Speech by Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the meeting held with ‎Robert Rubin, Secretary of US Treasury - Blair House, Washington, July 31, 1997‎

Dear Mr. Rubin!

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your kind words on our Republic and I want to stress the special role of US Treasury in promotion of cooperation between our countries, I think that study of the experience of this US State body will be of great use for our country.

It is worth to note that US-Azerbaijani relationships have developed to the great extent in the course of the last years. The US companies increase their investment to the economy of our republic. In this regard, the participation of the companies of the United States of America in the oil contracts signed since 1994 is of particular importance. New oil contacts expected to be signed in the course of the official visit of Azerbaijani President to the United States will be another important step forward in this sphere and will provide new possibilities for coming of other US companies to our country. I want to stress that favorable conditions were created for foreign businessmen to invest their capital in Azerbaijan, their rights are secured by our legislation and there is no hurdle for free activity of foreign investors in our country. Foreign trade is liberalized, the program of privatization is under way and citizens of foreign countries may participate at this process, too.

While speaking about measures undertaken in the domain of macroeconomic stabilization and acquired results, one can note that purposeful actions taken during last years enabled us to stop regress of production and restrain the inflation. The economic figures changed favorably, the rate of national currency - manat,- was stabilized. All these allow us to conduct successive economic reforms and improve gradually the living standard of our people.

However, the problems that our country faces are not neglible. The most painful one is Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict lasting as long as 9 years appeared after territorial claims of Armenia to our country and followed by military aggression. In the course of this conflict, Azerbaijan suffered severe damages. Despite this Azerbaijan makes use of all means for the peaceful solution of the conflict, rehabilitation of its territorial integrity and return of more than one million of our citizens driven out their homelands by force to their homes.

In the solution of this problem, we tie our hopes with the United States, the most powerful country of the world, and its activity as one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. In this connection, I appreciate highly the joint statement on the peaceful solution of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict signed by the Heads of the three powerful countries - USA, Russia and France in Denver on July 20 and I hope that the co-chairs will successfully accomplish the mediator mission they took upon themselves and the conflict will be settled in 1997.

I remind that as long as a half century ago the Azerbaijani oilmen and scientists discovered the subsea oil fields in the Caspian Sea and started their exploration. Now Azerbaijan made available a worldwide access to its abundant oil reserves and declared the necessity of joint exploration of these reserves.

Dear Mr. Rubin, I would like to reiterate that I am very pleased with the meeting and I invite you to visit Azerbaijan.