From the talk of President of the Azerbaijani Republic Heydar Aliyev with the ambassador of France to Azerbaijan Chantal Puare - October 20, 2001

Chantal Puare: Mr. President. I was received by President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac and Mr. President handed me the Credentials signed by him. It is a great honour for me to hand You this Credentials and the letter concerning the recall of the previous ambassador.

During our brief meeting Mr. President asked me to convey You his kindest whishes, and I do it with great pleasure.

Besides, I want to state that France is very interested in deepening the independence of Azerbaijan and is ready to make all the efforts for it.

In due time, when there were two-pole in the world, General Charles de Gaulle said: "We want each country to gain its independence and then to strengthen this independence."

In the mean time, France is doing its utmost to consolidate the European area and is striving to make all necessary efforts for cooperation with all the European countries, including your country.

Mr. President, we know about your tragedy connected with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and we share it. I want to assure You that I will try to render your republic all necessary aid in this matter as the representative of a country co-chairing in the Minsk Group.

We are confident that owing to Your efforts, your country will undertake new steps in this direction in order to reach progress. I want to say in this connection that France will continue to render assistance to You in this issue by using its authority.

Mr. President, I would like to stress on the whole that to achieve rapprochment of our countries we need to develop political, especially bilateral relations. Definite steps are taken in this direction. The bilateral economic commission will hold its sitting on November 18-19, this year. Cultural links between our countries are also thoroughly developing. We have published a manual of the Azerbaijani language worked out by the association established by us. Nowadays, we continue working in this field.

Mr. President, I want to say in conclusion that after the shocking events of 11 September, we all should consolidate our efforts in the struggle against terrorism. I consider that we take the same stance with You in this matter. Mr. President, I am a representative of a secular state and want to say here that similar attitude to different religions is shown in your country as well. There is much in common between our countries, as France has never differentiated religious and ethnic minorities. I can also say that 5 million Muslims live now in France.

Mr. President, I appreciate You and hand You my Credentials.

Heydar Aliyev: Honorable Mrs. Ambassador!

I Congratulate You on Your appointment as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Azerbaijan and wish You success at this honorable post.

I appreciate You for the greetings and kind whishes conveyed to me by my friend President of France esteemed Jacques Chirac. I request You to convey Mr. President my hearty regards and the kindest wishes.

Diplomatic contacts between Azerbaijan and France were established straightly after Azerbaijan gained its independence. The first ambassador of France to Azerbaijan was appointed after that. Thus, we have established excellent cooperation opportunities for our countries.

The contacts between France and Azerbaijan have constantly developed during the past years and I think that today they are at a high level. I remember with satisfaction that my first visit to a foreign country after my election as the president of Azerbaijan, took place in December, 1993 to France at the invitation of the late President of France, Fransua Mitteran. After that, our contacts obtained further development. Then, we signed several documents. I visited France at the invitation of President Jacques Chirac as well and we started to expand our contacts.

Since the beginning of 1997, France has been one of the co-chairs to the Minsk Group of OSCE for the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. France is co-chairing in this group together with Russia and the United States of America. During the past time, the Minsk Group of OSCE and its co-chairs, including France, has made much efforts to settle this issue. We discussed this issue each time at our personal meetings with President Jacques Chirac while participating at international events held in many countries. I always felt that President Jacques Chirac attached great importance to the speediest peaceful and fair settlement of this issue.

Finally, France and President Jacques Chirac personally rendered great assistance for Azerbaijan`s affiliation to the Council of Europe.

I visited France twice at the beginning of this year and met Jacques Chirac. We held negotiations on the settlement of the most important matter for us - the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and I had a meeting there with Armenian President Kocharyan at President Jacques Chirac`s initiative and with his assistance.

Within the years expired, the economic links between our countries have also developed. Large French companies as "Elf Akiten" and "Total" have shown great interest in Azerbaijan. We cooperate with them. I remember that we signed a new contract between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and the French "Total" in January, 1997, in the Elysian Palace in Paris.

We intend to develop our cooperation with France in all the spheres. In particular, we hope that President of France, Jacques Chirac will henceforce make efforts to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

We carry out very fruitful cooperation with France within all the international organizations and I positively estimate our cooperation in the Council of Europe, too.

You can be sure that Azerbaijan has and will create new opportunities, so that You, i.e. the ambassador of France, could work and make efforts to develop the French-Azerbaijani contacts.

I hope that owing to Your and, of course, our efforts we will be able to develop more the contacts established until now.

I congratulate You once again and wish You success in this important work.


(Afterwards, a friendly discussion took place between Heydar Aliyev and ambassador of France).

Heydar Aliyev: Do You speak Russian?

Chantal Puare: I can understand Russian.

Heydar Aliyev: I think You will learn the Azebaijanii language, too.

Chantal Puare: Yes, You are absolutely right. I will try with pleasure to speak Azerbaijani at our national holiday.

Heydar Aliyev: There is nothing difficult as there is much time left until your national holiday. I remember the day of 14 July very well as I was elected as the leader of Azerbaijan just on 14 July, 1969. 1969....I was always told then that I was a lucky man as I could occupy a new, such a high post just on Bastille Day. I always remember and never forget this date. You will, if God allows,learn Azerbaijani until that time. It is not difficult.

Chantal Puare: Mr. President, on the whole, I want to say that this date, this holiday has a special meaning for all of us. We highly estimate Your coming to power too, owing to which, the independence of Azerbaijan has strengthened more and it is a very important factor for us. One of important aspects of independence is the study of foreign languages. We are much tied to the policy of francophony which is a part of our politics. I think Your country must also undertake the similar steps in this line.

President Heydar Aliev said while skipping through a book - a manual published by the French embassy in Baku for the French people willing to learn the Azerbaijani language: - "This book covers the first level of studying the Azerbaijani language..."

Chantal Puare: On the whole, we use this book as a basic textbook at the most authoritative institute of France- the Paris Institute of the Eastern Languages.

Heydar Aliev: Have You worked it out to learn the Azerbaijani language?

Chantal Puare: My advisor on cultural issues has prepared it to have me learn the Azerbaijani language.

Heydar Aliev: Does he speak Azerbaijani?

Chantal Puare: Not so well. He knows just several words. We have prepared this book to learn Azerbaijani.

Heydar Aliev: It is a very good business. I can see there is good visual data to learn the language here. It is an excellent book. I highly appreciate Your initiative.

Chantal Puare: Thank You very much.

Heydar Aliyev: We cooperate with France in all the areas. We have offered our services in all the antiterrorist operations on precluding such events as the monstrous terrorist acts committed on September 11 in the United States of America. Therefore, we are together with the USA and their NATO allies, including France in this matter.

I have repeatedly stated about it. I have openly said about it in my report devoted to the 10th anniversary of our independence. I think that it is possible to extirpate terrorism through common efforts. I know that in due time, your country also faced terrorist acts. In particular, connected with the Algerian issue. Our country has often faced and faces today terrorist acts. Therefore, we are pleased that antiterrorist operations have gained common to all mankind character, because if earlier, separate countries dealt with it being guided by their own interests, i.e. by their own security, general unity is observed now.

Chantal Puare: Mr. President, Your thoughts concerning this issue and Your attitude have been highly appreciated by the whole world community being given great attention at the same time.