From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with Rudolf Perina, the US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group - Presidential palace, October 25, 2001

Heydar Aliyev: Dear Mr. Perina!

Dear ambassador!

Welcome to Azerbaijan as the new representative of the Minsk group from the United States of America. I am glad that you came to Azerbaijan. I know that you visited Armenia too. Acquaintance with the condition before beginning work is very important.

The question of peace settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has already a big history. During this time, representatives of co-chairmen have been replaced for some times. The person, who has not been replaced, is in Azerbaijan. This is me. Therefore, I do not know to which representative of the United States of America I meet. Every time, when the new representative is appointed, I cherish hopes that a new appointment will advance even more our work. However, these hopes have appeared already for a long time and have not died away yet. I wish to express hope that as the co-chairman of the Minsk group from the United States of America you will deal with this question even more seriously.

I know that it depends not only on you. It depends, as a whole, on the attitude by the state to this question. I believe in the policy carried out by the United States of America in the field of peace settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and the promises given by it. However, their realization has not been possible yet. I wish we will solve it completely during your activity. As recently we have achieved the certain progress. But it is not stable, sometimes becomes more active, and sometimes slows down. I wish it would not slow down but go on ascending. Therefore, I am ready for a sincere cooperation with you. I wish, on the one hand, you would more deeply understand these questions, and on the other hand - reach them to your government. But the main point consists of reaching a final result. Once again, welcome!

Rudolf Perina: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am grateful to you for creating an opportunity to meet you today.

Mister President, I have not brought with myself any new offer for this meeting. At the same time, I don`t intend to carry on any negotiations and discuss details. As you noted correctly, my current visit to the region has a fact-finding character. Besides, in the end of this week, we, three co-chairmen, will meet in Lisbon. After conducting discussions there, predictably, in the beginning of November, we will arrive here and also visit other places of the region involved in the conflict. Before carrying out consultations in Lisbon, at our today`s meeting I would like to have a talk with you and to learn your opinion on process of negotiations. I wish to learn about your view for the future, and also to familiarize with your estimation of the present condition.

For the known reasons, your opinion assumes extremely great value for us and in the future the work of the Minsk group can depend on it in many respects. However, I would not like to finish the discussions by it. I wish to touch upon the condition which has developed in the world after the tragical events on September 11 during our discussions. I am the first representative who has arrived in this region from Washington after the tragical events. I want to inform you that these events have caused a big influence in the United States of America. At the same time these events have exerted a big influence on the whole world and the world has changed a little.

At the same time, I believe that the new period, which has appeared after the known events, have rendered the influence as well as on this region. I would like to discuss with you a question on what influence these events will render over the events of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the United States of America, we name this last decade the period following after "cold war". Experiencing this period, at the same time we did not expect what will happen in the future. The events, which occurred on September 11, quickly, instantly and in the tragical form have changed the situation all over the world. The impact of these events is not well-known to us. However it is known that after these events there will come the important period in the modern world. And it will be the period of domination of war against terrorism. I think that this period will be strained as the period of "cold war", and, maybe, even more intense.

In the new period, there will appear new interests, new priorities, and new relations will be established between the countries. These events will exert both positive and negative influence on events, interests in the world. After a while, I will explain it in detail.

I consider that when there are new priorities, settlement of conflicts will turn into the important priority and be brought to the forefront. In particular, there will be a necessity for the settlement of such a problem, as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which creates instability in the region and keeps us away from the basic problems. The United States has constantly showed big interest in this part of the planet and always aspired to settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, after the events on September 11, this determination, desire of the United States will increase even more. The further necessity for our closer cooperation will be felt. As we wish to see this region stable and closely cooperating with us.

I can say that as continuation of these events a number of other events will happen. We observe one of them in these days. Now 907th amendment to the "Freedom Support Act" is discussed in the congress of the United States of America. Predictably, this bill will pass and allow the president to cancel this amendment, which is an obstacle between our countries. I consider that all these changes, noted by me - later I will stop on them in more detail - will allow us to find ways for settlement of conflicts, in particular Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mr. President, frankly speaking, if we do not solve this problem it will be the problem, remained since the old period, in the new period started by us, and remaining this problem as unsolved will cause damage to all parties living in this region. Finishing all these ideas, I wish to note that now we have good opportunities for the solution of the problem. A role of Azerbaijan and, undoubtedly, your personal role can promote many issues in settlement of this problem.

In the beginning of our conversation you said that recently the certain progress was achieved in this question. You absolutely fairly noted it. Now our basic purpose consists of turning the progress into the settlement. The basic purpose of my visit consists of hearing your opinion about the progress and learning your opinion how to accelerate this progress. Thank you very much.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. You said that we would have a talk on these questions a little bit later. I agree with this idea. You spoke in details that events on September 11, that is, monstrous terror against the United States of America, it is possible to tell, has completely changed a situation in the world. I agree with this opinion. I agree also that after the termination of "cold war" all states, peoples have considered that the end has been completely put to it. However, now we could not see it. We also want there would be stability all over the world after the end of "cold war", and the end of "cold war" would not consist of only liquidation of confrontation between East and West.

Now we can not claim that we could expect everything in advance. Naturally, the leading states of the world, the international organizations should have defined it more precisely. However, unfortunately, everybody in the world had such opinion that "cold war" has already ended, contradictions between West and East, that is, the NATO and the Warsaw Pact, have been liquidated, the Warsaw Pact has been disintegrated, thus, "cold war" has been put an end. Indeed, it was the greatest historical event after the Second World War.

However, now development of processes in the world in various directions and occurrence of the extremely dangerous phenomena show that it should have not be content only with it. I wish to say by that after termination of the big "cold war", the leading states of the world should have paid attention as well as to the conflicts occurring in different regions, local conflicts, provided their settlement.

One of them is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over  Nagorno-Karabakh. If we pay attention to the beginning period of the conflicts in different regions of the world, I can say that the longest conflict after the Palestine-Israeli conflict in the Near East is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

If we consider space of the former Soviet Union, it is the conflict which has begun still since the time of existence of the Soviet Union, since 1988. For four years, this conflict occurred when both Azerbaijan and Armenia were in structure of the Soviet Union. However, the leadership of the Soviet government could not express it the necessary estimation and this conflict was turned into a war.

After disintegration of the Soviet Union and gaining our independence, the United Nations Organization, the OSCE, Minsk group, which was created by the OSCE, have been engaged in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Since 1997, three big states - Russia, the United States of America and France have been heading the Minsk group. Not solving the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict in due time has led to occurrence of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, caused occurrence of the Dniestria conflict - you have been there, led to occurrence of the Chechen conflict. Georgia is still in a condition of the conflict with South Ossetia. You see how many conflicts have turned out. And now the situation has become aggravated in the Central Asia.

I want to say that full stability in the world has not been reached yet and nobody should consider that peace and calmness have already been established. The big states, the United Nations Organization, the OSCE have not given due attention to settlement of local conflicts.

I repeat that I agree with you that as a whole, events on September 11 have sharply changed a situation all over the world. Because the root of these events is terrorism and widely spread international terrorism. The reason for occurrence of terrorism consists of aggressive separatism. Aggressive separatism is, it is possible to tell, the beginning of terrorism. However, unfortunately, in due time it has not been given due attention to these roots. Today some people again try to differentiate aggressive separatism from the international terrorism. But these phenomena are interconnected. Therefore, at the present stage, it is necessary to consolidate even more the forces. The general struggle should be carried out against the international terrorism.

The terrorist attacks, perpetrated against the United States of America, naturally, have been perpetrated against all mankind, that is, all nations, free societies. Here it is necessary to consolidate forces. We, the Azerbaijan state, since the first day, have openly stated our position in this regard and joined the struggle. We have declared that we are in one alliance with the United States of America and its allies in this struggle. As you know, we carry out our activity in this direction.

I again agree with you that the international terrorism will aggravate a situation in the world, again estrange the countries from each other, which after the end of "cold war" wished to come to the certain unity in due time, interests will collide. Therefore, it is necessary to do still much in this direction.

But I am so much pleased with all of your opinions that now it is impossible to overshadow settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, on the contrary, it is necessary to deal more seriously with it. It is necessary to settle it, to establish stability in the region. And it has extremely great importance for the work carried against the international terrorism and the basic center of the international terrorism in these circles.

I should tell you openly that some persons thought that because of occurrence of such monstrous acts of terrorism in the world and during large-scale struggle against terrorism, the big states of the world, including co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk group will show the certain passivity in settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Naturally, I do not think so and never thought. Now, during our conversation it is found out that we share the general opinion.

I said that the certain progress have been reached in this area in last years. At the same time, not only we could not develop it, but in some cases it began to go back. I consider that as we are in structure of a united front, co-chairmen should make more effective measures for the settlement of this problem. And both sides of the conflict should understand that in this question dictation of this or that side cannot be accepted. Naturally, norms of international law should be the basis of the settlement to this question. I suppose, now we will continue our conversation about it and we will conduct more detailed exchange of opinions.