Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Haydar Aliyev at the Press Conference during official visit to France, Paris, December 21, 1993.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is already my third day in France. I am quite pleased with the direction and result of the visit. And I am glad that I had an opportunity to see once more the remarkable places, unique architectural monuments and get acquainted with the boiling life of modern France and Paris. But most important aspect of this visit is that I held useful meetings and negotiations. The meeting with the President of France Republic and the agreement signed on the friendship, mutual understanding and on cooperation with France is of special importance.

Today I met Minister of Foreign Affairs Allen Juppe. We had a very productive conversation. With the President and foreign minister of France we discussed the extension of mutual relations, elimination of the existing conflict in the region, especially the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the situation in Azerbaijan. We agreed that they will use their own influence to help us to find a peaceful settlement for this conflict.

We support the principle of peaceful solution of the conflict , cease of military aggression against Azerbaijan, but on condition of withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity.

It is very important to note that both the President of France and minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed once more the international principles on the inviolability of borders, inadmissibility of military occupation of the territories of other countries, as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Today, I met the representatives of the French businessmen. I told them, as well the President of this country, and the minister of Foreign Affairs that Azerbaijan is open to the world, as well as to France for mutually beneficial cooperation in all the spheres, first in economy, trade, science, technology, culture. In fact, this issue was stressed in the agreement signed yesterday. In the meeting with the representatives of the business circles. I gave detailed information on the economic potentials, natural resources of Azerbaijan and on its industrial potential. These are the bases for co-operation with France, an opportunity to invest into the  economy of Azerbaijan on mutually beneficial grounds.

I had a meeting today at the Diplomatic Academy and yesterday I met the representatives of diplomatic press. I attach great importance to these meetings, because they gave me an opportunity to inform the French public about Azerbaijan, the situation of in Azerbaijan, the ways of the future development of society and the serious situation the Republic is facing.

While I was here I realized that the relations of Azerbaijan and France arenot developed, information about Azerbaijan in France is very little.Sometimes non objective infirmation about Azerbaijan  forms  a wrong impression about the measures that Azerbaijan is taking..

Therefore, I think, a visit to France is of great importance for both sides and for establishing close relations between the leaders of the two countries as well as for creating foundation for the further development of bilateral relations for a better understanding of Azerbaijan in France.

I think that, in these days, we were able achieve it. However, we were able to lay the foundations of the cooperation which we considered to be very important.

Today and tomorrow some other meetings will be held. For example, tomorrow, I shall meet the chairman of the French Senate. Then we shall return home.

However, I am sure that all our efforts in these days will produce good results. We shall do our best for the future development of a comprehensive cooperation between Azerbaijan and France for the better representation of Azerbaijan in France and for the maximum use of the created opportunities in future.

Question: Mr. President, you are the man who came to power at the time of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh lasting since five years, you are also the man that agreed with all the interested parties, including the party Nagorno-Karabakh to a dialogue.  You had a meeting with Ter Petrosyan in September. Some Armenian political figures said to me that they welcome this meeting with Ter-Petrosyan. They also said to me that, the war after two months will come to an end. According to them, it will take place because of economic and political reasons. Because the countries at war are exposed to economic hardships and social crisis. Signature of a peace agreement is in favor of Azerbaijan. Your expected to meet with Ter-Petrosyan in October  it was postponed after the rebellion in Moscow. Now the political authorities of Armenia do not seem optimistic. I would like to know, do you think that the peace agreement signed in Russia currently is not in favor of Azerbaijan?

Haydar Aliyev: I do not agree with the last part of the question, the meeeting with the President of Armenia Ter Petrosyan not postponed. I have always been the supporter of dialogue.

I started   the dialogue between the ruling forces in Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh; I met President Levon Ter-Petrosyan in September and was ready to meet with him as well. However, on the one hand, that meeting did not take place because of some reasons not depending on me, the other hand, military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan in October grew more fierce. The Armenian armed forces attacked Fuzuli, Jabrail, Zangilan,  Gubadli districts and invaded them. During these attacks I had conversations on the phone with Levon Ter-Petrosyan more than once. He promised to stop the attacks. However, the promise remained as a word. I do not know, either he wasn’t able to do that, or there were other reasons. Therefore the dialogue is going on.

I have not retreated from those positions. But during the negotiations and after the signature of the agreement on cease fire between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh they made next attacks and these attacks ended with the occupation of Zangilan district.

In the time of winter, the residents of this distric had to across the River Araks and  enter the territory of Iran. Do you imagine, about 60 thousand people of Zangilan r  had   to enter  Iran by swimming across the River  Arazks, then returned  from Iran back to Azerbaijan, now they have settled in different regions of the republic, Most of them live in tents.  It had not to be like that. Therefore, I did not treat from these positions. However, I repeat, while we were conducting negotiations on the cease-fire agreement, and after gaining it, more new attacks began. These attacks, of course, were deteriorating the existing situation.

Question: Let me  introduce myself . I amAbil Karimov,- a former graduate student of the faculty of history  of the university , and now post-graduate student  of the University of Sorbonne I would like to ask you two questions. The first question is of political character. There is no political representation of Azerbaijan in France so far to prevent the claims against the interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Therefore, it would be better to do practical measures, and open political representation especially in France. Were these issues discussed during your meeting with Mr. Mitterand? The second question  is of cultural character. As far as I know you have signed the contract on the relations, and on exchanges in the field of culture with the Republic of France. The issue of student exchange interests me more. To what extend will these exchanges be practically realized?

Because, as I know, I am the only student from Azerbaijan awarded with the scholarship of the French government.

Last year I passed the interview, it is the second year I am here in France, and I do not have any relations with my home country. At present I am working on the thesis  titled “Azerbaijan in  the system of  post- war peaceful settlement  in 1918-1920 \".

Haydar Aliyev: To open the embassy of Azerbaijan in France has already been solved. There is a French Embassy in Azerbaijan. Here, the embassy in Paris had already to function, but on the mutual basis. In this case, it is our fault that, the Embassy has not yet been opened so far. I think this issue will be solved in the nearest future. Therefore, there was no need to discuss it with the President of France. As to the cultural exchange, student exchange, yes, we have signed an agreement on the economic, scientific-technical, cultural cooperation. The contract, of course, provides the student exchange issues. In my opinion, on the basis of this agreement our ministries, relevant departments will deal with these questions closely, there wasn’t such kind of contract so far. It seems, therefore, we didn’t have an pportunity to do this. After opening the embassy  and starting to implement the provisions of the contract, these issues will be solved.

Question: Newspaper \"Izvestia\"  Mr. President, you know Russia very well, especially from your previous activities,  I am interested in your analysis and  opinion about  the results of elections held recently in Russia, and about Zhirinovsky\'s successes.  Is the  the relations of Russia and Azerbaijan affected by the result of the election? Did you learn anything from the results of these elections, and are there leaders in the political sphere  of Azerbaijan close to the views o Zhirinovsky? Thank you.

Haydar Aliyev: I  do not  want  to assess  or  analyze the results of elections in Russia  now  , because Russia itself should analyze and evaluate the results first of all. As to the issue of changes in the Russian –Azerbaijani relations after the elections, I will answer like this: No, It did not change anything  the previous level of relations remains.

Now, I would like to turn to the question about the existence of political leaders in Azerbaijan having close views with the Russian Liberal-Democratic Party leaders

At present, there are up to 40 registered parties. The views of the most of them are not known to me Therefore, I cannot say whether there are such leaders  or not. It is difficult for me to talk about it.

Question: Mr. President, I represent  an Azerbaijani organization for the  protection of human right and Azerbaijanis  in  Paris.   I have four questions to you .

Mr. President, Did you think about the Azerbaijanis living abroad, and about the possibility of granting them citizenship in Azerbaijan?

The second question - you know, all the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is always discussed in France, the Armenian propaganda works day and night, but the voice of our programs our propaganda is not heard. Therefore, I would like to know, whether you mentioned the issue of drowning out the voice of  such propaganda  programmes in the meeting with President Mitterand?. Third,why  you are speaking in Russian.....

Haydar Aliyev: I will answer the last question immediately, why I am speaking in Russian. Our language is really beautiful and I love the Azerbaijani language. This is the state language of the country; I speak only in Azerbaijanii language in my country. However, in France, first of all, as I felt there are many people who know Russian among people that I have met, so that they can receive information directly from me.

Secondly, Mr. Mitterand’s translator interprets only from French into Russian and from Russian into French. For this reason, I did not want to break the rules here. In addition, Russian is one of the recognized world  languages  like English and French. Well, just now the pretty lady   made a speech in French that I also could ask her why she didn’t address  me in Azerbaijani.

Now I would like to answer the second question about the Azerbaijanis living abroad. The point is that the Azerbaijanis living abroad are few in number.  Most of them have never lived in the territory of the independent Azerbaijan. However, if the Azerbaijanis living abroad want to get citizenship, I think, there will not be any obstacle.

Coming to the question about the broadcasting programs related to Nagorno-Karabakh by a lot of supporters of the Armenians here, and  drowning out the voice of the program and the Azerbaijanis want to broadcast is not the issue to be discussed with President Mr. Mitterand.  It is known that there are very few Azerbaijanis in France, but many Armenians live here and   many of them hold quite strong positions in business, state bodies and in mass media. Apparently, the Armenians are misusing this situation. Therefore, the Azerbaijanis living in France should demonstrate more influence on social and political life of France. In such case, the voice of the programs of Azerbaijanis cannot be immersed. I will help with all means to conduct these programs.

I have given an instruction to the minister of Foreign Affairs about the humanitarian aid that you want to send to refugees (IDPs) in Azerbaijan.  Today, once again I reminded him that he keep to contact with you, so you could send this aid.

Today, I must meet the minister for Foreign Economic Relations. Thank you for your attention. I think our relations will continue. I would like to express my respect to press representatives  and hope that irrespective of their nationality, they will convey objective information. 

Thank you very much.