you comment the role of Russia in these processes?

Second question: The entire world attentively observes the development of extremist and nationalist tendencies in Russia, as they think Russia is not ready to recognize the independence of the former Soviet republics. What is the impact of extremists and nationalists on Russia`s role and does this impact worry you?

H.Aliyev: You know, the Southern Caucasus, - I mean Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, - was a part of the czarist Russia and the Soviet Union for about 200 years. Russia has historically had its interests and influence on the Southern Caucasus. You are probably aware of the Russian troops and military bases in Armenia. The Russian troops are stationed also in Georgia. Additional contingent of the Russian troops was brought to the region because of the aggravation of the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict. A new Russian-Georgian treaty on military cooperation was signed during the recent visit of the Russian president Yeltsin to Tbilisi.

There are no foreign troops in Azerbaijan. As I noted, Azerbaijan borders with Iran, Turkey and Russia, as well as the Southern Caucasian nations – Georgia and Armenia. However, Azerbaijan`s situation is hard because of the Armenian aggression. Armenia carries out this aggression successfully because it receives assistance from different circles abroad. Russia tries to take an active part in the settlement of conflicts in the Southern Caucasus. We would like Russia`s efforts, especially in the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and in ending the Armenian aggression against us to. As for the Russian nationalist tendency and extremist forces trying to control the former Soviet republics, they are threats for the emerging democracies. I hope that the democratic forces will prevail and such tendencies will not spread in Russia, while Russia will create normal relations with all the countries of the former Soviet Union.

I thank you for your attention and this friendly meeting.