Speech of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting of NATO in Brussels, May 4, 1994

Distinguished Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, distinguished members of NATO Council, distinguished ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen!

I am grateful to you for the warm reception of me and the Azerbaijani delegation. I am glad that I have an opportunity to be among you today, and I consider it as an important event for the Republic of Azerbaijan. Thank you very much for the warm congratulations and kind wishes in the address of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijan people, having passed a long historical way of the development through numerous difficulties and obstacles, achieved its national independence in 1991. The independent Azerbaijani state was born and is a member of the United Nations Organization, CSCE and many other international organizations. And I feel great pride that today the Azerbaijani delegation is present at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Republic of Azerbaijan follows the road of strengthening the independence. In its internal policy, it follows the way of construction of a democratic legal state, using the democratic values achieved by the mankind, creates conditions for the freedom of personality and protection of human rights, multiparty system and political pluralism. The republic has firmly follows the way of realization of economic reforms and establishment of market economy, free business and free initiative in the field of economy. We consider that all this is good base for the close integration of Azerbaijan into the world community.

The Republic of Azerbaijan in its foreign policy is for building mutual relations, admit the principle of interdependence of the world as a basis, conducts a peace-loving policy and aspires to establish friendly relations with all the countries on the principles of sovereignty, non-interference in each other’s in- ternal affairs, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.

The Republic of Azerbaijan now experiences a heavy economic crisis. It is related, on one hand, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, in the structure of which Azerbaijan has been within 70 years, infringement of close integration communications with all other republics of the Soviet Union, transition from one economic system to another. On the other hand, this economic crisis deepens in connection with war which the neighboring Armenia wages against Azerbaijan. But all these difficulties, we think, are surmountable, considering that Azerbaijan has chosen the way of independent development. Independence of Azerbaijan is irreversible, and we are sure that the way which, we follow in the field of state construction, economic transformations, and conduction of democratic reforms, will allow to overcome these difficulties and integrate Azerbaijan into the world community, into the world economy with its rich opportunities, rich economic and intellectual potentials.

As I already noted, the military aggression of Armenia against our Republic within six years complicates the situation in Azerbaijan in many respects. This aggression, perpetrated by the nationalist circles of Armenia, has brought incalculable disasters to both the Azerbaijani and the Armenian people, and it is very difficult problem for us today.

You know well that as a result of the military aggression of Armenia, which pursues the purpose of annexation of a part of the Azerbaijani territory, the Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian armed formations have occupied a significant part of the Azerbaijani territory. In the war which is going on six-years more than 20 thousand persons have been killed, about four thousand have been taken captives, and thousands of dwelling houses, hospitals, schools, social buildings, industrial and agricultural enterprises have been destroyed in the territory of Azerbaijan. The damage is estimated at billions of dollars.

But the most terrible fact is that almost 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory has been occupied by the Armenian armed units, and the inhabitants of these regions –more than one million have lost their residences, live in very critical condition and have become refugees in their own country. All the people of the Azerbaijani nationality have been expelled from the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh. The Nagorno-Karabakh and seven districts of Azerbaijan around it are, as I already said, under the occupation of the Armenian armed units.

We have always supported the peaceful settlement of the conflict and now we maintain the same position. We aspire to use actively the opportunities of international organizations - the United Nations, CSCE and its Minsk Group. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan, but Armenia ignored these resolutions. Efforts by the Minsk Group GTSCE have not led to positive results yet. Military operation are still going on, the Armenian armed formations, having occupied as I already said, a significant part of the Azerbaijani territory, attack to defensive positions of Azerbaijan. Every day blood is shed, people are killed.

It is impossible to endure all these any more. Therefore, today I, using my presence here, at the headquarters of NATO, once again declare the position of Azerbaijan. We support the peaceful settlement of this question, immediate cessation of hostilities, we are for negotiations, which will cause the immediate withdrawal of the occupation armies from the territory of Azerbaijan and ensure its territorial integrity, inviolability of its borders. Under these conditions we are ready to consider the question on granting autonomy to Nagorno- Karabakh.

Speaking on the Azerbaijani TV and radio on April 12, I addressed the Armenian people, to the administration of Armenia, to the Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh and called them to stop this bloodshed. The destiny predetermined the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples to live side by side, and they have lived side by side for centuries. We consider that the solution of the problem by violence has no prospects, this war is unpromising, and it is necessary to put an end to bloodshed, to establish peace in our region as soon as possible.

Today, we again express the confidence that the international organizations, first of all CSCE, and the CSCE Minsk Group, will take additional measures to put our peaceful initiatives into practice. Today, being at NATO headquarters, I would like to express my deep respect for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which during the period of its existence has contributed greatly to the establishment of stability, peace and cooperation in Europe and all over the world. We approach to NATO with great respect and we attache great value to its activity at the present stage. Creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council became an important stage in NATO’s activity, this will create an opportunity for other states to be involved in the orbit of NATO.

We meet with satisfaction the decision of NATO, dated on January 10 of this year, on acceptance of the document “Partnership for Peace”, and we consider it also as an important step for the further development of cooperation between the countries in the activity of NATO. We attach great importance to the decision of NATO dated on January 10th, in which a special concern is expressed for the situation in the Southern Caucasus, and conviction of the necessity to terminate the conflicts in our region, including in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

All this attracts us and causes interest. Assuming it as a basis, we received the invitation of NATO with great satisfaction to join the “Partnership for Peace” program. We decided to sign it, and we cherish great hopes for cooperation with NATO. It is very important for us and from the point of view of getting acquainted with the western democracy and cooperation with NATO, searching for additional ways for the stabilization of situation in the region, to the termination of war, establishment of peace and good neighborhood between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

We have arrived with such ideas and hopes, and we are ready to sign today the program “Partnership for Peace”. Once again, I wish to express the hope that this step by the Republic of Azerbaijan will be decently estimated by NATO, it will bring mutual benefit, and what the most important for us is that it will contribute to the stabilization of situation in our region. I wish your organization further successes. Thank you for the attention and I am ready to sign the framework document “Partnership for Peace”.

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