From the conversation of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with well-known political figure Lawrence Eagleburger, the former US secretary of state - Washington, February 20, 2000

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mister President, you look better from day to day. How your meeting with President Bill Clinton has passed?

Heydar Aliyev: You look good too. My meeting with Mister Bill Clinton has passed perfectly. I am very satisfied that madam Madeleine Albright, Mister Sandy Berger, mister Sestanovich and others have also taken part at this meeting. We have discussed the basic questions in detail. We will look what will happen.

Lawrence Eagleburger: During your visit in Washington a number of oil companies have acted with good announcements.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, you are right, the American companies have acted with good announcements. We have given ample opportunities to the American company "Conoco" in Azerbaijan. The company "BP/Amoco" has recently declared in the press that new large deposits of gas had been discovered in Azerbaijan. We knew about it, but they, working in this area, have confirmed the existence of such large deposit and got an opportunity to export gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey.

Now Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea draws a big attention of the world. We have attained remarkable successes in this area, but a number of press structures, the centers make certain efforts to prove that it is supposedly not so.

Today, I read through "the Russian newspaper" published in Moscow. There is a big material in which they try to prove that there is no such quantity of oil stocks in the Caspian Sea. But business does not depend on anybody writing something. Existence of large oil stocks in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea is a reality.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mister President, in this business your personal services are great; therefore you must be applauded. The most part of that work would not be carried out without your help. I think that the success of these works should be estimated as your personal success. I am sure that agreements will be intensively implemented and it will lead to getting of the government of Azerbaijan big profits.

(L. Eagleburger informs President H. Aliyev on forthcoming presidential elections in America).

Lawrence Eagleburger: As you know, I am a republican. I want senator McCain to win. But his yesterday's defeat in state of South Carolina has very much worsened the condition. Governor Bush as if was always ahead in this business. Yesterday's elections proved that apparently, governor Bush will be the candidate to elections from republicans. But anyway I will continue my efforts for senator McCain.

Mister President, I wish to inform you that in November of the current year the representative of Republicans will become the president in the White house. And here you should begin friendship with the new president of America.

Heydar Aliyev: Here I have such a friend like you.

Lawrence Eagleburger: It is true. You know Vice-president Albert Gore well. If he wins, then there will not be problems. I promise and guarantee that if the next president of America will be elected from Republicans, he will be the friend of Azerbaijan and President Heydar Aliyev.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Relations between Azerbaijan and the United States of America are at such a level that irrespective of representative of which party will be elected the president of America, we consider, - probably, you also share my opinion - relations between our countries are of great value for both parties.

Irrespective of which party will win, there are still many works to be carried out here. First, restrictions which impede the establishment of absolutely open relations between Azerbaijan and the United States of America should be liquidated. It will happen not depending on who will be elected.

The second question is the further expansion of political and economic relations between our countries. Everything that you told to me now about the oil companies will promote this business by all means. We should help you to solve the refugee problem completely. And this question will not also depend on which party will be winner in America. As a whole, I consider that now relations between our countries are good, and will be better in the next year. If the president becomes the republican in America, I guarantee you that these relations will be even better than now.

Heydar Aliyev: My dear friend, thank you very much. I completely share your opinions. Because extensive relations between the United States of America and Azerbaijan have been established for last 5-6 years. The government of the United States of America, dealing with a problem of the Caucasus, the Caspian Basin, a problem of Southern Caucasus, well realizes position and role of Azerbaijan here.

Term of contracts signed by us with the oil companies of America is 30-40 years. In previous years, some companies have worried whether there would be created a constant stability in Azerbaijan. They were thinking whether change of authority in Azerbaijan could harm their work. We convinced them by our real works. Now nobody doubts that stability in Azerbaijan will be constant, and the companies will work fruitfully.

Naturally, we also want stability in the policy of the United States of America. As you stressed, now such relations have been established between our countries that irrespective of the next president in the White house - the republican or the democrat - he will not manage to break these relations established between Azerbaijan and the United States of America, this cooperation should develop.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mister President, you are right. Not only these relations, but also interests of both countries assume great importance. And independence of Azerbaijan which locates in extremely intense region is a part of these questions.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, right. We trust in the United States of America very much and if any aggression will be accomplished against independence of Azerbaijan, America should stand up for our country.

You are my friend, I wish your desire to be realized, but after all, there is no difference.

Lawrence Eagleburger: You are right. There is no difference from the viewpoint of relations between our countries.

Mister President, I wish to note one more question. I consider that the United States of America should raise its efforts in this question even more. It is a question of the pipeline. We should make necessary additional efforts for the solution of the question connected with pipeline.

If we have defined our opinion on direction of this pipeline, and want to lead this pipeline just in this direction, - I am speaking sincerely, - we should pay its money. We should finance it. This is my personal opinion. For the present, I can tell nothing whether the future government of America will share this opinion or not. But personally I consider that we should start financing this pipeline seriously.

Heydar Aliyev: You are absolutely right. It is one of the basic questions. If there is no necessary financing, the struggle which we have conducted during the last five years will be ineffectual.

Lawrence Eagleburger: I am saying it because if the United States of America has defined its opinion concerning this pipeline, it should become the assistant in reduction of expenses for construction of this pipeline.

Mister President, during your business visit, have you faced with any problem on rendering help by America in the solutions of these questions?

Heydar Aliyev: No, I have solved all questions in my business visit. However, we always need your support. America is our strategic friend. Therefore this friendship has not temporary character, it does not live within frameworks of any certain time.

Mister Eagleburger, I hope that you will visit Azerbaijan after elections. I invite you to our country.

Lawrence Eagleburger: I would like to come to Azerbaijan with pleasure. Last time, I was in Azerbaijan for very short time.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, then your visit was very short-term. But the next time bring your wife too. Let her be familiarized with Azerbaijan closely. I invite you.

Lawrence Eagleburger: Mister President, when I visited your country for the first time, I was in refugee camps. I want to ask whether there are any promotions in the settlement of the question on returning refugees to their native places.

Heydar Aliyev: You know that recently, that is, in April of the last year, taking part in 50-years anniversary of the NATO in Washington, I started meetings directly with the president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan. Then we have held some more meetings. Both parties come to such conclusion that it is necessary to go on mutual compromises in the name of the settlement of this question. We have analyzed these compromises. But you know that large act of terrorism was accomplished in parliament of Armenia in October of the last year. After that, the situation has a little changed. But this question has not suspended the process of peace talks.

We also cherish great hopes to the activity of co-chairmen of the Minsk group. At the OSCE Istanbul summit in November of the last year, I had detailed conversation with the President of America Bill Clinton, the President of France Jacque Chirac in this occasion. Then, when I was in Moscow, I have carried on negotiations with Putin, executing the authorities of President of Russia. You know that these three countries are co-chairmen of the Minsk group. And President Robert Kocharyan has also held similar meetings. And consequently I hope that my meetings with President Robert Kocharyan will proceed as well as in the future, and the Minsk group will carry out its work. We should unite all of these.

I have said it and today I repeat that this conflict can be solved only peacefully. And there are opportunities for this purpose. I have spoken about it at the meeting with President Bill Clinton in the White house in detail.

Lawrence Eagleburger: I Know that you work round-the-clock, make many efforts for the resolution of this question. And we hope that the meetings, negotiations conducted by you will come to the end successfully. Because returning of refugees, poor peoples to their homes is very important

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, we rely on you, on America in these questions.

It was translated from the "Azerbaijan" newspaper of February 23, 2000

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijan - USA

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - USA