Interview of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev for local and foreign journalists at Bina airport of Baku before flying to Istanbul for participating at the Summit of heads of states and governments of the OSCE member-countries - November 17, 1999

Question: Mister President, what can you say about your current visit to brotherly Republic of Turkey?

Heydar Aliyev: I always visit to brotherly Republic of Turkey with the great desire and the feeling of love. Because it is our friendly country. I am very satisfied with the holding the OSCE summit in Istanbul, Turkey at the end of XX century. This is very big, significant event for the Turkic world and Republic of Turkey and as well as for us. Our people, the Turkish people can be proud of it.

Our purpose is clear - to take part at the summit. You know that the OSCE summit is recognized by one of the most prestigious meetings of the international organizations of the world, because in general, within its 25-year history, the OSCE really made great efforts for protection of peace and security, human rights, development of democracy in the world and carried out the vigorous activity in realization of these principles.

Therefore, the development of Azerbaijan as the independent state, as a whole, its membership in this organization and participation at the summit together with heads of states, delegations of countries of the world entering the OSCE, certainly, are very important for our nation, the Azerbaijani people. We are proud that our country, nation, state are independent and we, being the independent state, enjoy the equal rights in this organization like the great states of the world, and we will take part at the summit of this organization with equal rights. This is our purpose.

Problems to be discussed there are known. I have spoken about it at the recent meeting with a group of writers and poets. Anyway, it is already the third OSCE summit at which I represent Azerbaijan. The first summit was held in December, 1994 in Budapest, the second - in December, 1996 in Lisbon, Portugal. At last, the current summit is in Istanbul. I am rather satisfied with that Azerbaijan has been represented. As the President of Azerbaijan, I will represent Azerbaijan and like the previous summits I, undoubtedly, will try to achieve the realization of issues concerning national interests of Azerbaijan. National interests of Azerbaijan will be completely protected.

Question: Mister President, what does Azerbaijan expect from this meeting?

Heydar Aliyev: Azerbaijan expects whatever is expected by all Europe now. It expects much. The charter - the political declaration, which contains many important articles for strengthening peace and security, development of democracy in the European region and other principles of the Helsinki treaty, will be adopted. Much is expected.

Question: Mister President, whether the agreement on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will be signed?

Heydar Aliyev: We work on the agreement connected with the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline for a year. You know, within five years - since September, 1994 - Azerbaijan has been playing the leading part in acceptance of the project of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline and achieved it. A year ago, after the signing of declaration in Ankara, we have carried out sufficient work. Our delegation within this year, it is possible to tell, worked for two-three months with short breaks, in Ankara, in Istanbul with Turkey, with Georgia, and in particular together with Turkey for preparation of this contract. This work has been completed and the contract will be signed.

Question: Is any framework agreement connected with the Transcaspian gas pipeline expected?

Heydar Aliyev: It will be signed too.

Question: Mister President, will you raise the question on increase of a quota of Azerbaijan on conventional armaments?

Heydar Aliyev: You listened to me. We have been raising this question for four years. However, we can not achieve it as the quota of non a country is increased. At that time, I have explained it for the first time and I am repeating that chaos, anarchy, struggle for power in Azerbaijan have exposed Azerbaijan to such a tragedy too.

Yes, in May, 1992, in negotiations between the NATO and Russia after the disintegration of the Warsaw pact, Russia headed the CIS states in Tashkent to define the amount of weapons in the possession of countries being in the Warsaw pact, and in the republics including in territory of Russia.

I should say that experts from Azerbaijan have carried out very fruitful work there and prepared good offers. However, at that time nobody was thinking of statehood of Azerbaijan. Mutallibov committed a crime - left the power. His supporters tried to return him to the power for one-two months. The Popular front, Musavat and others having taken advantage of this chance, when people had risen against the injustice, which existed during that period to Azerbaijan, against the Soviet power, against the communist party, they tried to seize the power. Who won and who lost in this struggle for authority? Again Azerbaijan lost! First, political stability was broken in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan remained in heavy situation. Secondly, when such a problem was solved, not a normal delegation, who would be provided with the considered offers, went to Tashkent from Azerbaijan.

You know that on May7, Armenians occupied Shusha, you remember it. Therefore crisis because of anarchy began in Azerbaijan. On May 14, Mutallibov's supporters returned him again to the power. On May 15, people gathered and dethroned him and it was correct step. But people who at that time were struggling for authority, thought of themselves being covered with ideas, purposes of people and today they do not change their mind. Nobody thought of the nation, our country, and our state.

Therefore, nobody knows who went to Tashkent at that time. Two-three years ago, when we investigated this matter, we could not find out who went there and who signed the contract. We could not define the owner of the signature. Someone says that it is Rahim Gaziyev's signature. Abbas Abbasov, one of those people who is now with us, has admitted that he went there. And who is the owner of the signature? He said it was not his signature. So, whose is this? May be, it is Rahim Gaziyev's? It was compared with Rahim Gaziyev's signature, but those were different. At last, it was found. It was signed by Azizbayov, who was at that time the deputy chairman of the Soviet of Ministers. He is the person whom everybody has forgotten. Probably, he worked temporarily.

Is it possible to solve such an important question which has a state significance in this way? Is it possible to solve it with such delegation? Experts are alive today and they say they have prepared such offer at that time: as the territory and the population of Azerbaijan are more than territories and populations of other republics of the Southern Caucasus, our quota should be more: 400, 415, 420. And there was a consent about it. However, Rahim Gaziyev went to negotiate with Grachev and with someone else in order to be brought power. Mutallibov again returned to power owing to bodies of special services of Moscow. The Popular Front, Musavat and other organizations like them wished to be united and seize the power. Everybody sacrificed the interests of the nation to gain their interests.

Since then, we have fallen into a trap. I said already, I am repeating once again, talks with us have been conducted for four years in this respect. And talks are carried on by delegations of a high level of the United States of America. They have arrived here three years ago, on the eve of the Lisbon summit, we carried on negotiations. At last, they addressed to me in Lisbon. We did not give our consent. Then we realized that it was impossible to increase a quota. The treaty about conventional armaments should have been signed too and if it was not signed, probably, it would represent a big danger to our region.

You know that now Russia lays claim to get privilege to contain more weapons in the Caucasus on the basis of the new contract, as the condition in the Caucasus is difficult. Then, if this contract is not signed, Russia will place as many weapons wherever it wants to. You understand? The situation is so. Therefore, we were compelled to give our consent. Nobody will increase our quota.

Question: Mister President, will there be a meeting within the framework of GUUAM in Istanbul?

Heydar Aliyev: It is possible.

Do you have other questions? There are too many journalists here but you cannot ask a proper question. You do not worry whether anything will be signed there? I see you calmed down. Why are you silent?

Journalist: You have spoken about everything at the meeting with writers.

Heydar Aliyev: At the meeting with writers. And if I did not meet writers?.. You know, the majority of you succumb to panic of opposition. Musavat is one of their heads. Yes, you fall under influence of everything. Therefore, you fall under influence of this sensation.

But the people causing a sensation have neither protected the national interests of Azerbaijan, nor thought of the national interests of Azerbaijan. I am speaking about all of them. In 1988, 1989, when people in Azerbaijan rose to protect their rights, each of them just was prompt and could show themselves. And their true purpose was to seize the power.

Even recently, Elchibay has written in one of the newspapers that in his conversation with Primakov, the latter had asked him about his desire. He had answered: to conduct elections - as they knew that if elections were held at that time they would have a majority of voices. It means, it was just struggle for authority. That is, at that time everybody united not for prevention of the Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict not stopping the attack against Azerbaijan, but struggling for authority in such intense situation. They themselves acknowledge it.

This is their real face. And it is ten years that they create a sensation from time to time. And you fall under their influence. I advise you to use your own brains. Those who create now a sensation have always become enemy to each other, competed with each other. They always accuse each other in anything.

Now all of them are united to take advantage of the situation and wish to show themselves again. Someone wishes to go to Turkey, to hold there demonstration. Somebody here creates a sensation. I remember, in the past there was such a saying in Azerbaijan: He is famous only in his country. Do you remember this saying? And now it is also used - He is famous only in his country.

I am emphasizing, first, they have not a love to each other. It is such a friendship that today they are friends and tomorrow they are enemies. It is love of such people, who are with you today and tomorrow - with somebody else and the fourth day - with another person. They are people of that sort.

And such people wish to go to Istanbul and hold there demonstration. Who are you, are you known by anybody there? Within six years, we express our opinion on these problems, we protect interests of Azerbaijan, we give specific proposals, we achieve the acceptance of necessary decisions from the most prestigious tribunes of the world. And nobody knows those people abroad and there is no unity among them. There is neither a constancy of love, nor a constancy of friendship. Now these people are again in the scene. I would not advise you be subjected to their influence. Thank you.

It was translated from its Azerbaijani original in "The Peace Bridge to XXI century" (The visit of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev to Turkey connected with the OSCE Istanbul Summit - November 17-20, 1999) - "Nurol" publishing house, Baku - 2000, page 151-160.