Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the United States of America (July 27 - August 6, 1997)

Establishment and development of relations with the United States is among the priority directions of the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was noted by Heydar Aliyev like this: «The relations of Azerbaijan with the United States are important as we need to learn the Western democracy, culture, achievements, to benefit from them, to use and apply them in Azerbaijan. In this regard, the United States is a special country for us. In my opinion, studying and bringing to Azerbaijan the Western technologies, American economic experience, principles, achievements is beneficial for the future of Azerbaijan. In addition, cooperating with the United States, promoting this cooperation in all the spheres are necessary for Azerbaijan in terms of rising to a high position in the international arena and solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is our biggest problem.»

The official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the United States on July 27 - August 6, 1997, at the invitation of U.S. President Bill Clinton is considered the peak of the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations. The visit created great opportunities for discussing bilateral relations, regional situation, international relations of mutual interest, prospects of cooperation in the field of energy.

High-level meetings and numerous negotiations at White House, State Department and other institutions reaffirmed the increased interests of the American state structures and businesspeople in Azerbaijan.

The most important was the meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev within his official visit to the United States with the U.S. President Bill Clinton on August 1, 1997. Signature of official documents as a result of the meeting the relations between the two countries rose to a new level of partnership, thus, becoming engraved as a historic event in the history of Azerbaijan.

During the tete-a-tete meeting President Bill Clinton praised Heydar Aliyev`s activities and policy, the stability achieved in the country and prosperity in Azerbaijan despite the hardships.

The ceremony of the signature of the Joint Statement and an agreement on mutual promotion and mutual protection of investments between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the United States took place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on August 1.

The joint statement signed by two presidents says: «…President Clinton and President Aliyev agreed on the importance of expanding the partnership the relations through strengthening relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United States in the fields of politics, security, economy and trade. Emphasizing that the close relations between the two countries are essential for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region, President Clinton said that the United States supports independence, territorial integrity and democratic development of Azerbaijan…»

Signed during the visit, the joint statement on future relations between the United States and Azerbaijan in defense and military fields, the statement on intentions of establishment of bilateral dialogue between the two countries on the development of energy, the general agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the National Bank and the U.S. Export-Import Bank regarding the promotion of projects, four Development and Production sharing Agreements signed between SOCAR and U.S. oil companies on the development of the oil deposits in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea reflect the development directions of mutual relations, which fully meet the interests of both sides. Signature of the oil contracts in the White House for the first time displayed the importance attached to Heydar Aliyev`s visit to the United States.

It was noted that the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act adopted in the October of 1992 restricts the cooperation between the two countries and its repeal was strongly supported by the U.S. President.

During his visit to the United States Heydar Aliyev had totally 88 meetings with the U.S. President, ministers, representatives of business circles, diaspora members and media in Washington, New York, Houston and Chicago.

President Heydar Aliyev's visit to the United States was unanimously called victorious by mass media and prominent politicians. New York Times wrote on August 18, 1997: «…President Clinton demonstrated an attitude to Aliyev as a hero.»

Because of its significance, for the number and importance of meetings, for the important documents signed, this visit is considered historic. The prominent American politician Zbigniew Brzezinski appreciated Heydar Aliyev`s visit to the United States as a historic event which displayed the start of a new phase in the U.S. regional policy regarding the Caucasus.