Statement of Heydar Aliyev about the results of his meeting in the White House for hundreds of journalists representing the United States and other countries gathered in front of the White House - August 1, 1997

I greet you, the representatives of the U.S. mass media at the White House and I would like to express my respect to representatives of press.

As you may know, for the last several days I have been on an official visit in the United States at the invitation of President Bill Clinton. I have conducted very important and productive talks during these few days, and all these efforts were directed at strengthening and furthering the American-Azerbaijani relations.

Today I met with President Clinton in the White House and held comprehensive negotiations. The Azerbaijani delegation also held talks with Mr. Clinton`s Administration. As a result of these intensive meetings, we have signed several documents, including a joint statement on the development of the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations. President Clinton and I also signed an important treaty on bilateral investments.

In the past few years, the U.S.-Azerbaijani economic relations have been growing. The cooperation of U.S. oil companies with the Azerbaijani State Oil Company in developing the Azerbaijani oil and gas resources has played a pivotal role in this growth. These efforts produce good, positive outcomes. We continue this trend, and today in the White House the Azerbaijani State Oil Company and American Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Amoco signed four contracts. These contracts bear great importance to the expansion of the U.S.-Azerbaijani economic relations.

During the meeting with President Clinton, we touched on a number of issues such as the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations, the situation in the Caucasus region, the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno Garabagh) conflict. All these problems are critical to our country.

We have also discussed the question of lifting the Section 907 adopted by the U.S. Congress against Azerbaijan in 1992. President Clinton considers the removal of this amendment necessary and will expend every effort on his part to rescind it. I am very satisfied with all my meetings and talks, and think that they indicate the new level of the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations. There is a solid cooperation between America and Azerbaijan, and it will expand even further. I give great importance to all these accomplishments.

I have noticed enormous attention given to Azerbaijan across the United States, including the White House. I feel great hospitality and kindness to Azerbaijan and to me personally. I would like to thank Mr. President Clinton for this reception. I wish the people of the United States peace, stability, and prosperity.

Thank you. 

The Head of the Azerbaijani State answered the questions of reporters;

Question: Did you hold any talks on the military cooperation?

Answer: We did not conduct any negotiations on military cooperation. I met with Defense Secretary Mr. Cohen yesterday and signed documents on joint work.

Question: Mr. President, if Section 907 is lifted, what will be the benefit to Azerbaijan, and especially one million Azerbaijani refugees who have been driven from their homes?

Answer: The positive impact of this action will be significant since this law hinders the full development of the U.S.-Azerbaijani economic relations a great deal by prohibiting the U.S. government from providing any assistance to the Azerbaijani government. As you may know, the U.S. delivers financial aid to many countries including the states of the former Soviet Union. For instance, the U.S. furnishes direct aid to many countries neighboring Azerbaijan. Armenia, in particular, receives $100 million in U.S. aid annually. We are deprived of such aid. If Section 907 is removed, we will, undoubtedly, receive similar assistance. Over one million Azerbaijani citizens forcibly ousted from their homes by the Armenian armed forces will get a better chance to return to their hearth, and improve their social conditions.

Question: Mr. Clinton was supposed to submit a report on illegal arms shipments of Russia to Armenia to the Senate. Did you receive any information regarding this matter?

Answer: We did discuss this issue. I also raised this problem in my talks with Defense Secretary Cohen yesterday. However, communications with the Senate are the business of the President. It is likely he will submit a relevant document or report to the Senate.

Question: How will the signed oil contracts affect Moscow`s interests?

Answer: We have already taken care of Moscow`s interests in Azerbaijan. Along with the American, European, Japanese, and Turkish companies, Russian companies also participate in exploiting the Azerbaijani oil deposits. Russia cooperates with the U.S. today, and will have similar opportunities tomorrow.

Good-bye and thank you!
The document was taken from the edition of \"Together towards the New Century\"