From the talk of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Azerbaijani Republic with Alessandro ‎Fallovollita, Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan - March 10, 2001‎

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Ambassador, are you going to leave? How quickly the time flies. It seems to me that you came here just yesterday.

Alessandro Fallovollita: Mr. President, yes, I am. I also have the same impression. As if I arrived yesterday. The four years have been so rich with significant events that we haven't noticed how quickly time has passed.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, time has passed quickly. I regret that you are leaving. Because, firstly, you are the first ambassador of Italy to Azerbaijan. Secondly, you have contributed to the development of the relations between Azerbaijan and Italy during your activity. We have felt your friendly attitude to Azerbaijan and we have learnt from you. That's why I would like you not to go. However, your country has its own laws.

I thank you very much. I say again that your ambassadorial activity is of great significance in the establishment and the development of the relations between Azerbaijan and Italy. Any ambassador should defend the interests of his country, respect the country in which he has been accredited, establish friendship and cooperation between the countries and strive to develop all relations.

I consider that you have implemented such main duties decently. Not only have you represented the interests of your country here decently, but your attitude to the Azerbaijani people has always been friendly and kind. I thank you for everything you have done.

I remember my official visit to Italy together with you. That was a successful visit. I wish you successes in your future work.

Your spouse is our relative. I know that she is a painter. Please, my regards and best wishes to her. Thank you.

Alessandro Fallovollita: Mr. President. Thank you for your warm words. I am leaving your country with two kinds of emotion. The first one is sadness. Because departure from the country that I have become so close during my work here saddens me.

The four years of my activity here has been rich with significant events from different points of view. I can say it also on behalf of my spouse. You have just mentioned her. We have a lot of friends here in Azerbaijan, and it is very hard for us to leave them.

At the same time, I am leaving your country with positive emotions. The reason that makes such senses on me is that I have been able to contribute to the development of the relations- both economic and political- between Italy and Azerbaijan for four years here.

In my opinion, one of the two most prominent events was your visit to Italy in 1997. It was indeed a significant visit. I think that we must characterize them due to their results.

As a result of that visit a number of documents were signed which laid the foundations for the further cooperation between the two countries.

You saw yourself how the Italian people sympathizes your personality. During your visit you witnessed it personally.

Mr. President, after your visit the relations between Italy and Azerbaijan began to develop, especially in the political sphere. Consequently, several statesmen visited Azerbaijan. The deputies of the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Industry paid visits to Azerbaijan.

I want to note another aspect of our cooperation. It was the period of the Italian presidency over the Committe of Ministers of the European Council. It covered a period of six months on the eve of the admission of Azerbaijan to the European Council. I think that is the best example of our cooperation.

Mr. President, as you are aware, then we- the Italian government urged on the membership of Azerbaijan to the European Council as one of the priorities and we could achieve it.

Certainly, you are aware that it was not an easy process. There were some obstacles and we had to remove them. We made all this wincingly. Realizing it, we thought that the Azerbaijani nation is worth becoming part of Europe and deserves to be a member of the European family, and it was our duty and we fulfilled it. We are glad that you became a member of the European Council during the presidency of Italy over the Committee of Ministers.

I am glad that you joined the European Council. No doubt, it will be beneficial for your country. It will benefit Azerbaijan especially for sharing democratic values, protecting human rights and in the field of the cooperation with Europe. I am sure that your membership in the European Council will establish a suitable ground for the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict as well.

Mr. President, let me say something also about the bilateral relations of Italy and Azerbaijan. Great preogress has been achieved in our cooperation for four years. This cooperation has been displayed in the energy sector more clearly. I want to note the cooperation of "AGIP" company. In this example the cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan has broadened and become stronger. You know quite well that "AGIP" takes part in a number of consortiums as well, especially in the "Shahdeniz" consortium. Besides, "AGIP" renders an operating service in the "Kurdashi" field. We are very satisfied with this cooperation.

Mr. President, I think that we can succeed in the cooperation in the non-oil sector as well. I consider that there is a great potential and opportunities to cooperate in the field of agriculture and industry. Italy has a rich experience in those fields. It's pity that our cooperation in these fields has not yet reached the desire level. Certainly, the main reason is the lack of information in the Italian companies about Azerbaijan.

Mr. President, the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Italy can fill this emptiness. You said that the political decision on it has been adopted. It can be an important factor in the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy.

I want to speak a little bit about the role of Italy in the European Union. I can say that Italy can play an important role in the development of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. In general, we support the development and expansion of these relations. The main reason is that Azerbaijan belongs to the European family. I want to convince you that we'll strive in Brussels, in the structures of the European Union for the development of mutual political and economic relations and to make the European Union turn its face toward Azerbaijan.

Mr. President, let me tell about the Nagorno-Karabakh, too. We follow the course of events very attentively. We watch the discussions held in the Azerbaijani parliament with an interest and attention. Finally, we paid great attention to the Paris negotiations. We hope that in the next months the peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem can be found. Italy is a member of the Minsk Group. Thus, Italy is ready to help the peaceful solution of the conflict in the frames of the Minsk Group, with the mediation of the international organizations and bilateral relations. However, some thoughts concerning the military variant of solution of the problem worried us very much. We hope that the peaceful solution of the conflict can be found.

At the end of my speech I want to thank you for your care and attention to the development of the relations between our countries. You have always paid a great attention to the Italian embassy in Azerbaijan. I have also felt your attention to my personality, too. I appreciate it highly. I thank you very much for all of them.

Mr. President, living in your country for four years is a significant part of my life. I want to say that both I and my spouse will never forget our cooperation, everything we have seen during our activity here and keep them in our minds as dear memories.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. Yes, we felt the right and fair position of Italy in the processes concerning the admission of Azerbaijan to the European Council when your country was presiding in the European Council, and we observed how it strived for our our membership. You also know that in that process some countries held unfair position and tried to make obstacles. However, we had a fair friend like Italy at the same time.

Therefore we were trying to be admitted to the European Council during the presidency of Italy in the European Council. It was so. I note your personal contributions in this process as the Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan. Your fair evaluation of the realities of Azerbaijan and correct information on Azerbaijan will help to make a just and objective opinion in our country and in the administration of your country. Therefore I express my thanks to you for the friendly attitude to Azerbaijan and for your personal activities as an ambassador.

I share your thoughts concerning our economic relations. "AGIP" does great works in Azerbaijan and they have a beautiful future. Naturally, its participation in the consortium of "Shahdeniz", and its service as an operator in "Kurdashi" will expand the economic relations between Azerbaijan and "AGIP" in future.

I agree with you that our cooperation in the spheres agriculture and industry is not well developed because of the lack of information on the potentials of Azerbaijan in Italy. We must settle the issue of opening the embassy of Azerbaijan to Italy soon and we'll do it. I guess that both the Italian embassy to Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani embassy to Italy can succeed in solution of the problems.

After joining the European Council, naturally, Azerbaijan tries to move towards the European Union. I am inspired very much by your declaration that Italy can assisst Azerbaijan in this work. We'll try to approach the EU, to join it and we are sure that you will always help us in this issue.

Shortly, the relations between Azerbaijan and Italy must expand farther. I consider that the effective conditions you have established here as the Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan will be the basis for our further work. I guess, these relations will continue. I express my thanks again to you, to your government and your state.

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijani - Italian relations

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - Europe