Winter 2002 (10.4)
Current State of Affairs
and Answers - Ilham Aliyev In Washington, D.C.
Left: Ilham Aliyev, Member of Azerbaijan's
Parliament, Head of Parliamentary Delegation to Council of Europe,
and First Vice President of
SOCAR (Photo: Farid Khayrulin).
This is an edited version
of the Question & Answer Session that followed a presentation
entitled "South Caucasus and the Caspian: A View from Baku"
by Ilham Aliyev at the School for Advanced International Studies
(SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2002.
Azerbaijani student at Georgetown University: What percentage
of Azerbaijan's GDP [Gross Domestic Product] comes from oil?
Is there any reason to believe that Azerbaijan has an oil-dependent
Our economy is based on oil, so obviously, it is oil that will
dominate the economic development of Azerbaijan for quite some
time - not because other sectors of the economy are not developing,
but simply because their rate of growth does not equal that of
oil. During the next three to four years, we expect revenues
from oil to increase five to ten times. To expect other sectors
to increase at this same rate would not be realistic. At the
same time, it is significant to note that more than 70 percent
of Azerbaijan's GDP has been created by the private sector.
We should look at this situation from a realistic point of view:
oil development in Azerbaijan is the locomotive force for our
economy today and will continue to be so for many, many years
Same Georgetown student: Under what circumstances would war
be considered a means for Azerbaijan to liberate its lands [Nagorno-Karabakh
and seven adjoining districts]?
Azerbaijan should continue to explore a peaceful resolution to
the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. We think such possibilities
are still available and because of that, we should exhaust every
possibility to resolve this conflict peacefully. We don't want
war. We've had enough of war. We don't want our people to be
killed. But at the same time, we will never agree to the violation
of our territorial integrity. Azerbaijan will never accept that.
If our country and our government see that all peaceful means
have been exhausted, then, of course, we will use other means
to free our territory.
October 2002 meeting in
Washington, D.C. Sitting on the left side of the table are Ambassador
Pashayev and Ilham Aliyev. Vice President Dick Cheney sits opposite,
to the right (Photo:
Law student at Georgetown: Please comment
on a rumor that is circulating in the media. Is it true that
you will be replacing your father [President Heydar Aliyev] once
he wins the next general election?
The next presidential election in Azerbaijan will be held in
2003, and President Heydar Aliyev has already stated that he
will run for President for the next five-year term. We are all
sure that he will win the majority of votes because he is the
most popular politician in Azerbaijan - perhaps, the most popular
politician in its entire history. Therefore, to talk about the
next Presidency is a bit premature. We should wait until 2008.
I can tell you that in Azerbaijan, especially in our ruling party
[Yeni Party], there are many prominent, bright, well-educated
people who can undertake these responsibilities, so the focus
should not be concentrated only on Ilham Aliyev. He is only one
of the members of this team.
Reuters: Regarding the $3 billion pipeline that began construction
last month: how much financing has yet to be put in place, and
how do SOCAR and its partners intend to fill that gap?
This is an issue that we have discussed a lot with our partners
at SOCAR [State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic]. It was our
desire and also that of our oil company partners that SOCAR would
participate and invest in this project.
Our financial capabilities in SOCAR are not sufficient to undertake
the full responsibility for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline,
so we have a 25 percent share in the pipeline company. SOCAR
will finance approximately $750 million; 30 percent of that amount
will be in equity shares. We will pay cash for that. The rest
will come mainly from loans from international financial institutions.
SOCAR is implementing its commitments. Our company has already
paid nearly $100 million, and an additional $150 million will
be paid within the next two years. There is no problem financing
the project from the point of view of SOCAR. We will fulfill
Russian Novye Investia: What was the substance of your conversations
with Vice President Cheney? [Ilham Aliyev met with U.S. Vice
President Dick Cheney in Washington earlier in the week.]
We discussed bilateral relations. Of course, Mr. Cheney is well
aware of the situation in the region because he is a very experienced
politician and he knows what kinds of processes are taking place
in the region. Mostly, we spoke about continuing our bilateral
relations and about future cooperation between Azerbaijan and
the United States in various spheres. Of course, we also discussed
our future energy development.
An Armenian claiming to represent "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic"
in the United States: How do you evaluate the current status
of peace negotiations on Karabakh?
[The individual posing this question had to be interrupted four
times by the moderator because he insisted on making a long statement,
rather than simply asking a question as had been established
in the rules for this Question-Answer Session. In the end, his
question seemed tangential to what motivated him to ask for the
floor in the first place.]
I think you live here [in the United States], so you have a lot
of chances to make your statements in other places. I don't want
even to comment on what you have said because you represent an
entity that does not even exist. There is no "Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic". There is a gang of people who have occupied this
territory - who created a military regime - who commit crimes
- who commit terrorist acts - this is all true - who occupied,
together with Armenia, a part of Azerbaijan.
Therefore, I should mention again that perhaps you represent
yourself, or maybe the Armenian lobby or community, but not Nagorno-Karabakh.
You cannot represent something that does not exist.
As far as a peaceful resolution of the conflict is concerned,
I told you already. We are in favor of a peaceful resolution.
We are doing our best to achieve a peace settlement. But a peace
settlement must be based on realistic grounds. The principles
upon which the settlement must be achieved are very simple: the
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the withdrawal of Armenian
military forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Center for Caspian Studies, Harvard: What can the Azerbaijan
government do to call attention to the plight of refugees without
inciting refugees to violence?
You have pointed out a very important issue. It is true, despite
the fact that a great number of refugees live in appalling conditions
and their lands are occupied. I can tell you more: the Armenian
army has destroyed 9,000 villages and towns. Everything is destroyed.
So it's not only war. It's not only occupation. It's acts of
vandalism. Those observers who visit the occupied territories
of Azerbaijan from time to time are shocked because there is
nothing left. Everything has been destroyed or taken away.
Our refugees have shown amazing tolerance for the situation.
We should be grateful that, despite the terrible aggression committed
against them, they have not committed any violent acts themselves.
We are trying very hard to attract attention to this issue. We
have invited visitors from the United Nations and humanitarian
refugee organizations, but they tell us that we must find a peaceful
resolution to the conflict.
Our problem is that, due to the activity of the Armenian lobby
in the United States, France, Russia and other countries, the
truth about the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict is not known by
the general public. So often we have to deal with a policy of
double standards. We face that many times. But we must clearly
distinguish the aggressor from the victim. Therefore, Azerbaijan
should use and actively does use international organizations
in order to bring this truth to the attention of international
organizations, asking for their assistance in forcing Armenian
aggressors to withdraw. If that does not happen, sooner or later,
hostilities will break out again. We do not want hostility, but
we will not allow our territory to remain occupied.
Yale's Center for the Study of Globalization: What is your
strategy for the use of the State Oil Fund? And what will be
the process by which decisions are made in terms of how the funds
are used for investment purposes?
We are working together with the IMF [International Monetary
Fund] and the World Bank to set up rules for how the State Oil
Fund should be used. So far, $650 million has accumulated since
its inception. For the past two years, these assets have been
untouchable. This year, $72 million was allocated for the needs
of refugees, in order to improve their living conditions. With
this money, new villages and towns are being built. When I say
refugees, I mean the 200,000 refugees who were forced to leave
Armenia and flee to Azerbaijan.
Apart from that, there has not been any other expenditure. The
main idea of the government is to accumulate assets to create
strong potential and then follow the advice of international
financial organizations, drawing upon the experience of other
countries. There are similar funds existing in Norway, Canada,
Alaska and other places. We are evaluating all of these experiences
in order to properly manage the Fund.
We have already created transparency in the Fund. Information
about the assets is published in newspapers on a regular basis.
The Fund is audited; the last audit was carried out by the reputable
firm Ernst and Young. From this point of view, we don't have
any difficulties. The only thing, of course, is that we need
to build up assets, to create a strong financial resource in
order to develop other sectors of our economy.
Assembly of Turkish American Associations: In regard to the
peace process and Nagorno-Karabakh (and given the situation of
Turkish Cyprus, which was recently invited to join the European
Union, a move that will inevitably lead to war), do you believe
that the mechanisms you are employing to solve this conflict
are actually reliable and will bring you the results you are
We hope that the results will be achieved. I mentioned that we
should use every possible chance, if it exists, to avoid war
- in order to resolve this conflict peacefully.
What you mention is another example of double standards. Those
members of the U.S. Congress who visit Nagorno-Karabakh and congratulate
its illegal rulers, of course, are influenced by the Armenian
lobby. If not, why would they do that? Why would they close their
eyes to the reality of truth? And why would they try to promote
Armenian causes in Congress?
For many years, Azerbaijan has suffered from the unjust, unfair
policy of Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act passed by Congress.
We were the only country of the former Soviet Union [out of 15
countries] to be deprived of direct economic assistance from
the U.S. government. This was done by Congress under the influence
of the Armenian lobby.
For many years, we have been trying to get this amendment repealed
or waived. Only recently [after 9/11] has the U.S. policy changed
towards Azerbaijan so that Section 907 could be waived. This
shows that the Armenian lobby is influencing Congress and public
opinion. That's the reality. Of course, this policy is unfair,
but this is the reality.
We must resist this. We must present our case more convincingly
to the world. We must speak about it at every opportunity, at
every meeting, at every conference, with every international
organization. For instance, before Azerbaijan became a member
of the Council of Europe, the issue of Karabakh had never been
discussed. As soon as we became a member, we started to work
very hard. During this past year-and-a-half, the Council of Europe
has adopted more than 10 documents concerning activities in Nagorno-Karabakh,
such as the illegal burying of nuclear waste from the Armenian
nuclear power station, such as the destruction of our national
monuments in occupied territories, including our cemeteries,
and issues related to ethnic cleansing of the native population.
Coming back to the topic of Section 907: Why did the U.S. Congress
allegedly adopt this law? They claimed that Azerbaijan was blockading
Armenia. But Azerbaijan cannot blockade Armenia. In order to
open communications between the two countries, Armenian troops
would have to withdraw from the occupied territories belonging
to Azerbaijan. This unjust and unfair amendment has been in force
for nearly 10 years. Even today, it has not been completely canceled.
It was just waived [by President George W. Bush after 9/11] for
one year. [Now since Ilham gave this speech, 907 has been waived
for the second year]. Therefore, we must be more active in this
direction and use every opportunity to speak about this conflict
because what we speak is truth and what the Armenians are saying
is a lie.
The Caspian countries are moving to create a new legal regime,
but the question of the Caspian's status is still under dispute.
Under such circumstances, what is the likelihood of a subsea
pipeline being constructed from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan?
The number of parties who are disputing this issue has decreased.
Today Russia and Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are in agreement about
the demarcation of the borders of the Caspian Sea. This is a
very positive step forward from where we were two or three years
ago, when there were no bilateral arrangements. We want to solve
this issue on a bilateral basis. Getting an agreement between
five countries is much more complex than getting an agreement
The process is moving forward. Today, we don't have any problems
with Russia or with Kazakhstan. The possibility of constructing
a subsea pipeline is already in place; this would enable enormous
amounts of Kazakh oil to flow into the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline,
providing alternate access to international markets. We are in
favor of such an arrangement. Of course, that decision must be
made by Kazakhstan. Should they make such a decision, we will
do our best to promote the idea and create the best conditions
for their oil to flow in many directions.
We ourselves have greatly benefited by having two pipeline routes
for our oil - one through Russia to the port of Novorossiysk,
and the other through Georgia to Supsa [both ports are on the
Black Sea]. When there are several pipeline alternatives, you
can negotiate better tariffs, you have more room for flexibility,
and you can be more in control of setting the conditions of engagement.
But if you have only one alternative, as Kazakhstan has today,
your options are limited. For Kazakhstan to link up with our
pipeline would be good for them, good for us, and good for the
entire region. From a legal point of view, there are no restrictions
to constructing a subsea pipeline that would connect Kazakhstan
Visiting scholar of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute from
Georgia: Not so long ago, there were certain legal constraints
[Section 907] that did not allow cooperation between Azerbaijan
and the United States in security sector reform. Would you elaborate
on the development of the security sector in Azerbaijan?
We are pleased that there are no restrictions today in our cooperation
in the sphere of security. Several years ago, Azerbaijan joined
NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Within the framework of
this program, much work was accomplished in Azerbaijan. It enabled
our various military forces to become more integrated and meet
the standards of NATO.
Azerbaijan is cooperating closely in regard to NATO's anti-terrorism
programs. Just the other day, we had a visit from one of their
high-ranking military officials. There is assistance to us in
various military spheres, including equipment and training. We
are satisfied with this progress, and would like to see even
more cooperation in this sphere.
Eurasia Foundation: What kind of assistance do you see as
the most appropriate or helpful for NGOs [non-government organizations]
to engage in along the new pipeline [the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline, which will stretch 1,091 miles between Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Turkey, from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean]?
I hope that NGOs will not try to impede the progress of the pipeline.
Unfortunately, a number of NGOs recently have been making statements
against the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. They sent
these statements everywhere - to our company, to our investors,
to the IFC [International Finance Corporation], which will be
the international institution involved in lending. Curiously,
when we look at the list of these NGOs who are opposing the pipeline,
we see many Armenian names.
Recently, a letter opposing the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was sent
by about 30 U.S. Congressmen to President Bush. Interestingly,
these Congressmen agreed to support the project if the Baku-Ceyhan
route passed through Armenia instead. Of course, that would never
happen, no matter how much the Armenians protest.
NGOs that are interested in protecting the environment are very
welcome to get involved with us. Just today, we discussed this
issue with the Executive Director of IFC, and we agreed to have
more consultations so that we can understand what is going on
in the environment.
From the point of view of environmental protection, some of the
topics that the NGOs raise have already been very helpful to
us, Georgia and Turkey in the planning stages. So we welcome
those NGOs that come in the spirit of good will. But those who
would hinder the progress of the pipeline in order to pursue
their own agenda, I would like to ask them to stay away.
AzerTAJ: Could you elaborate more on the international report
on human rights in regard to the ongoing settlement of Armenians
in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan?
Yes, of course, it is a problem. We have information that Armenians
are settling in the occupied territories. The main question that
comes to mind is, where do they find so many Armenians to settle
there? We know that the population of the Armenian Republic is
shrinking. Today, according to some estimates, there are not
more than 1.8 million people living in Armenia [compared to 3.5
million before the collapse of the Soviet Union]. The population
of Nagorno-Karabakh was about 150,000 before the war, 10-15 years
ago. Today it is not more than 30,000. So for us, it is a real
question. Where do they find these new settlers? Of course, this
issue is of great concern to us, and we continue to raise our
voice and strongly oppose it.
MBA Student at Harvard: Could you elaborate on the projects
that the government is undertaking with IMF (International Monetary
With IMF, we do not discuss any specific projects with them because
their function is a bit different. We carry out projects with
the World Bank, especially in terms of creating new infrastructure
such as water supplies, road construction, and assistance in
the spheres of education and health care. The IMF's role is limited
to consultation. We have a joint program with them and are discussing
how to invest our revenues so as to diversify our economy.
Our government is preparing a program, which is almost ready
now, for the economic development of Azerbaijan for the next
10 years. All the basic elements are included in that program,
including which kind of infrastructure, which kind of factory,
which kind of agricultural facility must be built, where are
the markets, where are the production. Of course, we will need
substantial financial resources to develop these projects, because
Azerbaijan will not be able to undertake such a huge financial
burden. But we can participate in all of these projects as a
shareholder. We can invest in new infrastructure, which will
help create confidence for potential investors and promote new
There are many possibilities for development in agriculture.
We have a beautiful country, a good climate and a wide range
of climatic zones, so there is great potential in construction,
petrochemicals and other sectors of the economy. All of these
projects are under consideration in the general development program
of our country. When we have the financial resources, we will
Russian Service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: I know
that President Aliyev made a statement a few days ago saying
that he was not satisfied with the Minsk Group's contribution
to the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. What do you
want from the Minsk Group? And what is your position about the
Russian role in these negotiations?
The Minsk Group has a mandate from the OSCE [Organization of
Security and Cooperation in Europe] and its obligations are clearly
set out - to facilitate the process of the two countries to reach
an agreement. But we are not satisfied with their work. For so
many years [since 1992], there have been no results. Sure, there
are proposals, there are consultations, but there are no results.
We want the Minsk Group to facilitate the peaceful resolution
of the conflict, to facilitate the restoration of the territorial
sovereignty of our country. But today, apart from the Minsk Group,
we don't have any other mechanism. Despite the fact that we are
dissatisfied with their activities, we consider that the Minsk
Group is the only structure that can facilitate finding a peaceful
As far as the position of Russia is concerned, we must divide
this discussion into two parts: the position under President
Yeltsin [1991late 1999] and the position under President
Putin [1999present]. Their two policies were completely
different. Before, there was 100 percent Russian support for
Armenia. Before, Russian troops were helping Armenia in their
military action against us. Everybody knows that Armenia would
not have been able at that time [early 1990s] to occupy our territory.
Everybody knows that there was an illegal transfer of arms from
Russia to Armenia worth $1 billion. When this issue became public,
it resulted in a big scandal in the Russian Duma [Parliament].
But after President Putin came to power, this situation changed.
Today Russia has very good relations with Azerbaijan. In a very
short period, we have managed to resolve almost all of our differences.
Today there is no hostility between our countries. We cooperate
together. We have signed a very important agreement in economic
development. We have started to buy natural gas from Russia.
We now deliver some of our oil via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline,
which prior to that was not being used. Now 2.5 million tons
of oil flow each year.
As I mentioned earlier, we have reached an agreement with Russia
on the "Demarcation of the Caspian Sea", which would
never have been possible under the former Russian administration.
Today, in regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we feel that
Russia has a balanced policy, and that it really wants to facilitate
both sides to find a peaceful resolution.
Student, University of Maryland, College Park: Is your government
concerned about the issue of protecting the human rights of ethnic
Azerbaijanis living in Iran, and does your government have a
policy related to this issue?
In our relations with Iran, we always maintain that we should
not interfere in each other's affairs. Iran is a government-a
state-with its own way of governing. Azerbaijan is a state with
a completely different type of society. We must not interfere
in each other's affairs.
But, of course, we cannot ignore the large community of Azerbaijanis
who live in Iran. There are more than 30 million Azerbaijanis
living there. There is much traveling back and forth between
the two countries. They come to visit us; our people visit them.
Many people have relatives living on either side of the Araz
River. So we have these cultural ties with Azerbaijanis in Iran,
especially now that there is free access to each other. However,
we don't think that it is the right approach to use this issue
of ethnicity for political purposes. Azerbaijan and Iran are
separate states. They should not interfere into our affairs;
nor should we interfere into theirs.
Azerbaijani, working with a law firm: You mentioned seven
regions beyond Nagorno-Karabakh that are currently occupied by
Armenia. From what I understand, they are not currently populated
by Armenians, but have been turned into virtual "Dead Zones".
There were also reports that the natural resources of those regions
are being exploited. Does Azerbaijan have any information about
how dire the situation is? Are you developing any plans or programs
to develop after those lands are liberated? Are you thinking
about bringing any international claims against Armenia for illegal
use of the natural resources of Azerbaijan?
Yes, we will do that. You are right: Armenians are using the
natural resources in that area; in particular, they are producing
gold from our territory. Also, as I mentioned before, they are
burying nuclear waste in the occupied territories. Maybe afterward,
a large-scale ecological program will be required to clean up
that territory. When I mentioned that Nagorno-Karabakh is a "lawless
zone", I meant that there is no international control. There
is no international monitoring going on there. Armenians do whatever
they want and, therefore, we are demanding that an end be put
to this illegal military regime and that international monitors
and observers from various spheres of expertise, including ecological
organizations, immediately go there and conduct their monitoring.
IMF: We Azerbaijanis living abroad always dream that Azerbaijan
will become a trade and oil hub for the region. What progress
is being achieved in that regard, such as the Silk Road Project
and bringing oil from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan?
We are already bringing oil from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
to Azerbaijan and delivering it via Georgia to international
markets. Currently about 6 million tons of oil a year, give or
take, is being transported this way. Once the amount of oil from
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan grows substantially, it will be economically
feasible to construct the subsea pipeline.
The Silk Road Project is still developing. U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
initiated this project and we are working on this. There is regional
cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Project where
GUUAM - Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova
- are cooperating. So Azerbaijan has already become a regional
center. Without the participation of Azerbaijan, none of these
transportation projects would be possible, including the East-West
Silk Road and including a new project that perhaps you have heard
of called the North-South Project, which will also be very beneficial
and economically feasible. This project will also cross our country.
It doesn't matter which direction you go - North-South or East-West,
you cross Azerbaijan.
Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of Johns Hopkins University:
What are your relationships with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan?
We have good relations with Uzbekistan. We each have our own
embassies. From time to time, we have delegations coming and
going between the two countries. There really isn't much trade,
but Uzbekistan is a friendly country for us.
As far as relations with Turkmenistan are concerned, we are not
satisfied with our level of relations because Turkmenistan has
made very unjust claims as far as our oil fields are concerned.
They claim that the Azeri oil field belongs to them. This is
wrong. Not only do we say this is wrong; all the foreign companies
that have invested billions of dollars in those fields thoroughly
investigated this issue before getting involved in it. Turkmenistan
wants us to give part of that oil to them. This is nonsense.
How can you give part of your oil away, especially in an oil
field that is under operation by international companies [via
the Azerbaijan International Operating Company]?
Unfortunately, Turkmenistan recently closed its embassy in Azerbaijan.
We regret that. We hope that relations with them will improve.
Many times we have offered to jointly develop the oil structures
that are located in the Caspian on the border between us. We
have suggested that we jointly invite potential foreign investors
but, unfortunately, they have not responded.
Open Society Institute: Can you elaborate for us about the
recent decree "On State Secrets" which, for those who
are not familiar with it, places a lot of restrictions on the
topics that journalists can report on, places the burden of responsibility
for security clearance on journalists and also may require journalists
to reveal their sources?
I can tell you that in Azerbaijan there is complete freedom of
press. There is no censorship. The previous government of Azerbaijan
in 1992 imposed censorship, but it has now been lifted. Today
we have more than 500 newspapers; only three or four of them
belong to the government. All of the rest belong to political
parties - both opposition and independent groups. They can write
whatever they want. They can criticize whomever they want. So
there is freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the
There are more than 30 TV and radio stations in the capital and
throughout the regions, which are also free to express their
views on all aspects of political life.
What you said about the law, there could be some legislative
initiative, but this law has not yet been passed. I heard that
there are likely to be some modifications to it, but I'm sure
that freedom of press will not suffer in Azerbaijan in the future.
Armenian Assembly: Are you ready to follow the example of
Saddam Hussein, who said that other authoritarian leaders should
free political prisoners, as demanded by the Council of Europe?
First of all, in Azerbaijan there are no political prisoners.
Those people who have been convicted committed crimes. Terrorists,
plane hijackers and other people like that - those who have committed
acts of terrorism - cannot be considered political prisoners.
But unlike us, in Armenia, people who are regarded as political
opponents are being killed in the Parliament, in the prisons.
We all know how political prisoners are being killed in Armenia.
So I advise you not to raise such an issue, because it will not
work to your benefit.
U.S. Geological Survey: Can you envision an era of cooperation
with Armenia if there is a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict? If so, in what spheres could this cooperation take
Thank you for your question. I sense that you understand the
issue very well when you preface your remarks by saying, "after
the resolution of the conflict with Nagorno-Karabakh." I
say this because Armenia is trying to persuade the international
community that it does want to have economic cooperation with
Azerbaijan, but that Azerbaijan does not want to cooperate. This
is true. We cannot have economic cooperation with the aggressor
who occupies our territory. Many times our government - our President
- has stated that until the aggressor withdraws from our occupied
territory, there will be no economic cooperation with Armenia.
And this position remains unchanged.
The Armenian society or those who rule the society have to understand
that without regional cooperation, the country of Armenia will
not be able to exist. How can it, when it remains dependent on
aid? After Armenia withdraws from our territories, communications
will be opened and there can be various spheres of cooperation.
Azerbaijan is not in need of such cooperation - we can do well
without it. But if they ask us to cooperate, we will take this
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