A CNN interview with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev; September 29, 1994

Question: Mr President, what are your expectations from the meeting with the US President Bill Clinton? Do you want Russia to soften its position?

Answer: My expectations from the meeting with the US President Bill Clinton are very high. First of all, to discuss the development of the inter-state relations between the Azerbaijani Republic and the United States of America, to seek his support for the implementation of the contract signed recently in Baku between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic and the western consortium of oil companies. At the same time, I expect the international organizations to boost their activities as well as the United States of America to become more actively involved in the rescue of Azerbaijan from this heavy misfortune which it has found itself as a result of the Armenian aggression.

Question: Yesterday at a meeting between the presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, a statement was issued that a certain agreement had been reached over the Mountainous Garabagh conflict. Would you agree to the transfer the Mountainous Garabagh to Armenia in order to reach peace?

Answer: No, I cannot ever agree to the transfer. However, as far as I know, Mr Bill Clinton and Mr Boris Yeltsin told a press conference yesterday that the issue of the Mountainous Garabagh, that is to say, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, must be resolved by peaceful means, with the help of international organizations, and the UN is to issue a special resolution to this end. We can agree to the resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia under these conditions, including another condition that the territorial integrity, sovereignty, inviolability of the borders of the Azerbaijani Republic is guaranteed. As I heard, Mr Bill Clinton expressed these thoughts there.

Question: What you are saying is that you are expecting President Bill Clinton to say clearly that the Mountainous Garabagh will not be given to Armenia. Am I right?

Answer: I am surprised that I am asked such a question that whether or not the Mountainous Garabagh will be given to Armenia? The on-going six-year war that has brought a lot of misfortune on us is merely waged by Armenia to occupy the Mountainous Garabagh. Over this period, Azerbaijan has protected its lands, its territorial integrity and sovereignty. How can one now conduct talks on the transfer of the Mountainous Garabagh to Armenia? This kind of question surprises me since this matter has not been raised in this way by any international organization or any president.

Question: However, during the six years war, over 20,000 people have been killed, Armenia enjoys superiority in all aspects and you have a lot of refugees in the country. Do you not want to make a concession, I wonder?

Answer: Yes, in the past six years, up to 20,000 people were killed in Azerbaijan, about 100,000 were wounded, and 20 per cent of the Azerbaijani territories have been occupied by the Armenian occupying forces. Over one million Azerbaijani citizens - Azerbaijanis - have lost their homes and have become refugees following the occupation of the lands.

All these are the outcomes of Armenia’s military aggression against Azerbaijan. As well, neither a single international organization, nor any impartial state can be pleased with the military aggression and approve of it. For some objective reasons and due to the support provided by separate states and circles, the Armenian armed forces have gained this superiority.

However, as the international legal norms state, a state cannot occupy lands of other states by force as well, not a state is allowed to violate other state’s borders. I simply want Armenia to observe international legal norms. Based on my talks with Mr. Bill Clinton, I arrived at a conclusion that the US President supports these principles and understands our situation, wants this issue to be resolved fairly by the international organizations, as well supports the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of the borders of the Azerbaijani Republic.

Question: I fully understand your position and want to ask you another question: There are big conflicts in the Caucasus, as well as in Georgia and in Tajikistan. In your opinion, what is the cause of these conflicts? Does Russia create those conflicts in order to restore its presence in the region?

Answer: You know our conflict is a big distress and preoccupied us to such an extent that I simply do not have time to investigate the anatomy of this conflict, and sometimes, I do not consider it necessary. Nevertheless, no doubt that any conflict has causes. If the conflicts have not been resolved up to now, then certain outside forces are interested in them.

Question: Can you specifically state that Russia is one of those circles?

Aliyev: I am not going to accuse any state now as it requires substantial proofs.

Question: You have already signed a big oil contract. Along with the western companies, a Russian company is also involved in it. Do you think this contract will facilitate the regional stability?

Answer: Sure, I am pinning great hopes on the oil contract signed in Baku on 20 September. This contract establishes relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and 10 western oil companies, including a Russian company and lays the foundation of their 30-year joint cooperation.

At the same time, as those companies represent big countries, like the US, Britain, Russia, Turkey, Norway, Saudi Arabia, they provide opportunities for the development of economic relations among those countries and Azerbaijan. I hope that contract will be beneficial for the both sides and provide good opportunities for the Azerbaijani Republic to join the world economy.

Presenter: President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr Heydar Aliyev thank you!

Answer: Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this channel.

Presenter: Mr President, the New York studio thanks you.

Answer: I thank the New York studio, express my satisfaction.

Translated from Azarbaycan newspaper,  September 30, 1994.