Ilham Aliyev visited Jabrayil and Zangilan districts

26 april 2021, 19:40

As reported earlier, on 26 April President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Jabrayil and Zangilan districts.

The head of state, the First Lady and their daughter viewed the billboard with “Welcome to Jabrayil” words on it at the entrance to Jabrayil district.

President Ilham Aliyev: We have come to Jabrayil district. We have now restored the billboard that was once erected at the entrance to Jabrayil district – in the same shape and design. We have restored the “Welcome to Jabrayil!” billboard. In Soviet times, this monument – so to speak – was erected here but it was left rusting during the years of occupation. There are images of this rusty billboard in the press. Therefore, restoring historical justice, we have restored this “Welcome!” sign at the entrance to Jabrayil district. We will restore all liberated lands, all cities and villages.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva attended the opening of a military unit of the State Border Service in Jabrayil district.

Chief of the State Border Service, Colonel-General Elchin Guliyev reported to President of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev.

Elchin Guliyev said: Welcome, Mr. President!

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello.

Elchin Guliyev: Mr. President, the memorial stone is inscribed on the occasion of your arrival in the liberated territories.

I report that our construction and repair work continues in the liberated territories based on your instructions. There was this building in the area from earlier times, Mr. President. To implement your instructions, a military unit has been established on an area of 5,339 square meters. The current situation is as you can see it.

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The military arsenal of the State Border Service is being further enriched with modern weapons, including new unmanned aerial vehicles.

Informing the President, Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev about the UAVs, Elchin Guliyev said: Dear Mr. President, during the war, thanks to the use of these aerial vehicles footage has become available. On the right side here we see elimination of the TOR system.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, I remember that, it was in the garage.

Elchin Guliyev: Yes, Mr. President. There are many videos of elimination of enemy’s missile systems, S-300 systems, SCUD missile systems here. When they planned to counterattack in the direction of Horadiz village, 14 of their tanks were destroyed by the Harops within two hours. This footage shows the destruction of those tanks. About 10-12 tanks were abandoned by the fleeing enemy.

President Ilham Aliyev: They admit that themselves.

Elchin Guliyev: Yes, Mr. President. This is the moment when S-300 was struck. Harop's accuracy is 97 percent, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: It was at the top of the mountain.

Elchin Guliyev: Mount Shukrataz, Mr. President. Azerbaijan’s border guards are currently stationed at the highest point.

The head of state was informed that the new military unit had all the conditions to provide top service. During the 44-day Patriotic war, Azerbaijan’s Army carried out a critical important mission, liberating the lands from occupation and restoring the state border. As part of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, the personnel of the State Border Service delivered crushing blows to the enemy with high professionalism and drove it out of our lands.

Then President Ilham Aliyev got acquainted with the new military vehicles and drove one of them.

Elchin Guliyev: Mr. President, this is another manifestation of your care. These vehicles have been purchased recently and made available to our mobile units on your instructions. Dear Mr. President, on your special orders, the fastest offensive of the 44-day Patriotic war began in this area.

The head of state visited the gym of the military unit.

President Ilham Aliyev: Film this and this one. This is just a warm-up. I am showing this so that the staff knows what I am capable of at the age of 59. Come and film this.

Athletes would know I cheated a little here. But at the age of 59, you have to do a little cheating when you lift 40 kilograms.

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After viewing conditions created at the military unit, President Ilham Aliyev met with servicemen of the State Border Service and delivered remarks.

Remarks by the President Ilham Aliyev

At ease! Dear border guards, it is a significant day in the life of our country today. A new military unit of the State Border Service is being opened on Azerbaijan-Iran border. I am attending this opening, and this is another manifestation of the importance we attach to the activities of the Border Service.

During the Patriotic war, the Azerbaijan-Iran border was completely secured. The 132-kilometer previously occupied border was fully restored. All the necessary fortification and defensive work began along the border immediately after the war. The launch of this military unit is clear evidence of that. Necessary work is done along the entire border – both the Azerbaijan-Iran and Azerbaijan-Armenia borders.

The Azerbaijan-Iran border is one of friendship. The defense of this border is also of great importance for the development of Azerbaijan-Iran relations. We have a border with the Islamic Republic of Iran in other directions, and this border is, in the true sense of the word, is the border of friendship and cooperation. Citizens of both countries benefit from this by crossing the border. At the same time, the growing volume of cargo indicates the development of Azerbaijan-Iran relations.

The nearby Khudafarin Bridge is a symbol of Azerbaijan-Iran friendship. The Khudafarin Bridge was liberated from the enemy on Independence Day – on 18 October last year. Border guards have played a special role in liberating this territory from the enemy. Our liberation struggle began in this direction, and after 44 days of the Patriotic war, it resulted in the victory of our Army, of the Armed Forces. There were fierce battles in this area; ferocious fights unfolded for every village. We had martyrs. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace. Their dear memory will live in our hearts forever. Despite the losses, we were moving forward every day. During the 44-day war, we never took a step back. Every single day for 44 days was a day of victory for us. Despite all the efforts of Armenia for 44 days, they were unable to conduct a single successful operation. They planned a counter-offensive in this direction and began to carry it out. But it was the beginning of their end because that counter-offensive operation was completely crushed by Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces, the enemy suffered heavy losses and dozens of enemy equipment were destroyed. We paved the way liberation by breaching many lines of defense in this direction – from the Fuzuli-Jabrayil direction.

Today, Azerbaijan’s victorious Armed Forces are fulfilling all the tasks. At the same time, our border guards currently guard Azerbaijan-Armenia border on the liberated territories. This border has also been restored and all necessary infrastructure work is under way along the border. All equipment has been mobilized. The length of this border is about 500 kilometers. That border for almost 30 years was in the hands of the occupying forces. We won the Patriotic war, fully restored that border, liberated Zangilan and Gubadli districts and a part of Lachin district by fighting. The enemy was forced to return most of Lachin and Kalbajar to us by signing an act of capitulation. Necessary work is underway in those territories.

Unfortunately, the revengeful forces in Armenia have raised their head yet again. They are accusing us and making territorial claims. I want to warn them from here to stop these ugly deeds, or they will face a bitter end. We showed who was who during the patriotic war. An iron fist crushed the enemy's head. The recent military provocation against our border guards in the direction of Zangilan on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border should be the last such attempt. We showed restraint and did not respond to this provocation. But this is the last warning. If a similar attempt is made again, the enemy will be destroyed on the spot. We are protecting our border and will continue to do so. The border of each country is one of its state symbols. Azerbaijan has fully restored its borders and territorial integrity. Our Armed Forces won the war through courage and heroism. The role of border guards in our overall victory is immense. I appreciate it. It is no coincidence that many servicemen have been awarded high orders and medals of our state.

I once again congratulate you on the opening of this military unit and wish you renewed success.

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The head of state posed for photographs together with the border guards.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at Aghali village of Zangilan district.

Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov: Mr. President, after you were informed in February, active work began and mobilization was carried out. Preliminary demolition work has been carried out.

President Ilham Aliyev: What was here before?

Inam Karimov: There were houses here. There were about 30 houses. Rural roads are already under construction. This work is also underway in the village. There are currently about 110 people working here. There will be about 600-700 workers during the active stage of work.

President Ilham Aliyev: Is a part of the village on the other side of the road?

Inam Karimov: Yes, a part of it used to be in the upper area.

President Ilham Aliyev: Was this the main part?

Inam Karimov: Yes, this was the main part. This is Aghali 1.

Reconstruction of the villages destroyed due to the Armenian occupation has begun on the basis of a construction concept and the latest technologies.

Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov informed the President and the First Lady that the first “smart village” pilot project covers the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Aghali villages of Zangilan district. The project will be implemented mainly on five components. These are residential, production, social services, “smart agriculture” and alternative energy. Initially, there are plans to build 200 individual houses in the area using fully insulated and innovative construction materials. In-house engineering communication and heating systems will also be built based on smart technologies. Modern schools, kindergartens, outpatient clinics and e-government centers will be built in these villages and tourism infrastructure created. All residential houses, social facilities, office and public catering buildings, processing and agricultural enterprises will be provided with alternative energy sources. Specialists from Turkish, Chinese, Italian and Israeli companies will also be involved with the project.

The head of state spoke to representatives of foreign companies in a video format.

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello.

Employee of a Turkish company: Hello, Mr. President.

Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov: Please, Onay bey.

President Ilham Aliyev: Please tell us what this facility is.

Employee of a Turkish company: Greetings from Turkey to dear Azerbaijan, “one nation, two states”, Mr. President.

Employee of a Turkish company: Greetings from Turkey to dear Azerbaijan, Mr. President!

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello!

Employee of a Turkish company: Thank you. Mr. President, we honor the memory of all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for reunification with these lands.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!

Employee of a Turkish company: Mr. President, as a result of a comprehensive analysis in this “smart village” project, we have determined that the most suitable, environmentally friendly and affordable renewable energy device in the world is the Archimedes system. At the same time, the carbon dioxide-certified Archimedes plant will meet all the domestic electricity needs of the smart village and the remaining energy could be exported. Also, we will transfer hot water from the system to houses and hotels in the village. This device is very fast and works with high productivity. It does not make any noise and oxygenates the water, which is very useful for fish and vegetation. This system will enable us to get more energy with less power than solar and other alternative energy, i.e. it works 24 hours a day. This project is not only aimed at generating energy, but also creates conditions for the tourism infrastructure. Mr. President, of course, with your support, we plan to create the “smart village” project that can meet all its needs at its own expense. Thank you.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. I am very glad that a Turkish company is involved in the first project. This is natural because Turkey, a brotherly country, will take an active part in all our restoration work. As you know, several Turkish companies are already involved in restoration and infrastructure projects. I am glad to see the activities of a Turkish company here – in the field of green energy. In fact, this is the first village built on liberated lands. Of course, this village is very important because the “Great Return” begins today. I want to express my confidence that you will participate in future projects.

Employee of a Turkish company: Inshallah, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: I wish you further success.

Employee of a Turkish company: Thank you, Mr. President!

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General Manager of Huawei Azerbaijan: Dear Mr. President Aliyev. My name is David, general manager of Huawei, Azerbaijan. It’s a great honor for me to have this chance to present to you our “smart village” solution, which we are going to use to reconstruct the liberated area of Karabakh. Before that I want to express my respect and congratulations to Mr. President about this great liberation victory. As a world-wide leading ICT solutions company we are ready to provide all our latest advanced solution in Karabakh and participate in future “smart village” development. As a leading “smart city” and “smart village” solution provider our company has a lot of experience in this area. And globally, we already have more than 100 different pieces. In order to provide the advanced solution in Karabakh “smart village” we will provide the latest product and solution. We will build the first gigabit village network by AirPON solution in Azerbaijan. The AirPON solution is in front of Mr. President. The solution can shorten 10 km to 1 km fiber cable deployments. So we can mostly accelerate the network construction and save a lot of costs. We will realize secure living environment, “smart education system”, “smart healthcare system” and “smart agriculture” in Karabakh as the first stage of “smart village” construction. This is my brief report. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev; Thank you, I wish you success. This is the first project for the country in Karabakh region and I am glad that Huawei which is a good partner of Azerbaijan is participating in this project. I remember when I was during one of my visits to China, I visited your headquarters in Beijing and there was given a presentation to me about your activity. Also I had direct contacts with your Baku office. I know that Baku office is very successful, and there will be a lot of activities in the liberated territories, because it’s one village. We have hundreds of villages and cities which have been destroyed by Armenian aggressors. So, we now need to restore them. To restore that based on the modern standards, standards of living. So I wish you success. I hope you will have another opportunity to work in other parts of liberated territories.

General Manager: Thank you Mr. President we will do our best. Thank you.

Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov: This device will provide up to 100 megabits of wireless internet. Also, once the telephone antenna is installed, the village can be provided with internet.

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President Ilham Aliyev: Good morning.

Employee of an Italian company: How are you Mr. President, good morning.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good thank you. How is your project moving? Today we launched it. So, we will have to have a good result after we finish the construction. What is the time-table for the project to be operational?

Employee of an Italian company: They wanted the project in November. Still, it’s pretty early, November with the housing inside. But we can do this. As fast as we need. We have the ability and co-partners to construct and do everything in this time.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. So it could be, of course, November, December. I know that it’s not easy to plan, to organize and to implement, because we need to build village, settlement of more than 200 houses with the entire infrastructure. Of course, people who will come here to live they need to have jobs and production. I see the pictures here, looking very good: the famous mozzarella.

Employee of an Italian company: Thank you. We have a combined model also for housing and farming together. So, you can house the people very fast in the farm and to work in the farm. Before housing they need a village.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good, thank you.

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Employee of Israeli company: Can I make my presentation?

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes.

Employee of an Israeli company: First of all, I’m feeling honored to stand here in front of you and to meet you thank you for the opportunity. I want to congratulate you for the liberation of the occupied territories in Karabakh region. So we are really glad to be your partners in the new district of Zangilan, to build a buffalo farm. First, we will have 300-400 cattle here and then we want to expand it to 1000. Our company is dealing with the technology and smart farms. We have sensors that connect the farm to data analysis software, which has to do with feeding, cattle health and milking obviously. We are doing it as a turnkey project. We are providing he feasibility study, construction, planning, training of the team and import of the cattle. We are doing the smart farm obviously, with the sensors as I said the team will monitor the animals via sensors. We are doing manure treatment. We know how to treat the manure and to make it fertilizers or bio gas, as you want. There are different options. Waste water cleaning and the solar energy, this means that you have lots of energy production without putting a huge infrastructure of electricity. So, a farm like this will be very interesting. We want to bring to Azerbaijan and Karabakh area the knowledge and experiences of the Israelis in farming technology. So, thank you for the opportunity and we are looking forward to cooperating with you.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, I know that the cows in Israel produce the best quality and the highest volume of milk per cow.

Employee of an Israeli company: Yes, in Israel there are farms which produce 40-45 liters per cow.

President Ilham Aliyev: I know.

Employee of an Israeli company: We will try to do our best in buffalo sector also.

President Ilham Aliyev: What is the average per buffalo?

Employee of an Israeli company: The average per buffalo is roughly one third of the production per cow - between 8 to 12 liters per head, per day.

President Ilham Aliyev: I see, and buffalos will be imported from Israel.

Inam Karimov: From Italy.

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Project manager: Mr. President, first of all, congratulations for your historical achievement of liberation of your territory and for restoring your sovereignty. This will be an era of stability and prosperity in an important strategic area. I am really honored to be here representing an Italian company. My name is Giuseppe Rizzoli and I am the Project Manager of the Buffalo Dairy project. Our business idea is to realize a full equipped buffalo dairy farm for high-quality production of mozzarella, burrata and other buffalo cheeses in strategic Zangilan region providing our expertise in production process and our knowledge. Because, as you know, Mr. President a buffalo mozzarella is produced all over the world any country try to reach the same quality and taste. But “mozzarella di bufala” remains an Italian export only, because we think that most important factor of success in the field is not only the technology and machinery that we have but it’s the hands of the cheese maker masters. Anyone can buy an expensive equipment and machinery but only the skilled cheese makers can make the unique taste of mozzarella. For this reason, after building our dairy, we will provide a complete training course that will form the first generation of skilled Azerbaijani cheese makers. We want to avoid that Azerbaijan becomes an exporter of a simple quality buffalo cheese production. Our mindset is to aim for developing top quality dairy sector that can make Azerbaijan as producer of excellent “mozzarella di bufala” like in Italy. No compromise in that field - only the first class production and we will do our best with our friends in Azerbaijan. Thank you Mr. President, and thank you for the opportunity.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. This is a first pilot project on the liberated territories. Therefore, you can understand we pay special attention to it and the successful implementation of this project will of course demonstrate our strong will to revive the territories and to restore them as soon as possible. As I said many times, after war and after our victory that we will invite companies from friendly countries to work with us. I am glad that today companies from Israel and Italy, from two friendly countries for Azerbaijan are joining this important project and we have international cooperation. We have companies from Turkey, China, Israel and Italy - all friendly countries. This is really a good international cooperation. I am sure it’s only the first step. Ssuccessful implementation of this project, of course, will allow us to use this experience in other destinations in Karabakh, because we need to restore hundreds of villages, settlements and cities. So, I hope to see you, maybe, in Baku at the opening of these villages and also to demonstrate and taste the real Italian mozzarella.

Employee of Israeli company: It’s a hard challenge but we will be glad, we will do it. Mr. President, we are ready.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.

Employee of Israeli company: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Have a nice day.

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The head of state then met with residents of Zangilan district.

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, please come closer, come closer.

Female resident: Welcome to Aghali village!

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much!

Female resident: This is our village. I was born in Aghali village, in this village, and grew up here. My father, mother, husband, uncles and aunts were buried in this cemetery. My husband's grave is next to that visible tree, he died while working.

President Ilham Aliyev: Where was your house? Which side?

Female resident: Our house was down there.

President Ilham Aliyev: In Boyuk Aghali.

Female resident: When you drove down here for the first time, you said that this house would probably be recognized by someone. It is my sister's house. Thank you very much. I am very glad to see you, your wife and daughter here. I embrace and kiss you all.

President Ilham Aliyev: I congratulate you on returning to Aghali.

Female resident: Thank you, I also wish you good health and a long life for bringing us to our homes and giving us the opportunity to see our land. You have liberated our lands. You have avenged our martyrs along with our lands. We have wounded veterans. May Allah grant healing to our veterans and rest the souls of our martyrs in peace. I bow my head before their mothers. I bow my head to you for bringing them together as Commander-in-Chief and winning the 44-day war that is unparalleled in the world. In the first Karabakh war, my cousin and my son-in-law fought in the war for five years and eight months. My grandson is a wounded veteran who volunteered for the 44-day war. May Allah grant you good health and a long life. The people of Aghali are ready to come here. We are all together. Everyone, including children and adults, says we are going to Aghali to build and create there. The people of Aghali are hardworking. I have lived in the city for 28 years.

President Ilham Aliyev: Where do you live now? In Baku?

Female resident: Yes, I live in Bilajari.

President Ilham Aliyev: In a dormitory in Bilajari?

Female resident: No, we live in a house we built. We are ready to come to our land. I have a dream. I hope there comes a day when this project is completed and the people of Agali gather in this village. Because our people are hardworking – we will restore it. May I ask you – when you come to the village the second time, please come to my house and have a cup of tea.

President Ilham Aliyev: Agreed. I promise. I will definitely come. I will come to the opening, and I hope the village will be rebuilt soon. As you know, Aghali is the first village to be restored.

Female resident: It used to be a well-to-do village, with a collective farm. I want to recite a verse. Resident recites the poem.

President Ilham Aliyev: This village will be a model one.

Female resident: Yes, thank you very much. I am very glad to see you here. My dear ones, I embrace you all and kiss you.

President Ilham Aliyev: When did you leave Aghali?

Female resident: I left it in 1993. Whenever you raise your fist, I raise it with you. I am raising it again and say: Karabakh is ours! Aghali is ours! Zangilan is ours! Our youth is behind you. Long live Karabakh! Long live Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. Aghali village was liberated from the occupiers on 28 October. You know that fierce battles were fought for Zangilan, for all our villages. We returned this land by shedding blood.

Female resident: Yes, my grandson also took part in the fighting here.

President Ilham Aliyev: We drove out the enemies. When I first came here and saw the ruins when drove by, I wondered whose this house was. Only a part of the house remained standing.

Female resident: Yes, it does, I saw that.

President Ilham Aliyev: They lived here illegally. I said that the people of Aghali would probably recognize whose house it was.

Female resident: Yes, I listened to that.

President Ilham Aliyev: Now you are probably familiar with the new project. More than 200 houses, a school, a kindergarten, an outpatient clinic will be built here and jobs will be created. The presentation given to me today shows that a large farm – a buffalo farm – will be created here as well, cheese will be produced, there will be arable land, there will be a hydroelectric power plant. In other words, all the conditions will be available. You will have everything you need to live here. The technologies to be applied here are not yet available in Azerbaijan. This is the first project, a pilot project, and I am sure that all the work will be ready by the beginning of next year. Houses must be built, communications must be built, then jobs must be created, there must be arable land, and everyone who will live here must be provided with jobs. I also see young people here. They were probably born after or before the war.

Female resident: Children were displaced at the age of one year and seven months.

President Ilham Aliyev: How old are you?

Young man: Dear Mr. President, I am very pleased to see you in our village. I am one of the last babies to have been born in Zangilan. I was seven months old when I left here as an IDP. Today, for the first time in 28 years, we are stepping into our ancestral land, and it is gratifying that we are doing that together with you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, we have always supported your policy. We have always watched your speeches, and in 2018, a statement in your speech at the military parade dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces caught our attention. You said that Karabakh has always belonged to Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani flag flying in Shusha will be brought to Azadlig Square for demonstration soon.

President Ilham Aliyev: Indeed.

Young man: Mr. President, we witnessed that in 2020 in that magnificent Victory Parade. Mr. President, in general, we, the youth of Zangilan, are always with our state, the nation and the Commander-in-Chief. In general, Zangilan is a district of great geographical and strategic importance. Zangilan is our gateway to Nakhchivan. Zangilan is the entrance to our historical land of Zangazur. Zangilan is located at the crossroads of many roads. In general, Zangilan has great potential for agricultural development. Zangilan has fertile lands, abundant water and fresh air. There are all conditions for agricultural activity in Zangilan.

President Ilham Aliyev: He has not seen Zangilan, but notice how much he loves Zangilan. This is the love of the Motherland. This is patriotism.

Female resident: Zangilan is our childhood fairy tale.

Young man: Mr. President, by the way, the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture visited all our houses. They conducted surveys with us, determined the age group of the population and identified the areas of people’s activity. Let me assure you that that every resident of Zangilan who took part in the survey said that they want to return to Zangilan. I am sure of that and I assure you because this is our native land. My grandfather worked here for many years as chairman of a collective farm, Mr. President. My father was a mason. He built about 30 houses in this Aghali village with his own hands. Unfortunately, as a result of Armenian savagery, there are no traces of those houses now. However, we are not sad at all. On the contrary, we are glad that the “smart village” project is being launched today and we are even more delighted that this project starts in our village. Thank you twice for this, Mr. President. Always be there for us.

Mr. President, we always got together in October in a very humble and sad manner to mark the day of the occupation of Zangilan. But starting from this year, we will celebrate Victory Day in October. I am sure that you will join us in the festivities in the village of Aghali. Mr. President, thank you very much.

President Ilham Aliyev: Absolutely! From now on, October will only be a month of holidays for the people of Zangilan because both Aghali village and Zangilan city were liberated in October. Listening to the words of this young man, we see again how strong the will of the Azerbaijani people and their commitment to their homeland are. The Armenians hoped that our people would forget these places, the old people would forget this and then the old people would naturally pass away, while young people, those who grew up in different environment would never want to return here. That was their big mistake because we have brought up a young generation with a strong love of the homeland in their hearts. Even the youngsters who have not seen these places lived with a desire to return to their native land and restore justice, and now we are seeing that. The village of Aghali will be rebuilt in less than a year. You have probably seen the models and the project – it will become one of the most progressive villages in the world.

Male resident: Thank you for that, Mr. President, thank you very much.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. Did you live here as well?

Male resident: Yes, we now live in Sumgayit.

Female resident: My grandson was born in Baku. However, after completing his military service, he quickly came here. He called us from a village in Fuzuli and asked us not to worry about him because he was not on the frontline. But he was actually in Shusha. I mean that even though the child was not born here, this air, this land and the fairy tales we told him brought him back here. Thank Allah, he is safe and sound, and may Allah grant healing to our veterans. Mehriban khanim, thanks to you our wounded veterans are receiving treatment abroad and you are helping them.

President Ilham Aliyev: Zangilan is a very pleasant place, a beautiful place with mountains, rivers and forests.

Male resident: Mr. President, we are very grateful to you for valuing our village. May Allah protect you.

Female resident: Mehriban khanim may, Allah grant you good health. There was that baby who needed money for treatment. You took care of her as a mother, thank you very much for that.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Thank you very much.

Male resident: These are the words that come from our hearts.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.

Female resident: We have always stood behind you.

President Ilham Aliyev: Let's lay the foundation stone together now. The Great Return begins today.

Male resident: Inshallah.

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President Ilham Aliyev then laid a foundation stone for the first “Smart village” project covering the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Aghali villages of Zangilan district.

President Ilham Aliyev: “The foundation stone of the “smart village” project in Aghali village was laid by President Ilham Aliyev. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” This is what the capsule says.

Male resident: Let everyone make a contribution.

President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, this is history. Men come forward.

Female resident: Good luck!

President Ilham Aliyev: A monument will be erected here as well.

Male resident: Mr. President, the residents who did not come here also asked us to thank you. Thank you very much for giving such value to our village.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you and please convey my greetings on to them. We will come here again when the village is ready.

Female resident: Do come over!

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: I also want to put some concrete in.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, of course. I forgot about you. Leyla, do come as well.

Female resident: Thank you for giving us this excitement. I am 70 years old but I feel as if I were 15. You have rejuvenated us so much.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Pigeons will fly off now. Take a picture.

Male resident: Mr. President, I was born in this village but have never been here.

President Ilham Aliyev: With the grace of Allah, we will meet again early next year. We will meet with all the residents of Aghali.

Then a picture was taken.

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President Ilham Aliyev then laid a foundation stone for the International Airport in Zangilan.

Undoubtedly, this airport will play an important role in the development of the region.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

-We have broken ground for the Zangilan International Airport. An international airport will be built in Zangilan soon. The runway of this airport will be three kilometers long. The airport will be able to receive all types of aircraft, including heavy cargo planes.

The construction of a second airport has begun on the liberated lands. The construction of the Fuzuli International Airport is already progressing. The runway of Fuzuli Airport will be put into operation this year. So we will be able to receive the first planes in Fuzuli this year.

The geographical location of Zangilan district and the opportunities available here, of course, create opportunities for turning Zangilan into an international transportation and logistics hub. It is no coincidence that the airport will be built in Zangilan because if you look at the geographical situation, everyone can see that the three international airports to be built in Fuzuli, Zangilan and then in Lachin districts will cover the whole of Karabakh and the eastern Zangazur zone, including Zangilan. A railway and a highway will pass through here and a road to Nakhchivan will be opened. Of course, this airport will play an important role in the future successful socioeconomic development of Zangilan.

The first village project was already launched in Zangilan today. The foundation stone of Aghali village was laid. This is the first step in the Great Return. We are already starting this work a few months after the war. Infrastructure work is underway. The reconstruction of Aghali village, the first “smart village” project, has started. Aghali village, in fact, three villages – Aghali 1, 2 and 3 – were liberated on 28 October. Six months later, the foundation stone of a new village was laid in Aghali, and it will be a model village. The technologies to be applied in this village meet the most modern standards. Houses, public buildings and social facilities will be built. Jobs and arable lands have been identified. The nature and natural resources of Zangilan as a whole will allow us the opportunity to turn this district into one of the most advanced regions of Azerbaijan.

The Great Return has begun. The airport I laid the foundation stone of today shows the strength of our state. The foundation of the new Horadiz-Zangilan highway will also be laid ahead. This 4-6-lane road runs parallel to the existing road and ushers ample opportunities. These projects are very important for linking Zangilan with other districts of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. I congratulate Zangilan residents and the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.

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President Ilham Aliyev then laid a foundation stone for Zangilan-Horadiz highway.

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President Ilham Aliyev: The nature of Zangilan district is beautiful - green mountains, lush forests and rivers. It resembles a paradise. We will turn Zangilan into a paradise. The more you look at it, the more you want to do that. There is vegetation on all sides. Beautiful nature. Look at the beautiful river.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: What river is this?

President Ilham Aliyev: It must be the Okhchu River. The Okhchuchay River, the Basitchay River. We will find that out. It is appears that a substation is under construction here. There is a police station. The nature is pristine around here. There are spectacular views. The main thing is to protect this nature during the restoration of cities and villages. There must be very strict control so that our nature is not harmed. Although the Armenians also abused our nature; they have destroyed 54,000 hectares of forests. They cut down trees and sold them. But we will restore all the forests.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Are these plane trees?

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, plane trees. And this is the Basitchay River. It is a part of the beautiful nature of Zangilan. The Basitchay and an ancient plane tree. The beautiful nature of beautiful Azerbaijan. We have returned these lands and taken them back from the enemy. After that, the people of Azerbaijan will live in these lands forever. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at Zangilan mosque to be restored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Architect: Welcome, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello. Please provide an update – is work being done?

Architect: Based on the instructions by the President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, a commission made of both foreign and local experts, has assessed the current state of the mosque building. I would also like to note that representatives of the well-known Atelier Kummer have been here on a short-term mission and assessed the existing building. We are currently preparing proposals for the conservation and restoration of the existing building, as well as proposals and a project on the construction of a new mosque in the area.

President Ilham Aliyev: Anew? What does the assessment say? The stones are fairly sound.

Architect: We would suggest building a new mosque on a larger area. The total area here is about 50 hundredths, Mr. President. We suggest that this old building remain within the mosque-complex after conservation.

President Ilham Aliyev: Have a look, maybe if these stones and walls are so sound, they might be covered. This could be done as well. Once the proposals are ready, we can decide.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: It was a small mosque, so it should probably be small.

President Ilham Aliyev: It was a small and one-level mosque, and the dome was not that big.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: There was no minaret.

Architect: In 1988, during the Soviet era, an evaluation was done of the building.

President Ilham Aliyev: Is there a photo? Or it could not be found?

Architect: There are layouts.

President Ilham Aliyev: Are there layouts from that time?

Architect: Yes, from 1988.

President Ilham Aliyev: This is what it was like. In fact, they knocked down one of its walls and the roof. The top wall is there.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Are these proposals?

Architect: These are preliminary proposals.

President Ilham Aliyev: It is built of this stone.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: From the same stone, the inside was like that. Do the proposals suggest keeping it within the old walls?

Architect: Yes, we suggest creating a complex.

President Ilham Aliyev: It remains within the walls.

Architect: This was an additional building. It was built later, during the Soviet era, in the 1930s.

President Ilham Aliyev: Was the main building there?

Architect: Yes, there was a school here, and then they used that building for economic purposes.

President Ilham Aliyev: It is necessary to restore it the way it was.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva attached a memorial plaque with the words "The foundation of the Zangilan Mosque was laid by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev on 26 April 2021" on the wall of the mosque.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- The Zangilan mosque will be restored. This mosque was destroyed by the contemptible enemy. When I visited Zangilan after the war, I came here, got acquainted with the situation and said that everyone should see it. All international organizations should see this. They should see Armenian savagery. I want to say again that those who support the Armenians today should come and see what they have done to our mosques, not only this mosque. In all the liberated lands, our historical, cultural and religious heritage has been destroyed, desecrated and demolished by the Armenians.

Some semi-destroyed mosques in Zangilan district were used as pigsties, they kept pigs there. There are videos of that. Pigs were kept in the Aghdam mosque, which is a crime against the entire Muslim world, a crime against Islam. All Muslim countries should see this, and we are bringing this truth to the attention of the leaders of all Muslim countries. Foreign visitors to the liberated lands are seeing Armenian savagery with their own eyes. The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation who recently visited Azerbaijan raised his voice in protest. The ICESCO Secretary General visited the liberated lands, saw the destroyed Aghdam mosque and is already informing all Muslim countries about Armenian atrocities. We must also be active in this work. All government agencies have been instructed. Public organizations have been asked to provide information on Armenian atrocities to all international organizations – with facts, evidence and pictures.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then left for Minjivan settlement of Zangilan district.

President Ilham Aliyev: We are going to Minjivan settlement. Minjivan is an ancient settlement.

There was a railway station there. After the first Karabakh war, the Armenians demolished the entire railway. They sold some of the rails and built anti-tank fortifications using the rest. We will now build the railway again. This work has begun. Some time ago, I laid the foundation stone of the Horadiz-Aghband railway in Horadiz settlement. This railway will connect the main part of Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the Zangazur corridor. In fact, Zangilan district is geographically located in the East Zangazur district, and we will connect East Zangazur with West Zangazur and open a railway to Nakhchivan, as well as a highway.

There is also a beautiful nature here – high mountains and forests. Here, too, fierce battles took place. We drove the enemy all the way to the border. We gave martyrs. We liberated Aghband settlement, which is located near the Armenian border, and reached the immediate border with Armenia. Now we are strengthening our positions on this border, where there is also a border checkpoint. We have restored all our borders.

The head of state arrived at the site of the Minjivan railway station, which was destroyed by the Armenian occupiers.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- This was the Minjivan railway station. The hated enemy has destroyed this building, dismantled the railway track, took the rails away, sold them, melted them and used them to build anti-tank fortifications. This building is another victim of Armenian fascism, yet another witness. Armenians have destroyed all our buildings – public buildings, houses, mosques and museums. They have demolished them; looted and stolen stones to build houses for themselves.

We have driven them out of here. There was ferocious fighting around here. There were fierce battles for Minjivan settlement. Our Armed Forces showed great heroism here, drove the enemy out of here and liberated the town of Minjivan. After that, we successfully advanced to the Armenia’s border, to the settlement of Aghband and drove the enemy out of our lands. The railway will be rebuilt now, and so will the station. The process of reconstruction of the railway has begun. A railway will be built from Horadiz to Aghband. After that, the railway will be extended through the Zangazur corridor to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Zangilan belongs to the East Zangazur region from a geographical point of view and is located in East Zangazur. West Zangazur is also our historical land, and the Zangazur corridor will pass through that land. Thus, the main part of Azerbaijan will be connected with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic by rail.