Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan received Ali Akber Vilayeti, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran - April 22, 1997

Yesterday, President Heydar Aliyev received Ali Akber Vilayeti, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic ofIran in the presidential residence.

Expressing his satisfaction with the guest`s visit to Azerbaijan, President Heydar Aliyev underlined that this visit would play an important role in the development of the bilateral relations. Iran is a fraternal and close country for Azerbaijan. We have common historical roots, religion and traditions. Today, Azerbaijan is loyal to its historical traditions as an independent state.-emphasized President Heydar Aliyev.

Expressing his satisfaction with the meeting ,Mr. Vilayeti thanked President Heydar Aliyev for the good attitude towards the Iranian delegation. He added that a lot of work has been done for the improvement of the cooperation between the two countries since Azerbaijan gained independence. The leader of the Iranian foreign policy office delivered the kind regards and the personal letter of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hashim Refsancani to Heydar Aliyev. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was invited to the summit of the Organization of the Islam Conference, to be held in Tehran, on December. Mr. Vilayeti underlined that this summit is a good chance for discussing the problems of the Islamic world. He also informed President Heydar Aliyev about the talks held with his counterpart Hasan Hasanov and added that such contacts will lay foundation for the further cooperation between the two countries, having the same historical background.

Expressing his gratitude for the letter, President Heydar Aliyev asked Mr. Vilayeti to deliver his kind regards and best wishes to H. Refsancani, President of Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Aliyev emphasized that the Organization of the Islamic Conference is an influential structure uniting the whole Islamic world. We highly appreciate its activity. As an independent country, Azerbaijan makes efforts for strengthening of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. We want this Organization to embody the solidarity and unity of the Islamic countries.-said President Aliyev. President Heydar Aliyev accepted the invitation with great pleasure. He expressed his hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran will organize and host the summit at a high level.

Stating that the visit of the Iranian minister of Foreign Affairs will be a good opportunity for discussing bilateral relations, president Heydar Aliyev underlined that the economic relations between the two countries develop day by day. Today Iran is in the first place for Azerbaijan from the standpoint of the foreign trade relations. An Azerbaijani -Iranian common economic commission functions. We always pay great attention to the activity of this commission and will make efforts to strengthen its work in future. Nevertheless, there are several difficulties which create obstacles for the development of the bilateral relations. Thus, the Azerbaijani regions, having the same borders with Iran, Zengilan, Cebrayil as well as a great part of Fuzuli region have been occupied by the Armenian invaders. Now, 130 km of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border is under the surveillance of the Armenian invaders. And this prevents to carry out joint hydrotechnic projects. That`s why we should take measures for eliminating these obstacles.

President Heydar Aliyev highly appreciated the collaboration between Azerbaijan and Iran in the sphere of joint exploitation of oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. He stated that he has met the leaders of the companies working on «Shahdeniz»platform. During this meeting it became clear that the Iranian oil company actively participates in this consortium. Then, Heydar Aliyev told that the cooperation in the sphere of information, science, as well as culture develops. He added that Mahammad Fuzuli`s jubilee was celebrated in both countries at a high level.The President also pointed out that Azerbaijan is ready to participate in the jubilee of the great poet Mahammad Huseyn Shahriyar.

Stressing that great opportunities have been created for the development of the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, Mr. Vilayeti noted that we are still at the beginning of the way. Of course, the current stage of relations can`t satisfy us. Because we are not aware of our capacities. But we are looking for new ways to develop our relations.

The leader of the Iranian foreign policy office told that two important ceremonies of EKO organization will be held. Ashgabat summit of the member countries and Tehran meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs.

Talking about the boundary relations between the countries, Mr. Vilayeti emphasized the importance of eliminating the difficulties preventing entry between the two countries. As regards the construction of "Xudaferin" and "Qiz qalasi» dam on the Araz river, Mr. Vilayeti has stated the occupied territories of Azerbaijan should be liberated for the implementation of these projects. He has expressed his assurance that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be solved soon and a new atmosphere will be created for the normal collaboration in the region. The minister once more declared the position of his country regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

President Heydar Aliyev supported Iran`s position in the liberation of the occupied lands of Azerbaijan and added that Azerbaijan wants the peaceful solution of the problem. He informed the guest that the regulation principles were adopted at the Lissabon summit of OSCE and added that it is possible to solve the problem on the basis of these principles. Now 3 countries - Russia, USA and France are co-chairs at OSCE Minsk conference. The presidents of Russia and France discussed the regulation of the conflict . Mr. Guluzada, Personal representative of the Azerbaijan president had on the same topic talks with the members of US delegation within the frame of his visit to the USA. It is regreting that all Europe, except Armenia, accepted the principles of the Lissabon summit. This position of Armenia delays the solution of the conflict. President Heydar Aliyev underlined that Iran has much influence on Armenia for the regulation of the conflict and we can use them in the solution of the conflict. Mr. Vilayeti emphasized that he will do his best in the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Hasan Hasanov, minister of Foreign Affairs, Vafa Guluzada- state advisor, Alyar Seferli- ambassador of Azerbaijan to Iran, as well as Alirza Bikdeli- ambassador of Iran to Azerbaijan and other officials participated in the reception.

Translated from the newspaper "Azerbaijan" on 23 April, 1997