Statement of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the Ceremony in the Signature of the Joint Statement on the US-Azerbaijani Relations and the Treaty between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the United States of America on the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments - August 01, 1997

Mr. President Bill Clinton!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all, I would like to extend my gratitude to you for inviting the Azerbaijani President to the United States. You have created hospitable and favorable conditions for this official visit, for conducting very productive and important talks and signing bilateral documents today.

Mr. President, I want to declare that this visit is a historic event for the Azerbaijani Republic and Azerbaijani people. We highly appreciate this opportunity and consider it a very important stage in the development of the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations.

I am very satisfied that together the President of the United States I signed significant documents on the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations. Be sure that we shall implement all these treaties into life. Mr. President, the thoughts you have just expressed on our relations, Azerbaijan and the region in general, bear utmost importance for the U.S. I completely agree with them and support your ideas. I think that your position on these issues will further promote the U.S. Azerbaijani relations.

The signed documents, especially the joint U.S.-Azerbaijani statement and your words about Azerbaijan, inspired us. You help create vast opportunities to strengthen the independence of Azerbaijan and make progress in our development.

Azerbaijan considers its independence the greatest historic achievement, and preservation of our independence has become an issue of honor for us. Our people are dedicated to defending the statehood and national freedom, and will do so in future. That's why establishing close cooperation with the U.S. and expansion of the bilateral relations are crucial for our country. We consider the United States our greatest friend and it is an honor for us to develop our relations with the USA.

Mr. President, your ideas are important for establishing peace in our region. I thank you for it. We want peace and strive to resolve the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict on the Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno Garabagh) peacefully. We shall make every effort in order to settle this conflict, adhere to the principles set forth by the Lisbon Summit of OSCE. It is important that the United States is one of the members of the Minsk Group of OSCE. We welcome this and cherish great hopes in the activities of the United States in this organization.

We received the latest proposals of the Minsk Group as a basis to continue the negotiations. If these proposals are implemented, that is, if in the first stage of this plan, the Armenian armed forces are withdrawn from the six occupied Azerbaijani districts and the refugees return home, then it will be a crucial step in the peace process. As a result of this action, it would be possible to restore the communications between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

We support the continuation of intensive talks in the framework of the Minsk Group of OSCE. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the representatives of the Armenian community of the Mountainous Garabagh participate in these negotiations. We are ready to continue the talks in this framework.

Mr. President, I want to assure you that we aspire to establish lasting peace. We have managed to maintain cease-fire in the front for the third year. However, a lasting peace would create new and productive conditions for Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the entire Caucasus region. We realize that Azerbaijan can cooperate with its neighbors on an equal and mutually beneficial basis only when peace is established. The peoples of the Caucasus can prosper and develop only in conditions of lasting peace. Mr. President, I hope that the United States and you, personally, will further assist to the establishment of peace in the Caucasus - a just peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia - and the restoration of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The cooperation between the USA and Azerbaijan in the exploration and development of the energy resources in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea has been very productive. We shall continue to develop this cooperation. Four documents signed today in this hall are strong evidences of our intentions. The construction of several pipelines, including those from the Central Asia across the Caspian Sea for the delivery of the energy resources to the world markets and to the West, is a priority at the moment. We shall always cooperate with you in this direction as well.

Mr. President, I would like to express the hope that, Section 907 which is an obstacle in the development of the U.S.-Azerbaijani economic relations, will soon be repealed.

The United States is a great and powerful country with a very strong economy. It has made tremendous development in democratic values, state-building and in protection of human rights. All this accomplishments are a vivid model for the newly independent Azerbaijan, and we shall do our utmost to learn from your experience.

Today in the Roosevelt Room of the White House we remember Franklin Roosevelt with gratitude and recall his great deeds. Mr. Bill Clinton, today as the USA President, you do a lot for the prosperity and progress of the United States. As a result of your leadership and initiative, the USA foreign policy has made substantial achievements. You have also succeeded in improving many social problems at home. Your initiatives to create ten million new jobs, eliminate the budget deficit and other proposals were welcome in America as well as in other parts of the world.

The great historic accomplishments and current progress of America are a marvelous example for many peoples, especially for the Azerbaijanis. Mr. President, I congratulate you on these achievements and wish the American people happiness. I thank you for the productive meetings, this visit, and important documents that we signed jointly.

Mr. Bill Clinton, I wish you and your family happiness and good luck in all your endeavors.

Thank you!  

The document was taken from the edition of "Together towards the New Century"