Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the summit of heads of Turkic ‎states in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan - June 9, 1998

Dear heads of states!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I welcome you heartily. I wish you and your people happiness and prosperity.

I congratulate President Noursultan Nazarbayev on the occasion of the new capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Astana, I thank for hospitality and the fine organization of our meeting.

The summit of heads of Turkic states has already become the good tradition allowing us together, in brotherly conditions to discuss our problems, to exchange opinions on the broad circle of questions, to define plans for the future.

Close, equal in rights and effective cooperation of our states is a demand of time and the objective necessity following from all our previous history and a course of modern political and economic processes.

On a threshold of a new millennium, not only historical roots, customs and traditions, but also the general national interests - strengthening independence and sovereignty of our states, establishment of peace and stability in our region, improvement of a life and well-being of our citizens unite our countries.

I am sure that our people, who have brought big contribution in development of the world civilization, will successfully solve these problems and enter XXI century as worthy successors of our great ancestors.

Huge natural resources, successful integration into world economic system, realization of projects of new Eurasian transport corridors, constructing Transcaspian oil and gas pipelines, revival of the Great silk way create good prospect for our countries.

New communication systems will open the world markets for our natural riches, provide growth of well-being of our people, create a strong basis for their safety and progress.

It is necessary to note with satisfaction that the agreement on Transcaucasus transport corridor, signed in May, 1997 in Serah city of Turkmenistan, is successfully carried out. Owing to it, the quantity of cargo transportations from the Europe to Asia has increased up to 1 million 340 thousand tons till the end of 1997 from 352 thousand tons in 1995. It is expected that more than 4 million tons of cargo will pass on Transcaucasus corridor in 1998.

Big and active work on constructing the Baku - Ceyhan pipeline is carried out. I hope that in the near future questions on construction Transcaspian oil and gas pipelines will find its solution.

Preparation for realization of the project of the European Union on establishment of the transport corridor "Europe-Caucasus-Asia" under the program ТRАСЕCА is successfully carried out. In April of this year, in Baku it was held preparatory meeting, in which experts from twelve countries of the Europe and Asia, and also representatives of the European commission took part.

As a whole, participants of the meeting have discussed and coordinated the project of the basic multilateral agreement and its technical appendices. Documents, prepared at the meeting, have been sent to the governments of the countries-participants for the final coordination and initialness.

It is planned holding the summit of heads of states and governments participating in the project of the transport corridor "Europe - Caucasus - Asia" on September 7-8 in Baku. I invite you, dear friends, to this summit and I cherish hope for its fruitful results.

After our first summit in Ankara in 1992, many events happened in a life of our countries and peoples. Despite all difficulties, we have achieved serious successes in strengthening independence of our states, implementing political and economic reforms, improvement of our people's welfare.

Our mutual relations and regional cooperation have developed during this time. Our personal meetings and friendly relations have become closer and these allow us to solve arising problems successfully.

With deep satisfaction I want to note that great attention is given to the propagation and development of our general spiritual heritage. Celebrating a millennium of the Kirghiz epos "Manas", 660-year anniversary of the great son of Uzbek people Amir Timur, 500-year anniversary of the outstanding thinker of the East, the Azerbaijani poet Fizuli, 150-year anniversary of the great Kazakh poet Abay became significant events in a cultural life of our people.

1300-year anniversary of the well-known epos "Kitabi-Dede Gorgud", being our general property, will be widely marked together with UNESCO in Azerbaijan in 1999.

Dear heads of states!

One of the most important conditions for happiness and prosperities of our people is peace, safety and stability. We should not deny our efforts to prevent conflicts, separatism, aggressive nationalism, attempts at changing existing frontiers by force, breaking territorial integrity of the independent states. Consequences of aggression by the Republic of Armenia against Azerbaijan are well-known to all of you. The Armenian armed formations have occupied 20 percent of our territories, more than one million of our citizens have been driven out of their native places and become refugees and live in intolerable heavy conditions.

Despite the Azerbaijani people suffer huge material and mental harm, we support peace settlement to the conflict, we do all for achievement of the strong and long peace. The agreement, signed in May, 1994 on cease-fire, has great value. We will strictly observe a regime of an armistice until achievement of full settlement of the conflict.

We actively cooperate with the OSCE Minsk group, its co-chairmen Russia, USA and France.

Fair, constructive position of Azerbaijan was supported by the OSCE Lisbon summit held in 1996, which was an important event on a way to settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The Lisbon summit has approved basic principles which must lay down a basis of the peace agreement, created necessary legal base for thorough settlement.

These principles confirm territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan, granting the high status of self-management to Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in structure of the Azerbaijan state and a guarantee of security for all population of Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

After the Lisbon summit, co-chairmen of the Minsk group have developed specific proposals for settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. We hope that the Armenian party will approach to the proposals of co-chairmen from constructive positions that will allow to renew the interrupted process of negotiations and to reach the long-awaited peace.

The occupied Azerbaijani territories should be released. Peace inhabitants should return to their native places. It is inevitable and the sooner the peace is restored, it will be useful for both Azerbaijan and Armenia and all the countries of our region.

Dear heads of states!

The elapsed six years once again convince us that the summit of Turkic states has proved its necessity and viability, and it benefits for our active cooperation as creating favorable conditions. We support the activity of a forum of Turkic states and we appreciate highly its role and value in a life of our people.

I propose our next meeting to be held in capital of Azerbaijan - Baku and to date it at the same time with celebrating 1300-year anniversary of a great monument of our people's culture "Kitabi-Dede Gorgud".

Thank you for attention.