President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to start supply of drinking water to Aghsu District.
The head of state familiarized himself with the project for the improvement of water supply and construction of water purification facility in Aghsu as part of the second national project for water supply and sewerage services.
Chairman of Irrigation and Water Industry OJSC Ahmad Ahmadzade informed the head of state of the work done under the project to improve water supply in Aghsu.
President Ilham Aliyev then met with local residents.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- We are celebrating a significant event today. The drinking water project in Aghsu District is drawing to a close, and the problem is finally being resolved. The city is already supplied with clean drinking water from a wonderful source, and I believe that it is a great achievement because, as we all know, the problem of drinking water in Aghsu has always been very acute. I remember coming to Aghsu as President for the first time and hearing local people say that the quality of drinking water was very low, which has an adverse impact on human health. Some measures were taken at the time, but today the problem of drinking water in the city of Aghsu is being resolved once and for all. Quality water from a clean source is being supplied to Aghsu. A sewage project is also drawing to a close. I am told that the project will be completed next year.
At the same time, as part of this project, there are plans to supply drinking water to several villages. In the future, of course, it is necessary to supply drinking water to other villages. Drinking water is the main condition for people’s health. I am sure that the conditions currently available will allow people to be healthier, especially young people, the younger generation. After all, drinking water, clean air, quality food, medical care, physical exercise and, of course, a healthy lifestyle – these are the main factors for people's health. We can say that all of this is available in Aghsu today. Only a hospital is missing. During my previous visit here we opened a stadium, while today we have opened a sports center and the city is being supplied with drinking water. And now I am instructing the Ministry of Health to accelerate the construction of a hospital. It will be at your disposal soon.
The successful development of Aghsu District pleases me a lot. This is my fourth visit to the district as President, and I see great development. There is improvement and creative work, social issues are addressed and businesses established. We have put into operation a large plant for the production of juices. Today, it exports its products to different countries. Agriculture is developing. Of all the large-scale farms we have created recently, the farm functioning in Aghsu District is in the first place. Its performance has broken the record. Congratulations!
Average grain production in Azerbaijan is more than 30 quintals for the first time ever. In Aghsu it is approximately 35 quintals, while this large farm provides 50 quintals. This is an unprecedented achievement and a good result. We need to use this experience in other farms in order to produce an even more abundant harvest. Agriculture holds a special place in people's employment, food security and economic development in general.
We have done everything necessary in the oil sector. Currently, we are implementing the Southern Gas Corridor project, which will create opportunities for our country and people for decades to come. Infrastructure projects are practically over. This project is a vivid example of that. Rural roads are built. Today, I attended the opening of the Kurdamir-Aghsu highway and frove down this road. There is also Baku-Shamakhi-Aghsu road. This issue has also been resolved. "AzeriIshig" is currently upgrading the electrical infrastructure. Gasification is under way. I am told that by the year's end gasification in Aghsu will reach 90 per cent. This is also a historic achievement. From now on, our priority should be local production, agriculture and industrial production, because our advantage lies in the fact that our population is growing. In some neighboring countries, we can say that there is a demographic decline, particularly in Armenia. The population there has declined sharply. There is extensive migration, as people can no longer endure the conditions. On the other hand, there is no natural growth. Our population is growing. This is our advantage. It is actually a great advantage. At the same time and in parallel with this, our economy must also grow. The population of Azerbaijan increases by about 100,000 people annually, perhaps even more. In the future, it will grow even more. Therefore, our economy should develop in line with this. In recent years, we have created more than 1 million jobs, but this should be an ongoing process. Therefore, the introduction into circulation of new acreage, the construction of such large reservoirs as Takhtakorpu, Shamkirchay and other smaller reservoirs will support the development of agriculture because employment rate should grow, unemployment must be completely eradicated and people must live even better.
In the future, we have to produce such products so that we can export them to external markets, as is the case with the plant in Aghsu. There should be many such plants. Azerbaijan will assert itself in the world also as a country producing and exporting large volumes of food. Then our economic development will be sustainable. Our economy will be even less dependent on oil prices, because the current financial and economic crisis in the world inevitably affects us. Oil prices have fallen more than in half and our revenues have declined. Nevertheless, we are implementing all social projects and none of them has been suspended. I issued the instruction to build and commission a hospital here as soon as possible.
We are implementing infrastructure projects and major investment is made in the country. Azerbaijan shows an example even in this difficult period. It is no coincidence that people write articles on Azerbaijan’s successful development model. I am sure that research papers will be written on this subject in the near future. The Azerbaijani miracle is a miracle indeed. To develop, strengthen the stability and lead the country forward in such a geopolitical environment is a huge great heroism of the Azerbaijani people.
Look at what is happening in different parts of the world. None of this was taking place just a year ago. The number of bloody clashes increases and their geography expands. This confrontation and war is joined by new countries. Europe is experiencing a crisis. I have already mentioned that this is more of a moral crisis. There is such a discrimination against refugees. Such mistreatment does not fit into any frames. They have proclaimed principles and values themselves. They proclaimed this everywhere in order to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. In this case, they should demonstrate these principles in their own countries. They beat up women, children and old people, and torture them. What is the fault of these people?! They discriminate against them and say that Muslim refugees will not be let in. What does that mean?! This is fascism, racism and xenophobia. Is fascism raising the head in Europe again?! After all, fascism as evil did not appear in the Muslim world. We know very well where it originated. They are trying to make people forget about that. People in the West deliberately spread distorted information about World War II. They want to belittle the heroism of the Soviet army in the war, in which Soviet people, including the people of Azerbaijan, took part. The picture we see on television and on the Internet once again reminds us of those days. Is fascism raising its head again? Do they want to divide people into categories, ethnicities and religions again? Therefore, Islamophobia is a huge threat. It is a threat to us, because we are Muslims. It is a threat for them too.
This stand-off is an ideological confrontation, a war for natural resources and for expansion of influence. So we need to be ready and we are ready for that. We took all measures in a timely manner and did not allow alien forces, the forces that can’t stomach our development to take root in Azerbaijan. We cut off their roots. This is why they are inventing all sorts of slander against us now. But we are ready for that. The main thing is that Azerbaijan should develop and our people should live in peace, tranquility and stability. Azerbaijan shows an example around the world economically, politically and morally. After all, Azerbaijan is a multiethnic country. All nations live in Azerbaijan like one family. There is no discrimination. Representatives of different religions live like brothers.
I have repeatedly said that there can be no discrimination between us. All of us, regardless of religion and nationality, are Azerbaijani citizens. We all have the same and equal rights. This is a normal way of life. In fact, the environment in which we live is a normal way of life. But look at what is happening in other places. So I am sure that the Azerbaijani model will be studied and presented as a sample. Of course, we have done this work not to please anyone or for someone to follow our example. We do it for ourselves. We do not want anyone to interfere in our affairs. Does someone who tries to lecture us love Azerbaijan more than we do? Of course not! They want to expand their influence here, engage Azerbaijan in various provocations and incite us to do so.
We do not succumb to these provocations. And when we don’t, we become bad for them. But never mind – let us stay bad for them. If they criticize us, it means we are on the right track. The Azerbaijani people are a strong nation. We can withstand the pressure and endure everything. We say our word, do not leave and will not leave any lies unanswered and prove to the world that it is only possible to build friendly relations with us. We are ready for that. If they are ready, we are ready. If not, then, as they say, everyone has his own path.