Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with Secretary - General Javier Solana - Brussels, April 23 1996

Honorable Mr. Secretary - General!

I am pleased to be here, in the headquarters of NATO, and talk to you. You already mentioned that it is not my first visit. In May, 1994, I came and signed the program "Partnership for Peace". We sincerely accepted to the call of NATO to join this program. We highly appreciate it. This program is a great stimulus to establish peace and security in Europe and in the world as well. Therefore, Azerbaijan joined this program two years ago. I have put my signature on it.

Mr. Secretary - General, today I submitted to you the presentation of Azerbaijan to you on this program. I am satisfied with the talks I had with you, and the views we exchanged. They are of utmost importance for bilateral relations, including for peace and security in the Caucasus. We also discussed peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. I hope that NATO will make an effort for the peaceful solution of the conflict.

We made a joint statement with the Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan as the result of negotiations held in Luxembourg on the peaceful settlement of the conflict. I also gave comprehensive information to you. Two years ago, we reached an agreement on cease-fire. At the same time, we proceed the peace talks and intend to put an end to the conflict peacefully. I repeate that the Armenian armed forces have to be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and more than a million internally displaced people must return to their homes. Consequently, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has to be restored. The Mountainous Garabagh within Azerbaijan is likely to be granted an autonomy.

I am confident that NATO will extend its efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict on these conditions. We regard NATO`s activity as a peaceful activity. We consider NATO`s activity as an improtant requisite for establishing peace and security in Europe and in the world. I wish great success to NATO and new members of NATO.

Mr. Secretary - General, I have invited you to official visit to Azerbaijan. You have accepted my invitation and I am sure that you will realize it soon. You have undertaken this duty recently. I am sure that you have done much in this field. Personally, I wish you success in your work.

Azerbaijan will maintain its independence. I thank you for your high appreciation of my policy as President. I extend my gratitude to you for the conversation, attention and kindness. Once more, I wish you great success.