Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with representatives of business circles of Japan - Presidential Residence, April 7, 1997

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I greet you in Azerbaijan and express my pleasure on the occasion of the arrival of the delegation from Japan to Baku.

A few minutes ago we met the newly appointed ambassador of Japan to Azerbaijan and I accepted his credentials. You know that diplomatic relations between Japan and Azerbaijan were established in 1992 after Azerbaijan gained independence. We are thankful to the Japanese government for the recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan and appreciate the relations between the two countries positively.

I want to mention with pleasure that in the recent years serious attempts have been done both by Azerbaijan and Japan for expanding the relations between Japan and Azerbaijan. We think that Japan now has a substantial opinion and a wide impression about Azerbaijan, about the economic situation and opportunities of our republic. That is why, I think that a new stage of development of the Japanese-Azerbaijani relations has already begun. On our side we attach special importance to the relations with Japan. We recognize Japan as one of the great and economically developed countries of the world. After the World War II the economic achievements of Japan amazed the world, including Azerbaijan. That is why, cooperation with Japan is very important for us.

I have already mentioned it, but I want to repeat it once more that in recent years, especially in the second half of 1995 and in 1996, a lot of delegations from Japan came to Azerbaijan. The representatives of some companies held negotiations both with the governmental institutions and separate entrepreneurs and industrial units, and still these negotiations are continuing. As a practical result of them one of the biggest companies of Japan, «Itochu» now is a member of two consortiums established for the joint development of oil deposits of Azerbaijan. «Itochu» is interested in other fields of the Azerbaijani economy, besides oil industry. Additionally, «Nichiment» has been holding negotiations with our petrochemical complex for a long time. The representatives «Mitsui» and «Mitsubishi» have also been to Azerbaijan and held negotiations with us.

Here we met the representatives of the Ministry of Trade of Japan, of the Chamber of Trade, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the fields connected with foreign trade. We have been informed that a decision was adopted about granting insurance loans to the Japanese companies in the amount of $100 million for operating in Azerbaijan. I think that all these are preparatory works. It is time to pass from the preparatory stage to the practical stage.

I have said to the distinguished ambassador: generally, there is an opinion in the world that the Japanese are engaged in learning for a long time and carefully approach the oversea works. Only after a long study they begin working rapidly. You can confirm this opinion. I have heard it. If it is true, it is not a bad thing. It means that you have already studied Azerbaijan and you are aware of its opportunities. Thus, it is time to start the practical work.

I want to mention an issue that in Azerbaijan all the opportunities have been created for foreign investments and it has good economic potentials. We opened our country for foreign investments and regulate our economy through the market economy. That is why, there are all opportunities in Azerbaijan for working and investment. Necessary laws have been adopted.

Azerbaijan can be a reliable and beneficial partner of Japan in this region, in the Caucasus. That is why I invite you to close cooperation with Azerbaijan. I appreciate your large delegation as a demonstration of interest of Japan in Azerbaijan.

Translated from «Azerbaijan» Newspaper, April 8, 1997