From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the minister of Trade and Industry of Japan Mistio Horiuchi, Tokyo, the residence of Azerbaijani President, February 27, 1998

Mr. Horiuchi,

I express my gratitude for your kind welcome and I would like to emphasize the pleasure which I got from official visit to Japan, one of the most developed countries in the world.

I highly appreciate the importance that Japan attaches to the restoration of the “Silk Road” and special program delivered by Prime Minister Hashimoto for the future success of the diplomacy of the “Silk Road”. For the discussion of the future of that road which extends from Asia to Europe there will be held an international conference in Baku with the European Union in the May of 1998 and 33 countries will attend this conference. I draw your attention to the fact that Azerbaijan that has chosen the way of market economy and prefers to cooperate with the authoritative companies of foreign countries in the development of its economy.

I appreciate the great interest of the Japanese business circles in our country. Azerbaijan has conducted successful reforms in the recent years. There is no inflation in our country, the exchange of national currency –manat is stable, the volume of GDP is increased by 5,8 per cent and socio-political stability has been established in the country. More than twenty companies from twelve countries of the world take an active part in the implementation of the signed contract on the joint development of oil deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea and the volume of investment in all the fields of our country gradually increases. I want to mention that the active participation of the Japanese companies in this process is very important. I appreciate the opening of the representatives of six big Japanese companies in Azerbaijan and express my confidence that the existing opportunities will be more effectively used for the development of cooperation between our countries. Every condition will be created for the Japanese companies that function in Azerbaijan. I believe with all my heart that the extension of relations in all fields with our country which is rich in natural resources, will bring big benefits for the both sides. I highly appreciate the establishment of bilateral inter-state commission for continuous development of the Japanese-Azerbaijani cooperation, allocation of the most preferential credits in amount of 20,7 billion yens (165 000 USA dollars) for the project on the construction of “Shimal” (The North) power station, completing the work there as soon as possible, lying additional gas pipeline of 45 kilometers, reconstruction of Nakhchivan Airport, allocation of credits for the completion of the oncologic center and would like to mention that strengthening the relations between our countries is beneficial for the both sides.

Thank you. Mr. Horiuchi, I invite you to visit Azerbaijan.