From the talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev while receiving the delegation headed by Jan Kalitsky, advisor of the US Department of Trade on newly independent states, plenipotentiary on energy issues Jan Kalitsky - Presidential palace, March 3, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: Distinguished Mr. Kalitsky, distinguished guests, you are welcome to Azerbaijan!

Mr. Kalitsky, we met in Washington just 15 days ago. You are in Azerbaijan now, I am very glad. I am always pleased to meet you. Because very sincere contacts have been established between us for several years. These contacts contribute to the development of the US-Azerbaijani relations, especially economic contacts. In one word, your every visit is useful.

I know that you have already held some meetings here. I think they were fruitful. I am very pleased with our meeting. Please.

Jan Kalitsky: Thank You very much, Mr. President. It is very pleasant to see You in Baku after our meting in Washington. I would like to congratulate You for our fine and fruitful meeting with President Clinton. He considers himself close to You and Azerbaijan. It turned out that we are meeting with You in Baku immediately after our meeting in Washington.

Mr. President, we cooperate with You for a long time. As You said, this personal cooperation is between our states as well. This cooperation is very pleasant for me and I enjoy it much. I must say that every time when I come to Baku, I see progress here. Under Your leadership economy of the countries advances, stability strengthens and security is provided here. The most important is that contacts with the US become closer and develop.

Mr. President, it is the result of Your farsightedness that the economy of Azerbaijan advances and our contacts develop too. But not only in economy, in all the spheres of life one can see this development and progress. We could feel this change as soon as we arrived in airport and saw a new terminal. I must note that when we came in Your office, we noticed that Your reception hall changed and became more beautiful. I once again thank You for our meeting today.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you, thank you very much. I am very satisfied with my visit to the United States. Naturally, my meeting with Mr. President Bill Clinton in the White House is of a special importance. We once more discussed all of the issues important both for Azerbaijan and United States, and we declared our friendship and cooperation in this sphere.

As you know, Ms. Albright and Mr. Sandy Berger also took part in these talks. I am very glad for this. My other meetings with the Energy Minister Richardson, Secretary of Defense William Kohen and Minister of Agriculture Glyckmann and at Eximbank were useful as well.

I had also one special meeting, it was very important for me. I was in the house of our friend, famous politician Mr. Zbigniew Brezinsky and met his family. He wished very much that I got acquainted with his wife and son. The former Secretary of Defense Mr. Schlesinger and Deputy Secretary of Defense Mr. Wolfowitz were there too.

It is true that I had received an invitation just to meet his family, but our conversation became of political character. We had a very interesting talk. The issue is that the people in your country have very amicable relations although one of them is democrat, another one is republican.

Jan Kalitsky: You are quite right Mr. President. I also have friends from both parties who are democrats and republicans. You are right. When I worked for the government I had the happiness to work under Henry Kissinger`s leadership. I suppose I gained much experience from this job.

Heydar Aliyev: That is very nice that people from different parties in the society are in good terms with each other. I think it is the highest point of democracy. I wish it were the same in our country. We sat and had lunch. They were from different parties, but they had very amicable and friendly relations.

Jan Kalitsky: You are right, Mr. President. We hope in the United States that there will be new elections in Azerbaijan and after these elections people from different political parties will be in good terms. Although different viewpoints in various issues, they will support each other in national issues.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, we need it very much, we ultimately need it. Unfortunately, we are lagging behind this issue. It is true that none of the newly independent states chosen the path of democracy has achieved the desired level. It is a question of time and experience. People must acquire the culture of democracy, culture of opposition and culture of power. It needs time and desire.

Jan Kalitsky: Mr. President we needed more than two hundred years for democratic institutions work in full capacity. But even today we face many hardships and we must overcome them all. We really needed much time to establish such a community that all its members could enjoy all rights within this.

On the other hand, Mr. President I was fascinated by the quality of the political leadership in Azerbaijan. That is why I think that Azerbaijan won`t need two hundred years to realize all of these as in the United States.

Heydar Aliyev: Of course no. We can`t wait for two hundred years, and I can`t live for 200 years.

Jan Kalitsky: At least 50 years.

Heydar Aliyev: 50 years. Yes, if I can live for 25 years, then we can achieve it within this period.

Jan Kalitsky: No, Mr. President. I suppose you will not live less than 50 years. I think it even will not take 50 years. After such a fruitful activity, democracy will be established completely here.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you. Please, I am listening you.

Jan Kalitsky: Mr. President, I suggest You to discuss three issues. The first one is an issue of economy. I would like to discuss the conours of our economic relations and our future cooperation. The second is the issue of transportation of oil and gas. I want to discuss this issue with You. The third is the economic and political situation in the Caucasus and its perspectives.

Mr. President, as You know, before coming here I visited Turkey and then held meetings in Armenia. I met President Shevardnadze in Georgia as well. President Shevardnadze conveyed You his greetings via me, and told that he waited for the meeting with You impatiently.

Mr. President I want to say my last words representatives of for the mass media who are present here. I want to congratulate You, you have achieved great progress in the talks with the Georgian delegation this week in Istanbul. I mean the main export pipeline. You initiated and started this cooperation. Owing to Your eforts, the oil export pipeline which will stretch to Turkey, then to the West from this region has become a reality. I think namely thanks to You, Presidents Shevardnadze and Demirel we will build the oil pipeline from Baku to Tbilisi, then to Ceyhan and the energy resources of Azerbaijan will be delivered to Turkey and from here to the West successfully.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, we worked on it for five years. In November we signed an agreement with the participation of President Clinton. Later its realization was delayed. But you know, it was not up to us. Our Georgian friends suggested some conditions. We gave them explanations. But I know that you, the United States played an important role in the settlement of this issue. Ambassador Wolf worked much for this in Ankara, Baku and Istanbul. The issue was resolved. But as you know there is another issue, which is the tariff.

Jan Kalitsky: Mr. President it is a small problem.

Heydar Aliyev: No, it is not. It is a big problem. It lays on us. May be Georgia considers it a small issue because they demand high tariffs. But we will settle it too. I ordered our delegation to discuss this issue with our Prime Minister and report to me. I suppose we will resolve this problem until my visit to Georgia.

I shall be visit Georgia in the coming days. We just have much works to do, I have not been in the country for 15 days. I awarded President Shevardnadze with the highest order of Azerbaijan.

Jan Kalitsky: Very fine.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, it was published in the newspaper yesterday.

Jan Kalitsky: Mr. President, I am sure that the delegations from Azerbaijan and Georgia will narrow this question to such an extent that you will hold a very successful meeting with President Shevardnadze.

Heydar Aliyev: No, this question will be resolved before the meeting.

Jan Kalitsky: Mr. President, if you have not any statement for the press we can pass to discussions.

Heydar Aliyev: No, thank you, I have not a statement.

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, March 4, 2000.