Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the joint press conference with President of Romania Ion Iliescu - Bucharest, July 2, 1995

Ladies and gentlemen,

I sincerely thank Mr. Iliescu, President of Romania, for inviting me to visit Romania. I am pleased that my visit took place and completed successfully today. I express my gratitude to Mr. Iliescu and all our friends, to the Romanian colleagues for their warm hospitality, friendship and respect. We were surrounded with care during our stay in Romania, at the summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and during my official visits yesterday and today. All this created a very favorable environment for our business meetings and for achieving our goal.  

Romania is a European country with a centuries-old history and wonderful traditions. However, there are major political changes in the recent years in Romania. All this is of great interest to us. Therefore, creation of closer relations for the future cooperation is of particular importance for the independent Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan gained its independence three and a half years ago, it is located at the junction of Europe and Asia and tries to establish close relations with the European countries. Due to its geographical location and many other factors Azerbaijan can be a good partner for Romania in terms of future cooperation. That is what characterizes our high-level meeting.

I am pleased that this official visit took place. I am also pleased with our meetings and very effective talks with President Iliescu and the heads of other governmental bodies in Romania. I am particularly pleased that we signed important documents which lay the foundation for the future cooperation.

The statement on friendship and strategic partnership between Romania and Azerbaijan signed by the Presidents of the two countries are of particular importance. I believe that the statement is a key document and in accordance with it, we have to prepare and sign specific documents which define the particular directions of the future cooperation.

Azerbaijan is experiencing a complicated and difficult period in its history. Along with this it is a very glorious period due to the fact that Azerbaijan has achieved its independence and solves its problems independently. However, there are a lot of internal and external challenges. The most difficult problem for Azerbaijan is the war forcibly imposed on our country and our people by Armenia seven years ago. The purpose of this war is to annex a part of the territory of Azerbaijan. This war has caused serious consequences particularly, of 20 percent of the Azerbaijani lands have been occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Over a million Azerbaijanis have been expelled from these territories. Now they live in other regions of the country in tents in very difficult conditions.

We try to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan peacefully and take measures for it. We have particular hopes for OSCE and the Minsk group. The Minsk Group was specifically created to deal with this issue. Naturally, we turn to each member of OSCE, including Romania for the help and support in order to get out of this difficult situation.

We do not claim to the territories of the other countries, but try to ensure peace and stability in our region and want the world community to demonstrate justice which concerns the fate of the Azerbaijani people. An important condition for a lasting peace is the full maintenance of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, inviolability of its borders and its sovereignty.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which continues for seven years, and the separatism, which forms the basis of this conflict, convincingly prove that any form of separatism is condemned regardless of where and by whom it is committed. Thus, as a result of the separatist intentions of particular groups, certain ethnic groups and forces in different regions of the globe there are numerous conflicts and hot beds. Of course, it bothers the world and evokes great concern.

Azerbaijan is against any form of separatism and terrorism and believes that the international community must mobilize all the efforts to eliminate this difficult situation from several parts of the world. These issues were discussed at the past and present talks and negotiations. I am pleased that our views coincide.

This visit, which is being already completed, proves that there are great opportunities for the development of cooperation between Romania and Azerbaijan. Therefore, we shall do everything possible in Azerbaijan to make this cooperation successful.

We signed a declaration on friendship and cooperation and I can ensure you and all the Romanian public that the independent Republic of Azerbaijan will work to strengthen and develop the friendly relations between the Romanian and the Azerbaijani peoples and do everything possible for the mutual and friendly relations between the Romanian and Azerbaijani people.

I attach great importance to the meetings held here and consider them a start for the dialogue between Romania and Azerbaijan. I believe that this will continue on all levels, especially in Azerbaijan. I have officially invited President of Romania Mr. Iliescu to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan and my invitation has been accepted.

Taking this opportunity, I once more convey a deep sense of respect, friendship and best wishes to the people of Romania on behalf of Azerbaijani people and wish the independent Romania, the Romanian people happiness, success and prosperity.

Thank you for your attention.

Question to the Romanian President: Did you come to any agreement in connection with the start of work on some specific economic projects during the negotiations with the Azerbaijani delegation? If you did, then what kind of projects are they?

Second question: Is Romania ready to provide OSCE with an effective assistance in organizing the international contingent with peacekeeping forces for sending them to the region of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict?

Ion Iliescu: As to economic relations, they were the most important themes of our talks. They were the main topic at the high-level meetings which the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation attended. On the one hand, we have drawn attention to the need of searching possible ways to resume the traditional economic relations. However, this time it was discussed in new conditions and terms. There are direct traditions of relations. This primarily covers such areas as oil industry, petrochemical industry, production of oil equipment and other industrial fields and sectors.

In our negotiations we also discussed the need for the structural changes in our economies and issues concerning our zones and regions. We talked about the possibilities of cooperation in future, creation of straight lines between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, straight lines between Azerbaijan and Romania and on the construction of gas and oil pipelines to shorten the length of the routes passing through Russia and Ukraine. All this was discussed in the framework of high-level meetings.

What concerns the establishment of a contingent of peace-keepers, we have a political decision in non-participation in such associations in the neighboring countries, as well as in the republics of the former Soviet Union and this decision is consistent with the resolutions and decisions of the United Nations.

Question set to Heydar Aliyev: Mr. President, to what extent the membership of Azerbaijan in the Commonwealth of Independent States can affect the independence of your republic that you protect?

Heydar Aliyev: Our membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States is based only on the fact that the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan cannot be prejudiced and Azerbaijan believes that the Commonwealth of Independent States is necessary first of all in terms of economic integration, and it takes as a basis the fact that in the past, in the Soviet Union our economy was closely integrated with the economies of other republics of the present Commonwealth of Independent States. We approach to the participation in the Commonwealth of Independent States only from the position of the complete independence of Azerbaijan.