Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of 72nd Session of UN General Assembly
20 september 2017, 18:45
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For more than 25 years Armenia occupies 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other regions of our country.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient and historical part of Azerbaijan. As a result of Armenian aggression almost 20% of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under Armenian occupation. More than one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons. Armenia conducted the policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis in Armenia, in Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other regions of Azerbaijan.
Armenia committed genocide against Azerbaijanis in Khojaly. Khojaly genocide is already officially recognized by more than 10 countries. On February 26, 1992 Armenia committed war crime killing 613 peaceful residents of Khojaly, among them 106 women and 63 children. One of those war criminals who committed that terrible crime against humanity is current Armenian President.
Leading international organizations adopted resolutions demanding withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. In 1993, United Nations Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan.
Other international organizations, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Alignment Movement, OSCE, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and European Parliament adopted similar decisions and resolutions. Armenia doesn’t implement them. Armenia for 24 years ignores UN Security Council resolutions and unfortunately is not punished for that. In some cases, UN Security Council resolutions are implemented within days. In our case it’s 24 years that resolutions are not implemented. This is a double standards approach. This approach is unacceptable. International sanctions must be imposed on Armenia. One of the important reforms of the United Nations must be the creation of the mechanism of implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council.
Armenia does everything to keep status-quo unchanged, blocks substantive negotiations. Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group –France, Russia, USA – on several occasions stated that status-quo is unacceptable.
The question is how can this corrupt, failed state ruled by despotic, medieval regime afford to violate international law for so many years and ignore the resolutions of UN Security Council and statements of the leading countries of the world? And the answer is double standards. There is no international pressure on aggressor, no international sanctions imposed on Armenian dictatorship. This policy must be stopped.
Such policy towards aggressor is not only demonstration of injustice, it also creates an illusion that Armenian dictatorship can continue their policy of terror.
Last April Armenia committed another war crime on the line of contact attacking our cities and villages. As a result of this attack, 6 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, among them one child and 26 civilians were wounded. Hundreds of our houses were destroyed.
Azerbaijan had to defend its citizens. As a result of successful counter-attack, Azerbaijan liberated some territories in the 3 occupied regions - Agdere, Fuzuli and Jabrayil and installed its national flag on the liberated territories. Armenian leadership should not forget this lesson. Otherwise, the result of the next Armenian provocation will be more painful for them.
Losing on the battlefield Armenia uses its mean policy of attacking our cities and villages. On July 4, 2017 a targeted attack on Alkhanli village in Fuzuli district by Armenia with 82 and 120 mm mortars and grenade launchers killed 2 civilians – 2 years old Zahra Guliyeva and her grandmother.
On August 7, 2017, a 13 years old boy in Tovuz region bordering with Armenia was wounded by Armenian soldiers. International community must stop Armenian fascism and terror. Azerbaijan is committed to peaceful resolution of the conflict but at the same time will defend its citizens in line with UN charter if Armenian military provocations continue and if necessary will punish once again the aggressor as it was done in April, 2016.
Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved on the basis of international law, relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be completely restored. Despite the enormous difficulties caused by Armenian occupation Azerbaijan develops rapidly and successfully.
Azerbaijan is an active member of the United Nations.
In 2011, Azerbaijan was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. 155 countries voted for Azerbaijan. Absolute majority of the member states demonstrated their support to Azerbaijan and its policy. For the country which at that time was only 20 years old, that was a great success. Azerbaijan is a stable, modern, democratic country. Development of democracy, human rights protection are among top priorities of our government. All fundamental freedoms are fully provided in Azerbaijan, including freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of assembly, religious freedom.
Azerbaijan is one of the world’s recognized centers of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a state policy in Azerbaijan. Representatives of all ethnic groups and religions live in Azerbaijan in peace and harmony. 2016 was declared the year of multiculturalism and 2017 the year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan.
Unlike Armenia where there are almost no national minorities, which is a mono ethnic country and where xenophobia is a state policy, Azerbaijan is a multiethnic country, cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of our society is our big asset. Armenia, where Islamophobia reached its peak, committed many acts of vandalism destroying all our mosques on the occupied territories.
Azerbaijan had hosted numerous international events aiming at strengthening interreligious dialogue. Among them are 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, World’s Religious Leaders Forum, 4 times international forum on Intercultural Dialogue, 5 times Baku International Humanitarian Forum and other important events.
Being a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan in 2008 launched the Baku Process which is supported by the United Nations. Main goal of the Baku Process is to strengthen dialogue, partnership and cooperation between the Muslim world and Europe.
In 2015, Azerbaijan hosted the First European Games. 6000 athletes from 50 countries participated at these Games. In 2017, Azerbaijan hosted 4th Islamic Solidarity Games with almost 3000 athletes from 54 countries.
In two years in our capital Baku European and Islamic Games took place. This was also a great contribution to the promotion of multiculturalism. Azerbaijani team took the second place at the First European Games, and the first place at the Islamic Solidarity Games. This shows that Azerbaijan is one of the leading sporting countries of the world. Another proof of our sporting achievement is that Azerbaijan was number 14 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with respect to the number of medals. In total, Azerbaijan won 18 medals.
Azerbaijan achieved big progress in social and economic development.
Since 2004, Azerbaijan’s economy grew more than 3 times. More than 1 million 600 thousand jobs were created in our country. Level of unemployment is one of the lowest in the world – 5%. One of our priorities was reduction of poverty. In 2004, level of poverty was more than 40%, now it is 5-6%. Hard currency reserves are equal to the country’s GDP. Foreign state debt is less than 20% of GDP.
Azerbaijan was assessed as “leading reformer of the world” in 2009 by the World Bank’s Doing Business report. Based on Davos World Economic Forum “Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-2017” Azerbaijan is ranked №37 among 138 countries.
In 2015, Azerbaijan received the 2015 South-South Award in recognition of its outstanding achievements in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and since 2010 has been classified into the category of countries with high human development.
Rapid development of Azerbaijan’s space industry, 2 telecommunication and field observation satellites “Azerspace” and “Azersky” and a third one “Azerspace-2” to be launched soon – made it possible for our country to become a member of the world’s space club.
Today Azerbaijan exports not only its industrial and agricultural but also intellectual products. “State Agency for Services and Social Innovations to the Citizens” - ASAN Service is a modern model of public relations and services.
251 services under one roof, absolute transparency, zero tolerance to corruption and bribery made “ASAN Service” attractive to many countries.
Being purely Azerbaijani brand during 5 years of its foundation ASAN Service provided over 1 million 600 thousand services to 5 million people. The total number of applications is 17 million. The rate of public appreciation of “ASAN Service” is 98 %.
In 2015, in recognition of its contribution to excellence, creativity and considerable simplification of the delivery of public services, ASAN received the United Nations Public Service Award.
Main goal of our policy is to make the life of our citizens better. Since 2004 salaries grew in our country 5.6 times, pensions 8.2 times.
Without any foreign financial support, we built almost 100 new settlements and towns for refugees and IDPs suffering from Armenian occupation. Until today, the living conditions of more than 250 thousand people were improved and they were provided with new houses and flats. 152 schools, 59 medical centers, 60 kindergartens were built in these towns and settlements.
In general, since 2004 more than 3000 schools, more than 600 hospitals and medical centers were newly built and renovated. Level of literacy in Azerbaijan is close to 100%. Every year more than 5 million people – half of the country’s population – get their medical check-up totally financed by the state budget.
Azerbaijan plays an important role on the global energy market. Being a reliable supplier of oil and gas to the international markets - Azerbaijan is providing energy security for many countries of the world. Today, Azerbaijan together with its international partners is very close to the completion of the “Southern Gas Corridor” project. This project of 40 billion USD of investments is one of the largest infrastructure projects of the world.
Another important priority is transportation. Situated between Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is wisely using its geographical location to become one of the leading transportation hubs in Eurasia.
Relatively recently Azerbaijan built 6 international airports, 11,000 kilometers of modern highways and roads. Azerbaijan has the biggest trade fleet in the Caspian Sea with 270 vessels.
Modern shipbuilding yard of Azerbaijan is capable to build all types and sizes of ships.
Azerbaijan is modernizing its railroad infrastructure. Absolute majority of our territory is covered by railroads. Next year we will inaugurate the international trade sea port which will be the biggest in the Caspian region.
Azerbaijan is largely investing in East-West and North-South transportation corridors. Both routes crossing our country will be the shortest routes from East to West and from North to the South.
In conclusion, I would like to say that last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of our independence. Successful development of Azerbaijan once again shows that only when you are free and independent, when the destiny of the country is in the hands of its people you can achieve success. The biggest happiness of the people of Azerbaijan is that we live in the independent country which conducts independent policy, policy which is based on the national interests of its people.