Dear participants of the Summit,

I cordially greet you, the participants of the 6th Eurasian Economic Summit held under the aegis of the President of the Turkish Republic and at the initiative of Vagfa of strategic and social researches of Marmara group and wish you success.

This Summit, annually held at the support and promotion of the Turkish government gathers state and political figures, deputies, diplomats as well as representatives of a number of prestigious international and non-governmental organizations, economic bodies of Eurasian countries together and has become a nice tradition for the further strengthening, development and cultural integration of multilateral relations formed up between our courtiers and nations.

I express gratitude to the President and government of the Turkish Republic as well as to leaders of Vagfa of strategic and social researches of Marmara group, which honorable chairman I am, for continuation of this tradition and high organization of the Summit.

It is remarkable that the 6th Eurasian Economic Summit coincides with an event of great historical importance for Azerbaijan - the 80th anniversary of foundation of the Turkish Republic under leadership of a genius politician and statesman of the 20th century Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

One of the most important tasks that Azerbaijan faces after re-establishment of its state independence is in foundation of a democratic, legal state, transition to free market economy and integration to Euro Atlantic structures.

The main line of our policy since 1993 is made up of different reforms in political, economic, legal, legislative and other spheres of society. Adoption of the Constitution in 1995 reflecting common human democratic values, holding democratic Presidential, Parliamentarian and Municipal elections basing on multi party system, beginning of activities of the Constitutional Court for the first time in history of our country and many other actions are important steps taken by Azerbaijan on the way of progress.

Conclusion of a wide-range oil contract in September 1994, named as a “contract of the century”, signing of new deals related to exploitation of hydro carbon resources of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian opened good opportunities for revival of economic potential of our country, increase of foreign investments.

Today, biggest companies of the leading states of the world have invested funds to oil industry of Azerbaijan amounted at over $6 billion. In 2004, the volume of investments from all financial sources will make up 18,3 trillion manats and the amount of foreign investments -$3 billion.

Due to successfully implemented oil strategy of Azerbaijan, mutual understanding of our countries with the countries of the region became more constructive and intensive. Implementation of the main export oil pipeline project Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, gas pipeline Baku-TBIlisi-Erzerum, energy corridor East-West and restoration of the Great Silk Road created favorable conditions for strengthening of regional security.

As a result of efficient economic policy, the volume of GDP in Azerbaijan increased by 45 percent as compared to 1998 and came to 29,6 trillion manats in 2002. During this period, industrial production increased by 20.5 and agricultural production - by 41.8 percent. It is almost few years that growth of GDP comes to 10 percent.

Azerbaijan today is open for the whole world with wide bilateral relations, members of important international organizations, unions, economic and financial structures. Prestige of our country in world community is increasing day by day; our state is taking an active part in international and regional policy.

Diplomatic efforts of Azerbaijan in regard of settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karbakhab within the frames of OSCE have considerably weakened position of Armenia. However, leaders of Armenia go on relying on ideology of aggressive nationalism, separatism and terrorism, pull their nation to deep crisis. Azerbaijan is for peaceful settlement of the conflict according to norms of international law. All the same, patience of Azerbaijan has limits. We would never agree the option of resolution on “existing realities” principle and would never give up an inch of our land.

After the events of September 11, Azerbaijan has joined antiterrorist coalition and took an uncompromising position in combat of terrorism. Azerbaijan suffering from Armenian terror, cooperates with international bodies and countries for resolution of this problem.

Those days, our country lives the next stage of its democratic maturity. Presidential elections are to be held on October 15. Legal basis meeting world standards has been created for holding free, transparent and democratic elections in the country. I believe in wise choice of Azerbaijani people.

I would like to express confidence that this Summit will play an important role in development of our multilateral cooperation, strengthening of peace, stability and trust in our region and Eurasia.

Taking this opportunity, I convey again greetings of Azerbaijani people and government to the participants of the Summit and wish success in its activities.

Heydar Aliyev

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

September 30, 2003

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