Talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the Federal Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schüssel - Vienna, July 4, 2000

Wolfgang Schüssel: I welcome you on your official visit to Austria, Mr. President. I am very pleased to meet you. I visited Baku, in the July of 1999 as vice-chancellor and minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria. I always remember my meetings and our talks with pleasure.

Your official visit to Vienna will be an important step in the development of relations between our two countries. Of course, Austria is very interested in establishing mutually beneficial relations in all areas with the independent Republic of Azerbaijan which has rich natural resources and follow the road of democratic development.

Heydar Aliyev: I express my gratitude for the kind words and the invitation to pay an official visit to Vienna. Strengthening cooperation with Austria in future, which is one of the economically developed countries of Europe, has a special significance for Azerbaijan.

The independent Republic of Azerbaijan, which has chosen the path of market relations and democratic development and build a legal, democratic and secular state, is closely tied with the world and the European values. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a decision on the adoption of our country to the Council of Europe as a full member. Today, the most painful problem for our country is the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh that has been going on for 12 years. Please look at the map. 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territories has been occupied by the Armenian armed forces, over one million of our citizens have been expelled from their homes, now live in grave conditions in tents and our towns, villages and ancient monuments of culture located in the occupied territory have been devastated and destroyed.

Within the framework of the Minsk Group of OSCE direct negotiations are conducted for the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Our country has always occupied and occupies a constructive position on this issue. Unfortunately, the Armenian side tries to prevent the conclusion of a peace agreement in every possible way and does not want to give up their aggressive intentions. The co-chairs of the Minsk Group, Russia, the U.S. and France make efforts to speed up the peace process. I am confident that Austria, which is now chairs OSCE, will effectively use all the opportunities for the immediate resolution of the conflict through peaceful means.

Wolfgang Schüssel: Mr. President, I also assure you that the Austrian side will support the position of Azerbaijan. The minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, the current chairman of OSCE Benita Ferrero-Waldner will visit the region. I must say that my country is ready to provide any assistance to resolve this conflict peacefully.

Heydar Aliyev: Mr. Chancellor, I believe that the Azerbaijani-Austrian relations will develop in future. Measures and the policy we conduct in this area, of course, will produce positive results.

Mr. Chancellor, I thank you and invite you to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan.

Wolfgang Schüssel: Thank you. I am pleased to accept your invitation.