From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with Ambassador Kerry Kavano, the special representative of US State Department on regional conflicts and persons accompanied him - Presidential palace, May 9, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: Dear Mr. Kavano!

Dear ambassador!

Dear guests!

I am glad to meet you again. Welcome to Azerbaijan! I hope that at this meeting we will discuss very important questions for us.

Relations between the United States of America and Azerbaijan are many-sided. These relations have economic, political, social and other spheres. However, Mr. Kavano, we have a sphere which is the most important than others. It consists of the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, continuation of peace process. I suppose we will have a talk in details with you about it. Please.

Kerry Kavano: You are absolutely right, relations between the United States of America and Azerbaijan are very rich and many-sided. I am very glad for my next visit here connected with the development of peace process and the continuation of the dialogue.

Today we are speaking with you about peace. The next delegation, which will arrive here tomorrow from the United States of America, will conduct a talk with you on economic cooperation between our countries.

I consider that today is a favorable day to speak about peace. While marking today a holiday of the Victory, we once again recollect what is war, what is a price of peace.

I know that Azerbaijani people also understand damage, losses caused by war, the value of peace perfectly. We are sure that in forthcoming months there will be opportunities for the development of peace process. My visit of this week to the region pursues this purpose too. During this visit, I visited both Yerevan and Azerbaijan. Let me notify that President Clinton and Secretary of State Madam Albright are directly engaged and very much interested in this issue as well.

We prepare the visit of President Clinton to Moscow in forthcoming month. Before this visit he wants to learn our relations once again and to take advantage of them for achievement of purposes, noted by me, in Moscow.

Let me inform you that after a week I will hold a meeting in Geneva together with other my colleagues, co-chairs of the Minsk group. During this meeting we will conduct exchange of opinions on new proposals to develop peace process. Next day after the meeting of co-chairmen we will hold a meeting together with representatives of the international organizations. The basic purpose of this meeting also consists of definition and organization of an estimation of necessary needs for conducting rehabilitation works. Representatives of more than 12 international organizations will take part at the meeting to be held in Geneva, and we will speak about plans of rendering assistance to settling of refugees in lands which will be released from occupation. During this meeting, the detailed exchange of opinions on restoration of railways, power stations, villages, cities in territories, which will be released from occupation, will takes place as well. They understand that it is a big duty. They also understand that the final peace has not been reached yet. However, we consider that favorable time for preparation of achievement of peace has come. If we get the achievement of peace, immediately returning of people to their native homes must be provided.

Time for normalization of a life of people, maintenance of this work has come both in Azerbaijan and Armenia. During these months, we will seriously be dealt with these questions too.

Heydar Aliyev: Really, it is very significant day. 55 years ago, a big coalition - the Soviet Union, the United States of America, Great Britain, naturally, together with patriotic forces of Europe - achieved a final victory over German fascism. When I met today with veterans and expressed respect for memory of the lost citizens of Azerbaijan, I once again reminded huge value of the victory and terrible of this war not only in XX century, but, maybe, in all history of mankind. It is pleasant that though 55 years have passed after the termination of the Second World War, no world war has started. However, 20 years after the First World War, the Second World War has begun in our century. It shows that a human society, the mankind has more desire for peace, goes to peace.

After the Second World War "cold war" has begun. It has also continued for a long time. But it has been stopped too. The Soviet Union has collapsed, the Warsaw pact has collapsed. Our countries, including Azerbaijan, have found independence. All these are results of the peace process. We highly appreciate all of these. But at the same time local wars have not been stopped yet. Equally as we are pleased with absence of world war, we extremely worry for presence of local wars, conflicts. In particular here, in Azerbaijan, because our country has strongly suffered from the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. By virtue of all these, we in Azerbaijan want peace, maybe, even more than other countries of the world, people of the planet.

It is already six years - six years will be completed on May 14 - we live in condition of a cease-fire regime. It shows what peace-loving policy is carried out by Azerbaijan and how it is adherent to peace.

As you know, last years we with participation of the Minsk group, its co-chairmen - the United States of America, Russia and France - have undertaken many steps for achievement of peace. At last, you know that direct meetings have been held between Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in last year. Today, I can say that these meetings led us to peace. You know it well. But Azerbaijan is not guilty that this peace process has stopped. The peace process has stopped in connection with events occurred in October of the last year in Armenia which are known to you. I have repeatedly notified it to you, I have stated a position of Azerbaijan during our meeting in Davos, in February at the meeting in Washington with President Bill Clinton, madam Albright, other persons - you were also participating there, - other heads of your state. It consists of that we wish to continue peace process. In this connection I am very glad that you intend to give a new impulse to this process. Your visit both to Armenia and Azerbaijan proves it. I welcome it. As you noted, the meeting of representatives of co-chairmen in Geneva and after this the meeting of co-chairmen with the international financial structures, naturally, show that you have serious intentions in this field. I have great hopes for your plans.

You informed that you prepare the visit of President Bill Clinton to Moscow. There is also a question of settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict on the agenda within limits of this visit. I wish this question would be in the first place on the agenda. I ask to convey to President Bill Clinton to recollect once again our conversation with him in February. During our conversation, he has once again told me that he would do his best for the peace decision of this question. We are ready to learn about results of your activity in this field. I do not doubt that as a result of renewal of your activity, there will be put forward such offers which will provide not the retardation of the question, but its settlement for the shortest terms.

When we meet with you in October of the last year, seeing the possibility of peace - it is your offer - we have brought questions of restoration to the agenda.

In November of the last year, when we met the President Bill Clinton in Istanbul - you were also at this meeting, - the given questions again stood on the agenda. During my meeting there with the President of France Jacque Chirac, one of co-chairmen of the Minsk group, he has stated serious ideas on restoration works with indispensable mobilization of financial resources, the European Union. All these create such an impression that probably, in the near future we can reach peace. Therefore today we carry out the discussion of questions on restoration. In the last years, questions of restoration have never stood on the agenda. And now it is possible to say that at that time the reality of achievement of peace was not so close. Now, I think, we are close to it. Everything depends on you. You know that we will carry out everything that depends on us. Therefore I am very glad for your information.

Karry Kavano: I share your hopes and confidence that today we are considerably close to peace. But it has been connected with your leadership, depended on your endurance in many respects.

The period since October of the last year was extremely hard for Armenia. However, I believe and I would say that my visit in this week to Armenia, to Yerevan, has once again approved that the situation there had been stabilized. In Yerevan I have heard the same adherence of the leadership to peace and felt their desire to advance this process.

Taking this opportunity, I wish to tell some words about your veterans as well. I can never forget impression which was made on me with the film produced by German army. This film was shot in Hitler`s birthday. A pie, presented as a gift to Hitler in this day, is shown in the film. A piece reflecting Baku from this pie, which reminded a map, will be given to Hitler. The German army considered Baku as "brilliant" for Hitler`s victory in this war. However, he could not see the Caspian Sea. His ways stretched to your country were cut off by your people who have shown courage and bravery. We consider that his failure to grasp "brilliant" has reduced the term of war.

We, Americans, met Germans in Belgium for the first time. In those fights we could have win that war, because their gasoline had practically ended. We had won that war because we were together. You spoke about an alliance of the United States of America with the Soviet Union, Great Britain and other countries. In this connection that alliance exists as well as in the Minsk group in the certain sense. Russia, the USA and the European Union - everyone put efforts for the achievement of the same purpose. With the help of God, today threat differs from the previous. However the value and price of peace are high as before.

I hope that owing to our joint efforts, we, as before, will again achieve peace. We understand that achievement of peace was prolonged. We highly appreciate that you once again realize it, we appreciate your endurance. We understand that the retardation of this question creates complexities for your people.

As you know, in December of the last year together with my colleagues from the Minsk group I visited the refugee camps. We understand needs of refugees. Our meetings with these refugees in camps created an opportunity for us to see their needs with our eyes and it played a role of "fuel", "gasoline" that we began to work more actively. In a word, it gave us impulse in increase of our energy and efforts for the achievement of peace, returning of refugees to their native lands.

Without your help and the help of Armenia we cannot advance this process. Today we were even more inspired, by seeing the adherence to the possibility for achievement of peace by countries participating in the conflict.

Let me touch upon one more question related to President Bill Clinton. I consider that there is no necessity to remind again Mister Clinton of his words during the meeting with you in February. Because the (Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the situation, which has developed around it, are permanently in the focus of his attention, his memory. He has always wanted the settlement of conflicts here, in the Caucasus.

But I should also say that after the meetings held with you and President Kocharyan in Istanbul, Bill Clinton has joined this question with special energy. You also know that he is ready to do his best to render his help in the solution of this question.

In the end let me touch upon other purpose of my visit too. Today - holiday of the Victory - notwithstanding we are in your country, we know that tomorrow is a special day for you - your birthday. We thought to bring a special gift to you. It was difficult for us to choose worthy gift for you. Considering your huge contribution in peace process, the gift which we would bring to you, should be bigger, but the plane could not contain it. Then we decided that even if the gift would be small, its meaning and value should be extremely high. Therefore, I brought a small gift to you.

Heydar Aliyev: What is this?

Kerry Kavano: It is a small part of an Aghdam mosque, its small part. Though it is small, but it is a part of the land which you want to restore. We hope that there will come a day that this great mosque will be returned. We will help for its restoration and we will achieve creation of all conditions that people can pray in it.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much. I express my gratitude to you. I was very touched. To tell the truth, I could not imagine such originality.

I know that you were in Aghdam in December. If you kept in yourself a slice of this mosque and presented it to me today, before my birthday, you are really the person, who adhered to peace with all soul, and try to do the utmost that Azerbaijan reaches peace. You know, it is so unexpected that I am very touched. I am very grateful to you. As a result of our general work, I wish to go to Aghdam with your help, restore this mosque, restore all the occupied grounds.

I will keep this gift. After clearing Aghdam from the occupation I will ask you to go together there and I will give this piece to storage in this mosque as a valuable museum exhibit. It gives me even more hopes that we will reach peace in a short period.

You said very valuable words about our veterans and a general victory reached by us in 1945. About a pie, presented to Hitler in his birthday, it is known also to us, we saw it in films. Really, on this pie Baku has been shown especially, and they wished to occupy Baku, Azerbaijan.

Delivering a speech today before veterans, I also remembered that at that time Azerbaijan had given 70 percent of oil and oil products manufactured in the Soviet Union. Without Baku, the Azerbaijan oil it would have been extremely difficult for achieving the victory.

Belgium is the small country. You could achieve a victory there because gasoline had ended in Germans. Consider that if gasoline had really ended in such huge territory as the Soviet Union, the German fascism could have won easily. Yes, at that time we had protected the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, protected oil, protected the Caspian Sea.

Today we try to develop rich oil stocks of Azerbaijan together with you - the United States of America and the western countries in the name of peace, democracy, independence of Azerbaijan. We have achieved essential results in this field.

Now our basic purpose is the achievement of peace. There is no necessity to prove that everything will be perfect here after the achievement of peace. Therefore once again I express my gratitude to you for present visit, for information, given to us for the development of peace process. I repeat we are ready to cooperate with you on this way and to reach our objects. Thank you.