Statement of the Azerbaijani President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony of the signature of the frame document “Partnership for Peace” - Brussels, NATO residence, May 4, 1994

The Azerbaijani Republic, has a rich and centuries-old history, it has passed a long road of development, and restored its national independence three years ago as a result of the collapse of the soviet totalitarianism. Today it is repre- sented in UNO, CSCE and other international institutions, can be regarded by NATO as an equal full member of the world community.

Today Azerbaijan attempts to occupy its worthy place in the world community and it is determined to build a democratic society loyal to the fundamen- tal principles and values created by human civilization in all the stages of its development by taking into account the actual principles of the development in the world.

The policy of Azerbaijan is based on the principles of peace, political pluralism, recognition and protection of freedom and human rights. We have adopted laws on political parties, freedom of religion, protection of rights of national minorities and others.

Azerbaijan is building its foreign policy guided by the universal global objectives facing all of us and based on the recognition of interdependence and interrelation of the world. We are strongly convinced that mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of states are the bases of security in the present anxious period full of threats.

Azerbaijan has started the conduction of economic reforms for establishing market economy open to the world which allows to use the huge potential of the country. To that end, we take measures to provide influx of foreign investments into our economy and establish cooperation with the largest companies of the world. The process of the conduction of reforms based on the legislation is ongoing.

Today, Azerbaijan suffers the deepest economic crisis. It is the result of the collapse of the soviet regime. Never the less, we intend to eliminate the difficulties of current period and create a prosperous sovereign state by implementing planned reforms.

In September, 1993, Azerbaijan became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Regarding it as an important factor of political and economic cooperation with the countries that emerged after the break of the USSR, Azerbaijan has signed the agreement on collective security.

The situation of my country is aggravated by the fact that it has been subject to aggression by the neighboring Armenia which has territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

Armenia, being an aggressor, uses a group of ethnic Armenians living in the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh province of Azerbaijan as a separatist tool for the annexation of our territory. Armenia uses its territory to wage war in the territory of Azerbaijan, but it cannot already conceal these facts.

While committing aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia has occupied over 20 percent of the Azerbaijan territory. As a result of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Armenian troops, more than 20 thousand people have been killed, about 60 thousands have been wounded or become disabled, four thousand have been captured or taken captive and nearly one million Azerbaijanis have become refugees in their own country.

All the Azerbaijanis, who ran the danger of annihilation in the occupied territories, were banished from these territories. The occupants use the tactics of “scorched earth”. About 900 thousand dwelling houses, more than one thousand economic entities, 250 schools and other educational institutions 250 medical institutions have been burnt down, plundered and destroyed. The damage caused to Azerbaijan is estimated at millions of the US dollars.

The Armenian nationalists have ignited the torch of war and caused the clash of two nations who had to live in peace and security as neighbours. I am quite confident that the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be settled by a military way. The prolongation of the military operations exposes the two nations to inconceivable disasters. The conflict prevents their recovery, establishment of independence, conduction of full-scale economic reforms and construction of democratic states.

Azerbaijan has always adhered to a constructive position in the issues related to the settlement of the conflict. Our primary principle is the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of our state. We will try to liberate all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and return the refugees and the internally displaced, including 50 000 Azerbaijanis of Karabakh, to their lands. We undertake the commitments to provide security and civil rights of the Armenians in Karabakh and grant them autonomy within Azerbaijan.

On April 12, of the current year, appealing to the citizens of Armenia and the Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh, I called them on to stop, to put an end to the military operations. The administration of Azerbaijan has guaranteed personal security to all the inhabitants involved in the military operations in the conflict zone and the opportunity of their peaceful and free life there. Today, we reassert this principal position.

During the military aggression against Azerbaijan for more than six years, numerous steps have been undertaken to prevent the conflict. Unfortunately, these steps did not yield the desired results due to the destructive and aggressive policy of Armenia.

The fact of occupation of the Azerbaijani territories and claims on immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from these territories have been reflected in resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the United Nations Security Council. However, Armenia refuses to fulfill these four resolutions on various pretexts so far.

Openly challenging the world community with its behavior, Armenia undermines in the bud all the efforts made for the political settlement of the conflict. It does not recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not want to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, in its turn, does the utmost to back up the activity of the Minsk Group and provides this group with every possible support. However, I want to focus your attention on the fact that as soon as the Minsk Group assembles, the world becomes a witness of escalation of military operations by Armenia and occupation of new territories of Azerbaijan. It happened just during the visit of the OSCE Minsk Group Chairman-in-Office to the region, during the conference of the Minsk Group in Prague, in April, this year, and in other times. A delegation of Minsk Group was in the region from April 25 to May 2. We rendered them every kind of assistance. If all the countries represented in the Minsk Group speak resolutely in support of the termination of war and restoration of peace, I am confident that success will be provided. Therefore, taking the opportunity of my presence in the NATO residence in Brussels and appealing to the North-Atlantic alliance, which unites all the leading states of the OSCE Minsk Group, I call to take all urgent measures for ensuring peace and stability in the region where blood is still being shed.

Azerbaijan respects the North-Atlantic alliance and highly estimates its activity in ensuring peace, stability and progress in Europe over the last ten years. Today, NATO, as an actually existing structure, provides the protection of democratic values and propagation of these values in the new independent states which have emerged in Eastern Europe and in the territory of the former USSR.

We regard NATO as an institution capable of rendering assistance to Azerbaijan in establishing close and multilateral relations with the western world and in the acquision on of the extremely rich experience of the western world.

Strengthening the independence of Azerbaijan, as well as other new European states will be an actual proof of stability of the principles underlying the NATO activity.

We are grateful to NATO for expressing concern for the situation in the Transcaucasia, for respecting the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of states of this region, including Azerbaijan. Principles of NATO regu- late the relations, among its members peaceful settlement of all controversies, and mobilize individual and collective efforts for the suppression of aggression against one or more members of this institution. These principles prove their vitality for many years and could become a ground for the creation of a new system of collective security in Europe after the confrontation period. The young independent Azerbaijan has chosen the way of building an independent democratic state with market economy, rests its hopes upon the states, which have achieved great progress on this path, and waits for their help and assistance. Therefore, we highly appreciate the “Partnership for Peace” initiative of NATO just as many other countries. For us, the North-Atlantic union itself is a guarantor of security for its members as Secretary-General of NATO Manfred Wörner declared at the NATO Summit on January 10, this year, since this institution fulfils the most efficient activity in the field of collective security.

We, being in the state of war and exposed to the aggression by a neighboring country- Armenia, hope that the participation in the “Partnership for Peace” NATO program will allow put an end to the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict in the nearest future by a peaceful and fair way, liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and remove all the consequences of the war. The high authority of NATO can become a weighty factor in the process of cessation of this bloody war.

We hope that our participation in the “Partnership for Peace” program will allow the promotion of our participation in the establishment of an effective system of collective security in Europe.

I think that the democratic principles, which form the basis of the North-Atlantic union, will help our successful cooperation in the elimination of the obstacles preventing peace and stability in the Transcaucasia and other regions, as well as contribute to the progress and development of all the nations.

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