Winter 1994 (2.4)
Press Conference at the UN
Translated from Azeri and Russian by Galib Mammad
The following Press Conference took place on Thursday, September 29, 1994, immediately after President Heydar Aliyev addressed the 49th General Assembly.
Where will the pipeline go?
For almost three years, we have been negotiating for the oil agreement and several questions still remain. The Contract has already been signed and now the questions are about the route of the pipeline. Right now, nobody can answer these questions. Neither can I. Because there are several routes under consideration. We have to decide on this question together with the oil companies which have formed the Consortium. I can say that the route of the oil pipeline should support the national interests of Azerbaijan ...At the same time, the pipeline should be economically beneficial.
Since it has taken us three years to sign this contract, I don't believe it will take us long to decide the pipeline route.
Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article which mentioned that you indicated that Azerbaijan is willing or ready to cede Nagorno-Karabakh. What does this mean? What is the explanation for the interpretation of the phrase, "Azerbaijan is ready to cede"?
The person who has written this article has made a great mistake. How can it be that we can cede our own territory? If it were like that, then we wouldn't have been involved in war for the past six years. During this time, Azerbaijan has lost 20,000 civilians. More than 100,000 people have been wounded. More than 700 settlements, towns and cities have been destroyed in our own country which is occupied by Armenians. How can we cede the Karabakh territory after all this?
Secondly, Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of us. Which country in the world can you find which would give away its own territory? This (Washington Post article) is wrong information.
With the four and a half month cease-fire being observed by all sides, there are reports that there is a large build-up of troops by the Azeris on the Eastern front of the Karabakh territory. Would you care to comment on this?
From whom have your received that information?
Reports from Karabakh.
This is wrong information. We initiated this cease-fire. And we have announced several times that we support the cease-fire. I said it earlier at the Assembly of the United Nations today that we want to achieve peace. We are not in favor of war. We are not doing anything along that line. I believe there are no grounds for your information.
Have you met with the Armenian President Ter Petrossian? And if so, how do you see prospects of dealing with Armenia?
The day before yesterday (September 27), I met with the President of Armenia, Mr. Ter-Petrossian. We had extensive talks with him, first as a delegation, then I met with him privately. We discussed the preparation of the treaty of peace. We focused on the obstacles that are impeding the conclusion of this agreement. In particular, I stressed that when we are talking about the withdrawal of the Armenian forces from Azerbaijan's occupied territories, we include both Shusha and Lachin. We could not find agreement in regard to this issue. And we decided to continue our negotiations on this question. Mr. Ter-Petrossian and I agreed that we should arrive at an agreement so we can conclude the Agreement on Peace.
Don't you think it is in the interests of Azerbaijan for the pipeline to go through Turkey?
I've already mentioned that the route of the pipeline must be beneficial to Azerbaijan, for the Consortium, and that Azerbaijan should benefit economically from the decision. If directing the route through Turkey fulfills the national interests of Azerbaijan, then I will accept that decision.
Mr. President, how do you think your meetings and speeches here in New York will work to benefit Azerbaijan?
I think they are very important. First of all, as I mentioned, this is the first time that the President of Azerbaijan has ever addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations. This is an important event for a young, independent country. I had a chance to describe the principles by which we are building our state and the situation as well as the problems of our country.
I also held several other meetings here in New York which will be very important for the strengthening of the position of Azerbaijan in the world.
I think it was very important that I met with President Clinton. We had a very extensive and productive meeting. This was the first meeting of any President of Azerbaijan with the President of the United States. I noticed a great interest on his part regarding the problems of Azerbaijan and the problems of the entire region. I had an opportunity to convey our feelings, thoughts and principles on how to resolve this conflict caused by the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan ...I have talked with President Clinton and urged him that the United States should be more diplomatically involved in the solution of this Conflict within the framework of the international organization, CSCE, Minsk Group, and maybe even directly. I believe that the active involvement of the United States will bear fruit in this process.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
From Azerbaijan International (2.4) Winter 1994.
© Azerbaijan International 1994. All rights reserved.