From the conversation of President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA to Azerbaijan Stanley Escudero - Presidential Palace, 25 June, 1999

Heydar Aliyev: We often meet lately.

Stanley Escudero: I consider it a great honor. I am very glad to see You in good health.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank You very much. I think our negotiations with Mr. Morningstar were very efficient. In this connection, I have given a number of orders and we will take definite measures regarding the issues discussed.

Stanley Escudero: I will bring it to Mr. Morningstar`s and Ambassador Wolf`s attention. I think they will be very glad. I also think that a very positive meeting was held. After these negotiations, it became completely clear that full understanding was achieved between Azerbaijan and the United States of America on all the issues. In my opinion, this agreement will lead to a big progress.

Heydar Aliyev: I also think so.

StanleyEscudero: Mr. President, I have brought You a letter from State Secretary of the United States Madlen Olbrite. First, she expresses her personal satisfaction with Your full recovery in this letter. She is certain that You, as always, will successfully continue leadership in Azerbaijan and at the same time, You will continue Your efforts for establishment of peace and stability in the region.

The letter is about agreements achieved at the meeting of the presidents of three states of South Caucasus held in Washington with the participation of Madlen Olbrite. She agrees with Your opinion that this meeting was very useful and had a symbolic character. Mrs. Olbrite informs that the United States wants to continue the progress achieved and to implement the agreements. Speaking of that, she has in view not only the meeting of three presidents, but also all the agreements achieved during Your meetings held in the USA as a whole.

It is also said in the letter that in this connection we think, that after these negotiations, it is necessary to carry out work on the implementation of infrastructure projects. These projects will be beneficial for all the nations of the region. Undoubtedly, speaking of that, we also take into consideration the existing political realities, the problems of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, as well as the problems among the people of these countries.

We also discuss these projects with our European partners. They also expressed the desire to take part in such projects. We hope that a new meeting on these issues where You, President of Georgia Shivarnadze and President of Armenia Kocharyan will participate, will take place.

Another issue is also touched in the letter. It is measures, inspiring belief. They were also discussed in Washington.

We have proposals and it was discussed with You in Washington prior to this. Madlen Olbrite mentions this in her letter. Our goal includes not only the provision of development of the Caucasus countries and their achievement of progress, but we also make efforts for the sake of progress in the region, as well as the establishment of peace and stability here. We will try to have this process developed in accordance with interests of the countries in the region, in particular, with the interests of Azerbaijan and will not spare our efforts in this line.

Heydar Aliyev: I appreciate You, Mr. Ambassador and I express my gratitude with State Secretary Mrs. Olbrite`s special letter.

You have already informed about a number of provisions stated in the letter. I want to say straight away that they are all very essential for us. This letter once again witnesses that the United States of America and its government are very seriously interested in the Caucasus, attach special significance to the Caucasus, want the countries of South Caucasus to develop and try to help it.

I am satisfied with the thoughts of Mrs. Olbrite, concerning my health mentioned in her letter. I will undoubtedly reply to this letter. I ask to convey my appreciation and gratitude. Before I write to her, tell my friend, Mrs. Olbrite that I feel good and there are no reasons for anxiety.

We discussed most of the issues raised in the letter at the meeting of presidents of three states of South Caucasus held in Washington with the participation of Mrs. Olbrite and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of other countries. We also thoroughly discussed many of these questions during my meeting with Mrs. Olbrite. I appreciate this letter as an attention of the United States to the consent achieved by us as a result of the negotiations, meetings and discussions held in Washington, as the manifestation of interest in their implementation.

I state once more that our meetings in Washington, in particular, our meeting with President Mr. Bill Clinton and our thorough meetings with Mrs. Olbrite are very important for us. Henceforth, we will successively implement objectives following from these meetings.

The republics of South Caucasus have many own problems, as well as problems in their relations with each other. You know that a part of these problems was also discussed the other day at the meeting of European Union in Luxemburg.

I want to note that we will successively realize the ideas, stated by me in Washington on this occasion. Of course, there are also difficulties here and the biggest of them is the Armenian- Azerbaijan conflict, which has not been settled to this day. Along with this, it may be imagined that if this conflict is solved peacefully and steady peace is established between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the economic links of the South Caucasian countries and economic development of South Caucasus on the whole, will move ahead intensively. Certainly, huge work can be done. For instance, imagine if this conflict is solved peacefully, opening of a number of railways will provide so many new opportunities not only for Caucasus, but also for countries connected with Caucasus, European and other countries.

Besides, I think that the negotiations, held recently by the Caucasus republics, raise hope to a certain extent. And we are very interested in it. Firstly, to have the occupied lands liberated and people returned to their native places, territories.

Azerbaijan`s very big, unused infrastructure will enable in particular transport means. If they function, people will be employed. All this will yield big results.

For all this, I appreciate very highly the letter of Mrs. Olbrite. I will closely get acquainted with it. I will provide implementation of tasks facing us. I will undoubtedly send a reply. I appreciate once more for this letter.

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, 26 June, 1999.