25 july 2011, 13:00
Presidents of Azerbaijan and Poland held a joint press conference
Following the document signing ceremony between Azerbaijan and Poland, President Ilham Aliyev and President Bronislaw Komorowski held a joint press conference.
Statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
We have also exchanged views on the current state and prospects for our energy cooperation. There have been exchanges and talks between relevant institutions of our countries during which new opportunities are being sought for taking Azerbaijani oil and gas to world and European markets. Polish-Azerbaijani relations hold an important place in this. I am sure that Poland, a country that currently has presidency in the European Union, will say its word in our talks with the European Union as a whole.
Azerbaijan is rich in oil and gas resources, has a diversified export infrastructure – we have seven pipelines through which our oil and gas can be delivered to world and European markets, and they are operational.
In addition to regional cooperation, we have also considered regional security issues. In particular, I have informed Mr. President of ways of resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the current state of negotiations. I want to reiterate that this conflict is the biggest threat, the greatest injustice for the region. For many years Armenia has been violating the internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, 20 per cent of our land is under occupation. Azerbaijanis have been exposed to a policy of ethnic cleansing, more than one million Azerbaijanis were driven out of their homes and became refugees and IDPs persons. International organizations have expressed their positions on the issue. The UN, the European Union, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the OSCE have passed decisions and resolutions. These decisions and resolutions provide the legal framework for resolving the issue.
Of course, the soonest solution of the issue on the basis of international law and within the framework of the territorial integrity of countries will bring peace and cooperation to the region, and all the processes in the region will develop more rapidly and in a positive direction.
In general, I want to indicate that the first official visit of the Polish President to Azerbaijan has been very successful. The visit program is very busy. We will continue our meetings today and tomorrow. I am sure that in general the visit will produce great results which will elevate Polish-Azerbaijani relations to a higher level.
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Statement by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski
Our relations are the relations between two states. We can say that both our countries gained independence at the same time, and it brought us freedom. We have taken prudent steps to ensure that our independence is strong, to lay a solid foundation for economic cooperation. In essence, this is not a standard cooperation, this cooperation is above standards. I want to draw your attention to a number of facts that influence Polish-Azerbaijani relations, as these facts go beyond them. This applies, in particular, to Azerbaijan's relations with the European Union, with Europe. As you know, Poland currently has presidency in the European Union. Thus, Poland sets the agenda of the entire EU, including the direction of relations with non-EU countries.
We know that Mr. President will participate in the Warsaw summit due in September. In essence, this will be a summit of Eastern Partnership states. I want to say that Poland is interested in Azerbaijan’s achievements. We would like the negotiations between Azerbaijan and the European Union on the Association Agreement to be successful. We must be bound together by the same principles, the same rules. This represents particular importance for a further development of relations between the West and Azerbaijan. It is also very important for Polish-Azerbaijani relations.
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Then the heads of state answered journalists’ questions.
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I have a question for President Komorowski. You have indicated that you will continue cooperating, you spoke about the Odessa-Brody-Gdansk pipeline. Can you provide information about that?
I have a question for Mr. Komorowski. Armenia still occupies 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory. Despite four UN resolutions demanding a withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from these lands, resolutions of the EU, the Council of Europe, etc., Armenia keeps flouting the calls of the OSCE and the documents mentioned by President Ilham Aliyev which also demand immediate compliance with these demands. Armenia occupies Azerbaijani territories, which represents a major threat not only to Azerbaijan but also to the region and all of Europe. Mr. President, we know your position, the position of Poland. But we would like to hear your suggestions. How can Azerbaijan get out of this situation? Thank you.
First of all, I am sharing in your grief. Because there are problems that interfere with the functionality of the region. With regard to the region, Azerbaijan is known in this part of the world as a country contributing to stability, the stability factor. I have told Mr. President: if there was a formula whereby we could somewhat depart from this difficult issue, so that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan could be resolved in peace. We too have difficult experience. We know how important the issue of territorial integrity is. It is sacred. But at the same time, the right of peoples to self-determination is also important. Where there are conflicts, these principles have been approved. The most dangerous thing is that someone, depending on geography and the political environment, has approached this from different perspectives.
We in Poland have bitter experience. We have had a very difficult and complex history, the past. Historically, we had lands inhabited by ethnic and religious minorities. I want to say that the biggest achievement of my generation, a generation of "Solidarity", is that we have eliminated hatred and intolerance. Poland has had very complicated relations with its very powerful neighbor. There have been processes damaging our relations with Germany, Russia and Ukraine. But we have succeeded in overcoming these historical difficulties. Now we are taking steps in a totally different environment, in an atmosphere of integration. This is an atmosphere of European integration, completely new living conditions. So, naturally, we are in favor of this conflict being fully resolved, so that the peoples of this region could live decent lives in quiet conditions. This is why the Minsk Group has been established. It is dealing with the issue. However, I want to say that those affected by the conflict have suffered a lot, and I would like to see these people telling us which way to go, to be actively involved in resolving the conflict. To do this, it is extremely important to find a way into people’s hearts, to be closer to the hearts of those living in the region.
And this question is to President Aliyev. You will attend the Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw. What is your vision of cooperation in this area?
President Ilham Aliyev: I want to state that Azerbaijan resolutely condemns the monstrous act of terror that has occurred in Norway. We resolutely condemn all forms of terrorism. On behalf of the Azerbaijani state I would like to express our condolences to the next of kin and relatives of those killed in Norway and wish those wounded a speedy recovery.
Azerbaijan, also a country affected by terrorism, empathizes with the grief of the Norwegian people. Armenian terrorist organizations have committed more than 30 acts of terror against us. More than 2,000 peaceful Azerbaijani citizens have been killed as a result of these acts. Terror against us is still ongoing.
With regard to the relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan, in particular the Eastern Partnership program, Azerbaijan joined the program with very high hopes. Prior to that, a new neighborhood program was implemented. In general, the relations between the EU and Azerbaijan already have a long history. The visit by European Commission President Mr. Barroso to Azerbaijan this year and my visit to Belgium last month have taken these relations to a higher level.
There are a number of other areas. The delegation includes representatives of business circles, and I think that after their talks certain steps will be taken to facilitate investment. A number of individuals could be involved in this. Poland is interested in establishing cooperation in this field. Poland is already working in this area. We can cooperate with Azerbaijan in other areas, other industrial sectors. We think we must not only assess the work already done, but also explore the opportunities for mutual investment so as to work in this sphere together.
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