From the talk of Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan with Lawrence Eagleburger, former US Secretary of State - November 22, 1999

Heydar Aliyev: I am quite satisfied that you could visit Azerbaijan even for several hours. Yesterday I was told that you were in Kuwait and got an opportunity to come here and meet us. I was happy to hear it. Unfortunately, your second visit to Azerbaijan is so short.

Last time I invited you and your spouse for a long-term visit to Azerbaijan. It remains in force again. Our meeting today is special. Thank you very much. Welcome!

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mr. President, thank you. Next time when I visit Azerbaijan I`ll stay here so long that you`ll wish my leave as soon as possible.

Heydar Aliyev: Just come, no problem.

Lawrence Eagleburger: I should wait for better weather then.

Heydar Aliyev: We`ll secure it. It is just your unexpected visit. But if you set the time in advance, we`ll secure better weather conditions.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mr. President, one of main goals of my unexpected visit is to express my admiration while we were observing your leadership in the last summit. I must say that the US mass media paid a great attention to your personality. Indeed, you were worthy of it. During the summit a lot of information was spread and you also gave much additional information to the public. Thus, using this opportunity, I congratulate you for your contributions to the summit

As I know, during your visit great progress has been achieved in a lot of issues- pipelines, relations with your neighbors. I am sure that President Clinton has also appreciated your personal contributions. Mr. President, I`d like to learn how you appreciate this summit. Are you also of the same opinion that the summit was successful?

Heydar Aliyev: Thanks a lot, my friend. I thank you for your kind words about me and my activity during the last summit.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mr. President, these are sincere words.

Heydar Aliyev: I know that you always speak frankly.

Lawrence Eagleburger: I am not a diplomat any more. So I always tell the truth.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much. Indeed, I must tell you that the last summit differs from the previous ones of OSCE. In the first place, because of the content and significance of the documents adopted by the summit because they have already been aimed at the 21st century. These documents are like a constitution of the 21st century on living, creating and development within the frames of Europe and OSCE.

The so-called the Istanbul Charter is of great significance. Important points are reflected in the charter in the field of security of the countries, peace, development of democracy, defense of human rights, non-admission of terrorism, separatism, extremism and others not only today, but also in the future.

The second document- the political declaration also reflects the current reality, reality of Europe and of the world, and it contains very significant principles for the settlement of issues in the territory covered by OSCE.

I feel proud that I signed the Istanbul Charter on behalf of the Azerbaijani people. Once more it demonstrated that Azerbaijan is an independent state with equal rights like other world countries. The most important part of the document for us is the defense of the territorial integrity and state independence.

You know that 25 years ago OSCE adopted the first charter in Helsinki. Then- in 1990 the Paris Charter was adopted, and now in 1999- the Istanbul Charter. However, when the Paris Charter was adopted in 1990 OSCE didn`t have such a number of members. Afterwards great changes took place in the world. The Warsaw pact was broken, the Soviet Union collapsed, the 15 republics of the USSR declared their independence. The Eastern European countries of the Warsaw pact also passed through changes. Even 3 countries of the Warsaw pact are now members of NATO. These changes are positive results of a short period of time. I am proud that Azerbaijan has also joined the union. As an independent state, Azerbaijan expresses its opinion and tries to carry out its desires.

Another feature of the summit, in my opinion, is that it surpassed the previous summits because of its organizational and content.

I participated in the Budapest Summit in 1994, the Lisbon summit in 1996. No doubt, each of them has its worthy place in the history. However, the Istanbul Summit adopted more significant documents, and it was the last summit of the 20th century. The Turkish Republic and our friends, also the Organizing Committee of the summit organized everything on high level and arranged suitable conditions for work. Because the Chiragan Palace is a suitable place for such a summit.

Distinct from a number of other countries we did great, historical work during the summit. Finally, the ceremony of signature of the contract on the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline took place. We could reach it through difficulties for 5 years.

Naturally, contributions of Azerbaijan to this project are great. Firstly, because oil belongs to Azerbaijan. Secondly, after Azerbaijan signed the "Contract of Century" in 1994 we have to extract oil and export it to the world market. Thirdly, for 5 years there have been great obstacles against construction of the pipeline and we had pressures from abroad. Some tried to prove as if the pipeline was economically ineffective. Some spread information as if there were not such huge resources of oil in the Caspian Sea, so there was no need for an expensive pipeline. Unfortunately, such articles were published in several newspapers of the USA.

But we could prove that there are huge oil reserves in the Caspian Sea, especially in the Azerbaijani sector of the sea which have already been explored, exploited and extracted. So in order to export oil such a pipeline is needed and important.

In my speech after signing the documents I said and I want to repeat it today: no doubt, Turkey and Azerbaijan did a great work. Georgia also organized necessary conditions to let the pipeline cross its territory. For signing the treaty on the oil pipeline the USA and personally Mr. Bill Clinton made great contributions.

I stated it in Istanbul and I`ll state it always that without interest and care of the USA in this region, also support and aid of the USA and personally Mr. Bill Clinton for signing the "Contract of Century" and construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, we could not reach such an achievement. So the Istanbul Summit rose higher not only with the summit issues, but also with such a great event for us- Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, I guess, also for the USA as the signature of the treaty on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

Finally, the document on the export of the Turkmen gas to the West and Turkey was signed, and we also signed it. It is a great success. You know that some countries, also Turkmenistan didn`t take a stable position in the performance of this project. But we have been supporting it since the beginning. Again the attitude, aid and advices of the USA to Turkmenistan on this issue helped sign the documents.

It is true that as a result of the explorations it was known that Azerbaijan owns huge gas reserves along with oil resources. In some years we`ll export also gas. So we`ll be able to use the gas pipeline in time. It is always very important for us.

So I think that the summit confirmed the policy of the USA - the policy on the interstates relations, on securing peace and security, on development of democracy in the states of the Southern Caucasus, the Caspian Sea basin and the Central Asia. It demonstrated to the world that such a policy is correct. So I congratulate you- the US government. I expressed my congratulations to Mr. Clinton in Istanbul. I congratulate for you, it is our common achievement.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mr. President, such a success could have not been achieved without your leadership. Especially, in connection with the pipelines. You have made a just remark that the negotiations and discussions on the pipelines continued for several years. No doubt, unless such a main pipeline is constructed, it would be hard to export oil from this region. It is of great significance for the future of Azerbaijan too.

Undoubtedly, the summit was successful. But I want to emphasize again that without your leadership the summit, especially in signing and realization of the agreement on the pipeline, we have not been able to talk about this achievement. I want to say again that we should congratulate both you and President Clinton on the realization of this great event. Great efforts have been made. However, your personal efforts have been most important.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much.