Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the commander of the Russian troops in the Transcaucasia, Colonel-General Fedor Reut - January 6, 1994

I think that we had to meet earlier, first of all because the Transcaucasian region is interconnected, and secondly, as long as You are in the command of the army deployed in Georgia and Armenia. However, the conditions did no way make it possible to meet you. I had meetings with Edward Shevardnadze and other leaders of this republic for the settlement of the questions infringing the interests of our republic in cooperation with the Republic of Georgia with which we have good relations. They arrived here and a lot of questions were solved connected with economic cooperation, especially connected with assistance to be rendered to Georgia in the supply of energy. Unfortunately, we are in the state of the war with Armenia. Your troops, the troops of the Russian Federation are deployed in the territory of Georgia and Armenia. We cannot do without contacting you. Really, we had the telephone talks and our representatives met you. However, to my mind we must have much closer contacts in order not to make a slip in our mutual relations. Because, if there are contacts and meetings, it is easier to solve the questions, when there are no relations, any minor question grows into a big one, although it has no meaning at all.

Our republic does not have any problem with Georgia. We have friendly and good-neighbourly relations with this state historically. Although we are concerned about the situation in Georgia on the whole, because we cannot be indifferent to the situations in the neighbouring country, especially about the Azerbaijanis living in Georgia. There are a lot of Azerbaijanis in Georgia, according to our information it`s about 600 thousand. In some regions, as for instance, Marneuli, Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Gardabani they live compactly. We receive alarm signals: at times about the facts of violence against separate Azerbaijanis, injustice and so on. Our representatives went there in connection with this question. The Secretary of State Lala-Shovket Hajiyeva was in Georgia. She visited Dmanisi and Marneuli districts, met the leadership of Georgia. The representatives of some neighbouring districts of Azerbaijan with Georgia went to the neighbouring republic in order to render humanitarian or material assistance to the citizens of Marneuli and Dmanisi.

Unfortunately, still it does not produce results. I have had a telephone conversation with Edward Amvrosievich Shevardnadze, he said that the measures were being taken to resotre the order and create appropriate conditions for the citizens of these districts of the Azerbaijani nationality.

Taking the opportunity, I ask you, as your troops are in the territory of Georgia, including this region, to be more attentive to this issue. These persons of the Azerbaijani nationality are the citizens of Georgia and they lived there for many centuries. Georgia is their native land, home land and it is necessary to ensure their security, normal life and labour. Some symptoms of the matter disturb us very much, I have told about it to Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze. If we do not prevent some negative cases, it will lead to more serious consequences. The situation will get more complicated, we predict what may happen and we`ll face another example of the mountainous Garabagh conflict, which has grown into an open military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Therefore, my first request concerns this problem. I would like you pay attention to this. But at the same time, I ask You, to use all your opportunities, your authority, and your position, which you occupy in Armenia, to stop and change the situation.

I have declared repeatedly on behalf of Azerbaijan and today, taking the opportunity of meeting you, I declare that: we are for the peaceful settlement of this problem. We want to stop this war. It started six years ago, and the past years clearly proved to the entire world that it had brought a disaster for the Azerbaijani and the Armenian nations. This war will disprove the expectations the Armenian extremists. Therefore, I have said and reiterate: based on the world and political experience, we must settle this issue peacefully. We have not occupied a single meter of the territory of Armenia, but the Armenian armed formations have occupied about 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan, including the former Nagorno Karabakh. The Armenian party tries to present this war as if they defend the interests of the Armenian minority in the mountainous Garabagh, then what about 50 thousand Azerbaijanies driven out of Nagorno-Karabakh, about the seven districts occupied by the Armenian armed formations-Lachin, Kelbejer, Aghdam, Fizuli, Jebrail, Zengilan and Gubadli, outside of Nagorno-Karabakh? Their inhabitants live in critical conditions in tents. You can visit and see them. The property accumulated during hundreds of years in these districts have been plundered and ransacked. This is vandalism of the Armenian armed formations. And I think the world will never forgive it to anybody. The world does not forgive the agression and the agressors.

Therefore, I have declared and declare now using this opportunity, and tell you personally about this, though you know the declaration of the Azerbaijani leadreship that we are for the peaceful settlement of this issue, on condition that the Armenian armed formations should leave the territory of Azerbaijan without any condition, and first of all the districts beyond the former Nagorno-Karabakh. Such proposals were made and are submitted again. However, the agressors making use of the temporary, I repeat - temporary military superiority, consider that they may preserve it. I was forced to make a statement at the summit of CIS in Ashgabat on December 24. You know it. It was dictated by the fact that Azerbaijan was a part of CIS, and signed the contract on the collective security in order to be a full member of CIS on September 24. Armenia is also a part of CIS. Therefore, when making a statement in Ashgabat, I made it known that there could be no discussions on the collective security of the community from possible external attacks, if the internal security is not ensured.

For that reason, I noted there and reiterated in the conversation with separate leaders of the independent countries of CIS that we can not reconcile with this situation and I think this statement would give its results. I tell you that because of that contract on Collective Security, we cooperate with the armed forces of the countries of Commonwealth, including Azerbaijan and Russia and other states.

You represent here the Russian forces in Georgia and Armenia. Therefore, I would like to ask you to use your opportunities and your authority in order to make some circles in Armenia give up this insanity. I repeat, we are for the peaceful settlement of the problem, we are for peace, and support for cessation of the war and armistice.

The military operations are still going on in these days. We are not guilty in it, because the aggressors want to advance into the depths of the Azerbaijani territory for about a month and a half, try to capture new regions. Perharps they could have achieved it before, but now they cannot, since they strike against strong enough resistance and it will lead to military operations. There are losses from both parties and lately our armed forces gave worthy repulse to the Armenian formations. Most likely, You know that they bear big losses in men and technical equipment. What is it for? We do not need it. We do not attack, we hold the line within our territory, they have invaded our land.

Therefore, to tell the truth, I want to express my displeasure that our friends from the countries of Commonwealth, in particular, Russia, did not manifest proper adherence to principles in these issues. In my statement in Ashgabat, I marked that after September 24, when Azerbaijan was admitted to CIS and signed the contract on the Collective Security, four more regions of Azerbaijan were captured. We have all grounds to express our dissatisfaction with the situation that our allies in CIS in some extent are indifferent to this. At the same time, I merely ask you to use your opportunities, your authority, your status which you hold in Armenia, to stop and change the situation. I declare firmly and you can convey it to whom you consider necessary, that we are for armistice, we are for the peaceful solution of the conflict.

However, the other issues can be solved very easily. The main problem about which I have told is armistice, maintenance of sovereignty, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I address to you this question. I repeat, I do not want to tell you that your troops render assistance to Armenia, though there are a great deal of talk. I do not have reason for the official statements, but you are on the territory of Armenia. There are the Russian millitary bases, which have the official status of military bases. Armenia wages war with us, they occupy our territoties. Therefore, I have the right to ask you to make use of your authority and take necessary measures within the frames of international legal norms.

I hope that you will take these measures. As regards the fact of allowing the transportation of loads for providing the activity of the Russian troops through the territory of Azerbaijan, we provided it and will do it in future, because we have friendly relations with Russia and naturally with the troops of the Russian Federation, and these relations will continue. I take all the measures to strengthen these relations. However, we have many signals that the fuel which are sent to the troops of the Russian Federation, to Georgia or Armenia, through the territory of Azerbaijan, then falls into the possession of the Armenian armed formations and it is used against us. At this moment, I tell about these signals and news. Moreover, all this is exaggerated and I tell you frankly that different levels of the population of Azerbaijan accuse us in it, why we pass these goods through the territoty of Azerbaijan, whereas all this renders assistance to the Armenian armed formations in one or another level. I inform You about it that You once more pay attention to these issues.