Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting of Security Council

21 february 2017, 12:50

By my order today, Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed to the post of First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Mehriban Aliyeva has played an important and active part in the public, political and cultural life of our country for many years. Mehriban Aliyeva is the Deputy Chairperson of the "Yeni Azerbaijan Party". The "Yeni Azerbaijan Party" is the leading political force in our country. It is the biggest party in the South Caucasus. Today, the number of members of the "Yeni Azerbaijan Party" is approaching 700,000 people.

Since 2005, Mehriban Aliyeva has been a deputy of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As an MP, she has done a great job and taken major steps to address the socioeconomic problems of the constituency she represents. She is in constant touch with the voters, and her principal activity as an MP is related to the solution of people’s problems. At the same time, Mehriban is engaged in broad international activity as an MP. The number of friends we have gained in various countries as a result of this activity has increased.

Since 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva has been the president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation which bears the name of the great leader. Under her leadership, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has evolved into the largest and the most influential public organization not only in Azerbaijan, but I think in the entire region. The multi-faceted activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation are highly appreciated by the Azerbaijani people. The Foundation has initiated many important projects and programs. Among them, it is worth emphasizing "A new school for a renewing Azerbaijan" program. More than 3,000 schools have been refurbished or rebuilt in our country thanks to the launch of this program.

Other projects have contributed to all-round development of our country as well. With the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, thousands of people were provided with medical treatment. In many cases, these issues are not disclosed to the public. The activities of the Foundation seek to achieve this goal – help those in need and support the most vulnerable as much as possible.

The projects of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation related to culture and art have played an indispensable part in the preservation of our spiritual, historical and cultural heritage. The development of the Mugham art, which is our national asset, and its representation in the international arena have been possible thanks to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the personal initiative of Mehriban Aliyeva. The Mugham contests conducted in Azerbaijan have become an integral part of our lives. This is not just an art form, it is our cultural heritage. The national and spiritual values and traditions play a special role in educating the younger generation. From this point of view, such initiatives are of tremendous public value. At the same time, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has played a huge role in introducing Mugham globally precisely as an Azerbaijani art form.

A variety of presentations, exhibitions and events have been held to promote Azerbaijan in the world. As a result of numerous activities, the world community has got to know our country, begun to study it and found out that Azerbaijan is a modern and vibrant country. At the same time, the Azerbaijani people are very attached to their historical roots.

Mehriban Aliyeva is a member of the National Olympic Committee and its Executive Board, and its activity is also commendable. Mehriban Aliyeva has played a special role in the organization of several global events held in our country. The fact that the Eurovision song contest was held in Azerbaijan at a high level is 2012 was possible thanks to her organizing role. The first European Games held in Azerbaijan at a high level in 2015 were also possible thanks to the work of the Organizing Committee headed by Mehriban Aliyeva. The fact that these Games were organized at the level of Summer Olympic Games in just two and a half years is a great achievement, of course. The first European Games will go down in history as a respectable sporting event held at the highest level.

It is no coincidence that the organization of the Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games due to be held this year has also been entrusted to Mehriban Aliyeva. She is also the chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Games, and preparations are under way at a high level. I am sure we will conduct the Islamic Solidarity Games at a high level.

Mehriban enjoys tremendous respect in the international arena. For her activities, she has been awarded the highest state awards and medals of many countries. In addition, Mehriban Aliyeva has for more than 10 years been a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO. There is no second person in the world who would be an ambassador of both of these prestigious organizations. This is also due to its contributions to the dialog between religions and civilizations. This contribution is a manifestation of our policies. Azerbaijan today is recognized globally as one of the countries making the biggest contribution to the dialogue between civilizations. Of course, as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO Mehriban is also making a significant contribution to that. In 2015, for her contribution to conducting the first European Games Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the highest award of the state of Azerbaijan – the Order of Heydar Aliyev.

This multi-faceted and successful activity has played a major role in the adoption of such a decision by myself. At the same time, I should note that Mehriban Aliyeva is a great professional, a well-educated, experienced, principled and very kind person. It is no coincidence that the people of Azerbaijan treat her with great affection and love. Considering all the factors I mentioned, I have come to this decision. A new period begins in Mehriban’s life today. I am confident that she will continue to make a valuable contribution to the development of our country. I congratulate her on this appointment and wish her every success.