From talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev while receiving the special envoy of the European Union on Azerbaijan Renato Batti and coordinator of the European Commission on Azerbaijan Robin Lidel - Presidential Palace, February 5, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: Welcome to Azerbaijan! I am very pleased for your visit to Azerbaijan. We always attach great importance to our cooperation with the European Union and I note very positive results of this cooperation. But at the same time I feel that our cooperation has great perspectives.

Our Prime Minister told me that you have discussed a number of issues comprehensively. I am ready to listen to you.

Renato Batti: Mr. President, thank you for receiving us today. It is very nice and an honor to meet You today. Indeed, we met and held discussions of the bilateral issues with the government officials. Our cooperation with Azerbaijan is a priority in the region. The European Union is the first donor organization for Azerbaijan. Undoubtedly, we continue our work in this direction and we will go on to support all efforts of Azerbaijan in future. We are ready to increase our efforts as soon as peace is achieved in Azerbaijan. The European community along with the world community declares its readiness to support all works of rehabilitation and reconstruction after achieving peace.

We discussed some projects during our stay here. When we were here in November, we reviewed over a project concerning Nakhichevan and we are ready to work now. This is a project assigned from our second financial tranche.

Taking this opportunity, I want to extend my gratitude to all people with whom we were in touch during the meetings. Especially, I want to thank the first Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan. He accompanied us in all the meetings and assisted in joint implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

As You know, Azerbaijan and the European Union jointly implement a number of projects in conformity with the agreement on cooperation and partnership. After achieving this agreement, we held our first meeting in November and we are going to meet in Brussels in March. From February 24 to March 1, members of the parliament of the European Union will arrive in the Caucasus and focus special attention on Azerbaijan. In March, as I noted before, an Azerbaijani delegation will arrive in Brussels in the framework of the agreement on cooperation and partnership. Thank you, Mr. President.

Heydar Aliyev: Very fine. I am very satisfied with the information you gave. I am very thankful that the European Union attaches a special attention to Azerbaijan in the region. We will always try to justify such an attitude. Plans of the European Union for the restoration of our occupied territory make us very glad. Negotiations recently held in the framework of the Minsk Group, as well as the direct talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan give hope that we will achieve peace and our occupied territories will be liberated. There are much work to do in those territories. We cannot do anything there, if there is no participation by the European Union and world community. Because all the towns, settlements, villages, everything used by men have been destroyed and sacked there.

Recently the representatives from the World Bank, IMF and probably UNCHR visited Armenia, Azerbaijani region Nagorno-Karabakh, its Aghdara district which is under occupation. They later spoke of their impressions and saw with their own eyes that everything has been ruined. Everything must be reconstructed. From this point of view, your statement today is very important for me.

When I was in Istanbul, I met the president of the European Commission Mr. Prodi. We held a comprehensive talk about it. This issue was in the focus of discussions during my talk with him. I hope that we will be busy with it together with him.

I am grateful for your tranches and participation in the implementation of various projects. All these are very important for us.

Thus, our relations expanded. The permanent missions of the European Union and Azerbaijan are needed in both of them. We must resolve these issues as well.

In one word, while looking back, we can see how important is the cooperation with the European Union for us, and we appreciate it. But there is much work ahead. I hope that the experience which we have gained and discipline of our cooperation will provide to achieve more successes in the future. We wish and accept it. 

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, February 6, 2000.