Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the joint press conference after the signature of the bilateral Azerbaijani-Russian documents, Moscow, Vladimir Palace of Kremlin, July 3, 1997

Mr. Boris Nikolayevich,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Boris Nikolayevich, I congratulate you and everyone present here on this momentous event, the signature of the document on friendship, cooperation and mutual security between Russia and Azerbaijan.

Indeed, as you said Boris Nikolayevich, this document is of great historical importance. By signing this document, we, the Republic of Azerbaijan, are well aware of our responsibility for the implementation of this document and its vital importance. You can be sure that we, for our part, shall do everything to ensure that this document is implemented.

I am very pleased that a large part of economic documents is signed today. They provide a good contractual and legal basis for the further development and deepening of our cooperation in all the spheres. In general, the work we have done today is a good basis for the further deepening and development of our friendly relations and expansion of our cooperation. We do not doubt that these relations will develop, deepen and expand.

Moreover, our historic destiny, our life together for decades and centuries, our historic ties and the wealth that the Azerbaijani people acquired from the Russian culture and Russian science by being together with Russia is an invaluable treasure. We appreciate it and this is the basis for our cooperation today and a basis for the successful cooperation in future. We shall steadily follow this path. I want to tell you that the joint efforts in the recent years of 1996 and 1997 have led to positive changes in the development of our economic relations, expanding and increasing the turnover of goods.

This is the first official visit of the President of Azerbaijan to Russia. Boris Nikolayevich, thank you very much for the invitation, for the friendly atmosphere that you created and which we all feel being here since yesterday.

I am extremely satisfied with the tete-a-tete negotiations and discussions that were held with Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, between the two delegations and I would like to hope that the issues we discussed and agreed on will further develop and deepen our relations.

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, I once more express my gratitude to you for the invitation, for our current joint work, for the friendly and warm atmosphere that is created here for my official visit.

Thank you.

Question: At the last summit of CIS it was promised that the results of the investigation on the facts of the sale of the Russian weapons to Armenia will be announced in June. What can you say about it and what will be the fate of illegally delivered weapons?

Boris Yeltsin: We have agreed to set up a tripartite commission with the participation of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. It will identify all the issues associated with weapons and equipment located in Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Question: This meeting is held on the anniversary of your presidency. With what kind of mood do you meet it?

Boris Yeltsin: The mood is ordinary. I work like this since the morning every day. It is true that my family congratulated me. This year has been incredibly grave and serious. I would say that I have been changed, it seems that my years cannot allow me to change, but I feel that change and it is in good direction.

Question: did you discuss the question of the Caspian oil?

Heydar Aliyev: The issue of the Caspian oil is discussed and we had an exchange of views with Boris Nikolayevich. We have achievements regarding the development of oil fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. The Russian "Lukoil" is involved in three contracts signed with the Oil Company of Azerbaijan with the multinational companies and today in the presence of the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan a fourth contract between "Lukoil" and the Oil Company of Azerbaijan is signed. As for the transportation of oil, we have agreed that according to an agreement signed by me and Viktor Chernomyrdin between Russia and Azerbaijan in January of 1996, the Azerbaijani oil will be transported via the northern route this year. For some reason it was delayed. Now we have found the solution and according to Boris Nikolayevich it will be provided no later than this autumn.

Question: On what principles do you think that the conflict over the Mountainous-Garabagh should be eliminated? What steps will Russia take?

Boris Yeltsin: I decided and declared it to Heydar Aliyev that we shall finally get engaged in this issue as we did it regarding "the NATO-Russia issue". Minister of Foreign Affairs will start with this problem his every working day. I agreed with Clinton and Chirac that we, the three countries, finally, shall find the will to put the two presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia to the table in order to sign a contract or agreement and end this conflict of the two neighboring countries. It is a huge process, but it will now go on intensively. We shall constantly get engaged in it. While judging ourselves as the mediators we conclude that we did not work properly. This should be assessed objectively.

Heydar Aliyev: We discussed this issue with Boris Nikolayevich. All that was said by Boris Nikolayevich is fully consistent with our desire. We want to end the conflict as soon as possible and we do not want the resumption of military actions. For over three years we maintain the cease-fire, but the solution of this question must be decided on the principles of the Lisbon declaration, that is, ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, providing a high degree of self-administration to the Mountainous Garabagh within Azerbaijan and guaranteeing security for the people of the Mountainous Garabagh. I think this problem can be solved on these principles.