Interview of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the reporter of BBC television - July 21, 1998

Question: Mr. President, what is the value of agreements and documents signed today?

Heydar Aliyev: The value of documents signed today is great. First, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair and President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev signed a joint statement on friendly relations and partnership between the two countries. This political statement covers, we can say, all the areas, political, economic, scientific and cultural areas of our cooperation. Therefore, it is of great importance. I highly appreciate it.

In addition, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and the companies «BP», «Statoil», «REMCO», «Monument Oil and Gas» signed an agreement on joint developments in rich oil deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea.

Question: Mr. President, how do you appreciate the relations between Great Britain and Azerbaijan? How do you see the importance of the UK for Azerbaijan and future relations?

Heydar Aliyev: Over the past four years the relations between the UK and Azerbaijan have developed well. I am satisfied with the current state of relations. My official visit here, negotiations and the signed documents provide a good basis for the expansion and development of these relations in future.

It is very advantageous for us to develop relations with Great Britain. We attach particular importance to it. I think that the United Kingdom considers relations with Azerbaijan useful, as well.

Question: Mr. President, how do you see the future importance of the Caspian basin in the twenty-first century as an oil-producing region?

Heydar Aliyev: I can clearly see it. In the twenty-first century the Caspian basin will become one of the largest oil-producing regions of the world. It was Azerbaijan that laid the foundations and opened it to the world. We started this new era with the signature of the first contract in 1994. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan has signed fifteen contracts with the major oil companies of the world on joint developments in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea. They have a great future.

Question: I would like to ask the last question. Mr. President, what do you wish to achieve with great wealth and resources which Azerbaijan will receive from oil? If you wanted to achieve something, then what would it be?

Heydar Aliyev: No, we do not want to achieve something, but a lot. Of course, first of all I would like to achieve economic development of Azerbaijan in all spheres. I do this for Azerbaijan to become an economically strong and powerful country. I do it for the well-being of every citizen of Azerbaijan. I believe that we shall achieve it.

Reporter: Mr. President, thank you very much for the time you spent for us.

Heydar Aliyev:
Thank you.

Translated from the newspaper «Azerbaijan», July 22, 1998