Speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at 49th session of the UN General Assembly - New York, September 29, 1994

Dear Mr. Chairman!

Dear Mr. General Secretary!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all, allow me to congratulate Mr. Amar Essy on the occasion of his election to the post of Chairman of the 49th session of General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and to wish him success in his activities. I want to also thank the Chairman of the last session Mr. Samuel Insanelli for the work carried out.

I express deep gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Boutros Ghali, Secretary General of the UNO for his indefatigable efforts, directed toward strengthening of the peace and safety all over the world.

I am especially grateful to him for his steadfast attention to the problems of our young state, which is experiencing a hard period of history.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

With feeling of excitement and pride I stand before you, from a tribune of this most authoritative international forum. For the first time the President of independent Azerbaijan presents to world community the country, which is now recognized by this community and  conferred upon it the rights of equal among equals.

The Azerbaijan people over the centuries aspired to freedom. Alter the disintegration of the Soviet Union it gained national independence. Our republic has firmly risen through construction of a legal, democratic, civi­lized state. All this complex process is not business of just one day, but we consistently strive toward this purpose and in this short period much has been accomplished, and all conditions for the formation of a legal democratic society exist. In our republic already there is a multi-party system; also the principles of political pluralism, freedom of person, word, press, con­science, protection of human rights and superiority of law were strongly ratified. All citizens of multinational Azerbaijan, independent of color of skin, religion or language origin, enjoy equal rights.

The political changes and the democratization of the country have created conditions for realization of deep economic reforms, which provide transition to the mar­ket relations. We, in every possible way, encourage the development of free entrepreneurship and private initia­tive. We implemented a large scale program of privati­zation, thus using world experience. Based upon com­mon human values, we follow the experience of advanced countries of the world which have already reached such success in the construction of civilized, prospering democratic societies.

Due to our location in this important geopolitical juncture of Europe and Asia, we draw great interest from many countries. Possessing extensive natural resources and significant industrial potential, convinced of the firm will and belief of Azerbaijan people, we fol­low this strategic course toward consolidation of independence and realization of democratic, market reforms. And today, from this high tribune, I firmly declare, that no one can force the Azerbaijan people to recede from course taken, and we with optimism look to the future of our country.

Our optimism is also connected to those historical processes which occur in the world, serious changes in the system of international relations. The future basis, no doubt, will become the equal rights in the world order, which is already replacing military confrontation and ideological opposition. Fundamental principles of the new world order become partnership, solid peace and safety for all according to international law, prin­ciples and regulations of the Charter of the United Nations Organization. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, leading from the world of hostility, based on force, into an era of cooperation and prosperity, and we are ready to go on this way together, hand in hand with all countries and peoples of the world.

However the dangers threatening mankind are not completely eliminated. There are still old stereotypes; numerous problems, accumulated through decades of confrontation, have not yet been surmounted, especial­ly in the spheres of disarmament and elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Mutual relations among states with different economic capacities are still subject to the afflictions of the past. Time challenges us on eco­logical threats, problems of world population and devel­opment.

Realties of the disintegration of old world order are aggressive nationalism and separatism, which generate conflicts in the Caucasus, the Balkans, and in other parts of world, having become hot because of fire and bloodshed. These conflicts not only halt the development of independent states, but directly threaten the very existence of democracies not yet consolidated. Additionally, these conflicts represent a danger to the whole world and its safety.

Therefore special responsibility in a post-confrontational world rests with the authoritative international organizations. Great countries, by virtue of their politi­cal weight, economic, financial and military opportuni­ties, should more actively direct their potential to fore­stalling conflicts, consolidating world stability and ensuring safety in all parts of planet.

Certainly, the leading role in the construction of a new world order belongs to the United Nations, which next year will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and to its Security Council, having experience in resolving a num­ber of conflicts and crisis situations. However, the Security Council is facing another difficult test: to prove its efficiency in new conditions to the interna­tional community.

Today, as never before, great persistence is required from the Security Council in the guaranteed execution and achievement of its resolutions. We hope that the expansion of the structure of the Security Council will promote its strengthening.

We attach great importance to the role of the General Assembly which, first of all, is seen as ensur­ing the closest interaction between states in making decisions based on compromises and a balance of inter­ests.

Under present conditions the importance of effective utilization of power by the Secretary General of UNO, as well as the support which members of organization who share responsibility for strengthening peace and safety in world should provide, naturally increases.

In all, the Azerbaijan Republic optimistically esti­mates the prospects of the UNO for the future and the Republic is filled with determination hereinafter to assert the high principles of the United Nations, to aspire to promote the authority and efficiency of the Organization.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

While for many of you the concepts of "war" and "armed conflict", fortunately, are associated with histo­ry or events occurring far from your home, for my people these are realties of a bloody everyday life.

For six years Azerbaijan land has blazed with fires of war. The Armenian Republic under the pretext of the realization of rights of self-determination of ethnic Armenians, living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, openly bring to fruition the plans of annex­ation of territories of our state, the violent change of its state borders and exile of Azerbaijan population from their native hearths.

All this is concealed by arbitrary interpretation of the right of people for self-determination as the right of any ethnic community to proclaim by themselves the independence and to adjoin another state. Such an interpretation of the right for self-determination enters into sharp contradiction with the principles of sover­eignty and territorial integrity of states. Any attempts to make this right absolute generate severe conflicts, as we witnessed of both in our region and in other parts of our planet.

Anxiety about this problem has been expressed by Secretary General of UNO Mr. Boutros Ghali: "If every ethnic, religious or linguistic group demands its own State, then there will be no limits to division. Peace, safety and economic well-being in the world will be even more difficult to achieve".

I completely agree with opinion of respected Boutros Ghali that "We cannot let the self-determination of people contradicts sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of states within the framework of the pre­sent international system, equally valuable and impor­tant".

Knowing that world community is not informed well enough, and in a number of cases having received only one-sided information, about the events in our region, I would like to briefly inform you of the facts in this sit­uation. Having created a powerful grouping of troops on territory of Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian republic unleashed active military actions against our republic. After the capture of Shusha city and Lahchin region, annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh was completed, from which about 50,000 Azerbaijanis living there were expelled.

Using the Nagorno-Karabakh base, Armenian armed forces then advanced and occupied another six Azerbaijan regions - Kelbejar, Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrail, Zangelan and Gubadly, located like the Lahchin region - beyond the border of former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomy and greater than four times its area.

As a result of this aggression, more than 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan was occupied by armed forces of the Armenian Republic. I must describe the terrible losses of Azerbaijan side: more than 20,000 people were lost, about 100,000 wounded and injured, 60,000 taken as prisoners, more than a million Azerbaijanis - about 15 percent of country population have become refugees and live in tent cities. On their native land they have lost shelter and suffer from heat, cold, epidemics, and feel the need for most necessary things. In occupied Azerbaijan territories there have been destroyed 700 cities and villages, in which practi­cally all houses, schools, and hospital were burned down and plundered, and monuments of ancient culture were destroyed.

I think there is no need to prove that in this case we deal not with "realization of right for self-determina­tion", but with roughest infringement of international law, with aggression against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of state - a member of the UNO.

This war creates intolerable conditions for my people; it increases social tension, hinders the realiza­tion of the economic and political reforms directed toward the democratization of Azerbaijan society.

As a result of war on Azerbaijan people, there has been inflicted huge material damage, estimated by bil­lions of American dollars. Moral damage, inflicted on people's fate and life, sorrow and pain of people are not comparable to anything.

Today blood is being shed not only in Azerbaijan, but also in other hot parts of world. Peoples should not be indifferent to tragic events occurring where there is war. It is necessary to make collective efforts to prevent the escalation of armed conflicts, to achieve their fair and solid settlement.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

In connection with occupation of territory of Azerbaijan by armed forces of the Armenian Republic the UN Security Council has accepted 4 resolutions and 6 declarations by its Chairman during the last two years.

In all resolutions the Security Council confirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan Republic, emphasizes inadmissibility of the application of force for the capture of territories, resolutely demands immediate, complete and unconditional with­drawal of all occupying forces from all seized regions of Azerbaijan and return of refugees to places of their |permanent residence.

But all these decisions until now are completely ignored by the Armenian Republic. Moreover, it con­tinues to increase its military presence on occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

On the other hand, the Security Council has not enacted the mechanism of execution of accepted reso­lutions. A natural question arises as to what extent the Security Council is consistent and resolute, and what determines the degree of application of its powers in each particular case?

Failure to fulfill the decisions of Security Council works against the UNO and can undermine belief in its ability to carry out the basic mission- that is, to main­tain international peace and safety.

Accumulated experience of settling regional conflicts shows that execution of such resolutions leads to suc­cess only when supported by resolute measures, stipu­lated by the Charter of the UNO.

It is a duty of most the authoritative international organization before world community to take effective measures with respect to a State, brazenly trampling on the norms of international law.

In making these efforts to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict we also rely upon another authori­tative organization, the CSCE.

Created by the CSCE, the Minsk group charged with settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict also pro­ceeds from necessity of clearing all seized territories and complete withdrawal of occupying forces from within the borders of Azerbaijan, respect of its sover­eignty, territorial integrity and internationally recog­nized borders.

However, numerous intermediary efforts of CSCE, by virtue of the absence of appropriate mechanisms, unfortunately have not .through the present time, led to any appreciable or particular permanent results. Today we have only first preliminary positive result: a cease­fire in zone of conflict has been achieved at price of enormous effort and due to the active intermediary work of the Russian Federation and the Minsk group of CSCE.

More than four months the sounds of shots have not been heard, no blood has been shed. We highly appre­ciate all this. However, the situation still remains extremely complex, and the cease-fire is rather fragile.

The Armenian Republic puts forward wrongful con­ditions for a part of occupied Azerbaijan territories in exchange for the status of independence for Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan Republic. It demands preservation of its military presence in this Azerbaijan region and control over Shusha city and Lahchin region of Azerbaijan, which in practice means fixing the annexation of our territories.

Armenia completely excludes restoration of the demographic picture in Nagorno-Karabakh which was in place at the beginning of the conflict, and the return there of Azerbaijan population, including in one of most ancient centers of Azerbaijan culture - Shusha.

On these conditions Armenia, not carrying out the resolution of Security Council of UNO, suggests to place along the perimeter of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan an international separat­ing force, aspiring to transform them into the tool of sit­uation preservation, to make them pawns of its annex­ation policy.

The position of Azerbaijan Republic always was constructive and peaceful in nature. Despite the whole damage caused to us, we offer the Armenian party peace on the basis of international law, justice and humanity. We are ready to provide a guarantee of safe­ty for Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. We pledge to support restoration on mutual basis normal communications in the region, including the humanitar­ian corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Republic. We agree, in case of necessity, to accommodate international peacemaking forces in the zone of conflict. We are ready to discuss status of Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of the Azerbaijan state.

But there are norms and principles, which for us are unshakable - these are the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the clearing of all occupied ter­ritories, the return of refugees to their native centers, including return of 50,000 refugee-Azerbaijanis to their native land in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azerbaijan Republic, remaining steadfast about a peaceful political settlement considers that only after elimination of the consequences of aggression via ful­fillment of the resolutions of Security Council, will it be possible to conduct stable and constructive negotia­tion processes with the purpose of establishing a strong, long-lasting peace and maintaining the safety of the whole population of region.

At the same time we count on the assistance of the world community to provide peace related decisions under conditions mandated by the presence of peace­keepers according to international norms.

While we highly appreciate the achieved cease-fire agreement, we also understand that it is not yet peace, but it creates the necessary conditions for its earliest achievement. We have repeatedly declared our firm determination to observe the cease-fire up to the achievement of the peace agreement and complete ter­mination of armed conflict. Today I once again declare this from the high tribune of the United Nations Organization.

Supporting the peacemaking activities of the CSCE`s Minsk group and the Russian Federation, we step for­ward to consolidate their efforts against any rivalry for superiority in the settlement of the conflict. Such rival­ry can only complicate the achievement of peace, which is equally needed by people of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Our requirements about complete clearing of all occupied Azerbaijan territories are rightful, they completely meet the resolutions of the Security Council of UNO. Attempts to annex of any of our regions are unacceptable for us and contradict the norms of the international law.

As a result of aggression thrust on us the humani­tarian situation in the republic is extremely hard. Every seventh person in a country of seven-million is refugee without dwelling, work, and livelihood. Bearing irrevocable deprivations, refugees and displaced persons huddle in tent camps. The severe winter conditions, absence of necessary amount of food and medicines have created the threat of epidemics and starvation among this most vulnerable population group. Overcoming the extreme situation with refugees has become one of main con­cerns of the Azerbaijan state.

The urgent appeal of our republic was heard by many international organizations in a number of states, and we express our most sincere gratitude to govern­ments of Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, which were the largest donors to UNO programs on rendering humani­tarian assistance to Azerbaijan.

We are grateful also to governments of Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries, providing significant humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan through bilateral links.

We are also grateful to Department of Supreme Commissar of UNO on refugees, international commit­tee of Red Cross, Children's fund of UNO, organization "Physicians without Borders", numerous non-govern­mental organizations, rendering invaluable help to the refugees and displaced persons in Azerbaijan.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

The characteristic print on the role and place of my republic in the system of international relations is filled with peculiarities of Azerbaijan, derived from its unique geographical location, social-political orientation and historical-cultural traditions of our country, where east­ern and western civilizations have merged.

Just in accordance with the understanding of our peculiarities and taking into account the challenges of many changes, step by step we are constructing new cooperation with the external world.

From the time of the international recognition of the Azerbaijan Republic we established equal rights, bal­anced relations with an overwhelming majority of coun­tries and entered many world and regional organiza­tions. We have undertaken serious efforts for the expan­sion of our international relations, restoration of those links which by virtue of certain circumstances appeared lost.

Attaching special importance to historical, geographical, economic and humanitarian links with independent states from the territory of the former USSR, we push forward the development of equal in rights cooperation with these independent states, in par­ticular with Russia, both on the basis of bilateral rela­tions and within the framework of Commonwealth of Independent States.

Friendly relations of Azerbaijan with the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, and China are successfully developing. Close ties of good neigh­bors connect us with countries among our region and other close regions, such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, with which we closely cooperate with­in the framework of the Organization of Islam Conference.

An important event in the political life of Azerbaijan was joining the NATO program "Partnership In The Name Of Peace" in May of this year. In this program we are attracted by the cooperation and interaction in the interest of common safety. I welcome the former members of the Warsaw Treaty who are joining this program also. It gives hope to the whole Euro-Asian con­tinent that in the future there awaits peaceful coopera­tion, which will secure safety, progress and prosperity for all people, and will remove the opportunity for the occurrence of new confrontations of blocks for all times. We hope that participation in the NATO program will raise the role of our country in creation of new architecture of European safety.

This year the Azerbaijan Republic was given the sta­tus of observer in non-alignment movement, which opens before us major opportunities for establishing bilateral contacts in various areas and rapprochement of positions with its member-states.

A major stage in the process of the formation of our young Azerbaijan State was its introduction as a full member into United Nations Organization in January 1992. From that time the scale of our cooperation with many international organizations within the UNO expanded. Especially valuable for us is the interaction with International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

As a result of practical work in Azerbaijan by the experts from these world level financial institutions, specific projects representing great meaning for socio-economic development of our country were determined.

We believe that for our fruitful cooperation with international financial institutions great opportunities are available. We understand the care and concern, shown by the chiefs of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in connection with de facto state of T war in which Azerbaijan republic was involved. However, at the same time the International Monetary Fund has given stabilization credit to Armenia while still being at war with us. We consider that justice demands at least symmetric approach in this question.

We expect much of the program of development of UNO and urge the UNO on an environment concerning, technical assistance for the development of national programs of formation of infrastructure of market econ­omy, bringing the country up to modern level of man­agement with introduction of advanced technologies.

The special importance we attach to international economic cooperation, and with a feeling of deep satis­faction I would like to inform you that on September 20 the Azerbaijan Republic signed a contract with con­sortium of number of big world companies on joint exploitation of oil fields in Azerbaijan sector Caspian sea for the period of 30 years, which was result of long and persistent negotiations. This major economic action is evidence of our policy of openness to whole world, a policy of liberalization of the economy, and attraction of foreign investments.

Signing of this unique contract will promote strengthening of cooperation, friendliness of peoples and countries participating in its realization -Azerbaijan, USA, Russia, United Kingdom of Great Britain, Turkey, Norway, and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking about this, I want again to emphasize, that the Azerbaijan Republic is aimed at full integration into world community and has for this purpose all opportu­nities. Therefore at the basis of its policy lays an aspi­ration to peace, and we assign great hopes for its achievement to the United Nations Organization

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

Azerbaijan people have shown me great trust, by electing me as President of this young, independent State, and today I am honored to deliver to you their innermost expectations. I leave this high tribune of General Assembly of UNO with hope, that the voice of my people will be heard by you and will find a way to your hearts.

Thank you for your attention. 
The document was taken from the edition of "Heydar Aliyev New Political Course"