From the speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with Richard Morningstar, the ambassador, the special representative of Bill Clinton, the President of the United States of America on the pre-Caspian region - Presidential palace, 22 February, 1999

Heydar Aliyev: Honorable Mr. Ambassador, I am very pleased to see you again in Azerbaijan. It shows again that our relations continue intensively. I find our new meeting with you of grate importance. I suppose that you have very valuable information about our last year`s activities. Undoubtedly, we need to exchange our point of views.

There is a saying in Azerbaijan: If everything goes very well, then we say: "someone`s" feet "brought success" Mr. Morningstar, after you have been appointed the authoritative representative, ambassador of the President of the USA on the pre-Caspian region, a new stage has begun in the construction of pipelines. And from this point I can say that your feet have brought success. I suppose that in the future we shall also be successful.

Richard Morningstar: Mr. President, it is a great event for me to see you again and I am very happy. I must note that it is my fifth visit to Azerbaijan for the last period. After my first visit we have gained much success. I am very happy to see you so healthy and strong in my current visit. I am glad that you have had a perfect medical treatment.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much. I have never been ill. But now I see that a small problem in my health caused very serious anxiety. But now everything is very well. I am very grateful to you for these words.

Richard Morningstar: Mr. President, today I feel proud of giving you the letter of the Minister of Energy, Mr. Richardson. In fact, this letter is the continuation of the letter signed before.

Heydar Aliyev: I have read the letter of Mr. Richardson attentively and expressed my opinion. As you know I have invited Mr. Richardson to Azerbaijan. In his last letter he noted that he intended to visit our republic.

Richard Morningstar: Mr. President, he also touched upon this matter in his letter. When I was coming here he said that he planned to visit Azerbaijan in June. He also hopes that the document on border issue between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will be signed. I suppose that we can speak about the details of this matter.

Today I would like to touch upon three subjects during our meeting. The first theme is about my visit to Turkmenistan last week. During that visit the document on the TransCaspian pipeline project between Turkmenistan and " P-S-G" group was signed.

The second subject is about our intermediary activity on border problem. The third theme is about our success gained on Baku- Ceyhan pipeline project.

I met with Natig Aliyev and Valeh Alaskarov this morning. The meeting continued two hours and was very perfect. To my mind we managed to come to an agreement on all issues.

My visit to Turkmenistan was very beneficial. Because President Niyazov expressed his support to the TransCaspian pipeline project. I know that during the visit of the representatives of the president of Turkmenistan to your country, you also expressed your support to this project. I am very grateful to you for it. During my visit to Turkmenistan I saw that Mr. Niyazov began to realize the essence of this problem.

Heydar Aliyev: I have an information that you have discussed all the matters in details with SOCAR today. First of all, I want to note that after the Ankara declaration, we gained much more success in the preparation for the construction of the Baku- Ceyhan pipeline.

As you know, several meetings were held between SOCAR and the Turkish delegation. Necessary documents, projects are ready for the construction of the Baku- Ceyhan pipeline. According to the information given to me, some of these issues must be agreed with the Turkish government. Certain changes are observed in the position of Azerbaijan International Operation Organization. The Turkish delegation has already proved that the estimation of Baku- Ceyhan pipeline is of 2 billion 400 million USD. You see that it is cheaper than the 3 billion 700 million USD, the amount which was declared by Azerbaijan International Operation Company. I consider that much work had been done during the last months and we have to continue it.

According to the information of press, I can say that your activities in the transportation of Turkmenistan gas to Turkey through the Caspian Sea, the decisions of the President of Turkmenistan in this field are very gratifying. In his letter to me President Niyazov asked me to receive his personal representative, the head of " Merkhav " Company, Iosif Mayma and express my opinions about it and I did as he wished. I received Mr. Mayma. We had a comprehensive conversation. I expressed the support of Azerbaijan to the construction of this pipeline.

The information you give about the determination of the borders between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea is of great importance and from this point the President of Turkmenistan takes progressive steps in his position.

As you know, after our meeting with the President of Turkmenistan, Mr. Niyazov in Ankara, October 29, the delegations of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan held several meetings, negotiations. Undoubtedly, you- the USA takes a great part in the activities of Turkmenistan, taken in the field of the construction of gas pipeline through the Caspian Sea. At the same time progressive steps taken in this field help the determination of Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan borders. I hope that due to your assistance we shall settle this problem successfully.

During our meeting with Mr. Richardson in Ankara, he declared that he would mediate in this field and I agreed. Now it will be very significant to hear your very detailed, comprehensive opinions about it.