Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the signature ceremony of three contracts on joint developments «Absheron», «Nakhchivan» and «Oguz» structures - Washington, the White House, August 1, 1997

Mr. Vice-President,

Distinguished Ministers, dear friends,

Today, a historic event is taking place in the US-Azerbaijani relations. President of Azerbaijan paid an official visit to the United States for the first time. We had very fruitful talks. This morning, we had efficient negotiations with President Bill Clinton and the persons with him in a friendly atmosphere. We discussed the further expansion of the US-Azerbaijani economic relations at the same time. There are large possibilities in this field and we shall use them more effectively. To this date, we have created these opportunities as in September 1994 we signed a contract called the «Contract of the Century», which is attended by five major companies of the United States of America. With a sense of pleasure I note that the contract is actually realized and through the work of the consortium in September of this year, the early oil will be extracted.

To export the oil to the West and to the world market we build two oil pipelines. Construction of a third large oil pipeline will soon begin.

Today here in the White House, Washington DC, I declare with pride that the Azerbaijani oil workers discovered and started to exploit the first oil deposits in the Caspian Sea fifty years ago. At the end of the twentieth century Azerbaijan introduces its rich oil reserves of the Caspian Sea to the world. I am very pleased with the active involvement of the American companies in our operations. We attract foreign investments to Azerbaijan, integrate our economy into the world economy and build strong economic ties with the United States, it promises a bright future to the Azerbaijani people.

However, these economic relations, the current extensive activities in Azerbaijan and other major oil companies in America contribute to the expansion and development of the US-Azerbaijani relations in all the fields. I note with satisfaction that the U.S. President Bill Clinton attaches great importance to these issues and takes serious measures to solve them. On these issues we work very closely with Vice-President Albert Gore and he has played a great role in the implementation of these works.

We have good relations with the U.S. Energy Department and I am pleased that today we shall sign an agreement on the development of these relations. The Secretary of State of the United States of America Ms. Albright had special merits in the development of our relations. I hope that the relations established with the Department of Trade of America will serve for the development of our economy.

Signature of four major oil contracts here in the White House with the leadership of America is a historic event. We appreciate it and believe that the contracts signed in the White House will be successful. I congratulate you on this event and wish these agreements were successful. Thank you.