From the conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the Italian delegation headed by Minister of Industry and Trade of Italy Pier Luigi Bersani - Presidential Palace, June 3, 1998

Heydar Aliyev: Yesterday we were together and it was a good day. First, "Caspian oil and gas - 98" international exhibition was very impressive. I am glad that Italy is worthily represented in this exhibition. But yesterday it was remarkable for both Italy and Azerbaijan because we have signed a very large and serious contract on joint developments "Kurdashi" oil deposit in the Azerbaijani Sector of the Caspian Sea.

I am glad that the relations between Italy and Azerbaijan are developing successfully. We attach great importance to it. In this regard, I remember my official visit to Italy the last September with sincerity and pleasure. I thank you for the album with the pictures of my stay in Italy that you presented to me. I had there very interesting meetings. By signing the documents between Italy and Azerbaijan there, we laid a foundation for the contract on "Kurdashi" deposit which was signed yesterday. I have very pleasant and good impressions of that visit. I am confident that we can more effectively develop cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan. I welcome the decision of the Italian government to open the Italian Embassy in Azerbaijan. The Embassy is functioning and I think it performs its functions properly.

I am pleased that you came to Azerbaijan and I think that your stay here will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with our country, our people, environment and life of this country and this in its turn, will help to develop our relations. Once more, I welcome you all.

Pier Luigi Bersani: I want to congratulate you on the great success that we witnessed yesterday at the International Exhibition. I think that this exhibition is the proof of your will and the developing economy of your country in conditions of maximum independence. We appreciate these new opportunities opened up for strengthening our relations as the beginning of a new development. We respect your policy and actions.

We believe that the presence of "Eni / Agip" in Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of our relations. Here, as well as at the Ministry of Economy we had a very interesting meeting and felt that our peoples and countries are very close. It will allow us to move on.

Heydar Aliyev: You rightly pointed out that there is a great similarity between Italy and Azerbaijan and between the Italian and Azerbaijani peoples. We have a lot of similarities in our customs, traditions and character, especially in temperament. All this is of great importance. I think all these positive aspects of our cooperation will be used effectively by the both sides.

I think that Mr. Moscato must roll up his sleeves and start to work in the "Kurdashi" deposit. I hope that in the nearest future, this contract will be approved by our Parliament, and we shall begin to work. I said it yesterday and once again I want to say that many oil companies have a very large interest in this deposit. I hope that the practical work will show the greater potential of this deposit, than we think. You will have to expand your office and unite all companies here. We, on our part shall help the consortium to conduct its activities successfully.

I highly appreciate your meetings with the Ministry of Economy, because I believe that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy should cover not only the oil and gas industry, but many other sectors of the economy. We have chosen exactly this course.

Guglielmo Moscato (President of "Eni / Agip" company): I personally thank you that during your visit to Rome we have laid a foundation for the signature of this document. Yesterday, there were many negotiations about the agreements signed with you during your visit to Italy and I must say that all of our oil industry was looking forward to the signature of this contract. As I said yesterday, we are willing to work on this contract, as well as possible, keeping all its commitments. We know your country and believe that its potential is specific. We also know that Azerbaijan is a very rich country in energy. We are ready to contribute to the development of new fields. We are currently working on a project that involves the construction of an oil pipeline from the Black Sea to Italy. We are also considering other options of transportation of oil, including your proposal.

Heydar Aliyev: You are right that we should consider all the routes. Because there is really much oil in the Caspian basin. We also believe it is necessary to consider all routes. But you, Mr. Moscato, should be even more active in the transportation of oil from Kazakhstan. I advise you to work in this direction, too.