Speech of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in the meeting with Margaretha af Ugglas, Chairman-in-Office of CSCE and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden - October 26, 1993

 Distinguished guests!

I was told that I should speak Russian, even though our official language is Azerbaijani. Taking into account that it would be easier to translate from Russian for Mrs. Ugglas and the delegation, I`ll speak Russian. Moreover, this language is understandable.

I welcome Mrs. Margaretha af Ugglas and the delegation, wish this mission, which is very important for us, productive activity and successful results.

Our republic needs support of international organizations, especially such a great organization as CSCE. Our relations with CSCE are intensifying recently; we have met different delegations here as well as the delegation of the Minsk Group headed by the chairman of the Minsk Conference Mario Rafaelli. We have always had a great hope for the activity of CSCE in the solution of the complicated problems for Azerbaijan. Today we are receiving the delegation of CSCE headed by the Chairman-in-Office of CSCE Mrs. Margaretha af Ugglas.

During the recent days we were observing your visit to other countries and looking forward to your arrival due to our schedule. It is a pity that you have very few time for Azerbaijan. In my opinion, more time should be spent on Azerbaijan, taking into consideration the complicated situation of our country.

You are well informed that currently the priorities for Azerbaijan are the cease of the military operationis in our territory, security of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In connection with it, we have always had a great hope for the activities of CSCE.

Of course, there were some positive points in the activities of CSCE up to now in the solution of the problems of Azerbaijan. However, we can say that it is not so because of the lack of the confident outcomes. The critic situation has emerged in our republic. I don`t know if it is just random or deliberately made in connection with your visit. The current situation is a reality, no matter how critic and tragic the situation is for us. Your visit to Azerbaijan in such a hard period is being observed by all of our citizens attentively. Thus, we want your visit to finish with concrete results in the solution of the problems related to CSCE.

Mrs. Ugglas, I thank you for your condemnation of the aggressive military operations of the Armenian armed units. Because of that aggression, the situation in Azerbaijan is more complicated; tens of thousands people have been forced to leave their homes. I think that as the Chairman of CSCE, your statement is of great political significance. I hope that the statement will positively influence the situation. I thank you.

We would like to use the opportunities of CSCE in the solution of the problems which Azerbaijan faces. But now the priority for us is the security of the territorial integrity, the sovereignty, and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan as well as guaranteeing of security of the people who became displaced persons. Such a situation leads to a great tragedy.

We are accepting with great pleasure your proposals on the use of the opportunities of CSCE in the solution of all other problems Azerbaijan which follows the way of market economy, democracy, defend of human rights. However, I am stating again that the most important issue for us is the cease of the military operations and the withdrawal of the troops which have occupied our territories.

No need to prove how the government of Azerbaijan and I personally support the peaceful solution of the conflict. Because, the agreement on the ceasefire, also the last one was the initiative of the government of Azerbaijan and mine personally.

We know that CSCE is a political institution without military forces. At the same time we think it is an international organization of high level. If we hope to solve this issue politically, then we expect a lot from the activity of CSCE.

I am frequently asked by citizens, foreign correspondents, politicians, as well as by the opposition: Do you believe that the conflict can be solved with the help of CSCE, the UN or the UN Security Council, even knowing that the decisions adopted by the UN Security Council, the CSCE or the Minsk Group of CSCE haven`t been implemented?

The time is flying. The UN Security Council adopted three significant resolutions. The Minsk Group of CSCE elaborated timetables on the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the territories of Azerbaijan, organized meetings in Rome, Vienna or Geneva. We are talking about big international organizations such as the UN and CSCE, as well as the Minsk Group established within the frames of CSCE for the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, all their decisions are obstacled by only one side, Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, some people get pessimistic

You mentioned the prominent figures of CSCE such as Mr. Mosberg, Mr. Sika and Mr. Kazimirov who are actively engaged in the problems of Azerbaijan, ceasefire and withdrawal of the occupying troops from our territories. I respect them, I have met them several times and I am glad that they are together with us today. But there is still no result. I am repeating that while the resolutions of the UN Security Council have no effect, I become pessimistic, too. However, I am sure that the means of CSCE and the UN Security Council are not effectively used. I would like our meeting to become the starting point for more successful activity of CSCE in the solution of the very complicated problem.

I understand that the position of the Secretary-General of CSCE is of great importance. I know the Secretary-General since my tenure in Nakhichevan. Using the opportunity of meeting the Chairman of CSCE for the first time, I am appealing to your delegation and the Secretary-General. Before his speech, I want to disclose my notes with your permission. Then we`ll listen to the Secretary-General.

You said that the international organizations have both means and faults. You also mentioned the importance of direct contacts between the parties. You are right that the former administration in Azerbaijan didn`t have such a feature. I highly appreciate that you mentioned the positive changes of the government of Azerbaijan to this issue, as well as my personal attitude. But you can`t agree that the change of the attitude of the Azerbaijani party would have to create more suitable conditions for the solution of the issue. Several months ago the government of Azerbaijan didn`t accept any relations with Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, when I began to make steps in connection with those relations, I was criticized by the opposition and some circles in Azerbaijan. I did it taking into account the principles you mentioned. But now I am also criticized that the steps I made have worsened our situation instead of being effective. In June I met the delegation headed by Mario Rafaelli when he came to Azerbaijan and visited Baku, Agdam, Karabakh, Yerevan. We agreed with the schedule on the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied Kalbajar. However, after the departure of Mario Rafaelli, the Armenian armed units occupied Agdam. Nevertheless, we still kept in touch with Armenia, personally me with Levon Ter Petrosyan. So did our administration, including the Vice-chairman of Parliament Affiadin Jalilov, Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Abbasov, Chief of Staff Safar Abiyev. Despite it, the aggression against our country continued and they occupied Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli. We signed an agreement on reconciliation which was later violated. Thank you for your statement on the violation of the agreement by Armenia. Tens of thousands people have suffered from the recent military operations. Yesterday some of them moved to Imishli. The representatives of CSCE visited and saw the hard situation of the refugees there. That was the result of my contacts.

Yesterday you were shown the map of Azerbaijan. The current situation is clear. Please, look at it once more. Here is a clearer map. Nagorno-Karabakh is totally controlled by the Armenians. Later Lachin was occupied. Look, what kind of place it was a year and a half ago. This year the districts of Kalbajar, Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli have been occupied too.

Zengilan is being besieged now. Yesterday we could hardly achieve that it would not be occupied. We were engaged in this issue till the midnight. The Armenian troops of Armenia have reached our borders with Iran and are now controlling most of that area. Actually, the conflict has been internationalized. As I said a while ago, tens of thousands our people are in the territory of Iran now.

Why was it so then? We`d agreed on ceasefire and to begin the discussions on Nagorno-Karabakh. However, new districts have been occupied. Armenia uses force and makes his terms to be accepted.

In these days we have kept in touch with Nagorno-Karabakh and the administration of Armenia. But it has no effect. You spoke about the duties of CSCE on the protection of human rights. But what about over one million refugees in our country whose rights have been violated? There are nearly 60,000 people in the besieged Zengilan. As I mentioned a while ago, tens of thousands people are in the territory of Iran. Some of them moved to Imishli having crossed the river of Araz. Yesterday the whole night we were engaged in this issue. The State Secretary Lale Hadjiyeva told you. We have agreed all the terms. If it doesn`t work and the international organizations such as the UN or CSCE can`t do anything, then we have only to pray Allah or to mobilize totally and to fight. By the way, the people demand it from me because of the recent events. I am criticized for my agreement on these contacts; on the other hand, I am demanded that people are ready to perish with glory rather than to live in such conditions. Thus, the current situation is worse than tragic. I think that the international organizations must help the solution of the conflict. I think that your Secretary-General will answer more concretely.

I agree with you that there is no disagreement between us in this issue. We respect the Minsk Group and CSCE. We shall cooperate with it further and we hope for the effective activity of the Minsk Group of CSCE. Mrs. Ugglas condemned the aggressive actions of the Armenian armed units in her statement today which is of great importance. The withdrawal of the Armenian armed units from the recently occupied lands was demanded in the statement made yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, Mr. Kazimirov, who actively cooperates with us, is engaged in this issue, he has joined the process since he came to Baku and contacted Karabakh, Yerevan and us in order to achieve the withdrawal of the armed units from the occupied territories. We shall rely on such a political activity in future, too. However, the situation makes us take more concrete and serious measures. The people moved to Iran, having crossed the border and hardly returned to the territory of Azerbaijan. We can`t find accommodation and clothes for them; they have lost all the relatives and the property. We have to stop the aggressions.

I estimate your means optimistically. But you also must estimate the situation, and approach all the measures to be taken realistically. Because patience has its end, too. I support the political solution of the issue. But it is possible only with your participation, your broad activity.

I want to remain in the opinion: we believe, hope and think that the means of CSCE must be used more effectively.

Thank you. 

Translated from the newspaper "Azerbaycan" (October 27, 1993)