Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with the teaching staff of Russian secondary school No3 of Nakhchivan city and representatives of the general public11 january 2017, 16:15
I am very pleased to come to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic again. I am very delighted that Nakhchivan is successfully and rapidly developing and that extensive creative and landscaping work is under way. This is my 13th visit to the Autonomous Republic as President. In 13 years I have visited Nakhchivan 13 times. This figure in itself is an indicator that the development of Nakhchivan is always in the spotlight.
Great leader Heydar Aliyev always treated Nakhchivan with great attention, issued instructions to address problems of the Republic and took great care of it. I am trying to continue this policy. Nakhchivan has always enjoyed great attention and care.
I am very glad that the successful development of the republic is ongoing. I would like to congratulate the leadership and people of the republic on this occasion. In recent years Nakhchivan has indeed covered a long road of development. The process of improvement, enhancement of the beauty of Nakhchivan, the implementation of infrastructure projects, landscaping of cities and villages shows that the republic stands firmly on its feet. I believe that today we are experiencing a prosperity period of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic because work in all areas is progressing well and producing excellent results.
I visited three districts today – Ordubad, Julfa and Shahbuz, as well as the city of Nakhchivan. In Ordubad District we laid the foundation of a power plant. It is a very large project – a large hydro power plant with a capacity of 36 megawatts will be built. This will greatly enhance the economic and energy potential of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Energy security of Nakhchivan is provided. Several stations have been built in recent years. I remember opening the Bilav hydro power plant in 2010, the Arpachay hydro power plant in 2014 and a solar power station in 2015. Prior to that, the Nakhchivan gas turbine power plant was commissioned. So we have taken very important steps to strengthen the republic’s energy potential and fully ensure its energy security.
After the commissioning of the Ordubad hydro power plant, the energy security will be further strengthened. At the same time, the export potential of Nakhchivan will be increased, because the republic exports electricity now.
Gasification projects were completed in Nakhchivan several years ago. Gasification in Nakhchivan is now at 100 per cent. There is no settlement where there would be no gas. This is also a great achievement. As you know, the supply of natural gas to Nakhchivan from the Islamic Republic of Iran by way of exchange started with my participation in 2005. It has been more than 10 years, and this project is successfully ongoing. The Ordubad hydro power plant was also established on the basis of an agreement signed and approved between Iran and Azerbaijan. The construction of the Ordubad and Marazad hydro power plants will enhance the energy power of both Iran and Azerbaijan. At the same time, this project is a manifestation of the Iranian-Azerbaijani friendship. We successfully cooperate in the energy sector and other areas. The Nakhchivan-Tabriz-Mashhad train has been recently dispatched.
Energy potential and energy security are of particular importance for Nakhchivan because Nakhchivan has no geographical connection with the rest of our country. Under such circumstances, we must pay attention to the development of the energy potential. Nakhchivan is fully supplied with electricity and even exports it. Nakhchivan is also fully provided with natural gas. In the future, after the creation of renewable energy, in particular the commissioning of the Ordubad hydro power plant, Nakhchivan should not have problems with energy for decades to come.
Along with this, the focus is always on other infrastructure projects as well. We have built great and high quality roads linking Nakhchivan with other cities. I drove on these roads today. They were put into operation a few years ago, but look as though they were built yesterday. So they are wonderful and high-quality roads. The Nakhchivan -Julfa, Nakhchivan-Shahbuz, Nakhchivan-Sadarak roads meet the highest standards. Another road project is awaiting decision. It is the Julfa-Ordubad project. At the next stage, we will resolve that as well and the problem of inter-city roads will be eliminated. The construction of rural roads is well under way and this process will be continued.
Today we celebrated the official opening of drinking water and sanitation projects in Julfa and Shahbuz Districts. These are also very important projects. Both cities are now supplied with clean drinking water meeting World Health Organization standards. Prior to that, water was provided to the city of Nakhchivan. We have been able to supply water to other cities as well. It is also very important. Water is one of the key factors of human health. We have resolved that. The State Investment Program for this year will reflect issues of water and sanitation in other cities of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
So these are the main infrastructure projects: electricity, natural gas, drinking water, roads. We can say that the vast majority of this work has already been done. This demonstrates the potential of the republic. At the same time, we are creating a social infrastructure. A good example is this school. About 200 schools have been built or renovated in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in recent years. Only a few schools are still in need of repair. I am sure that this issue will also be resolved in the near future.
Other social infrastructure projects are related to healthcare. I think that Nakhchivan is a model republic is this respect. Central hospitals of all cities and districts have been rebuilt here. I attended the opening ceremonies of some of them. a maternity hospital, a diagnostic center, a city hospital of Nakhchivan – all of these facilities meet the highest standards and fitted with modern equipment.
Nakhchivan is getting prettier and improving, which makes me very happy. I am sure you are also quite pleased. Buildings are repaired, beautiful new houses are built, broad avenues are laid. On the one hand, this creative and landscaping work demonstrates the power of our country and, on the other, is shows the effective operation of the leadership of Nakhchivan and people's attitude to this work. All of this work is being done with great love, taste and care.
Nakhchivan is noted for its beauty on a global scale. Of course, the ancient and rich history of Nakhchivan is our national heritage. Nakhchivan is ancient land, the ancient land of Azerbaijan. Historical monuments testifying to our ancient history are protected here. They confirm that the Azerbaijani people have lived and worked in this region for centuries. This is a great national treasure for us.
Today, during a visit to a military unit, I once again saw that the military potential of Nakhchivan is also at the proper level. We have been doing a lot in this direction. Today, the Nakhchivan army is capable of completing any task. It protects our borders. You live face to face with the enemy, you have courage and bravery. In the early 1990s, the people of Nakhchivan under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev managed to protect their land and gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy. Today, the military potential of Nakhchivan is at the highest level. The most modern equipment, weaponry, ammunition are sent here. The combat capability is increasing and conditions of service improving. The military unit I visited today has excellent conditions.
In other words, the military capacity and defense capability of Nakhchivan are always in the spotlight. I am very glad that these issues are being successfully addressed. Of course, important steps related to socioeconomic development of the republic arte being taken. In Nakhchivan, we have set up industrial enterprises and developed agriculture. You provide yourself with many types of agricultural products. You also develop the sector of building materials. Today I visited the residential building constructed for the Ministry of Emergency Situations. We can say that all the materials used in its construction and in the construction of a school are local. This suggests that the industry is developing, new businesses are emerging and the export potential of Nakhchivan is increasing as it should.
Finally, we are committed to resolving transport problems of Nakhchivan. As I have already noted, the Nakhchivan-Tabriz-Mashad railway has started to operate. As you may be aware, we are currently working with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia on the North-South transport corridor. The work relating to us has been completed. Once the corridor becomes fully operational, Nakhchivan will have a railway link with the rest of Azerbaijan through Iran. We want to speed up this project, so that it happens as soon as possible. After that, the goods produced in Nakhchivan will be delivered to world markets, which, of course, will create additional opportunities for the people.
In short, my current trip is very pleasant for me because as I am meeting with you. I see that the republic lives on, lives well, and that you create such excellent schools. This school is quite special because it is a Russian school. More than 300 schools in our country provide teaching in Russian. But this school is purely Russian, which is also an indicator. We are demonstrating our policy and intentions here. With this in mind, I want to say a few words in Russian.
I want to greet the teachers and educators, and congratulate you on the opening of this school. This is a school where teaching will be conducted in Russian, and I am told that it is designed for more than 600 pupils. It already has 400 pupils. This suggests that there is interest in the Russian language not only in Baku but also in Nakhchivan and other regions. I welcome that. The more our people know different languages, the better for them. Of course, we should speak the languages of neighboring countries in order to communicate and strengthen our friendship. It is also an important factor for interstate relations. Therefore, I salute the multinational staff of the school and wish you every success. I am sure that graduates will become worthy citizens of Azerbaijan.
My greetings to all of you again, and I wish you continued success!