From the speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the reception of Mr. John Wolf, special advisor to the US President and Secretary of the State for the Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy - Presidential Palace, June 7, 2000

Heydar Aliyev: We held a very well conference yesterday.

John Wolf: I congratulate you.

Heydar Aliyev: I congratulate you, too. You made a very good speech there. Our works move forward well.

John Wolf: Mr. President, I repeat once more as I said yesterday that all these progresses and achievements are due to your leadership.

Mr. President, both President Mr. Clinton and Secretary of State Mrs. Madeleine Albright asked me to convey you that they highly appreciate your activity on the project of the coming twenty first century Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan . We understand it very well in the USA.

If you remember, at the last meeting with you, I was coming to Baku from Tbilisi. Then I met President Shevardnadze and President Demirel in Tbilisi. I said at the meeting that both presidents have solved all the problems for the growth of this project. Only one problem stayed unsolved. Then you asked me if it was true? After this meeting the question was solved during your visit to Tbilisi. Thus, this agreement was concluded.

The President of the USA thinks that while it is difficult for Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijan and Georgia must preserve the spirit of cooperation in the solution of such difficult issues, it is important as the oil pipeline itself.

Mr. President I congratulate you once more on the occasion of the achievements, and the ratification of the contract of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline. I think that we have a lot of works to be done.

Heydar Aliyev: Please convey my greetings, respect and esteem to President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Mrs. Madeleine Albright.

We are working together on the project of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline for already five years and have completed it. I thank that the President of the USA highly appreciated my activity and works in this way. At the same time I want to declare that we can not realize this project if it was not supported by the USA. You supported us, we demonstrated a strong will till the end. A historical thing has been done. I agree with you that this is a great program for the twenty first century. Now we should start practical activity. This stage will not be so easy. But we can not miss it.

John Wolf: Mr. President, I wish that all the presidents participated at the ceremony on the occasion of the completing of the agreement of the contract on April 28 in Washington. Because the ceremony also is a historical event itself. It is true that then we were tired of negotiations. But now we have forgotten our tiredness, and we can start our practical work.

I declared in my speech yesterday that Richardson our Secretary of Energy, has sent a letter to you. I will deliver it to your Executive Department till the evening today. Secretary Richardson always says that he supported and stimulated the speedy materialization of this project that day in Ankara

I don not know what President Bill Clinton answered when Mr. Richardson, Secretary of Energy, raised this question, but there is such a gossip that President has said to the Secretary of Energy if he has done all these work then why he was not president, but Bill Clinton.

Heydar Aliyev: It is naturally that Secretary Richardson participated at the signature of the first declaration in Ankara. But a lot of works have been done after him. The adoption of the last resolution took place in Istanbul, and President Mr. Bill Clinton participated at the ceremony there and signed the documents.

If we speak like that, I can also say that I put an end to this question. If I did not go to Tbilisi and solve the problem, then this result would have not been achieved.

John Wolf: This is absolutely true.

Translated from the newspaper ''Azerbaijan'' on July 8, 2000