President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received at the presidential palace Minister of Defense of Bulgaria Nikolay Svinarov and accompanied delegation on November 4.

Warmly and cordially welcoming the guests Ilham Aliyev said:

Dear Mr. Minister, dear guests, very friendly relations have been established between our countries. In 1995, our President Heydar Aliyev paid an official visit to Bulgaria when very important documents regarding our relations were signed. It is very important that such a cooperation to continue and fill with new content. Last year, agreements on military cooperation were reached, and your visit to Azerbaijan indicates that successful work is being carried out in this sphere as well.

Bulgaria is a friendly country we have known for many tears. Of course, after Azerbaijan gained the independence, it establishes very constructive and good neighboring relations with all countries including those we have had friendly ties with before. So, I think the future of our relations will be very successful as for both the cooperation between defense ministries and in all other spheres.

Hope your stay in Azerbaijan will remain in your memory and our contacts will be actively developed in the future.

Having thanked the Head of the Azerbaijan state for the cordial and warm reception, Minister of Defense of Bulgaria Nikolay Svinarov said:

Mr. President, it is a great honor and pleasure for us to be received by you right after your election and assuming the office.

I have the honorable duty to convey to you the message of congratulations from the president of our country on this occasion. Relations between our countries are very important, and I hope together with my colleague the Defense Minister we will manage to contribute to the development of these relations. I wish you every success in your work as the President. You will lead the country forward to prosperity, and it makes your task heavy. We hope your experience and responsibility - after your brilliant victory - will become and impetus for development and flourishing of the people of Azerbaijan.

As to the relations between our two departments, they have been successfully developing for the last two years. It would be very important to us if you enjoy you influence for opening of diplomatic and military mission of your country in Sophia. It could optimize the relations between our countries and departments, and lead to development between our two countries in all spheres. We hope to receive next year your Chairman of Parliament and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 2004, Bulgaria will become the OSCE Chairman. In this connection, it would be very useful for the Foreign Ministers to have constant and direct contacts so that Bulgaria as OSCE Chairman could promote resolution of the long-standing conflict over Nagorno-Garabakh.

Thanking the Bulgarian Defense Minister for the warm congratulations, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:

First of all, I would like to ask you to convey my gratitude and best wishes to the Mr. President.

You are right, today Azerbaijan is a dynamically developing country. It has passed quite a long path from collapse and chaos to development. The policy parried out for ten years by President Heydar Aliyev has been proven to be right in reality. Today, Azerbaijan is very dynamically developing as of economic development, social problems solving and our aspirations for further democratization of the society. We very actively integrating into the world and European structures, and have been the member of the Council of Europe for three years. Our relations with the European Union are also developing very dynamically. Our policy directed to the integration into the international structures will be continued.

At the same time, the country still has great problems, one of which – as you have mentioned – is Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Garabakh resulted in occupation of 20% of our territory and million refugees. Bulgaria is to undertake the function of the OSCE Chairman, and would like very much for the OSCE Minsk Group to be more actively engaged in this issue. We have to note with great regret that all activities of the Minsk Group have not yet led to any results. Of course, the Armenia’s destructive stance has contributed to such a situation. But we think in XXI century, while Europe is united, and our two countries are the members of practically all the international and European organizations, it is inadmissible for one country to occupy another one. I hope the OSCE Minsk Group will act according to the norms of international law. We hope by our joint efforts we will manage to reach fair resolution of this problem, again, the resolution reflecting the norms of the international law. The contacts between various departments of our countries must be continued. We will greet the ones at the level various Ministries and Ministers, and this will foster our further rapprochement. Our state is relatively young, and cannot have our diplomatic and military mission wherever we want. But, of course, as far as possible, as our economic power strengthens, we will do consider these possibilities, and Bulgaria will be among priority countries. We are very pleased that after gaining independence, we have established very friendly relations. In our turn, we will do all possible for these relations to develop in the military, political, economic and cultural spheres. I think it would serve the welfare for our two countries and peoples.

NIKOLAY SVINAROV: I would like once again to wish you every success. You success will be the one of the people of Azerbaijan. Please, allow me ask you to convey our greetings to your father and wish him good health.


The reception was attended by Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Safar Abiyev and charge' d'affaires of Bulgaria in Azerbaijan Ivan Paltsev.

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