Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev received acting chairman of OSCE, foreign minister of Netherlands Mr. Yaap De Hoop Scheffer, 22 October.

Warmly greeting the guest, Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev said:

Dear Mr. Minister,

Dear guests,

I warmly greet all of you in Azerbaijan. I am aware that in the frame of your visit to the region, you conduct various meetings. And today You had meetings in Azerbaijan. Sure, all the meetings negotiations will make large imagination on the happenings in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is developing country, which after gaining independence reached success in all spheres. Of course, we have problems, too, most important of which is the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict. OSCE and its Minsk Group for long years are engaged in the mentioned problem, and I express my gratitude to you for all your efforts. Along with that, I hope that this work will be continued, reached concrete results. All of us wish fair solution of the problem, and activity of the OSCE Minsk Group in that direction should be activated, it is necessary to prepare new proposals. Sure, all the presented suggestions will be attentively treated, and the conflict shortly will find its solution with observation of norms of international law.

Expressing to Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev his gratitude for warm reception, OSCE Chairman, foreign minister of Netherlands Yaap De Hoop Scheffer said:

Mr. President-elect, first, thank you for the reception. Our visit to the region has indeed exclusive importance, so that a number of existent in the region problems are waiting for solution.

These problems are also connected with universal values, human rights and supremacy of law. I think and hope that Your election as President of Azerbaijan will open new opportunities for solution of these problems. It will be the chance for continuation of the talks around Nagorno Karabakh. As you know, OSCE stands ready to render assistance to you in this issue. I hope that after some consultations, the Minsk Group co-chairs can also visit the region. This group never froze its activity and works on the item. But the result delays for many years. This is also known that many people suffer from delay of this problem. The result will depend on Armenia and Azerbaijan. I also express my hope that solution of this problem will promote strengthening of stability and security in the region. Stability and security is necessary in the region. Therefore, such organizations as the Council of Europe, European Union and OSCE should come here and continue their activities.

Mr. President-elect, the same I told the President of Armenia. I think that there are still opportunities for solution of the problem and we must try that the light at the end of this tunnel should not switch off.

I would like once again to express my gratitude for hospitality and I hope the problems will soon find its settlement.

Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev expressed his gratitude to OSCE acting Chairman and said:

“Thank you, Mr. Minister, I am completely agreed with you. Maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region is an important task. Azerbaijan, in its turn, does everything and I consider that it has made valuable contributions to preserve stability in the region.

As you noted, may people suffer from this conflict. As you know, 20 percent of Azerbaijani]’s territories have been occupied, in result, over one million of out citizens have become refugees and IDPs. Of course, their plight is hard, and they are the most suffering part.

At the same time, we know that this conflict has greatly damaged Armenia. Development of the economy of this country depends on settlement of this problem. Therefore, the Armenian side also is concerned with delay of solution of the problem. If both sides have good will, if solution of the conflict is possible on the ground of fair principles and in conformity with international legal norms, this will promote development both in Azerbaijan and Armenia and in the whole region. The OSCE Minsk Group goes ahead with its activity and we are ready to receive and negotiate with them in Azerbaijan. We hope that their new proposals will ensure establishment of international norms and promote settlement of the conflict”.

OSCE Chairman, foreign minister of Netherlands Yaap De Hoop Scheffer:

“Mr. President-elect, I would like to end hopefully. We always live with hope. Presidential elections were assessed by international organizations, including by OSCE that I represent, with critical remarks. Nevertheless, we hope and wait that under your leadership there will be complete consent in the country. Of course, those who committed crime should be punished. At the same time, we consider that there might be innocent people in the prisons and they will be released, they will have chance to meet with attorneys. I reiterate that under your leadership there will be complete consent and agreement in the country.

I am from the Netherlands with ancient traditions. May be therefore I am expecting much from Azerbaijan. I should say that in this sense, your country has reached certain achievements. I would like to tell some kind words on preparation of the Election Code. This document was prepared in a high level and I hope it will be followed in future as well. I also would express my hope that You will achieve dialogue between the government and opposition.

I must return to Netherlands today. They wait for me at the Parliament. It is one of the nice and difficult points of democracy that we bear responsibility before the Parliament. I once again express my hope that under your leadership, Azerbaijan will continue to develop and the press in your country will freely function as before. You will reach good relations with the regional countries and at the same time, your links with the Council of Europe and other European organizations will acquire high level.

Mr. President-elect, permit me to express my hope that I shall have further opportunity to come to Azerbaijan and meet with you again. We shall have time to discuss other issue we could not focus today. Unfortunately, I could not meet with your father – president Heydar Aliyev. Please, convey my nest wishes and greetings to him”.

Ilham Aliyev:

“Dear Mr. Minister,

I would like to note that Presidential elections were conducted fairly and transparently. The people of Azerbaijan have freely express its will. There were some shortages and nobody refuses them. This is natural. Azerbaijan is a new country that marches on path of democracy. Of course, serious work will be carried out to remove these shortcomings. At the same time, I would say that these shortages did not have any impact on the results. I can say that of the five thousand election stations, in 3600 stations the protocols were signed by all commission members, including opposition representatives. Along with that, I agree that we must have dialogue with all political structures functioning in Azerbaijan. In the course of election campaign, I have several times offered a dialogue to the opposition. Unfortunately, they did not listen. On the contrary, they committed illegal action to frustrate stability in the country. Of course, all these irregularities were prevented within the law. Many of the participants of these actions were released and this process continues. I assure you that we shall treat this issue from the point of view of law and there is any political motive here.

In Azerbaijan, democracy is developing, we adhere democratic principles. We also look forward to future cooperation with the European Union.

I will convey your greetings to President Heydar Aliyev. I also regret that You could not meet with him and express my hope you will meet him in your next visit to Azerbaijan.

Head of the international relations department of President Administration Novruz Mammadov, head of the OSCE representation in Baku Peter Burhard attended the reception.

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