Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at a meeting, held at the US Naval Academy, during his visit to the United States of America - April 23, 1999

Dear friends!

I welcome you with my heart, I wish you successes in your study and future military service. Having accepted this invitation with great pleasure, I have come to get acquainted with the United States Naval Academy. The military academy, in which you are trained, has great history and rich traditions.

The United States of America is one of the biggest states of the world and at the same time, on a geographical position its territory is surrounded by oceans, seas from different directions. The United States Naval Academy always took a prominent place in armed forces of the country. The military, who serve in navy`s fleet in armed forces of the United States of America, certainly, have got their education in schools, academies, colleges.

Your academy has undeniable services in this area. I know that the majority of the distinguished commanders, served in armed forces of the United States of America in the past and serve today, have been graduates of the Naval Academy. A part of political, state figures of the United States of America have also got education in your academy in due time.

Several minutes ago, I have shortly familiarized with the territory of your academy, buildings and local condition. I was amazed at rich history of your academy, its very majestic buildings, present condition. Getting acquainted with academy, meeting you, I think that youth of the United States of America, citizens of the country, who have been educated and finished your academy, are certainly happy people. Therefore, I am glad to meet you today and get acquainted with the academy.

Naturally, you are interested in the information on Azerbaijan, on our country. I want to notify that Azerbaijan is the country, located in a place where Europe and Asia unites - in the Caucasus. It is situated on a coast of the Caspian Sea and surrounded by the Caucasian mountains. Azerbaijan is bordered by Russia on the north, on the south - by Iran, and on the west - by Georgia and Armenia. East part of Azerbaijan`s territory is a coast of the Caspian Sea.

Azerbaijan is a young independent state. It found the independence in 1991, after disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Azerbaijan has ancient, very rich history. In XX century, Azerbaijan was in structure of the Soviet Union as a union republic for 70 years and as I already said, in 1991, after disintegration of the Soviet Union, gained its independence.

Azerbaijan has a rich nature and natural resources, in particular energy resources. Since ancient times, Azerbaijan was named the land of fires, it is the ancient oil country. In Azerbaijan oil is used since very old times. However, the beginning of an industrial oil recovery concerns 1850-1852. It is known from the history that the first oil fountain gushed here, in Azerbaijan in 1848. It was the first big fountain of oil in the world.

The United States of America is also ancient oil country. But in the USA the first oil fountain gushed some years after Azerbaijan in Pennsylvania. In this sense, our countries have similar history.

While gaining its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan lived very difficult times. In 1988, Armenia, which is neighbor of Azerbaijan, acting with territorial claims to Azerbaijan, made military aggression against it with the purpose of capture of the Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) area located in territory of Azerbaijan. This military aggression has turned then in war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. War has proceeded and as a result very big help of the several countries of the world, Armenian armed forces have grasped 20 percent of Azerbaijan`s territory. Azerbaijanis have been violently expelled from the occupied lands, ethnic cleaning on these lands has been conducted, and the genocide has been carried out against Azerbaijan people. More than one million citizens has been violently expelled from the occupied lands and they live in tents in other regions of Azerbaijan for many years.

Five years ago, we have achieved cease-fire regime and signed the agreement on it for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. There are no any more fights, there is no war, but at the same time, the part of Azerbaijan`s lands still remains under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces.

We aspire to solve the conflict by peace way, to release the occupied lands, to return citizens to their Native lands, to restore territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

In 1992, OSCE created special Minsk Conference, Minsk group in order to settle this problem. Co-chairmen of the Minsk group are Russia, the United States America and France. Other countries also include the structure of the group. They deal with peace resolution of the problem. Negotiations are carried on but the positive result was not reached yet. It was not reached because the Armenian party takes non-constructive position, wishes to achieve the status of the state independence for such a small area, as Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is a small area in the structure of Azerbaijan, its territory is 4 thousand square kilometers. In 1988, when the conflict began, 170 thousand persons lived in its territory. 70 percents of the population were made by Armenians, 30 - Azerbaijanis. As a result of the conflict, Azerbaijanis have been violently expelled from Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Now Armenians live there. But because of the conflict many Armenians have also left there. Now there absolutely small population lives in Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

In 1996, principles of peace resolution for the problem were determined in Lisbon summit. According to these principles territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should be restored and the high status of self-management should be granted to Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in the structure of Azerbaijan. We have accepted these principles, but the Armenian party does not accept them. Therefore the question remains unsolved till now.

The population of Azerbaijan is 8 millions, its territory is 86 thousand square kilometers. Azerbaijan is big industrial and at the same time agricultural country. After finding the state independence, Azerbaijan aspires to develop its economic potential, to use the natural resources more effectively. After finding the state independence, we have refused the former communistic ideology. In conformity with its historical traditions, with all democratic principles, tested in the world, Azerbaijan carries out the process of construction of the legal, democratic, secular state in the country. We carry out serious reforms - both political and economic - in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan aspires to build and develop the economy on the basis of principles of market economy, to be integrated into the world economy more closely.

In this plan use of Azerbaijan`s energy resources has special value. It has been extracted a lot of oil in Azerbaijan`s territory till now. But now there are also oil deposits both on land and in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. In last years, we have taken many measures directed on teamwork with the large oil companies of the world for their effective development. Including, the big oil companies of the United States of America work in common in Azerbaijan with us.

In 1994, we signed the big contract with the large oil companies of the United States of America and other western countries. It is called "the Contract of a century". Now this contract is carried out and as a result, we received the first oil in 1997. We have constructed the big pipeline from Baku to the Black Sea port Novorossiysk for export of this oil. We export oil on this pipeline.

We have created also the second oil pipeline. It has been constructed from Baku up to the Georgian city Supsa in the Black Sea. It has also been put in operation and by means of this pipeline oil is exported to the Black Sea and from there to the world markets.

Approximately from 4 up to 10 billion tons of oil stocks had been discovered in oil and gas deposits in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. It is intended approximately 50 billion dollars of capital to be invested into Azerbaijan on the basis of the contracts, signed on joint development of these deposits and extraction of oil. We will begin construction of new - the main pipeline for export of oil to the world market. This is Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which will be constructed from Baku up to Turkish Mediterranean port Ceyhan.

The Caspian Sea possesses huge oil resources. We have started development of oil deposits in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. But there are rich oil deposits as well as in other sectors of the Caspian Sea. Thus, the Caspian Sea is the region which has the greatest energy resources in the world.

Big oil companies of the United States of America - "Amoco", "Unocal", "Pennzoil", "Exxon", "Mobile", "Shevron" and others already work together with us in Azerbaijan. In these days, signing three big contracts between the oil companies of America and Azerbaijan is intended in Washington.

Thus, we have presented the Caspian Sea to the world. We have created great opportunities for use of its energy resources by the countries of the world.

Azerbaijan is a country which has very favorable geo-strategic position. It is located in a place where the Europe and Asia unites and the historical Great silk way passes through. Therefore, last years Azerbaijan has carried out serious work on restoration of a historical Silk way. On the basis of our oil strategy and owing to restoration of a historical Silk way we create great opportunities for providing close economic relations between East and West, Europe and Asia.

Foreign policy of Azerbaijan is a peace-loving policy. We aspire to cooperate with all countries on the basis of principles of peace and stability. We look at our relations with the United States of America from the strategic point of view. These relations assume strategic value. In August, 1997, during my official visit to the United States America, we carried on very effective negotiations with the president and members of the US government and signed very important documents between our countries. We aspire to develop relations with the United States America in all areas. Azerbaijan actively participates in NATO`s Partnership for Peace Program, we will try to participate in realization of this program henceforth too.

As you know, I arrived here concerning 50-years anniversary of NATO. I will take part in the ceremonies connected with the 50 anniversary of NATO and these days we show that cooperation with NATO is very important for us.

Azerbaijan`s armed forces and its army are young. In the Caspian Sea Azerbaijan has Navy as well. You know that the Caspian Sea is a closed sea. Therefore, naval forces are not so powerful there. But the Navy of Azerbaijan has historical and good traditions. I invite you to Azerbaijan. I think that each of you will get very good impressions from the visit to Azerbaijan.

Once more, I wish you great successes in your study. And now I am ready to answer your questions.

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijan - USA

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - USA