Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with martyr families

29 january 2019, 08:09

Dear representatives of martyr families!

I have invited you to a meeting today. First of all, I want to express you my highest consideration for you. Your relatives have died for our lands, for the Motherland and ascended to the heights of martyrdom. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs!

In the early 1990s, as a result of Armenia's aggressive policy, our lands fell under occupation and more than a million of our compatriots became refugees and displaced persons. Thousands of people became martyrs, tens of thousands were injured and became disabled. At that time, there was a period of anarchy in Azerbaijan. The main reason for our defeat was that there was no strong leader in Azerbaijan at the time. Various groups fought for power, were engaged in provocations against each other, and Armenia took advantage of this and seized a part of our lands. I can say with full confidence – I have repeatedly said this before – that if Heydar Aliyev had been the leader of Azerbaijan at the time, our lands would never have been occupied.

In the early 1990s, as a result of the treacherous activities of the PPFA-Musavat tandem, our people were faced with a great tragedy. You know that we are trying to resolve this issue today. Great attention is being paid to army building. Our army has demonstrated its power on the battlefield. The April battles are our glorious and historic victory. We have freed several strategic positions from the invaders and raised the Azerbaijani flag in these regions, at these heights. Today, the Azerbaijani flag flies at Lalatapa, the mountains of Agdara and Nakhchivan, which were under occupation before.

At the same time, as you know, we are trying to resolve this issue through negotiations. I believe that the growing potential, the military and economic power of our country and our positions in the world are working for us today, and our country's positions in the negotiations are quite strong.

The settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is our top priority. The restoration of the territorial integrity of our country is our top priority. We have achieved maximum results in the diplomatic plane. Today the whole world declares that this conflict must be settled within the framework of the territorial integrity of our country. Numerous decisions, resolutions, bilateral agreements and declarations express support for the territorial integrity of our country. Leading international organizations of the world – the UN, its Security Council, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others – demand the settlement of this conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of our country. In other words, we are using all available means to resolve the issue and liberate our lands from invaders.

We should also know that the power factor has come to the fore in the world today. We have done a great job in the field of army building. As I have already noted, we have demonstrated our power on the battlefield. We have shown to the whole world that the Azerbaijani people and the Azerbaijani state will never put up with this occupation.

The people affected by the war are always in the spotlight. They are taken care of. In recent years, more than a hundred settlements have been built for the IDPs. Last year alone, apartments and houses were provided to 5,900 displaced persons. This process will be continued this year too. The state provides support to martyr families. To date, the state has provided apartments and houses to 6,650 martyr families, while more than 6,000 martyr families have been given cars. This is a manifestation of the attitude of our state to martyr families. I don't know of any other country paying so much attention to its citizens, those in a difficult situation and those who have lost their loved ones.

This issue is always a priority in my work. My numerous meetings with martyr families in recent years are further evidence of that. We have participated in the opening of many houses together. I have personally handed over apartment and car keys to martyr families, and I consider this to be my duty. It is my duty. Serving the people is my most important responsibility. It is a great honor for me to serve you in this matter.

Attention to martyr families was once again demonstrated last year. In April last year, the Azerbaijani people showed confidence in me once again, believed in me and elected me as president. My first decree was associated with enhancing the social protection of martyr families. Of course, this was no coincidence. I could have signed a decree in any sphere – in the field of economics, foreign policy or in connection with social issues, but I thought that the first decree should be associated with martyr families. Based on this decree, the state is to provide about 10,000 martyr families with a lump sum in the amount of 11,000 manats. Let me say it again – I do not want to compare Azerbaijan to any other country, but it is also true that Azerbaijan is an example for many countries in this area.

The process of payment has already begun. I am told that more than 3,000 martyr families have received 11,000 manats each. However, it turned out in the course of this process that the amount paid to people in the form of an allowance earlier does not correspond to the amount being provided now. In other words, although the amount of 50,000 manats was quite high for those years, the beginning of the 1990s, it cannot be compared to the current 11,000 manats. I expressed my opinion on this matter to the public. I said that this issue should be seriously examined and preference should be given to two key factors: law and justice. On the one hand, those who have received this allowance in due time should not be included in this list now. This is required by law and procedures. But on the other, we should resolve all issues fairly. We should approach all issues through the prism of social justice. Given this, I signed a new decree today. According to this decree, the number of those who will receive 11,000 manats has been increased by 2,725 people. This number, of course, includes those who received a smaller allowance earlier, and representatives of the families of martyrs who worked in internal affairs bodies and were originally not included in the list at all. This number exceeds 460 people.

This requires large funds, of course. There are plans to allocate a total of 135 million manats from the state budget to implement this program. This is a fairly large amount. We are trying to treat all funds economically. We are trying to provide great support for the directions that determine the economic and social development of our country. However, I have always said that the well-being and prosperity of the Azerbaijani people are top priorities for us. Therefore, this decision is, first of all, fair. Secondly, after this presidential decree, it already comes into force as an official document. We have provided these two factors.

I want to say again: social problems of our people will continue to be in the spotlight. We will continue to build and provide housing for martyr families. Last year alone, 626 families of martyrs were provided with new apartments and houses. This year, another 800 families of martyrs will receive new apartments and houses. In the next few years, all martyr families will be provided with houses and apartments. There will not be a single martyr family not provided with a house or apartment by the state.

This is our policy and our path. We are going along this path. By inviting you here to the Presidential Palace today, I wanted to convey these words and thoughts to you myself. I wanted to meet you again, express my appreciation, deep respect and highest consideration for you. I wish you good health. I hope you never come across such terrible tragedies in your life again. Thank you!