The Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev`s speech and answers to questions of journalists in press conferences in Tokyo - Tokyo, the National Press Center, February 27, 1998

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

I welcome you, representatives of mass media, and I express you my deep respect.

Today is the fourth day that I am in your nice country with official visit under the invitation of the prime minister of Japan mister Hashimoto. It is the first official visit of the independent Azerbaijani President to Japan.

Finishing this visit, I can tell that I am deeply satisfied with being in Japan and the work carried out here. I consider that the visit has passed successfully. I had many meetings, talks and negotiations, His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan received me. I had meetings, negotiations, talks with the prime minister mister Hashimoto, members of the Japanese government, in particular with Ministers for Foreign Affairs, transport and trade. I visited the parliament, conducted a meeting with chairmen of the House of Representatives and chamber of councilors, met group of deputies of the parliament representing Association of the Japan-Azerbaijan friendship. I held numerous meetings with representatives of the business world of Japan. While leaving Tokyo, I can say that for these days, since February 24th, I had as a whole 38 meetings. All of them have been very useful, interesting and left pleasant impression.

Meeting, negotiations, talks with the Prime Minister Mister Hashimoto and signing intergovernmental, interstate documents between Japan and Azerbaijan assume naturally special value. The Japanese Prime Minister and I signed two important documents - the joint statement on friendship and partnership between Japan and Azerbaijan and the joint statement on cooperation in the field of trade and economy between Japan and Azerbaijan. In these documents main principles and directions of the further development of cooperation between our two countries in all spheres have found their reflection. Agreements between the Ministries for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Azerbaijan about mutual consultations, between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan and the government of Azerbaijan about granting the credit amounting to 20,7 billion yens to our country for construction of power station "North", notes on granting disinterested aid amounting to 400 million yens to Azerbaijan have been signed.

We have signed the agreement with "Eximbank" of Japan on allocation of the credit under the governmental guarantees of Azerbaijan on construction of an ethylene production factory in a state company "Azerkimya". This agreement will be realized by Japanese company "Nichimen", the total cost of the project makes approximately 95 million dollars.

At the office of the prime minister the agreement was signed on granting 15 percent share of participation by us to the Japanese company "Mitsui" in the project on an oil deposit "Kurdashi" in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.

In general, our negotiations with Prime Minister Hashimoto and the signed documents are events of historical value and laid a strong basis for successful cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan in the future.

We attach great significance to relations with Japan and especially cooperation with it in the field of economy. And I am glad that during my visit it was possible to create a good basis in this respect.

I have met heads of many Japanese companies, the majority of them works in the power engineering sphere, oil-and-gas industry. I have met them because they show big interest in Azerbaijan, its economy, including in oil and gas industry of our country. The Japanese company "Itochu" already works in Azerbaijan and is a member of the first large consortium established under the contract which was signed in 1994 with 11 oil companies on the development of three very perspective oil deposits in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. In 1996, the "Itochu" company was included into one more consortium of the foreign companies on the development of deposits "Dan ulduzu" and "Ashrafi" in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea with a 20 percent share of participation.

Yesterday, as I already said, other oil company "Mitsui" has acquired the right to work in Azerbaijan. We have many offers from the Japanese companies, they will be considered. I am personally interested in creating all conditions for them that we can expand our cooperation.

Yesterday we agreed with mister Hashimoto to create the special joint intergovernmental Japan-Azerbaijan economic commission for more successful realization of cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan.

I consider very important that alongside with the discussion of economic questions with mister Hashimoto we conducted exchange of opinion on the international situation, in particular, the situation which characterizes the condition in the Caucasian region where Azerbaijan is situated. You know that since 1988 there is a military conflict because of Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) between Azerbaijan and Armenia having the same border. This conflict, which is characterized as a bloody war, has put to Azerbaijan huge material and mental damage. By virtue of various reasons during this conflict the Armenian armed formations have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan`s territory, more than one million citizens of Azerbaijan, which now live in other regions of our country, the majority - in tents, in very heavy economic conditions, whence have been expelled.

In May, 1994 we concluded the agreement on an armistice, cease-fire with Armenia. Since then there are no military operations, we negotiate on peace settlement of the conflict. A basis for the peace settlement of the conflict is OSCE Lisbon declaration accepted in December, 1996. In this declaration main principles of the settlement of the conflict are stated: recognition of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Armenia, granting Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) the status of self-management within the Azerbaijan Republic, a guarantee of safety for all population of Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) - both Armenian and Azerbaijani. On the basis of these principles co-chairmen of the Minsk group of OSCE - Russia, the United States of America and France - have offered two-stage resolution of the conflict. The first stage provides withdrawal of the Armenian armed units from six administrative districts of Azerbaijan around Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and returning there refugees - inhabitants of these districts. The second stage provides clearing two more districts of Azerbaijan - Lachin and Shusha and definition of the status of Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

We have agreed with these offers, however in Armenia a part of leaders has agreed, and another part has disagreed with these offers. The president of Armenia Ter-Petrosyan, which has agreed with these offers of the Minsk group, retired on February 3rd. Now a process of the election of the new president is underway in Armenia. Therefore negotiating process is frozen and, probably, will be continued after the election of the Armenian president.

I note with satisfaction that in the joint statement, which was yesterday signed between Prime Minister Hashimoto and me, Japan has declared that it supports territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and also the OSCE Lisbon principles on peace settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

We consider that the countries should observe all international norms, it is impossible to change borders of any country by force, the infringement of territorial integrity of any country is inadmissible.

One of the important questions, which we yesterday discussed with the prime minister mister Hashimoto, is about "Silk way". I highly appreciate diplomacy, doctrine of Prime Minister Hashimoto on "Silk way". I informed Prime Minister Hashimoto that many countries, including Azerbaijan, have already done much for restoration of this way. In particular, the Eurasian transport highway, on which transportation of cargoes is carried out from the Central Asia to Europe and back through Black Sea, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, has been created. As a whole 33 countries are located on "Silk way". Japan is the most east point there. Azerbaijan is in the center of this way. Further it goes across Europe up to Spain, Portugal and Ireland. In the end of May of this year under the initiative of the European Union holding meetings of representatives of all of 33 countries in Baku for discussion of the questions connected with the further development of "Silk way" is planned.

During my visit I have discussed many other questions here as well. We consider Japan as the country, which achieved great successes in the economic and social development, bringing the huge contribution to economic development of all world community, enriching world science and a civilization with significant inventions, high technologies and techniques.

I have a profound respect to the Japanese people, to its diligence, talent, huge abilities. Leaving Japan, I wish the Japanese people good luck, welfare and peace. Thank you for your attention.

Question (ITAR-TASS news Agency): Heydar Aliyevich, in your some last interviews you stated the attitude to a question on the construction of the basic pipeline from a deposit in Baku region. Nevertheless, it would be desirable to hear directly from you about a position on this question, including the attitude to the Russian wishes related to it. And what is your opinion about Boris Yeltsin`s offer to call the summit of five countries of the Caspian Sea for definition of its legal status? Thank you.

Heydar Aliyev: It is known that one pipeline from Baku on northern route via the Russia territory to the Novorossiysk port, on which we export oil, has already been constructed. The second oil pipeline is constructed through territory of Georgia to the Supsa port of the Black Sea. The construction of the third oil pipeline is intended. And shareholders of its consortium consider more expedient to build it on a route of Baku-Ceyhan through Georgia, Turkey from the economic point of view. You know that all oil pipelines are built by those who extract and export oil on their own account. Thus economic feasibility is put forward on the foreground. Planning the construction of this pipeline up to Ceyhan port in the Mediterranean Sea is based on the above mentioned reason.

As to your question concerning the offer of President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin concerning the summit of the near-Caspian countries and definition of the status of Caspian sea, - by the way, I do not have information about this offer and heard about it from you, - I think that before holding the summit at a level of heads of the states, it is necessary to prepare this question well. That is, first it is necessary to agree, and then to hold the summit for acceptance of the final decision. In a word, I am not against the summit but this summit should be called only after this question will be well prepared at a level of the governments.

Question (the newspaper "Mainiti"): I have a question on peace process on Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh). As it is known, before both America, and Russia have been on the side of Armenia. But nevertheless after your visit to America in August of the last year the position of Washington has changed, and deputy state secretary Talbot has visited Armenia to make Armenia to come to an agreement about peace process. Is this agreement carried out now?

Heydar Aliyev: Unless has he visited Armenia? No, it is not true. It is the incorrect information.

Correspondent: There was a certain consent that Talbot would negotiate for peace. Is this initiative is realized?

Heydar Aliyev: It seems you have inexact information. There is OSCE Minsk group in which co-chairmen are Russia, the United States America and France. And Mister Talbot is the representative in the Minsk group from the USA. We have not data that he has visited Armenia. But negotiations, as I already said, are ceased to some extent in connection with changing leadership in Armenia. We hope that co-chairmen of the Minsk group will be objective and equally approach to interests of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In the past there was very unfair, biased attitude to Azerbaijan. Result of this injustice led to acceptance by the American congress in 1992 of the 907-th amendment to "freedom support act" which discriminates Azerbaijan. This amendment was accepted under pressure of Armenians in America. I hope that now all the countries will fairly approach to this question.

Question: (Mirosava - the publicist-foreign affairs specialist): European and American companies, especially after your visit to the United States of America, have thronged to your country. Don`t you think that Japanese were late concerning this question?

Heydar Aliyev: Generally Japanese companies were late. And it does not become them to be late. Japanese always and everywhere go ahead. I hope that after my visit and getting agreement about much here, Japanese will overcome backwardness and we will help them in this question.