Opening address and concluding remarks of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting devoted to the execution of presidential decree “On measures over implementation of cooperation program between the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan” - Presidential Palace, July 10, 1996

It is known that on June 28, the Council of Europe adopted a special decree on granting a special guest status to Azerbaijan. It is a great event in the life of our republic. On the one hand, it proves that Azerbaijan belongs to Europe and on the other hand, it means that the state system existing in our country, the path followed by the community and the laws are democratic, and the democratic processes ongoing in Azerbaijan continue on democratic principles.

You know that we have adopted laws in Azerbaijan and made statements in order to lead our country along the way of democracy in state building, in society, in economy and in all fields of our life. Great work has been accomplished and it is being accomplished at present in this line. For us, it is of great significance that the world community, in particular the developed countries of the world and the states developed on democratic principles and in economic aspect will recognize all this and the Council of Europe will finally recognize these achievements, changes and processes.

I repeat that it demonstrates, on the one hand, the authority and influence of Azerbaijan at the international arena and in democratic world, and on the other hand, it inspires us and helps to follow this way. Therefore, I reiterate that it is a remarkable event, and I congratulate all of you, the citizens of Azerbaijan, our people. When we received the information, I left for Germany with an official visit. Therefore, today`s meeting was not held at once. But at the same time, when I met President of Germany Roman Herzog and Federal Chancellor Mr. Helmut Kohl, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Klaus Kinkel, chairman of the German-Caucasian group in Bundestag, Mr. Vimmer, vice-chairman of Bundestag and other Bundestag members during the visit, they all stated that they were satisfied that Azerbaijan followed the way of democracy and market economy and confirmed it with satisfaction, including the agreement ratified by Azerbaijan with the Council of Europe in April highly appreciating the fact that our republic got the guest status in the Council of Europe.

I also want to mention that Federal Chancellor Mr. Kohl emphasized these issues during the face to face talks with me. I reiterate that it is a remarkable event for us and consider it an achievement in our state affairs and socio-political life. At the same time, it puts on us great responsibility. And now, moving ahead along this line, we should undoubtedly try to become a full member of the Council of Europe. I suppose that we will be able to achieve it since the strategic way chosen by us and practical work accomplished allows us to do it. Definitely, it is necessary to carry out great work in this field henceforth.

On July 8, I signed a special decree on implementation of commitments undertaken by the resolution of the Council of Europe. This decree was published in the press. I have invited you here in connection with the execution of tasks stipulated in the decree and objectives connected with the resolution of the Council of Europe on the whole.

Let the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provide brief information about it. Although the decree was published in the press, I would like Shahin Aliyev to read it out once again so that we could set the tasks and assign responsible persons.


Concluding remarks

I consider that after publication of this document in the press, all the organizations and bodies involved in the execution of the objectives connected with the decree should proceed to work. However, since I attach a special importance to this issue, I consider it necessary to read it out here once again although the decree was published in the press. I appeal again to all the attendants here to start the implementation of these issues urgently, seriously and consistently. Therefore, the representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers, head of the administration of the President, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant ministries, as well as members of some commissions of the parliament have been invited here. The parliament should seriously deal with this issue. The implementation of all these issues should be coordinated.

You know, we should try to strengthen our first success and achieve to be a full member of the Council of Europe. I think the matter of the fact is not only to gain the status of a specially invited guest and then a full membership. The crucial point is that it is all necessary for the fundamental changes in political, social and economic life of our republic. It is of great need to implement these changes and strengthen these processes not only because we have passed one more exam and we should pass a new one. No, the exam is not the point at all. It is first of all necessary for us, ourselves.

We should realize that as long as we follow this way, adjust our laws to the democratic rules of the world and wish to raise the system of the state building and our society to the level of democratic countries, societies and states, we must certainly implement all this. We do it not for the sake of somebody saying: “Yes, you are a good country”, we do it to tremendously alter the life of our republic, make the level of our state as we want it to be, improve our economy, social situation and welfare of our people and carry out serious reforms in our economy. All these are complex measures linked with each other and we should implement them altogether at the same time.