Speech of President of the Azerbaijan Republic, Heydar Aliev at the OIC Summit in Casablanca - 13 December, 1994

Respected Mr. Chairman!

Esteemed heads of states and delegations!

First of all, I deeply appreciate His Majesty, King of Morocco, Hassan II for excellent organization of the Summit of Organization of the Islamic Conference.

I am pleased to greet you, the participants of this respectable meeting on behalf the Azerbaijani people. I wish you and your people happiness and welfare and express my respect and esteem.

We have the right to be proud that Islamic world has made its worthy contribution to the mankind civilization and has been furthering its moral development and improvement for already several centuries.

Today, very complicated and contradictory processes are ongoing in the world and such positive tendencies as prevention of destructive global war and laying the basis of worldwide security face with the accretion of regional conflicts, warlike nationalism and other calamities of the century. Our countries are in the epicenter of these processes and we have to render feasible aid and make efforts towards the strengthening of international security and gaining victory by peaceful and progressive forces. In the name of it, we should remove all the obstacles on the path of development of Moslem countries, extend a helping hand to each other, prevent disunity and isolation, make joint efforts to help our brothers to get out of a trouble and quench the fire of bloody wars and conflicts.

We can be proud that Organization of the Islamic Conference also pursues these high ideals. This organization uniting 52 states of Asia, Africa and Europe consolidates more than a billion population and has great spiritual, political, economic, scientific and cultural potential.

The primary principle of Organization of the Islamic Conference is to take urgent measures based on justice for the maintenance of solidarity, all-round cooperation, as well as peace and security among our countries.

Within the last 25 years, our organization has become an important factor of the world policy having a great influence on the solution of global and regional problems of today`s world. However, it should be admitted that so far we could not use the huge potential of Islamic world and our organization in full and at a desired level. We can and we should play a more substantial and influential role in the cause of progress not only of our people, but also of the entire world.

Respected Sirs!

As you know, Azerbaijani people, having centuries-old history and rich spiritual and material heritage, have been a part of Islamic world as early as the VII century AD. Azerbaijan located in an important geopolitical space between Europe and Asia, Caucasia and the Middle East, has always been in the center of attention of many states and played the role of a bridge among various civilizations.

At the beginning of the XX century, as a result of long interstate wars, Azerbaijan lost its statehood and then became a part of the former Soviet Union. Within those years, our Moslem views underwent serious ordeal as Azerbaijani people could not openly express their religious feelings. But we preserved and retained these feelings. And we worshiped to our religion even in the hardest periods.

After collapse of the Soviet Union and gaining independence in 1991, we returned to our roots and achieved the freedom of religion. In the same year, Azerbaijan joined Organization of the Islamic Conference, became an active member of its events and cooperates with all its structures.

After I was elected the president of the independent Azerbaijan Republic, I pilgrimaged to Mecca and Medina, bowed before the sanctuaries and performed the "umra" rite.

I, as the president of the Azerbaijan Republic, attach great importance to establishment of personal mutual relations and solidarity with brothers - the heads of Moslem states. I am confident that the Morocco Summit will promote expansion and deepening of Azerbaijan`s cooperation with Islamic world.

Dear Sirs!

As you know, Azerbaijani people have been subjected to aggression by the neighbor Republic of Armenia. As a result, 20 percent of the Azerbaijan territory is occupied. The ancient monuments of culture in occupied by armenian troops Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions have been destroyed, all the mosques and Moslem graves have been ruined and copies of the Sacred Koran book have been burnt. All the traces of Moslem civilization are razed to the ground.

More than 20 thousand my fellow countrymen were killed, about 100 thousand were wounded and mutilated, more than a million Azerbaijanis have been banished from their native places; their houses are devastated and burnt down. These people, including women, children and the old, lost their relatives and suffered all the horrors of genocide committed by armenian terrorists. And now they live in campsites in severe and unbearable winter conditions. They freeze of cold, catch infectious diseases and need food, medicine and clothes.

We highly appreciate the activity of Organization of the Islamic Conference, which denounced the aggression of the Armenian Republic against independent Azerbaijan. It forwarded relevant appeals to international institutions assisting in the liquidation of this conflict. I think that such actions should be continued and we hope that each member of Organization of the Islamic Conference will back up these actions.

A draft resolution on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict was prepared for our meeting. I invite you to approve this draft.

Recently, a cease-fire regime has been reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Budapest Summit of Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europeadopted an important decision on creating peacekeeping forces and their deployment in the conflict zone. It became possible owing to the efforts made by the CSCE member-states and our constructive cooperation with them.

A political agreement assuming withdrawal of all armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, return of refugees to their native places and restoration of sovereign rights of Azerbaijan throughout its territory needs to be signed for full liquidation of the conflict.

However, the Republic of Armenia avoids the implementation of relevant resolutions on liberation of occupied territories adopted by the Security Council of the United Nations Organization.

Today, international solidarity and putting pressure upon the aggressor at the international level is of great significance to achieve peace. And the pressure by such an authoritative organization as Organization of the Islamic Conference and its each member is extremely important. Therefore, much-esteemed participants of the meeting, I appeal to you with request to show a political will and join our fair struggle for territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan state.

I express appreciation to my brothers, the leaders of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many other countries and Islamic charitable organizations from this honorary tribune. They have provided the refugees with everything required, thus having shown straight away their concern about the calamity of our people and continue rendering aid today.

I appreciate everyone who did not desert us in our need. But today, each first out of seven citizens of our country is a refugee. A very difficult demographic situation has formed in Azerbaijan. We are in great need of urgent aid and I appeal to you for this aid.

As a result of the six-year war, the Azerbaijan Republic is undergoing a hard economic crisis. In spite of wounds and great material loss caused to our people and the country, we do our utmost to attain peace and stability.

On September 20, this year, we signed a contract with a number of large companies of the world regarding joint development of oilfields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. It proves transparency of Azerbaijan for foreign investments, economic cooperation and integration into the world economy. Despite the hard situation arisen as a result of the war, we resolutely follow on implementation reforms, creation of market-based economy trying to improve living standard of our people.

Your Excellencies!

I have told in my speech about the tribulations and sufferings of my people. At the same time, I am concerned about pains and sufferings of other people in all the hot spots of the world irrespective of their national or religious identity, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kashmir and Palestine. The situation arisen recently in Bosnia and Herzegovina causes especial concern and alarm. The slaughter and disasters have obtained inconceivable scales. Therefore, we have to use all our resources and make maximum efforts towards the immediate termination of bloody massacre and fair settlement of this conflict.

Concluding my speech, I express my adherence to the solidarity among us, as well as the principles and aims of Organization of the Islamic Conference and call you to join efforts in the name of peace, stability and progress. I wish you all and your people happiness and welfare.

Thank you for your attention.

The Azerbaijan daily, 16 December, 1994