President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev received the Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menegarashvily - April 8, 1997



Yesterday, President Heydar Aliyev received the Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menegarishvily who is on a visit in Azerbaijan.

Warmly greeting the guest President Heydar Aliyev said that he was satisfied with his arrival and noted that mutual visits played an important role in the development of the friendly relations between our countries. He added that he was aware of the talks conducted by I.Menegarishvily in the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan and was satisfied with their results.

M. Menegarishvily conveyed the best regards of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze to the Azerbaijani President. Following up, he said that the high-level visit of President Shevardnadze to Azerbaijan in February of the current year is highly appreciated in Georgia and the agreements signed during the visit are important steps for expanding friendly relations between the peoples. The guest added that a working group has been established by the Georgian party to implement the signed agreements during the visit and the goal of his visit is to exchange views with his Azerbaijani colleagues connected with the realization of those documents and discuss the future prospects of cooperation. He stressed that he witnessed the they had the same views in these issues at the meetings held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.

President H.Aliyev noted that the visit of President E. Shevardnadze to Azerbaijan was a great event indeed. The visit was successful and we highly appreciate its results. During the visit, we signed a number of documents connected with the development of the bilateral cooperation, including a statement on strategic cooperation of the two states. The statement is of great importance not only for Azerbaijan and Georgia, but the entire world. President Aliyev added that the signed documents on economic cooperation and Transcaucasian highway in the course of the visit are also of great importance and we are busy with the implementation of them at present.

Talking about the situation in the region, President Heydar Aliyev noted that peace is a great gift for the Caucasus with the unsettled armed conflicts. From this point of view, cooperation of the Caucasian states for the sake of peace and stability serves the interests of the Caucasian peoples. He reminded that the Azerbaijani and Georgian presidents signed \"The Tbilisi Declaration\" last year and it is open to all the neighboring countries. Such a document was signed in Kislovodsk later. But the strategic cooperation of Georgia and Azerbaijan is of special importance. A document on strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine signed last month attracts the attention of the world as the continuation of this process.

President Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan wanted to cooperate with all the states of the region. He mentioned warm relations with Russia, Turkey and Iran. But the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and occupation of 20 percent of its territory as a result does not allow to Azerbaijan establish normal contacts with Armenia. In such a situation good relations of Georgia and Azerbaijan with the bordering states open prospects to put off the fires of conflicts in the Caucasus.

President Heydar Aliyev said that there are much to be done for the development of the Azerbaijani-Georgian cooperation, and great efforts must be made to provide economic growth of the two countries and increase of welfare and security of the two peoples. He stressed that the position of Azerbaijan is stable in the sphere of security. But discovery of the facts about the delivery of huge amount of arms to Armenia from Russia is of great concern. President Aliyev reminded that he sent a letter to the Russian President Boris Yeltsin when it was revealed at the beginning of the past month. Later he met and talked with him privately at the Summit of CIS and they agreed that obstacles to the development of contacts among the CIS members must be eliminated. But new facts were revealed at the beginning of the current year, on the new arms deal between Russia and Armenia. It is known from the press that how much and what kind of arms have been delivered to Armenia. He said that he sent a letter to the Russian President again connected with these facts. President Yeltsin gave an order to relevant bodies to investigate the facts. This issue was also discussed in our parliament and an appeal was made to the Russian State Duma and expected the relevant bodies of Russia to take necessary steps to take those arms back.

President Aliyev said that he was against the conflicts among the CIS states and made a statement connected with it in the Ashgabat Summit of CIS in December 1993. But this issue did not receive a necessary attention then. In the Moscow Summit all the heads of states demonstrated solidarity in this issue past month.

According to Heydar Aliyev the armament of Armenia worries Georgia, too. He said he hoped that Georgia will actively declare its position connected with this issue. Because if today these arms are pointed at Azerbaijan, tomorrow they can be pointed at another country. That is why the above mentioned issue must be permanently kept in the focus.

The Azerbaijani President noted the improvement of conditions in the Azerbaijani settled regions of Georgia with satisfaction and said that it contributed to the development of friendly relations between the two peoples.

Talking about the current situation connected with the cooperation between the two countries Mr. Menegarishvili noted that a forum dedicated to the ways of the realization of the project of the Transcaucasian highway is being held in Tbilisi at the moment. The representatives of the international organizations attend the event along with the interested countries. Neighboring countries, including Ukraine and Belarus are also interested in this project. A concrete work is under way for the realization of this project.

The rest of the meeting was held in private.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hasan Hasanov and the Georgian Ambassador to Baku Georgiy Chanturia participated at the meeting.

Translated from \"Azerbaijan\" newspaper, April 9, 1997.