Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the commissioning of a residential building for Karabakh war veterans and martyrs’ families

24 december 2010, 13:52

Dear friends, I cordially welcome and congratulate you all on the commissioning of these beautiful homes. This is a great day for our country as we are commissioning three nine-storey buildings in one day, making them available for our brothers and sisters. This event confirms that the Azerbaijani government will always take care of those in need, especially those who have lost their health, loved ones in the war. The Azerbaijan government has always taken care of them, and this policy is continuing today. More than 3,000 apartments were commissioned in recent years alone. Over 700 apartments have been granted this year. I am sure that in the next three to four years, all citizens currently on waiting lists for housing will be provided with apartments built to the highest level. On a par with that, we are also providing more than 200 cars today. It has already become a fine tradition. Our compatriots have already been provided with more than a thousand, maybe even two thousand cars.

We are doing this because you deserve it. The Azerbaijani government appreciates your service. Our strong social policy manifests itself here through this beautiful work. The essence and goal of the social policy is to enable Azerbaijani citizens an even better life. In particular, citizens who have a service record in protecting the homeland should be duly appreciated by the government. Of course, to do that the government must have material resources. We are creating them. This situation has been created by the successful economic policies Azerbaijan has pursued in recent years and our growing material capabilities. Otherwise, we could not have built these homes even if we wanted to. These projects require large funds. In particular, I can say that these apartments have been built with very high taste and quality.

Azerbaijan's development, our strengthening regional standing is already a reality. Azerbaijan is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world. Azerbaijan has excellent economic prospects. Under such circumstances, we are mobilizing and channeling all our capabilities into a strong social policy. Social policy is not limited to such beautiful ceremonies. We are providing targeted social assistance, building schools, hospitals, sports centers and roads in the country. That is, we strive to apply the world's most advanced criteria to Azerbaijan. We deserve it and are able to do that.

Today, our economic potential is recognized by the international community. Leading financial institutions of the world appreciate the reforms under way in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan holds leading places in all international rankings. Of course, this is very inspiring for us. We will continue to focus on these two main factors: strong economy and strong social policy. Social policy should benefit the citizens of Azerbaijan. Of course, the commissioning of three beautiful houses clearly demonstrates Azerbaijan’s development path. We are able to do this, we are doing this, and this is our policy. As I said, all the war veterans, the handicapped, war-victim families who are waiting for housing will be provided with houses and apartments in the coming years.

At the same time, we are strengthening our army. We are paying great attention to army building and allocating large funds. Our army is the most powerful army in the region, and the attention being paid to army building manifests itself. Our lands have been under occupation for many years. We have been subjected to Armenian aggression. In the early 1990s, Armenia and its foreign benefactors took advantage of the instability and chaos in Azerbaijan and seized our lands. Of course, it would be impossible today. Today, Azerbaijan has the most powerful military potential. Our economic, political and military power cannot be compared to that of Armenia. But let me repeat, in the early 1990s Armenian invaders capitalized on the situation in Azerbaijan and occupied our lands.

We are trying to resolve the issue through negotiations. But, as you can see, it hasn’t been possible yet. Therefore, of course, we must be prepared for all other options. The purpose in allocating significant resources to army building, taking measures to improve the professionalism of the army, conducting regular exercises, acquiring and producing new weaponry, munitions and technology in Azerbaijan is that if the negotiations prove unsuccessful, then our lands must be liberated by a military option. This is a reality, this is our most difficult problem and it must be resolved.

In the years of ceasefire, Azerbaijan has covered a long and successful road. While in the early 1990s there was relative balance in the economic or military spheres between Armenia and Azerbaijan, today we are well ahead. Azerbaijani economy accounts for 75 per cent in the South Caucasus. The financial capabilities available to us Azerbaijan us to resolve any issue in its favor. The Armenian side, of course, is well aware of this and has to reckon with this reality. It is not by chance that their hysterical actions of recent months have exposed their fear to the whole world. This is a reality, and as long as Azerbaijani lands remain under occupation, Armenia will live in fear. No-one would want a neighbor harboring evil plans. But we have no other choice. If Armenia follows international law and withdraws its forces from Azerbaijani territory, peace and calm will be established in the region. But as long as our lands are under occupation, Armenia and its leaders must know that the Azerbaijani people can at any time conduct a military operation in its own territory. These opportunities are provide for by international law.

With regard to our capabilities, as I have noted, they are growing by the day and will be even greater in the future.

Azerbaijan is already a powerful regional state. It is impossible not to reckon with Azerbaijan. Without our participation or approval, no project or initiative, be it political, economic or any other, can be implemented in this region. We, the people of Azerbaijan, have created this reality. Our opportunities will grow further because we all know what awaits us in the years ahead. The foundation of our future is being laid now. The work being done today, the investments in the economy, oil, gas and infrastructure projects are all the foundation of our future. It is now that the foundation of a long-term, successful and sustainable development of the Azerbaijani people is being laid. On this solid foundation our country will become even stronger, and all the challenges we are faced with will be resolved.

Today we can already talk about the outcomes of the year. It is gratifying that 2010 was successful for our country. All the tasks we had set forth, both in terms of economic development, social issues and poverty reduction, have been fulfilled. However, 2010 did not start too well for us as we were faced with a natural disaster. Negative consequences of the economic recession also continued to manifest themselves. Despite that, we passed all these ordeals with dignity, successfully completed 2010 and have specific programs and agenda for 2011.

With regard to social issues, I want to reiterate that this successful policy will be continued. We have set the task of providing all waiting citizens with quality apartments over several years. Thus, the Azerbaijani government is and will be contributing to the improvement of your living conditions. As you have pointed out, it is my birthday today. Thank you for your congratulations. The most wonderful present for me today is this ceremony, your joy and smiles. That is the biggest joy for me. Once again I congratulate you.