Historical background to the document "From the talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the President of Switzerland Confederation Casper Villager" (New York, February 2, 2002)

Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Switzerland were established in January 1992. Azerbaijani Embassy to Bern acts since 2004. (http://www.mfa.gov.az/)

Cooperation between the two countries started to develop mainly in the multilateral institutions, especially at the World Economic Forum held in a Swiss town, Davos. Heydar Aliyev participated in the gatherings of Davos Economic forum in 1995, 2000 and 2002 and met the representatives of the leadership of the Swiss confederation during these events.

In his conversation with Swiss President Adolph Ogy during the Davos Economic Forum held in January 2000, Heydar Aliyev said he was confident that this event would contribute to development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Switzerland. He also gave information about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and said that he highly appreciated the OSCE chairman, Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti`s statement in 1996, during the OSCE Lisbon Summit, which considered the settlement of the conflict in the framework of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan and expressed gratitude for the Swiss government and people for it. (Davos: horizons of global economy, working visit of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Switzerland related with the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 27-30, Baku-2000, pp. 38-39)

Heydar Aliyev met the then Minister of Finance of Switzerland Casper Villiger on the same day. A conversation was held between the sides on the issues of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani energy project and Swiss companies` activities in Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev said to Casper Villiger that some Swiss firms` commercial activity in the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh occupied by Armenia, was unacceptable. Villager promised that necessary steps would be taken regarding this issue. (ibid., p.55)

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has sent a protest note to Switzerland on this matter. Later, the Ministry prepared the list of the companies illegally working in Nagorno-Karabakh. Swiss firm "Frank Muller" is considered more active in Nagorno-Karabakh. (www.eurasianet.org/www.armeniandiaspora.com)

Another meeting between Presdent Heydar Aliyev and Casper Villager took place at the gathering of Davos Forum held in New York on February 2, 2002. Reminding their meeting in Davos 2 years ago, the Azerbaijani President and already then Swiss President Casper Villager said this measure was of great importance. Heydar Aliyev presented to Casper Villager the book titled "Davos: horizons of global economy".

The Azerbaijani-Swiss cooperation continues to develop despite difficulties of not opening of Swiss Embassy to Azerbaijan yet, and its strict neutrality to Armenia`s aggression to Azerbaijan. Some agreements were signed to enhance cooperation during Swiss Foreign Minister`s visit to Azerbaijan in February 2006. Swiss firms assist in projects especially for banking.

Historical background was compiled on June 28, 2007.