Ilham Aliyev attended official reception on 93rd anniversary of national leader and 71st anniversary of Victory over fascism

09 may 2016, 15:20

An official reception has been held at the Heydar Aliyev Center to mark the 93rd anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev and 71st anniversary of Victory over fascism.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva attended the ceremony.

Speech by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!

Azerbaijan marks the Day of Victory over Fascism today. I cordially congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.

Azerbaijan has played a huge role in achieving the victory – bothat the frontline and in the rear. More than 600,000 representatives of Azerbaijan were involved in the war, and 300,000 of them were killed. The Azerbaijani people displayed heroism during the war. Many representatives of Azerbaijan were awarded with high awards and medals. A lot of work was done in the rear in Azerbaijan. Our factories produced military equipment. This equipment and weaponry proved indispensable for the Soviet army in the most difficult moments of the war. In those yearsAzerbaijani oilmen worked tirelessly to provide the Soviet Army with fuel. The absolute majority of fuel the Soviet Army used was provided by Azerbaijani oilmen. All these factors suggest that Azerbaijan played a huge role in the victory over fascism. I met with war veterans today, spoke to them and expressed my congratulations. They are present at the ceremony today, and I would like to express my respect for them once again.

This Victory Day is celebrated in Azerbaijan with special elation. As you know, at the beginning of last month, as a result of yet another armed Armenian provocation against Azerbaijan, our army conducted a successful counter-offensive. As a result of the counter-offensive, part of our occupied land has been liberated from the invaders and our positions on the contact line have further strengthened. I would like to congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on this historic and glorious victory once again.

The April fighting demonstrated the strength of our state and army, as well as the unity, solidarity and patriotism of our people. I know that our fighters are always inspired by the feat of veterans, the example of World War II veterans. Today, during a meeting with them, the veterans told me that if necessary we can also use them in the war zone. Despite their age, they are still ready to play a role in the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

I want to note once again: Azerbaijan treats its historical past with great respect. The victory won in World War II is our common victory. We in Azerbaijan are defending the historical truth. We will not tolerate a distortion of history. At the same time, we have always supported and will continue to support war veterans.

I should also note that Victory Day was not celebrated as a holiday in Azerbaijan in the first years of independence. It was excludedfrom the list of public holidays. But after great leader Heydar Aliyev returned to power in 1993, it was restored and is celebrated as a public holiday today.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the 93rd birthday of the great leader. Heydar Aliyev has made an exceptional contribution to the history of Azerbaijan. He has played a historic role. He has led Azerbaijantwice, and both times he led Azerbaijan from recession, anarchyand chaos to development and progress. In 1969, Azerbaijan was in one of the last places among the republics of the Soviet Union. As a result of the efforts, skill and knowledge of Heydar Aliyev, as well as his attachment to the people, Azerbaijan turned into the most advanced republic in just 13 years. In the Soviet Union, there were only two republics that did not receive subsidies from the center apart from the Russian Federation. Azerbaijan was one of them. It was in those years that Azerbaijan achieved a lot in the field of industrial production, agriculture and the implementation of infrastructure projects. That work still helps the independent Azerbaijan today. The results achieved in those years, in particular in the field of infrastructure projects in the oil and gas sector, the advances in the development of the processing industry are servingthe independent Azerbaijan to this day.

In the 1970-1980s, science rapidly developed in Azerbaijan. National and spiritual values were promoted in Azerbaijan. Of course, we were not an independent state, and in some areas our activities were rather limited in nature. Despite this, the focus was constantly on national and spiritual values, the national spirit, national literature and culture. It is no coincidence that when the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan was being adopted in 1978, Heydar Aliyev insisted that the Azerbaijani language be stated as the official language. In other words, that was truly a period of great development. Seeing the activity of Heydar Aliyev and his great success, the central government invited him to Moscow and appointed Heydar Aliyev to a very high position –first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. The appointment to the post of the first deputy prime minister of a superpower, of course, showed once again the talent, professionalism and business qualities of Heydar Aliyev. He worked hard in those years, overlooked many spheres, and great success was achieved in those industries. At the same time, he never forgot about Azerbaijan and tried to use his great potential to further strengthen the country. Numerous industrial and infrastructure projects were implemented here at the time. He always paid attention to the development of Azerbaijan. Every year, he came to Azerbaijan on holiday. I am well aware that thesevacations were purely formal in nature, because he was always in meetings. His instructions in many ways served the development of Azerbaijan in the 1980s.

However, Heydar Aliyev was unjustifiably dismissed from all posts in 1987. It was a huge injustice and provocation against him and, at the same time, against Azerbaijan. Less than two weeks after his resignation Armenian nationalists raised the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's secession from Azerbaijan and its annexation to Armenia. The factor of Heydar Aliyev had not allowed them to materialize those filthy intentions. This issue was raised after Heydar Aliyev's departure from the political stage and immediately triggered negative developments in Nagorno-Karabakh. Separatist tendencies intensified at the instigation of the Armenians. Unfortunately, the then Soviet leadership committed a crime by not stopping those negative trends. Not only did it fail to stop them, it didn’t even want to do that. This signaled the start of the process of disintegration of the Soviet Union.

I remember only too well that Heydar Aliyev was very upset with this situation. The situation he had created was being destroyed. While working in a senior position here, he regularly traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh – to Khankendi, Shusha, etc. I was also a living witness and participant in those trips. There was nothing that would suggest the possible strengthening of separatist tendencies there. In other words, it was an artificial provocation. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is still experiencing the bitter consequences of that provocation.

Another provocation against the Azerbaijani people was committed in 1990 – the bloody January massacre. Innocent people were murdered and massacred. The 20 January tragedy is a heinous crime against the Azerbaijani people. Heydar Aliyev immediately raised his voice. The next day he came to the permanent representative office of Azerbaijan in Moscow. I was there with him. At a press conference, he accused the Soviet leadership and condemned its actions. It may be said that it was a very rare event at the time, because the collapse of the Soviet Union was still two years away. Who could have ever imagined that such a huge country as the Soviet Union would collapse? Such a courageous step showed once again how attached Heydar Aliyevwas to his people and what a courageous and selfless person he was.

Naturally, this sparked off a campaign of pressure, persecution and a libelous media campaign against him. But those dirty andprovocative steps failed to put him off. In protest against these events, he dropped out of the Communist Party which he had served for years and decades. He returned to Baku, as it was dangerous to continue living in Moscow. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to live in Baku either, and he went back to where he was born – to Nakhchivan. The people of Nakhchivan rallied around him and survived those difficult years with dignity. In the first place, the people of Nakhchivan protected Heydar Aliyev from all the pressures and provocations. And then he, as the head of Nakhchivan, defended them from occupation. Those were crucial years for our independence, because I believe that it was there in Nakhchivan that the road to independence began in those years. On Heydar Aliyev’s initiative, the first tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, our national flag, was proclaimed the national flag in Nakhchivan. The Soviet Union was still in existence and, I repeat, many could not even think that it would fall apart.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan experienced a recession in the early 1990s. The political crisis was compounded by economic one. People had completely lost confidence in the then government. Civil war began. Armenian occupation expanded and our lands fell under occupation. As a result of the capture of Shusha, Lachin and then Kalbajar Districts, a geographical connection appeared between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. In this difficult situation, the people turned to Heydar Aliyev again. The people invited him to power and pinned their hopes on the great leader. In the most difficult moments of our independence, Heydar Aliyev was with his people again. He agreed to lead the people. Year 1993signaled a turning point in all areas in Azerbaijan. An end was putto the civil war and illegal armed groups were disarmed. Order was restored and the country embarked on a period of development.

The following stage, the period covering the years 1993-2003, was one of development and stability. A political system was formed in Azerbaijan. The Constitution was adopted. Azerbaijan introduced its capabilities to the world. The Contract of the Century was signed. After that, the agreement on the development of the "ShahDeniz" gas field was signed. Democratic reforms began. It was in those years that our national ideology developed – the ideology of Azerbaijanism that unites the Azerbaijani people today. Azerbaijan started the process of developing a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society and giving it a powerful impulse. It is our greatest assettoday. Azerbaijan asserts itself in the world as a multicultural society. Our example is carefully analyzed in many countries.

In 1993-2003, in Azerbaijan successfully went through a process of state-building. The foundations of the state were laid. This is why we always say that Heydar Aliyev is the founder of the independent Azerbaijan. Every time remembering this history, we note with regret that if Heydar Aliyev had been in power in the first years of independence, our country would not have faced the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. He would have never allowedseparatists to raise their head. He would have never allowed this bloody crime to be committed against our people.

The events of the early years of independence cost us dearly. Remembering those events today, we get further convinced that Azerbaijan is on a path of development in the true sense of the word. Today, Azerbaijan has asserted itself in the world as an independent state. The road to independence began with the events I have mentioned.

Azerbaijan has pursued the policies of Heydar Aliyev since 2003. There is no alternative to this policy. The experience of recent years shows that our country and our people can only go forward this way. We are committed to the political legacy of the great leader. We continue and enrich his policies. The situation, of course, is changing. The world is changing. The developments and problems experienced in the region today were not there at the time. We are ready for all these challenges. Azerbaijan enriches the Heydar Aliyev policy by taking into account the challenges of our time. We bring it into line with the current period, but do not depart from the common policy. Our political course is to strengthen the independence. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the countries pursuing an independent policy on a global scale. Recent history has repeatedly confirmed this.

Civil society has emerged in Azerbaijan. Our society is ralliedaround a common goal. There are no differences in society with respect to the further development of Azerbaijan and the paths leading to development. The unity between the people and the government today is the main condition of our development, the main factor of our stability. Social and political stability does not fall from the sky. To achieve it, it is necessary to carry out sound policies, policies that meet the requirements and hopes of the people.

Today, our policies are centered on the people of Azerbaijan, their problems, concerns and security. Security in Azerbaijan is provided at the proper level. There is public and political stability. The well-being of our people is improving even though the still ongoing economic and financial crisis has affected us too. However, I believe that we have managed to come out of this crisiswith dignity, and there are no problems in the economic spheretoday. Our financial situation is stable. Economic developmentcontinues although there are problems associated with the three- to fourfold decline in the oil price. We are coping with these problems with our head high. I am confident that we will finish 2016 successfully too. Why? Because sustainable economic development was achieved in previous years. Very serious steps aimed were taken to diversify the economy. Along with this, Azerbaijan has successfully implemented the oil strategy of Heydar Aliyev.

The implementation of this strategy began in 1994. The signing of the Contract of the Century is a historic event. The work carried out within the framework of the Contract of the Century todaymultiplies our economic strength. The contract on the development of the Shah Deniz gas field signed in 1996 today provides for theenergy security not only of Azerbaijan, but also of many countries. It has significantly strengthened the geopolitical capabilities and the status of Azerbaijan. The construction of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline in 1999 and the personal participation of the great leader in the groundbreaking of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline arethe main factors of Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy. Today, additional measures are being taken in this direction. The projects initiated by the great leader are fully realized today. In 2006-2007, the oil and gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurumwere put into operation. Today, we are actively engaged in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and major strides have also been made in this direction.

Azerbaijan is known worldwide as a reliable partner. Our international standing has significantly strengthened. Today,Azerbaijan is known to the entire world which has a great sympathy for what we do. The global international events held in Azerbaijan demonstrate our capabilities and strength. At the same time, they further enhance respect for us. This year, Baku successfully hosted the VII Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Last year, the European Games were a great success, and next year we will host Islamic Solidarity Games. These and other prestigious events attract the attention of the world. This strengthens our state. Unfortunately, Armenia and its foreign patrons, representatives of the Armenian lobby have carried out a dirty campaign against us for many years. They launch campaignsof lies, slander and denigration in order to tarnish us. They have broad financial capabilities. Under the guise of other authors, they often publish biased and insulting articles against Azerbaijan in various media outlets and constantly conduct anti-Azerbaijani campaigns. Their number one target is Azerbaijan. Therefore, of course, we have to communicate our realities and the real situationto the world. Of course, a lot is being done in this direction, but the prestigious international events held in Baku and elsewhere in Azerbaijan, of course, are of particular importance, because visitors can see the realities of Azerbaijan with their own eyes. They see that we are a modern and developing country. They see that Baku is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They see that people in Azerbaijan live in peace and democracy, that human rights are protected and all freedoms are available in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is on a path of rapid development. We have achieved this development by hard work. Everything we have achieved is the result of the hard work of the Azerbaijani people and sound policies. No-one has helped, is helping or will help us. And it is not even necessary. We have built our work so that there arespecific programs for all areas, and they are being implemented.

In the coming years, Azerbaijan will enjoy even greater respect in the international arena. The processes in the country are going in a positive direction. Our initiatives related to regional cooperation enhance not only us, but also the neighboring countries. We have precise programs associated with further development, and our vision for the future is very clear. The work to be done in the coming years will make us even stronger. We have no doubt as to the further development of the country. Azerbaijan will continue to follow the path of development. All the problems facing the country will be resolved, including those in the social sphere. Although oil prices have fallen three to four times, the wages and pensions in Azerbaijan have been raised by 10 per cent this year.Social programs are being implemented. Issues related to the construction of schools and hospitals, the problem of displaced persons and other social issues are being addressed.

The main task on our agenda is the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Using political,diplomatic and other factors in this direction, we are strengthening our position in the negotiating process. Justice supports and favors our position. Nagorno-Karabakh is historical and native Azerbaijani land. In legal terms, it is an integral part of Azerbaijan. the decisions and resolutions adopted by international organizations protect and enhance our position.

As for the differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan, they are obvious. I have repeatedly said that the advantage is on the side of Azerbaijan in the political sphere, in the economic sphere and in all other areas, including the field of army building. It is impossible not to see that. The April fighting showed that the Azerbaijani army is among the strongest armies in the world todayand is capable of performing any task.

Thus, we have a very clear idea associated with plans for the future. We must strengthen our country and further improve the well-being of the Azerbaijani people. Azerbaijan should take an even more secure place on the global scale. In short, international norms and principles, of course, play a major role in resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, we have to become even stronger, and we are going down this path. This is the path of Heydar Aliyev. We are committed to his policies and will continue to go down this road to ensure a happy future for the Azerbaijani people. Thank you.