Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with representatives of the general public in Jabrayil

05 october 2021, 11:45

Dear natives of Jabrayil, dear friends! I sincerely greet you and say “Welcome to Jabrayil”.

This is my first meeting with the people of Jabrayil after the victory of our victorious Army, and it is especially important that this meeting is being held on 4 October. Exactly one year ago, on 4 October, the Azerbaijani Army liberated the city of Jabrayil from the occupiers, so I invited the people of Jabrayil to their homeland to celebrate this glorious history together today. Therefore, I begin my speech with the words “Welcome to Jabrayil”. But I am sure that from now on, whenever I come to Jabrayil, the people of Jabrayil will always greet me with the words “Welcome, Mr. President”.

Specific work is being done to achieve this, and the foundation stone of several facilities has been laid today. There will be a presentation of the master plan of the city of Jabrayil and day-to-day work has begun. When assessing the work done over the past year today, we are seeing how great the potential of our state and our people is, of course. Because it is evidence of the great potential to be able to return life and people to the territories completely destroyed by the Armenians after only a year. We have mobilized all our resources and will continue to do so in a short period of time in order to rebuild and restore Jabrayil and all other districts. Everyone who comes here can see these ruins and witness Armenian savagery and vandalism. This atrocity, this vandalism was committed during the occupation. There could not have been so much destruction during the war. During the occupation, the Armenians were engaged in looting and robbery, tearing down all houses and buildings, but the whole world turned a blind eye to this. Seeing this, the international organizations, the supporters of Armenia simply remained indifferent and turned a blind eye to all this. The entire world can see it now, and those who do not want to see it should see it because there are almost no traces of Jabrayil left. There are only two five-storey buildings left, and those were used by the Armenian military. They turned a former hospital into a military unit. In addition, all buildings and historical sites were destroyed.

The date of 4 October will forever remain in our history. Because the city of Jabrail was liberated from the invaders on 4 October, and this victory had tremendous importance. Because a city, a district center were liberated for the first time in the first week of the war. It had a great symbolic meaning. This gave additional strength and confidence to our Army. After this Victory, our glorious Army fulfilled its historic mission in other places as well. The people of Jabrayil are well aware that on the first day of the war, two villages of Jabrayil were liberated from the occupiers – Boyuk Marjanli and Nuzgar villages. The liberation of four villages of Fuzuli district was our first success. Despite heavy fighting, it was not possible to liberate any new settlements during the following week. In other words, this was dictated by the objective course of the war, and Sugovushan settlement and Talish village, as well as several villages of Jabrayil district, were liberated from the occupiers on 3 October. This gave our army additional strength.

On 4 October, I delighted the people of Jabrayil and indeed all of Azerbaijan by sharing this good news – the city of Jabrayil has been liberated! If we go one year back, we will see the greatness of our victory again. When the war broke out, of course, our daily efforts were focused on reinforcing the victory and liberating all the occupied territories. In other words, there was no time to analyze the successes achieved, and this wasn’t necessary either. But while analyzing it more accurately and clearly today, a year after the war and after the liberation of Jabrayil, we can see that this victory was of immense importance. At the same time, it was here, in this area, that the enemy had built fortifications consisting of several lines of defense, and to break those fortifications required great heroism and self-sacrifice. Our soldiers and officers were literally facing death. We have returned to our native lands at the cost of the blood and lives of our martyrs. I would like to take this opportunity to once again commemorate our dear martyrs. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace.

The significance of the Jabrayil operation also consisted in the fact that after the liberation of Jabrayil, we were able to successfully move to other districts that were under occupation at the time. The liberation of Jabrayil was followed by the liberation of Zangilan, then Gubadli and the southern part of Lachin districts from the occupiers. Thus, we were able to take full control of the Lachin corridor. I have said this before but I want to say it again that there were for several days of fierce battles for the villages of Soltanli and Amirvarli, and this was one of the places where the Armenian army had put up stiff resistance and erected strong fortifications.

In other words, we needed a few days to liberate those strategically important villages, and after that the liberation of Zangilan was inevitable. I can say that the city of Zangilan was hardly even defended by the Armenian army. They were already in so much fear that they were dropping their guns and fleeing. At the same time, the Fuzuli and Jabrayil operations opened the way towards Hadrut. On 9 October, the settlement of Hadrut was liberated and our road to Shusha was opened. The Jabrayil operation was extremely important. In fact, I can say that it was crucial because it was in this direction that we were able to break through the enemy's line of defense.

The liberation of Jabrayil began five years ago. As a result of the April fighting, we created opportunities for the return of our people to the village of Jojuq Marjanli. After the liberation of strategic heights from the occupiers, it was possible for Jojug Marjanli to return to life, and this was our important victory. This was our first great victory after a long break and ceasefire. It is true that the Armenians attempted to downplay this victory at the time. They even stated that these areas were not of great importance and that it was actually the Armenian side that had won. I was saying at the time that we were there, that we were right in their trenches, so how could Armenia have won here? At that time, we liberated a large area – of course, a large area for that time – several thousand hectares, and took control of about 9,000-10,000 hectares. We took very important strategic heights not only in this direction, but also in the direction of Aghdara, and these heights proved highly important in the second Karabakh war. At that time, we rightly celebrated the victory in the April battles as a glorious victory of our Army, and that was the beginning of our return. The return to Jojug Marjanli was the beginning of the Great Return. I remember telling the chairman of the State Committee for Refugees, Ali Hasanov, that I had an idea of returning the residents of Jojug Marjanli to their village. At that time, one family lived there – Ogtay Haziyev's family. I told him to find out if people wanted to go there. It has been a long time, some people had a job in Bilasuvar, others in Baku, there are many jobs now, so ask them whether they want to return or not. After a while, Ali Hasanov told me that almost all of them wanted to return. This made me very happy. Because there were different opinions at the time that even if the lands were liberated, the IDPs may not want to go back. Many of them have not even seen those places. They have children and grandchildren now. But those words showed again how great our people are.

I immediately issued an order and the State Committee for Refugees built a large settlement in a short time. And I came to the opening of that settlement in 2017. At that time, a settlement of 150 houses was built in stages. A school and a medical center were built. A mosque similar to the Shusha mosque was built there and employment opportunities were created. When I was in Jojuq Marjanli, I said that we had built a mosque similar to the Shusha mosque, the Govharaga Mosque, which is quite symbolic. After the liberation of Shusha, we will restore all our mosques destroyed by the Armenians. Four years later, or three years later, to be more exact, these words were materialized.

So our Great Return began with Jabrayil and our first major success in the second Karabakh war is associated with the city of Jabrayil, with Jabrayil district. This is an event that will forever remain in the history of our country. Because our victory in the second Karabakh war is a historic victory. Such a victory has never happened in the centuries-old history of our people. All our people rallied around this Victory, stood behind our Army, and our Army fulfilled the orders of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief with dignity. I want to say once again that by showing heroism and selflessness, by shedding blood and giving martyrs, we have restored historical justice, expelled the enemy from our land and taught the enemy the necessary lessons. The enemy fell to its knees before us, waved the white flag, and from now on the people of Azerbaijan will forever live as a victorious people.

We have restored international law, historical justice and human justice. Because this destruction was not caused by humans. One can’t call them humans. The perpetrators had to hate the Azerbaijani people so much that they resorted to such ugly deeds, the Azerbaijani people that embraced the Armenian people earlier, the Azerbaijani people that once gave a place to the Armenians deported from Iran by Tsarist Russia. It is true that there were no Armenians in Jabrayil district. There wasn’t even one percent of Armenians here. I looked at a note today and saw that only 10 Armenians lived in Jabrayil before the occupation. But the Azerbaijani people gave them a place in other parts of Karabakh. I think that such ingratitude, such cruelty and such savagery towards someone who gave you bread is barbarism and vandalism unprecedented in the history of the world. Armenia's supporters must see this. Although they do not want to, they must and they will see this. The whole world can see this. We have already started publishing books. We have started to hold presentations. We will be able to provide the whole world with complete information about Armenian atrocities. This process has started. The whole world must see that not only did we defend ourselves, we have also restored our territory and broken the back of Armenian fascism. Armenian fascism spread its arms in this region and relied on the support of foreign patrons to occupy our territory for 30 years.

We are rightly proud and will always be proud of our servicemen. They are the real heroes. We are proud of all our people. Because the solidarity and unity shown during these 44 days showcased the Azerbaijani people in the whole world as a very dignified and great nation. The fist, a symbol of our victory, is not only a symbol of strength, it is also a symbol of our unity. We joined our forces and achieved what we wanted by restoring historical justice. Notice what statements Armenia is making now. There are no traces left of the myths they had been inventing for 30 years. Where is their “victorious” army? Where is the “invincible” Armenian soldier? Those engaged in ugly propaganda against us for 30 years and trying to humiliate the dignity of the Azerbaijani people have already taken their share, have learned their lesson. No-one in the world is saying a word about “victorious Armenian soldiers”. After all, what kind of bravery and heroism can we talk about in an army of 10,000 deserters? Nobody talks about the “invincible Armenian army” any more. There is no Armenian army. We have crushed it. We have destroyed it from the bottom up. We have destroyed all the equipment they had been collecting for 30 years. Part of it is displayed in the Military Trophy Park. We have destroyed their troops. The Azerbaijani people did it and showed their superiority.

So an end has been put to this mythology. All other Armenian claims against us must be stopped gradually. I have said this before, and when I say something, I say it for a reason. I have done everything I have said so far. Therefore, a proper analysis of the real situation in Armenian society must be continued. They must give up their myths. They must give up the dream of a Great Armenia. They must give up the mythical Armenian fantasy from sea to sea. They must and will give up their territorial claims against Azerbaijan and Turkey. There is no other way. We will force them to do that.

If someone thinks that the war is over and everything will go back to the previous state of things, they are wrong, so to speak. The war is over, we have won and created a new reality, so everyone must and will reckon with this reality. When I say that we will not allow any provocation against us in Armenia, I mean exactly that. It is our legitimate right. If we see a threat, if we see a small manifestation of danger, we will take the necessary steps, and no-one can stop us, no-one can stand in front of us. During the Second Karabakh War, the supporters of Armenia tried to obstruct our cause in various ways – some by making statements, others by providing them with tangible assistance. But it did not help, and it will not happen again.

Therefore, the end of the second Karabakh war does not mean that the region will return to its previous state. It will never be the same. Everyone should know this. I know that some people are worried about this. Some believe that they are out of the process now. It is up to them. In any case, we have provided a platform for cooperation to all neighboring countries. Azerbaijan was the first country to support the cooperation platform proposed by the President of Turkey. If this does not satisfy anyone, we do not need that platform either.

At present, a framework of real cooperation in the region is being defined. The Turkish-Russian cooperation is a guarantor of stability in our region. Armenian-Azerbaijani relations were discussed during the recent meeting of the Presidents of Turkey and Russia, and we are in constant touch with both Turkey and Russia. As President, I am always in touch. Turkey and Russia have a great role to play in establishing stability in the region today. In other words, this format is sufficient for us. Armenia will also join this format. Because there is no other option. That is the reality now. We also support the recent statements on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. We have openly stated that we support that. We believe that this is necessary for the region. In other words, it is necessary to eliminate any risk of war. This format is sufficient for us – Turkey-Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia. Anyone interested in joining in may join, those who aren’t are in a better position to judge. In any case, no initiative can be realized in this region without the consent of Azerbaijan. Everyone should know this.

We are showing good intentions. But this does not mean that we will accept baseless accusations against ourselves. I am saying this to the Azerbaijani people and the whole world here in Jabrayil, on the banks of the Araz River, that all baseless accusations against us will not remain unanswered. We brush off and deny these allegations, and demand evidence. Some Iranian provincial mullah recently opened his mouth and fabricated slander against Azerbaijan. When I was informed, I said not to pay attention. We can’t pay attention to the words of some provincial mullah. Who is he after all? Just don't pay attention to that. Then, unfortunately, some government officials started making unfounded accusations against us – Azerbaijan has allegedly brought Israel to these regions. Let them open their eyes wide and look. Where did they see Israel here? Not a single person lives here. There is no building here. Is there evidence? No. If there is no evidence, everyone should be held accountable for what they say. We cannot allow anyone to fabricate baseless slander against us.

Azerbaijan is a country pursuing an independent policy. Everyone knows this, and this is not the first year we have pursued an independent policy. We build relations with our neighbors and all other countries through an independent policy. No-one can interfere in our internal affairs. It is our own business to establish relations with any country. After all, we do not sue countries that have close and friendly relations with Armenia. See how many patrons Armenia has – the second Karabakh war showed it. See how many countries support Armenia today. So should we be enemies with these countries? No. We acknowledge the sovereign rights of these countries. It is their sovereign business. True, deep inside we may be worried about this, this may hurt us, especially when neighboring countries are particularly active in relations with Armenia. But we never say that. We respect the sovereign rights of each country and demand that everyone respect our sovereign rights too and not interfere in our internal affairs. Such attempts have been made before and all of them have failed. I want to say again that the accusations against us must be proved officially. Let them come and see if there is a single foreign citizen in this region.

We have cleared 130 kilometers of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border from occupiers. A total of 130 kilometers was under Armenian occupation. They should investigate what processes were going on here at that time. We are now investigating what the relationship was. Instead, they are accusing Azerbaijan of bringing in some country to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is allegedly governed not by the Azerbaijani people, not by the Azerbaijani state, but by some external force. This is disrespectful. We can never accept that. Everyone should know this. Azerbaijan will continue to plan its foreign relations and domestic affairs the way it considers expedient. Let no-one interfere in our affairs.

As for the future development of the region, we are ready for cooperation. The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers met recently. A bilateral meeting was held between them during a session of the UN General Assembly. Our Foreign Minister reported to me and said that the meeting was constructive. We also support it. At the same time, the Azerbaijani public probably knows that I recently said I was ready to meet with the Armenian Prime Minister. He also said that he was ready. So what does this show? This shows that our agenda is adopted here. Some are probably concerned about that. But the main thing is to make peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, to sign a peace agreement. We want that. There should be a delimitation of borders. However, certain people have accused us of wanting to change the borders of the region. What is the basis of such accusations against us? For some reason, no such accusations were made against Armenia when our borders were violated for 30 years. Was that acceptable? We have not violated anyone's borders. We came to Lachin and Kalbajar districts bordering Armenia after 30 years. We came here after the snow melted, in May. If the snow had melted earlier, we would have come earlier. In other words, this border was in the hands of the Armenians for 30 years. If the border passes there, why didn’t they protect it? If we have violated the border, they should have come and taken us out. They should have come and attacked us. They have come to terms with that, they have accepted it. At a time when Armenia has come to terms with this, someone else comes and says that we have violated someone's border. We have not violated anyone's borders. There are maps, maps of 1920, maps of Tsarist Russia. Let them come and see where the border lies. We consider the territory where we are stationed the territory of Azerbaijan and we are right. The Armenian leadership has explicitly stated at the highest level that Azerbaijan is rightly located on a certain part of the Gorus-Gafan road. Because the maps of the Soviet era show that. We are in our own territory. Armenia says this now, but someone else says that we have violated someone's borders. This is ridiculous. Therefore, a new era is beginning in the region. We believe that this period should be channeled in a positive direction. In any case, this enmity between Armenia and Azerbaijan should not last forever. Despite all this destruction, barbarism and savagery, we must look to the future. The delimitation of the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the peace agreement, the recognition of each other's territorial integrity, and then the restoration of economic relations, the opening of transport communications – all these are on the agenda. There is political will on the Azerbaijani side. If there is will on the side of Armenia too, I think that the two countries can resolve these issues themselves without any mediators and there can be long-term peace in the region.

It is a very important day for the development of Jabrayil district today because we have already laid the foundation of several facilities today. Many socioeconomic issues will be resolved during the construction and operation of these facilities. First of all, security measures. Today I inaugurated a new military unit of the State Border Service. The most modern weapons and ammunition displayed there will allow us the opportunity to protect our borders firmly and at the required level. Today, important steps have been taken to facilitate economic activity. The foundation of the “Araz Valley Economic Zone” was laid. This is a large project covering 200 hectares. Initial funding has already been allocated. Initial investors have also been identified. Today, the Deputy Director General of KAMAZ and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan of Russia arrived in Azerbaijan and took part in the opening of the KAMAZ regional service center together with me. This is a very important event. The Russian company has already started investing in the region. As you know, Turkish companies have already started investing in a large agricultural project in Zangilan. Our two friendly and neighboring countries have this attitude towards Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan treats them equally. At the same time, the foundation of social facilities was laid. A hospital, a school – all these are the key prerequisites for the return of our people here.

We have done almost all the work on power supply of Jabrayil district. The Jabrayil substation was put into operation today. Rehabilitation of hydropower plants is under way in Lachin and Kalbajar districts. Several stations have already been put into operation, including the Sugovushan Hydroelectric Power Station in Tartar district. I have given the task that next year we will restore 10 of the stations destroyed by the Armenians as they fled Kalbajar and Lachin and the remaining 20 stations in the following years. So Jabrayil district already has electricity supply. This is the basis because nothing would be possible without it.

You have probably seen the road you used to come here. Notice how beautiful the road is. A 4-6 lane road is being built to Jabrayil. The Armenian leadership wanted to build a road to Jabrayil. But it was left unfinished, just like all their other dreams. We are building a road to Jabrayil. We have the right to do that. It will be one of the best roads. I have given a special task to make it wide, so that people citizens coming to Jabrayil can travel comfortably. The Zangazur corridor passing through it will also use this road. The foundation of the first residential building was also laid today. The construction of this building is already under way. As soon as this building is ready, first residents of Jabrayil will settle down there. Prior to that, there will be a hospital, a school and jobs. The program of gradual restoration of all villages of the district has also been approved. At the same time, the foundations of the Museum of Victory and Occupation will be laid today. I think the most important thing is that the master plan of the city of Jabrayil will be presented to you, the people of Jabrayil. We will look at this plan together. If you are happy, we will approve this plan. These are our plans. We ended the war with Victory. Now we have started a period of peace with victory and we will end it with victory too. So I greet you again from the bottom of my heart. I embrace and kiss all the people of Jabrayil. May Allah protect you. From now on, the people of Jabrayil will live in Jabrayil. Thank you.