From the talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the Japanese delegation - Presidential Palace, October 8, 1999

Haydar Aliyev: I welcome you - guests from Far Japan. I am glad that you have come here and I have information that you have already performed some definite work.

It is very pleasant for us that in recent years friendly relations have been established between Japan and Azerbaijan, and effective cooperation is developing successfully. We applaud the interest of Japan to Azerbaijan, and we take actions for this interest to find embodiment in the concrete work, and cooperation.

I remember with sincerity my official visit to Japan, with sincerity great number of meetings with the emperor, Mr. Hashimoto, Prime Minister, Mr. Obuchi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, a number of other ministers and will some large Japanese companies. At that time, we signed very important intergovernmental documents and I am glad to note that the cooperation between our countries began to expand and accelerated after that.

I appreciate it highly that the Japanese government has allocated preferential loans in a large amount for the construction of \"Shimal\" SRES in Baku, in Azerbaijan, our \"Azerkimya\" State Company has been able to come to an agreement with \"Nichimen\" company on joint work on the production of polyethylene, a number of Japanese companies - \"Itochu\" and some others are already cooperating actively with us in projects on the fields of oil and gas in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

Recently, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the signing of the \"Treaty of Century\" on the development of \"Azeri\", \"Chirag\" and \"Gunashli\" oil fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. This treaty was signed with a number of companies of foreign countries, \"Itochu\" company of Japanese is also included. In connection with this event, I received the congratulation letter of Mr. Obuchi, Prime Minister. The will and the desire to develop and broaden the cooperation with Azerbaijan were expressed in the letter. I highly appreciate both the congratulation letter and the thoughts of Mr. Obuchi, Prime Minister, that he mentioned in his letter.

I hope that your delegation of great composition has been able to get acquainted with our life, especially with some areas of the economy. I hope that your visit and our meeting will give a stimulus to expand and deepen our cooperation. Please, the floor is yours.

Taro Nakayama (The Member of the House of Represantatives of the Japanese Parliament, the Chairman of Foreign Policy Affairs Committee of the ruling Liberal-Democrat Party): I am very happy that after coming to your country, I am convinced that the cooperation between our countries is better than I expected. Our delegation consists of the members of Japanese Parliament and the representatives of the governmental bodies, state agencies as well as private sector. I regard your official visit to Japan in February, 1998 as the basis of our two-sided cooperation. I am confident that our two-sided cooperation will accelerate thanks to your visit.

I am informed that the meeting of Azerbaijan-Japan joint economic comission will begin on the 12th of October in Tokyo. The Azerbaijani delegation will be headed by Mr. Sharifov. I hope great and effective results will be achieved thanks to the forthcoming visit. In addition, I am very glad that there will be a coreespondence about new projects of two-sided cooperation during the forthcoming meeting.

Prime Minister Obuchi presented his letter addressed to His Excellency Mr. Haydar Aliyev before our delegation left from Tokyo.

Haydar Aliyev: Thank you. I will be familiar with the letter. I am thankful to Mr. Obuchi, Prime Minister for his keep attitude to Azerbaijan and for sending me a letter. In my opinion, it further proves that our relations are swiftly developing.

Taro Nakayama: Since the time your country declared its independence, Japan has always supported your country towards the democracy, reforms, and building a market ecenomy. I reiterate that Japan side has realized this cooperation up until now and intends to continue it. Japan attaches the greatest importance to your country among the countries of the Caucasus region. The proof of this fact is that the Japanese government will open its embassy in Azerbaijan, Baku in January of the next year. In the condition that international situation changes, your country remains as an important point between Europe and Asia. I know that Mr. President makes great efforts to revive the Silk Road region. Thus I am keep to inform you that one of the main directions of the Japanese foreign policy is to support the Silk Road countries.

Haydar Aliyev: Thank you. Thank you again for the letter of Mr. Obuchi, the Japanese Prime Minister. Thank you for Japan’s interest Azerbaijan and for the kind words you expressed about my visit to Japan.

I would like to note that Azerbaijan has tried to establish relations with a great number of countries of the world after the achievement of state independence and we were able to realize it. From this point of view, our relations with Japan fell behind in comparison with other countries. In other words, our relations were established later in comparison with a great number of European countries, with the United States, with Eastern countries. However, after the establishment of the relations between our countries the rate of development of these relations exceeded the rate of development of our relations with other countries in many cases. It pleases us. We take actions to increase the speed of our relations and we will do everything to achieve practical results as soon as possible.

During my visit to Japan, I asked the Japanese government to open its embassy in Azerbaijan. I was promised. Therefore, I am glad that at the beginning of 2000 the Japanese embassy in Baku will begin to function.

I am pleased to hear your words about Japanese special importance to Azerbaijan in comparison with other Caucasus countries. We appreciate it highly, too. We consider that the relations established between Japan and Azerbaijan in recent years are of great importance for our country.

By implementing democration, by building and developing market economy, free economy, by carrying out the policy of involving foreign capitals to Azerbaijan, we try for the economic and social development of our country. These are the main principles of our foreign policy. It is pleasant to note that here, our conceptions, positions, and principles overlap entirely. Japan has already invested considerably in Azerbaijan, and in the near future there will be more investment. The preferential loan Japanese government provided us, - this is more than $320 million in sum, - is a serious step.

To my mind, our colleagues told you that together with oil and energy sector, we had many other sectors, as well as agriculture, textile, manifacturing industry and, we can cooperate with Japan very actively. I think you will pay attention to these sectors as well. The establishment of Japanese Azerbaijan joint comission on economic cooperation is an important event. Members of the comission from Azerbaijan led by Sharifov, Deputy of the Prime Minister are leaving for Japan tomorrow. I consider that there, in meetings of the comission the wider range of issues, wider area of cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan will be discussed. I believe that our cooperation is of great perspective. There is no doubt that our cooperation will be mutually beneficial, I believe that we can do a lot.

Taro Nakayama: Thank you for speaking in detail about the perspectives of our cooperation in many fields. I am willing to make every effort for the Japanese-Azerbaijan cooperation to progress and develop not only in the oil field, but in all fields. I would like to inform Your Excellency that the Japanese government is currently studying the feasibility of holding fairs of the Caucasus region in Tokyo via \"Cetro\". The Japanese government makes efforts for the development of bilateral cooperation.

At the end of my speech I would like to deliver my request to Your Excellency. After opening our embassy in Baku, we would like to develop the exchange of young people between the two countries taking direction toward in the XXI century. From this point of view, we would much like to be guaranteed by your reliable support.

Haydar Aliyev: You may recieve full support from this point of view. Our thoughts completely overlap on this matter.

Taro Nakayama: The member of Japanese Parliament is sitting next to me, he is the Chairman of the Special Committee on International Economic Cooperation of Japanese Liberal-Democrat Party, and he is directly responsible for international cooperation, for instance, the exchange of specialists, of young people, and other areas. I inform you that I intend to develop the cooperation in this direction with him.

Haydar Aliyev: Thank you.