The address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to His Excellency Mr. William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America. Baku, February 8, 1999

Dear Mr. President!

I would like to express my deep anxiety concerning the absence of progress in settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as before, remains violated, 20 percent of the Azerbaijan lands is still under occupation of the Armenian armed forces, one million Azerbaijani refugees violently driven out from native lands have been exposed to the big deprivations for five years. Resolutions of Security Council of the United Nations  No: 822, 853, 874 and 884 with the requirement of unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from occupied territories are not implemented.

As it is known, the Minsk Group of OSCE was founded with the purpose of the peace resolution of the conflict in May, 1992 and the mandate for the future peace conference was determined. At the conference, Armenia and Azerbaijan were recognized as the parties of the conflict, and Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh as the interested parties. Despite it, the aggression of the Republic of Armenia started against Azerbaijan in 1988, was proceeded and alongside with the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, more seven large regions of Azerbaijan were occupied.

During the past seven years, great efforts have been made for creation of effective process of negotiations within the framework of the Minsk Group. But in connection with the destructive position of the Republic of Armenia, the negotiations constantly were deadlocked and did not give any positive results.

As a result of the efforts made by us for the peace settlement of the conflict and these efforts supported by the Minsk Group, in May, 1994, the cease-fire which proceeds till now was achieved. The decision reached at the Budapest summit of OSCE in December, 1994 on creation of multinational international forces which should arrive in the region and provide liquidation of consequences of a confrontation after signing the peace agreement, and also decisions of the Lisbon summit of OSCE in the December of 1996, which have defined the international legal base of the resolution of the conflict, can be considered as the great political achievement having extreme importance for the fair settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. However, as the result of obstruction, continuing by the Republic of Armenia and inability of OSCE to call it to the order, the decisions of these summits have not been executed.

As it is known, on June 1, 1997, the co-chairmen of the Minsk group of OSCE on behalf of Russia, the USA and France, leaning upon Lisbon principles of settlement of the conflict, presented the project of the all-round agreement consisting of two parts - the termination of a confrontation and definition of status of Nagorno-Karabakh. While the Azerbaijani party has accepted these offers of co-chairmen, Armenia has expressed a disagreement with them. Armenia, not wishing to recognize the territorial integrity of the Azerbaijani Republic, and also, making excuses of inadmissibility of definition of status of Nagorno-Karabakh before convocation of the Minsk conference, rejected offers of the co-chairmen. By the way, it is necessary to note that on June 20, 1997 during a well-known Denver meeting in the USA, the presidents of Russia, France and the USA in the special statement notified that they supported these proposals.

On September 19, 1997 the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group put forward a new, the second proposal after the Lisbon summit providing settlement of the conflict by stages. According to this proposal at the first stage, it was intended clearing of six occupied regions, with the exception of the region of Lachin, located outside, the administrative borders of former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan, implementation of operation of OSCE directed on protection of the peace, returning of refugees to the released territories, and also restoration of destroyed communications of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which was occupied by it, being necessary for activity of life, as a result of the war. Then at the second stage, after liquidation of consequences of the armed confrontation, the parties had to determine the status of Nagorno-Karabakh within the Azerbaijan Republic and taking measures for its security.

On October 10, 1997 in Strasbourg, Azerbaijan and Armenia, at a level of presidents of two countries, agreed to continue the process of negotiations on the basis of proposals dated on September 19, 1997, that enabled us to hope for success of process of negotiations for achievement of fair settlement of the conflict. However, then the resignation of the President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan and toughening of a position of a new leadership of Armenia have brought to nothing the opportunity of the proposals for negotiations on this fair basis.

After a long-term break, the representatives of the Minsk Group co-chairmen, probably, wishing to revive negotiating process, on November 9, 1997, made the third offer which disappointed the Azerbaijani party very much and did not give an opportunity to continue negotiations. This offer leaned upon the nonexistent idea in the world practice of \"the common state\" and it was nothing else than the deviation from the former position, following decisions and principles authorized by two summits of OSCE. These offers actually allocated Nagorno_karabakh as the state territorial structure in the form of republic and give it the equal status with Azerbaijan within the framework of the invented \"the common state\". At the same time, the reference that \"the common state\" will be created in the frameworks of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, does not give guarantee for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, actually breaks them.

I think that rash actions of mediators, certainly, have caused serious damage to the settlement process and have kept it back. And it causes deep anxiety, concern in us, in particular because as we repeatedly declared, the Russian Federation continues to arm the Republic of Armenia strenuously. The clear proof to that is sending the planes MIG - 29 and rockets C-300 to Armenia by Russia after illegal transfer of arms on one billion US dollars.

In my opinion, if co-chairmen do not show determination, if heads of the USA, Russia and France do not accept effective measures, it will be impossible to reach the fair settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The faithfulness to the three principles of the Lisbon summit, which 53 states of the world have voted for, has a special value.

Taking into account all this, dear Mr. President, I apply to you as the co-chairman of the Minsk Group of OSCE and insistently I request to strengthen your personal activity, and also work of foreign policy department of your country for the prompt settlement of this tightened conflict on the basis of principles of the Lisbon summit being a source of serious danger to the peace and stability in Europe.

Sincerely yours,

Heydar Aliyev

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan