Closing speech by Ilham Aliyev at the annual general assembly of the National Academy of Sciences
26 april 2011, 18:20
- I would like to express my attitude to the proposals made here. I believe that these proposals are very valuable. They will be taken into account and relevant instructions will be issued so that the issues we raised are solved as quickly as possible. Several issues were raised here. I would like to express my thoughts.
In connection with the resolution of social issues - of course, these issues are always in the centre of attention. Salaries and pensions are raised from time to time in Azerbaijan. However, despite the fact that salaries and pensions have been raised by several times in recent years, the social security of those working in the public sector is still not at the level we would like. This issue will be considered and of course, the issues that worry employees of the academy will be solved.
I support the proposals on the construction of a library. This issue was discussed some time ago, and even some proposals were made. I believe that we should consider this issue even more seriously. Maybe, next year's state budget will provide additional financial sources for the construction of the library. I believe that design work could begin this year. There is a great need for a modern and wonderful library. I am sure that we will achieve this.
You yourselves should determine issues related to structural reforms. The best option should be selected. I will also support the option you select. The main issue is that we should ensure the productivity of the work. Structural reforms are not carried out just for the sake of reforms, but should serve to yield real results.
The proposal to establish an international centre on Caspian Sea studies could be considered. As you know, all Caspian littoral states are now in close contact with each other. The holding of the summit of the leaders of Caspian littoral states in Baku at the end of last year and the important decisions adopted during the meeting strengthen tendencies of cooperation in the Caspian Sea. All our neighbours noted that the Baku summit on the Caspian Sea was very successful. This five-sided cooperation will continue, of course. There are some proposals on the biological resources of the Caspian Sea here. Negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea are underway and Azerbaijan is demonstrating a very constructive position on all these issues. We should make sure that the Caspian Sea remains a sea of friendship and good neighbourliness. The proposal on the establishment of a centre for Caspian Sea research could also be considered. Of course, if such a centre is established, Baku should be its centre, because Baku is the only capital among the Caspian littoral states and of course, Baku takes a special place in researching the Caspian and developing its natural reserves.
The issue of establishing a fund for young scientists could also be considered. As you know, a state programme called "Azerbaijani Youth in 2011-2015" is currently being prepared. At the same time, the state programme on the development of Azerbaijani science covers the period until 2015. We should somehow connect these two programmes and plan additional measures to involve the youth in science. I totally agree that we should prepare and stimulate additional mechanisms in order to involve the youth in science. We will also consider issues related to military service.
The issue of keeping oil extraction at a stable level is very important to us. As you know, international companies operating in Azerbaijan are making great investments and at the same time, the Azerbaijani side is also actively involved in this work. As you know, Azerbaijan currently gets 75 per cent of revenues from oil extracted by the consortium. This shows that Azerbaijan had a serious position during the negotiations on the "Contract of the Century" despite the fact that our economic situation was not that good at the time and political developments also worried us to some extent. At that time, we secured maximum acceptable conditions. That's why most of the oil extracted by foreign partners today belongs to Azerbaijan. We have always expressed our view of this issue during our talks with foreign partners. We want to achieve long-term production. We do not have a positive view of the idea of increasing production. I believe that the current level of production is optimal. We should make sure that Azerbaijani oil continues to serve the development of the Azerbaijani economy for many years ahead.
Currently, we are implementing a big gas project, and the Shah Daniz gas deposit is one of the biggest and rarest gas deposits worldwide. After the Shah Daniz deposit, Azerbaijani scientists, geologists and oilmen discovered the Umid deposit. Thus, we have great gas potential and there is no doubt that Europe's energy security, which I mentioned in my opening speech, could be resolved to some extent by Azerbaijani gas. Currently, serious negotiations are underway on this issue. Earlier this year, the European Union and Azerbaijan signed a declaration on the South gas corridor and set up a working group, and specific work is being carried out. Here, as always, we have to ensure the national interests of our country and people. We need new markets to export gas and our partners need new alternative sources. Our interests almost coincide here, and in the future, we will be determining the level of both oil and gas extraction in Azerbaijan. We will keep this extraction at the necessary level. Of course, these issues should combine with our long-term development strategy. I am saying again – scientists are having, and will have, their say.
I am ready to consider proposals on the development of the seismological service. If it is necessary to allocate additional funds, we will do so in order to improve work in this sphere. Almost 10 years have passed since the earthquake. Perhaps, the equipment that was purchased at the time has become obsolete because new technologies and new equipment have emerged now, and of course, we will consider this.
We will consider the proposal on the refurbishment of the Natural History Museum. I believe that it would be in line with the policy being conducted in this sphere in Azerbaijan if we refurbished this museum at a high level or created a new one. If we are to create a new one, it is necessary to identify a site in a beautiful place in the city centre, because we indeed have a sufficient number of materials and exhibits to display. You know very well that Azerbaijan takes first place in the world for the number of mud volcanoes. This is our great asset. Unfortunately, it is not known very well both inside and outside the country. Scientists are aware of this, but the general public is unaware. I believe that by creating a museum, preparing Internet materials and conducting scientific studies, we will be able to show the whole world that Azerbaijan takes first place in this sphere as well.
Substantial refurbishment work is underway in the Shamakhi astrophysics observatory, or to be more precise, the whole infrastructure is being updated. To this end, money has been allocated from the Presidential Reserve Fund. Some time ago, I familiarized myself with projects in Shamakhi District. All work is being carried out at an excellent and modern level for scientists to live and conduct scientific studies. That's to say I believe this observatory will stand out from the rest of the world for its modernity and beauty. Thus, a new impetus will be given to the development of Azerbaijani science and the development of science in this field. I believe that the observatory should also be open to tourists in the future. Excursions should be arranged there because it is an issue of interest and at the same time, this could yield some additional funding for the observatory. Currently, tourism opportunities are expanding in Azerbaijan. Specifically, great construction work is underway in Baku and Shamakhi District, which is close to Baku, and excellent roads have been built. Now we will be widening the Baku-Shamakhi road. An excellent autobahn will be created, and I believe that it will be interesting to the population. Of course, conditions are being created for scientific workers.
An idea was expressed about the refurbishment of the Institute of Polymeric Materials in Sumqayit. I will issue an instruction to study this issue, and assistance will be rendered. In general, attention should be paid, and is being paid, to the development of chemistry. I pointed out in my opening speech that great attention is being paid to the petrochemical sphere and instructions have been issued to create a modern petrochemical complex in Azerbaijan. Instructions have been issued to build a new modern oil refinery. A project is being prepared now. We should involve the most modern technologies in this sphere. I will instruct the State Oil Company to involve Azerbaijani scientists in this work to a maximum and do this work together.
I think that proposals on the establishment of a Nizami centre are praiseworthy. No-one doubts that Nizami Ganjavi is an Azerbaijani poet of genius. The whole world knows this. If there is a need to prove this to anyone, we can do so very easily. The memory of Nizami is dear to every Azerbaijani. Nizami's works, of course, are an integral part of our national consciousness. As for the fact that some forces are trying to misappropriate these works, unfortunately, we have repeatedly faced such cases. The main reason is that Azerbaijani literature and culture are so rich that others are trying to misappropriate our national assets. This does not apply only to literature or Nizami's works. The Armenians are shamelessly stealing our music. They misappropriate the works of genius Uzeyir. The Armenians are also stealing our national cuisine. They are trying to present it as Armenian cuisine in various ways, whereas even the names of our national dishes are Azerbaijani words. If you ask an Armenian what dolma means in Armenian, he will not be able to say anything. Just like Karabakh is an ordinary word for them and they do not understand what it means, because it is not an Armenian word. That's why such actions make us very upset.
We should protect our national-cultural heritage. To this end, propaganda work should be more active. Our possibilities should be even broader. See, now Azerbaijani diaspora organizations are operating almost worldwide. Azerbaijani embassies have been opened in more than 50 countries and are successfully operating. That's to say our propaganda possibilities are broader now. Throughout history, we have never set our eyes on the national values or national heritage of another people. But unfortunately, such attempts have always been made against us. I am saying again that the main reason for this is the talent and rich culture of the Azerbaijani people. However, we will definitely protect our cultural heritage, independence and independent choice. I am sure that Azerbaijan's development will be brilliant and successful. Azerbaijan will become one of the world's most developed countries.
Dear friends, I welcome you sincerely once again. I am confident that the development of the academy will continue to be successful. The additional instructions that have been issued will have a positive effect on the development of the academy in the near future. Goodbye!