Richard Armitage

Former Deputy Secretary of State of the United States

Mr. President, despite the fact that five months has passed since time of your official visit to Washington and other cities of US, the high opinion on You was embodied in memory of the American citizens. They regard You with great sympathy. To that, there are two reasons. First, as all know, it has taken place due to your intuition shown at meetings carried out in the US and negotiations, high oratorical ability. The second reason consists that You, in Georgetown University, have in detail and substantially answered numerous questions on various themes. During that meeting you have once again shown, that the true leader of the country are afraid of nothing, and above all put interests of your country

I have many recollections on the meetings and cooperation with You. The first is connected with the meeting just after Azerbaijan gained independence. You were in Nakhchivan then and helped organization of rendering assistance to the local people. I acquainted with You for the first time and we worked together. I was fond of You, because You reminded me my father. I hope You will not be hurt for my truth. You, indeed, resemble him.

After this meeting, I cooperated with you for several times both as a civilian and public man. I visited you in Baku. Another memory is connected with the time when I was co-chair of the US–Azerbaijan Commercial Chamber. And when you were visiting Washington, I had the honor of introducing you to some of the prominent figures in the United States. I did this with particular respect. Likewise, I introduced you to the US ex-defense minister Caspar Weinberger. I remember that looking at Casper Weinberger, you said: “I have watched you in TV as an enemy, but now I am pleased to be acquainted with you personally”. It was an unforgettable moment for me, because Casper Weinberger was my former teacher and chief.

Lately, we have re-established contact with each other, this time to discuss various issues while I am in public office. Your leadership over the East-West energy corridor project made possible the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Also, it was interesting for me to work with you to explore solutions for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

I have told in one of the meetings with You: “Matching along the path of ensuring its freedom, independence, democracy, Azerbaijan has faced and will face many difficulties. But we are convinced that Azerbaijan under the guidance of Heydar Aliyev will demonstrate its decisiveness once again and strengthen its state independence”. In the past years, we witnessed it.

As I watched, and it is true, Azerbaijan has a farsighted President. You always think of democracy, progress, economic development, always act straightly. Such men have always led the things to right conclusions.

You have many friends in the United States and they have visited Your country many times, met the most farsighted man of the region.

The government of the United States is thankful for support to coalition under Your leadership in the operations both in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are the measures of the real friendship. The Americans do not forget these and will never forget.

Heydar Aliyev, as the head of the Azerbaijani state, showed great foresight and wisdom, did a lot for the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. President Heydar Aliyev in addition to his hard work to achieve peace, embarked on the restoration and revival of the country’s economy with great enthusiasm, opened Azerbaijan’s doors to the world community, and created all conditions for foreign companies to invest.

I would like to especially note the services of President Heydar Aliyev in the field of creating democratic institutions in order to ensure the democratic development of Azerbaijan. The wisdom, foresight, and leadership of Mr. Heydar Aliyev are already bearing fruits.