Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the ceremony to give out apartments and cars to veterans of Karabakh and Great wars, the Chernobyl disabled and families of martyrs

01 august 2018, 12:00

Thirty-five apartments are being handed out in the new residential estate built in Lokbatan settlement for those disabled in the Karabakh war and martyr families. The state has purchased these apartments and is giving them to you. At the same time, 136 cars are also being handed out today. This is another gift of the state.

I must say that over the past 20 years, more than 5,500 private houses and apartments have been granted to the families of martyrs and those disabled in the war. More than 6,000 cars have been provided. This is a manifestation of state care, and this policy continues today. As I said, 35 apartments are being provided today. However, an additional 170 apartments and private houses should be handed out before the end of this year. At the same time, given the fact that there are still quite a few people in the line – about 4,000 people are waiting in the line – I will make a decision to allocate additional funds and purchase at least 300 more apartments this year. Thus, about 500 people living in need will be provided with apartments before the end of this year. We must try to complete this program soon. Of course, we need sufficient financial resources to achieve this. We will make sure that this money is arranged and provide you with new apartments. The families of martyrs and those handicapped in the war who have not been provided with apartments yet will definitely receive them.

The state is pursuing its policy. Employment issues for people of this category are also being addressed. As you know, we have started implementing a large-scale self-employment program. At least 7,000 families will be covered by this program every year. Each family will be provided with supplies, equipment and facilities of various purposes worth at least 5,000 manats, so that they can establish their own business. The instruction has been issued for those handicapped in the war and martyr families to be covered by this program as well. This work has already begun. Training courses are under way. Thus, we will make a serious contribution to employment.

Our state is conducting a successful social policy. A good example of this is the work we are doing. The figures I have just cited indicate that the state always stands by you. At the same time, we have other compatriots – IDPs, refugees and those affected by war and occupation. They are also looked well after by the state. About 100 settlements have been built in recent years. About 300,000 IDPs have been provided with houses and apartments. This policy continues. A new IDP settlement of 1,000 apartments was built in the village of Gobu in Garadagh district this year. There, too, the entire infrastructure has been created. A school has been built. All the necessary issues have been resolved. Before the end of the year, 4,000 IDP families – or about 20,000 people – will be provided with new apartments. So if we take these projects alone, we can see how much work is being done and how much the state spends on achieving these goals.

This policy will be continued. Social policy is one of the priority issues in Azerbaijan. I have repeatedly said that all our work is centered on the people of Azerbaijan. Issues related to socially vulnerable citizens, people affected by occupation, the disabled, those who have lost their loved ones, their way of life, employment and standard of living are a special priority for us. We are addressing these issues to the best of our ability. I can say that among the states affected by occupation and ethnic cleansing, Azerbaijan is doing work in this area at the highest level. This is acknowledged by international organizations and the UN. The experience of Azerbaijan is cited as an example for many countries. Perhaps there is no other country in the world that would treat its citizens with so much care and attention. This is further evidence of the intent of our policy. This policy will be continued. I want to say that all the people of this category waiting for their turn will be provided with apartments, houses and cars within the limits of our possibilities.

As for our economic potential – since we are doing all this work at our own expense and do not get help from anywhere – our economy is developing. There will be good results this year too. Next year’s results will be even better. Preliminary forecasts have already been given. Next year will be one of rapid development. Thus, our financial opportunities will expand further, and using these funds we will address the main issues facing the country, the infrastructure projects, primarily social issues, and we will resolve your problems.

As for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, there is only one option: the territorial integrity of our country must be restored. Nagorno-Karabakh is our native land. This is evidenced by history and confirmed by international law. All states of the world recognize and support the territorial integrity of our country. The "Partnership Priorities" document initialed between the European Union and Azerbaijan last month expresses a great deal of support for Azerbaijan in connection with territorial integrity, sovereignty of the country and the inviolability of its borders. This is yet another diplomatic victory for us. At the same time, the declaration adopted at the end of the NATO summit last month expresses support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. So these are very serious political documents reflecting the truth and international law. At the same time, these are very serious signals sent to the occupier state. It should be aware that influential international organizations are keeping the issue in the spotlight and support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The conflict can and should be settled on the basis of these principles only.

The occupier state is now going through hard times. The regime of the criminal junta which led Armenia for 20 years has fallen. Their policy of occupation has failed. The key reason for their current plight is the policy of occupation. After all, if it were not for their policy of occupation, Armenia would not be isolated from regional projects and could therefore take advantage of our opportunities. It is because of its policy of occupation that Armenia is in such a dire situation and in isolation today. There are no prospects for its economic development until relations with Azerbaijan are normalized. And there is only one way for such normalization – the occupier state must leave our lands immediately and unconditionally. One of the world’s most influential organizations, the UN Security Council, adopted resolutions 25 years ago, explicitly stating that Armenian armed forces should immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Azerbaijani lands. These resolutions are and will continue to be in force. So this is the way to resolve the conflict.

The new government of Armenia should understand this. It should not repeat the mistakes of the former regime of the criminal junta. It is true that the new government is now more preoccupied with internal affairs, but I should note that the contradictory statements they have been making are surprising for us, for other countries and for the international organizations dealing with this issue. These mutually exclusive statements are incomprehensible. On the one hand, they are saying that Azerbaijan should conduct negotiations not with Armenia but with the self-proclaimed regime of Nagorno-Karabakh. This is totally unacceptable, and the party making such a proposal knows perfectly well that it will not be accepted. On the other hand, this proposal will never be accepted by the mediators. On the third side, shortly after this statement, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia meet and begin negotiations. So these are completely contradictory approaches. Of course, we understand that the new government needs some time to properly analyze the practices existing in international relations. However, these statements are yet another blow to the peace process, of course, and responsibility for that rests squarely with the Armenian leadership because it intends to continue the policy of occupation. So far this is the conclusion we can reach.

At the same time, there are calls for peace coming from Armenia, and we can hear them. Of course, we also want peace, but we want our lands back. As long as our lands remain under occupation, there will be no peace, and the new leadership of Armenia should understand this perfectly well. If they want peace, Armenian soldiers must leave our lands. What are Armenian soldiers doing on Azerbaijani lands?! Azerbaijani citizens who died and became disabled in the war died and became disabled on their own land, not Armenian. So there is one way to resolve the conflict – the occupying forces must immediately and unconditionally withdraw from our lands. Then peace will be established in the region. Then communications between Armenia and Azerbaijan can be established. Then the geopolitical situation in the region can completely change and a lasting peace can set in.

This is what we want. At the same time, as I said, the speedy and step-by-step settlement of the conflict depends on the liberation of our lands. We demand this, and so does international law. We will not back down from our policy. If Armenian leaders continue to stall the negotiations, we will continue our isolation policy and use all our resources to further weaken Armenia. After all, the role of Azerbaijan in the collapse of the regime of the criminal junta is not small at all. The first blow that shook them up and led to the abyss was dealt two years ago. The April fighting completely undermined their rotten foundations, and after that the regime of the criminal junta began to move towards the abyss. No-one should forget that. Two years ago, the fighting lasted only four to five days, but we still managed to liberate 2,000 hectares of lands from the invaders and are now in control of thousands of hectares of land. We demonstrated the power of the Azerbaijani army in the military parade held in June. Today, the Azerbaijani army is one of the strongest armies in the world in terms of equipment, combat capability and armament. Only a handful of countries have the opportunities we do. Our military victories are continuing. In May of this year, 11,000 hectares of land were freed from the invaders as a result of a successful Nakhchivan operation. Life is returning there now. Farming work will be carried out.

We will continue our policy. We must become even stronger. All international organizations support us internationally and politically. In economic terms, the difference between Armenia and Azerbaijan is like between the sky and the earth. The opportunities we demonstrated in the military parade, the courage and heroism displayed on the battlefield show who is who and who is capable of what. We are using and will continue to use all these opportunities. We will never put up with this situation. I want to say once again: the leadership of Armenia should know that if they want peace, they should vacate our lands of their own accord.

The Azerbaijani state will continue to look after you. You can rest assured of this. We will do our best to make sure that the families of martyrs and war veterans currently in line will, just like you, be provided with apartments and cars.

I sincerely congratulate and wish you good health and happiness.