From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan - Tehran, December 11, 1997

Kofi Annan: Mr. President, I welcome you. I am proud to meet the prominent statesman Heydar Aliyev.

Mr. President, your first official visit to the United States of America, your meetings with Mr. Bill Clinton and other officials of the US government, the negotiations with them, and the signed documents attracted the public interest there.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Kofi Annan, I am greeting you, too. I thank you for your nice words. I am satisfied of meeting you and the current level of the relations between Azerbaijan and the UN.

Mr. Kofi Annan, I highly appreciate our meeting and negotiations. I think that the participation of the UN Secretary-General at the seventh summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference is of great significance.

When talking about the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan going on since 1988, I would remind the resolutions of the UN and the UN Security Council on the solution of the conflict. Armenia still ignores those important documents.

Mr. Kofi Annan, as you know, the main principles on the peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict were adopted at the Lisbon summit of OSCE in December 1996. Since the decisions of that summit the negotiations have been held, the co-chairs have put forward new proposals on the peaceful solution of the conflict.

20 per cent of our territories have been occupied by the Armenian armed forces, while over one million Azerbaijani citizens have been forced to leave their homes and now live in tents in hard conditions as refugees. We have always had a position of compromises for the restoration of our territorial integrity, ensuring inviolability of the borders, return of refugees to their homes and peaceful solution of the conflict. We want the conflict to be solved within the framework of the norms of international law. Azerbaijan has accepted the proposals of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group on the solution of the conflict at first stage as priority. The first stage means liberation of the six occupied districts of Azerbaijan, while the second stage implies liberation of Shusha and Lachin, as well as granting the Nagorno-Karabakh a high autonomy within Azerbaijan.

Kofi Annan: I am aware that the principles adopted at the Lisbon summit of OSCE have created a good ground for the solution of the conflict. The proposals of the co-chairs are also support by the UN. The UN recognizes territorial integrity of each country, as well as of Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Kofi Annan, I invite you to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan.

Kofi Annan: The invitation is accepted with pleasure.