From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the tete-a-tete meeting with President of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski, Warsaw, Presidential Palace, August 26, 1997

Mr. Kwasniewski,

First of all, thank you for inviting me to pay an official visit to Poland and for the warm welcome. As the head of the independent Azerbaijan I appreciate my first official visit to Poland historical event.

I declare that Azerbaijan gained independence, our independence is eternal and irreversible. But after independence, we faced problems. One of them is the military aggression of Armenia against our country with the purpose of occupation of Nagorniy-Karabakh. As a result of this aggression, 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory has been occupied by the Armenian armed forces, over one million people have been forcibly expelled from their lands and many of them live in grave conditions, in tents. Despite all this, we try to resolve this conflict peacefully, and in May of 1994 we achieved a ceasefire agreement. Let me remind you that the unconstructive position of Armenia prevents the resolution of the conflict. Armenia does not accept the principles adopted at the Lisbon Summit and the proposals of the current co-chairs of the Minsk Group of OSCE. The Azerbaijani side has accepted the latest proposals of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group as a basis in order to intensify the negotiating process and we support the resolution of the conflict in accordance with the Lisbon Principles. I especially emphasize that Azerbaijan does not claim to territory of any country, but also does not intend to cede an inch of our land to anyone.

Speaking about the internal situation in Azerbaijan we can say that lack of stability in the country for the first time did not allow to get engaged in building the infrastructure. Now the situation has changed. In Azerbaijan there is a political stability. We are building a democratic and constitutional secular state. The first democratic constitution of the country was adopted, and a democratic parliament was elected on the basis of a multi-party system. I also want to remind the fact that Azerbaijan defends its borders on its territory itself and there are no foreign bases. We want to decide our own destiny.

Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the integration into the European structures and participates in the «Partnership for Peace» program of NATO. Mr. President, I thank you and the Polish government for supporting the fair position of Azerbaijan in the Lisbon Summit of OSCE. I note that in peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, we cherish great hopes in Poland as the future co-chair of OSCE.

Mr. President, informing you on the changes in our country, on the implementation of economic reforms and privatization program, I would like to note that Azerbaijan follows the path of the market economy. I emphasize that Azerbaijan wants to develop relations with all countries of the world, has signed contracts with foreign companies on joint oil development in the deposits in our country, determined the route of export pipelines and made active efforts to reach agreements on the Eurasian transport corridor which is already functioning.

I would like to note that Poland, which is located on a favorable spot in Europe, may also use this corridor. I declare that Azerbaijan considers the cooperation with Poland, which is one of the biggest countries in Europe, as an important part of its foreign policy.

At the end of our meeting, I invite you to pay an official visit to our country.