Heydar Aliyev meets tête-à-tête with OSCE present chairman Bronislaw Geremek - November 25, 1998

As we reported, tête-à-tête meeting between the  Azerbaijani President of the Heydar Aliyev and current Chairman of OSCE, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Bronisław Geremek took place on November 25 at the Presidential Palace.

The Azerbaijani President, sincerely greeted and welcomed the guest, and expressed his deep satisfaction with the visit of the distinguished guest noted that he has always attached great importance to the work of this international organization and said that he attaches great importance to strengthening cooperation with OSCE in all the spheres.

The Azerbaijani President talked with satisfaction about the friendship developed between Poland and Azerbaijan, as well as about the mutually beneficial cooperation, recalled with pleasure his official visit to Poland in August 1997 and appreciated the signed during that visit, especially the "Statement on the development of friendship and cooperation between Azerbaijan and Poland"signed by President Heydar Aliyev and President Aleksander Kwasniewski.

President Heydar Aliyev emphasizing the great perspectives of close relationships of our republic, especially in developing the economic cooperation, talked thoroughly about the participation of Poland in the export of the Azerbaijani oil, in ship repair and petrochemistry, as well as in materialization of TRASECA program and the possibilities of widening the effective relations in between the two countries of other fields.

The Azerbaijani President recollected the International Conference held in Baku on 7-8 September of 1998 for the materialization of TRASECA program under the auspices of EU for the restoration of the ancient Silk Road, where the representatives of 32 states took part including Poland, with a large group of delegation. He stated that the European-Caucasian -Asian transport route is of great significance in establishing close relations between all the countries of the world.

Stating that he was looking forward for the official visit of the Polish President in 1999, President Heydar Aliyev expressed his wish if Mr. Geremek also visit Azerbaijan along with President Kwasniewski.

Stating that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the activities of OSCE in the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict and appreciating the work done so far, President Heydar Aliyev said: |Azerbaijan is an independent state and this independency is everlasting and irreversible. However, after obtaining independency our country faced difficulties. Among them, which is most painful is the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan for the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh. As a result of this aggression, 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory has been occupied by the Armenian military forces, over a million our countrymen have been banished from their native places and the great majority of them now are living in tents in very critical conditions.

Talking with satisfaction about the efforts exerted of this organization within the framework of the Minsk Group of OSCE in different summits, as well as about the decision adopted in the Budapest summit of OSCE in December 1994, the Azerbaijani President highly appreciated the principles prescribed in the Lisbon Summit in December 1996, said: We have accepted these principles as a basis. And we think that Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group may relay on these very principles and achieve the preparation of a peace agreement.

Speaking about the proposals of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group - Russian Federation, the Unites States of America and France and about their activities aimed at the settlement of this conflict, the Azerbaijani President noted that Azerbaijan, in principle, accepted the proposals of the Co-Chairs of September 1997 regarding the solution of the conflict in two stage. We were informed that Armenia also accepts these proposals. But afterwards, it turned out that it was impossible to realize these proposals. Because of some reasons activities of the Co-chairs were suspended for a while. Nevertheless, we addressed our appeals to the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group regarding the realization of those proposals. And they promised to prepare and submit new proposals.

Speaking about the proposals made by the Co-Chairs on 9 November of 1998 President Heydar Aliyev said that they have carefully analyzed those proposals and approached them with great responsibility. On 9 November we informed the Co-Chairs that these proposals are unacceptable for Azerbaijan. And they promised to take into consideration our suggestions. And according to the information, Armenia, in principle, has accepted those proposals. We had officially delivered our opinion regarding these proposals to the Co-Chairs in written form.

Explaining the reasons why Azerbaijan didn`t accept those proposals, the Azerbaijani President noted that Armenia with the help of some states has occupied 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory, for six years and more than a million people banished from those places are living in tents in very critical conditions. The Nagorno-Karabakh, an inseparable and integral part of Azerbaijan is occupied by Armenia. But Azerbaijan will never reconcile with the occupation of a part of its territory by any country. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is protected by the principles of the international law, as well as by the OSCE principles.

Further, the Azerbaijani President said that making compromise, Azerbaijan may agree with granting highest self-administration status to the Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan as it is fixed in the norms of international law. But new proposals imply a "common state"principle, which is practiced neither in the international practices, nor is reflected in any documents of the international law. These proposals imply that Azerbaijan has to create a common state with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic which is not existing and not recognized by any other country. Sovereign Azerbaijan can`t create a common state with Nagorno-Karabakh, which has got some "free hand"as a result of military attack against Azerbaijan and aggressive policy of Armenia. This proposal is contrary to the national interests of Azerbaijan. Those who saw and have got to know the aggression made against Azerbaijan and are aware of the damages caused and hardships, which Azerbaijan faced with, should not treat Azerbaijan in this way.

Expressing his regret regarding the fact that these new proposals have been made without consenting them with Azerbaijan, and that the cease-fire is preserved since 1994, Azerbaijani President said that as a result of joint efforts of the world community and OSCE, the integrity of our country will be ensured, displaced people will return to their native lands, and Nagorno-Karabakh with the highest self-administration status within Azerbaijan will live in normal conditions.

While expressing his satisfaction with his visit to Azerbaijan and with the meeting with President Heydar Aliyev, Mr. Bronislav Geremek said that OSCE will render support for ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, for returning the refugees to their homes, for establishing peace, stability and justice in the region.

Expressing his consent with the thoughts of the Azerbaijani President, Mr. Geremek thanked President Heydar Aliyev for his support to the Minsk Group, and highly appreciated the initiatives of Azerbaijan and that the cease-fire regime is maintained.

The guest highly appreciated the results of the official visit of President Heydar Aliyev to Poland and expressed the hope that the forthcoming visit of President Kwasniewski to Azerbaijan will strengthen the partnership between the two countries and help the development of political, economic, cultural and other relations.

The tête-à-tête meeting passed in the atmosphere of mutual understanding and sincerety.

Newspaper "Azerbaijan", 27 November 1998