From the talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the members of the editorial board of "The New York Times" - New York, the residence of the United Nations, July 28, 1997

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I warmly welcome the reporters of the United States in the face of the delegation of the editorial board present at this meeting. I have always paid great attention to meetings with the representatives of mass media and would like to express my great pleasure of talking to the members of the editorial board of one of the influential newspapers which is "The New York Times."

I have some information about this newspaper and I know that "The New York Times" is listed as a very famous press service. I am pleased that the professional journalists working here pay special attention to the deep coverage of the life, problems of countries and peoples of the world.

This is my first visit to the United States at the invitation of President Bill Clinton. I declare that I appreciate the continuous development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States in the recent years and note that the personal relations of friendship that have arisen between me and Mr. Clinton and other officials of your country play an important role in strengthening our relations.

The young independent Azerbaijan, which has chosen the path of market economy is following the road of democratic development, building a democratic, law-governed country, pays attention to strengthening of relations with the international community and work hard to expand this cooperation. We opened our doors for all entrepreneurs, companies of most countries of the world function in our country now.

In the recent years we have signed a number of contracts with the influential companies of the world for the joint development of oil fields in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea and have done good work in order to achieve the establishment of relations with our country, which is rich in natural resources and has a strategically important location.

However, our country has faced a number of problems and the most painful is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict which launched as a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan. As a result of the military aggression of Armenia against our country, which lasts from 1988, 20 percent of Azerbaijan was occupied, over million of our citizens were expelled from their native land, forced to live in harsh conditions in tents and their rights are violated.

The main essence of the conflict was the aggressive intentions of Armenia to annex Nagorno-Karabakh which is integral part and historical land of Azerbaijan. I think it would be better to comment on this issue on this map, which clearly shows that Armenia is an aggressor. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region within Azerbaijan and 30 percent of 170 000th population living there were Azerbaijanis. I bring to your attention that the Armenian armed forces have occupied not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven surrounding districts. In the occupied territories all the properties of our people and all the material and cultural monuments have been completely destroyed to this day.

I recall that from 1988 to June 1993 thanks to the activities of the Armenian lobby, the world community has received false information about the conflict. As a result, Azerbaijan, which was subject to aggression, the territory of which was under occupation and suffered from information blockade, in some circles, is condemned as a country that violated the rights of the Armenians and hold Armenia in blockade. Even since 1993, when the truth began to dawn, after the adoption of resolutions and decisions by several international organizations, including UN Security Council, condemning the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, Armenia continually ignored these documents. Armenia has also declared that it ignores the basic principles of the  peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, adopted by 53 countries at the Lisbon Summit of OSCE in December, 1996.

Current chairmanship of the United States, Russia and France in the Minsk Group increases hopes for an early resolution of the conflict. In this context it is very important to emphasize the significance of the joint statement signed in Denver by the presidents Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and Jacques Chirac.

I note that an early resolution of the conflict is very important for the economic development of the Republic of Azerbaijan and establishment of peace and stability in the region as a whole. In any case, we cannot allow the establishment of another Armenian in the territory of Azerbaijan and the world community should fully support the position of Azerbaijan in this issue and stop this unfair initiative. I recall that the journalists of such an influential newspaper as "The New York Times" are also entrusted with the important task. I am confident that the members of the board will have their word on this subject and will directly assist in the strong protection of the just cause of Azerbaijan in the international community.

Just look at the map to see clearly and to realize that the fabrications of the Armenian lobby on the fact that Armenia live under the blockade are groundless. In fact, Azerbaijan, in particular the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, forced to live in blockade for years.

Unfair Section 907 to the "Act on the Protection of Freedom" was adopted by the U.S. Congress under the influence of the Armenian lobby. While Armenia, which committed aggression against Azerbaijan, receives from the U.S. government aid in the amount of $ 100 million each year, our republic is deprived of all this.

Focusing on the need to repeal this unfair decision of the parliament of one of the most democratic countries in the world, I emphasize that the weighty word of the American journalists is also of particular importance in resolving this issue.

I shall discuss this issue at the upcoming meetings with the members of the Congress and I am sure that this section will soon be rendered. I declare that the upcoming meeting at the White House with President Bill Clinton is the summit of my first official visit to the United States. In the talks at the White House it is considered to sign a number of important documents that will play a significant role in the new phase of the Azerbaijani-American cooperation.