From the conversation of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with Steven Mann, the US ambassador for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy - May 16, 2002

Heydar Aliyev: Welcome to Azerbaijan. I am very glad to meet you again. I see ‎that you are fine. ‎

Steven Mann: I completely agree with you. Mister President, thank you for the ‎invitation to visit Baku. The President of the USA George W. Bush and Secretary ‎of State Colin Powell have sent their regards to you. They have specially asked me ‎to convey their compliments to you. Vice-president Dick Cheney has also sent his ‎regards to you. ‎

Before coming here I have met vice-president. He has very high opinion on your ‎leadership, your cooperation with the United States of America in the field of ‎development of energy resources of the Caspian Sea and said many kind words. ‎Once again thank you very much, mister President. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you, mister ambassador. I am very glad to hear so many ‎greetings. To receive a greeting from President Bush is naturally very pleasant to ‎me, as well as from Secretary of State Colin Powell and vice-president Cheney. ‎

I am very glad that they, as you noted, highly estimate our activity. It is great ‎support for us and personally for me. Because as you know, we carry out here ‎some works in complex conditions. Therefore support given to us assumes great ‎importance for us. Please convey my greetings and deepest respect to President ‎Bush. Convey my sincere greetings to the Secretary of State Mister Colin Powell. ‎Convey my greetings, respect as well as to vice-president Cheney. Inform them ‎that we will continue our friendship, our cooperation as well as henceforth. ‎

Vice-president Mister Cheney has once visited Azerbaijan. We have carried on ‎very interesting talks with him here. But both the Secretary of State Colin Powell ‎and President Mister George Bush should come to Azerbaijan. Once again I ‎express my gratitude to you for kind messages.

Steven Mann: Thank you very much, mister President. With feeling of big ‎enthusiasm I will convey your greetings to Washington. As it is known, we already ‎work on very important energy project for long years. We are close enough to ‎achieving realization of this project. We pursue the process of development of oil ‎and gas deposits of Azerbaijan with big interest. With feeling of pride I wish to say ‎that the United States of America is the partner of Azerbaijan in lining new ‎pipelines. ‎

Thus, I have come here to cooperate closely with Azerbaijan and to promote ‎development of the project, its prompt realization during these last weeks before ‎construction of pipelines. ‎

I have already held very fruitful meetings in Azerbaijan with minister of fuel and ‎energy, representatives of the State Oil Company and the foreign oil companies ‎acting in Azerbaijan. All information that I got from them has positive character. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: Perfect. As you know, we work connected with this project already ‎for a long time. The United States of America has constantly supported us in ‎realization of this project in the heaviest conditions. I remember, when heads of ‎Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia signed in 1999 in Istanbul the contract on ‎construction of the Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan main export oil pipeline - not only ‎heads of three states, but also Kazakhstan has joined this project, it was signed as ‎well as by the President of the United States of America mister Bill Clinton. We ‎work on this project since 1994 and, at last, signed the agreement on it in 1997. ‎After that, the second stage of our work has started. We have also finished it ‎successfully. Now there is a third stage, we start construction. The president of ‎State oil company Natig Aliyev has informed me on the negotiations carried on ‎with you. He has informed you on some insignificant problems. I do not wish to ‎stop now on these, these are not important question... These are questions which ‎depend on companies, other persons. And all of these will be solved. ‎

As you know, now there are those who unfriendly concern to the project of Baku - ‎Tbilisi - Ceyhan. Some people claim that it will not turn into reality. They express ‎their desire. They want to convince that their desires are true. Therefore, there is a ‎big interest, attention to Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan all over the world, but at the same ‎time resistance from various sides. ‎

Therefore your visit to Azerbaijan, your activity, which is especially connected ‎with this question, makes me happy very much. ‎

We will realize this project. I do not doubt at all. But it is necessary to prevent ‎some obstacles that they can not detain us. I think you will assist and control this ‎work. ‎

Steven Mann: Thank you very much, mister President. We really should solve ‎some questions. These are not questions of principle, these do not influence ‎realization of the project practically. But it is well-known both to oil industry and ‎to the entire world that the project of Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan will be realized. ‎Certainly, there is a resistance to this project. ‎

However, mister President, I have both economic and intellectual arguments which ‎prove that the project of Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan will benefit not only to ‎Azerbaijan, but also all region. It is a way of an economic progress and ‎development for Eurasia. The old Soviet monopoly has remained in the past. ‎Azerbaijan itself works by involving foreign investments in the country. The ‎obvious appearance of it is the creation of East - West corridor.‎

Thus, mister President, in our country there is a great respect to the decisions ‎accepted by you and to the way defined by you. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. Once again I am noting that for our country it is ‎extremely important to overcome all obstacles which arise on our way. ‎

As you know, we - heads of states of the near-Caspian countries - held a meeting in ‎Ashgabat. I wanted to inform mister Wilson related to it, but I did not have a time. ‎I consider this meeting enough fruitful. We did not make any decision. I knew that ‎no decision would be accepted. However, this meeting, held for the first time, was ‎very important in itself. Because the near-Caspian countries stated there their ‎positions openly, not alone, not in a press, but to each other. Positions of ‎Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan coincided. Positions of Turkmenistan and Iran ‎were different. Anyway, positions and desires of sides became clear to everybody. ‎I am very happy with it. Despite we did not solve anything, anyway we stated our ‎positions to each other. ‎

As you know, agreements concerning it were already signed between Russia and ‎Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. One of these days ‎Russia and Kazakhstan signed last agreement in Moscow, concerning coordinates ‎of division of sectors in the sea. We also prepare such agreement with Russia. I ‎think that in the beginning of June, I will meet President Putin in St.-Petersburg, ‎and we will sign this agreement. ‎

Thus, although the status of the Caspian Sea was not defined yet, promotion in this ‎question proceeds. ‎

Steven Mann: I think, the agreement reached by Russia and Kazakhstan is very big ‎positive step. Beforehand, I congratulate you on the occasion of achievement of the ‎agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan. I consider that it is realistic approach to ‎the problem of division of the Caspian Sea on sectors. ‎

Mister President, it seems to me that you have already shown to Russia and ‎Kazakhstan that people should approach to problems not only from the point of ‎view of administrative division, it is necessary to consider economic interests as ‎well. This question is very difficult in the Southern Caucasus. However, I think ‎that by means of diplomacy, mind and tolerance, it can be achieved in the Southern ‎Caucasus too. ‎

The United States of America would be happy to give support to your efforts, and ‎also efforts of other countries - Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia - by any ‎means. ‎

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. ‎

Brief essays


General historical background

Azerbaijan - USA

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - USA