From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with ‎Henry Kissinger the former USA State Secretary- January 8, 1999‎

Heydar Aliyev: Distinguished Mr. Kissinger, dear guests, I welcome you warmly. Mr. Kissinger I thank you for the visit to our country at my invitation. I have met you in America. First we met in New-York in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Organization and on the occasion of victory in the Second World War. In 1997 during my official visit to your country we met in New-York and had conversation with you.

During that meeting I invited you to Azerbaijan. I'm glad that at last my invitation was realized. I suppose that you'll be acquainted with Azerbaijan during this short time. Of course, we hope you will stay in Azerbaijan for a longer term. But I know that your schedule is very strained. Therefore, as this is the first visit, I agree with it.

You are well known in Azerbaijan. I hope that you felt it during the meeting today. You are known not only in Azerbaijan, but in the whole world. Because, at the seventies you got a higher post in America, and at the same time you were a well-known world politician. I am glad that you are still on political scene. That is my first recollections. Particularly, during the disarmament negotiations your name regularly appeared in the Soviet press and media. Because you were participants of the political processes and initiator of some affairs.

As you know, Azerbaijan is linked with the USA with the ties of friendship, cooperation, and we are devoted to the relations with the USA, we continue our activity in this direction. From this view point, undoubtedly, our bilateral corporation, negotiations, discussions will assist to our common businesses. I welcome you.

Henry Kissinger: Mr. President, thank you for the meeting today. I express my gratitude on the behalf of my colleagues and personally for such a sincerely reception. Generally, my visit was very well organized. You have done your best for my visit to be memorable and comfortable. I'll remember it forever.

I remember our previous meeting with pleasure. Specially your official visit to America in 1997. Then I got a chance to have broad discussions with you in New-York. It's a great pleasure for me that strategically, politically important country for us is headed by such a distinguished leader.

I had no information on Azerbaijan when I interested in it. I only knew its geographical location, mineral resources and significance. I became more interested in Azerbaijan when it gained its sovereignty among the soviet republics. Therefore, I believe the USA is interested in the independence of Azerbaijan and its peaceful development. While I am not representing the government, the future development of Azerbaijan is very important for the whole America. And I want to add that I'm very glad be in your country. I wait impatiently our next conversation.

Mr. President, during my visit I came some conclusion and want say it. We mostly heard that Azerbaijan isn't a well developed country, or is developing country. Of course, from economic view point it's true. But from the point of view of hospitality I want to say that your country is a much advanced one. Thank you.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Kissinger undoubtedly we’ll have detailed conversation. But I want to touch some pointes. You expressed positive opinions about Azerbaijan and sovereignty. In reality it's like this. We consider our independence gained at the end of the twenty century a historical event. It's already seven years that Azerbaijan is independent. It's true, these seven years passed very hard and difficult for Azerbaijan. There were a lot of pressure and aggressive forces against the independence of Azerbaijan both from outside and inside of the country. But despite all of them, we live as an independent state and will go on forth.

Among the post soviet countries Azerbaijan as a sovereign state differs from other ones. I can say proudly that we are independent completely. That is, in our territory there is not any military base of any foreign country, and we have taken all necessary actions for ensure our independence. Despite difficulties, we systematically pursue our independent policy at the international organizations, world scale, plus in the Commonwealth of Independent States of which we are a member.

But as you know, the Armenian- Azerbaijani, Nagorno Karabakh conflicts has violated the territorial integrity of our country. At a result of this, twenty per cent of our lands has been occupied and one million Azerbaijanis have been driven from their motherland by force and live in hard conditions in tents. You know that we want the peaceful settlement of the problem. The

Minsk Group is engaged this matter. Since1997 Russia, France the USA are mediators. Unfortunately the Minsk Group mediators haven't got any results yet.

Our economic relations with the USA grow very speedily. I suppose that, you are aware of the situation a little. Most American companies already cooperate in Azerbaijan for some years. We closely cooperate with the American, European companies and those of other countries in joint oil developments in Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea.

But there is another factor preventing this cooperation. That is the unfair Section 907 of the USA Congress. It bans the extensive aid of the USA to Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, all our attempts fail concerning the repeal of This Section.

But inspite of this, we increase our relations with the USA. If Section 907 is repealed these ties will progress more rapidly. I suppose that we'll discuss some other issues with you.

Henry Kissinger: Mr. President, your advisor on the foreign policy and minister of foreign affaires informed me on your problems. At the same time, President Clinton is attitude to Section 907 is clear. I was always against the resolution of the Congress. I hope that this issue will be solved in the next months.

Translated from the newspaper ''Azerbaijan'' on January 9, 1999