Tete-a-tete meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the President of Iran Mohammad Khatami, May 18, 2002

Tete-a-tete meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the President of Iran Mohammad Khatami was held in the residence of the Iranian President.

Welcoming the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with respect and honor, the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami expressed the appreciation to the head of our republic for accepting the invitation and arriving in Tehran on an official visit. Mr. Mohammad Khatami stated once more that he considered every meeting with the wise public figure Heydar Aliyev, who has a great political experience, very useful and valuable.

Stressing that the official visit of President Heydar Aliyev to Tehran opens new horizons in the Iranian-Azerbaijani cooperation, President Mohammad Khatami said that the visit is an important step in the development of mutually beneficial relations between our countries.

Expressing his gratitude for the kind words and for the invitation to pay an official visit to Iran, President Heydar Aliyev said that he was pleased of the hospitality shown to him and the Azerbaijani delegation in a friendly and neighboring country. Making broad discussions on the development of the Azerbaijani-Iranian bilateral relations, the Presidents stressed the need of further expansion and deepening of cooperation in all the areas.

Noting the importance of the participation of our countries in projects, are of great importance in the development of economic relations, the heads of the countries unanimously confirmed that the North-South transport corridor had broad perspectives. On the issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, the presidents stressed the importance of strengthening the cooperation of the littoral countries in all areas and expressed the hope that the Caspian Sea will remain as the corridor of peace, security and cooperation. The Presidents noted the need of further discussions on the definition of the legal status of the Caspian Sea on the expert level.

During the meeting, the presidents also broadly discussed the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorniy-Karabakh, which is the most painful issue for our country. President Heydar Aliyev said that as a result of the aggression of the Armenian armed forces 20 percent of the Azerbaijani lands have been occupied and over a million Azerbaijanis live in tents in the critical conditions for many years.

Focusing on the process of negotiations held for the peaceful settlement of the conflict, President Heydar Aliyev stressed the importance of intensifying the efforts by the countries of the Minsk Group for the early resolution of the conflict.

Stressing that Iran condemns the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, as Iran openly states in international organizations, President Mohammad Khatami expressed concern of his country in connection with the conflict which has remained unsolved and expressed the confidence that the immediate solution of the conflict will play an important role in the restoration of peace and stability in the region.

Speaking about the current state of relations between the two neighboring and friendly countries with ancient historical traditions in the field of science, education, culture and other areas, the Presidents stressed the importance of further strengthening these relations.

During the meeting, the presidents exchange of views on the situation in the region, as well as on other issues of mutual interest.

President Heydar Aliyev once more invited President Mohammad Khatami to pay an official to Azerbaijan. The invitation was accepted with gratitude.