Baku, Azerbaijan, May 5
Azerbaijan has made significant achievements in social, economic, political life, said the country's president, Ilham Aliyev, at the opening of the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku.
"Azerbaijan is a relatively young independent country, though a country with great history, traditions and culture," he said. "But as an independent country we're only 25 years old. Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of restoration of our independence."
The president went on to say that this year clearly demonstrates that when the fate of your country is in your hands, you can achieve great success.
"Azerbaijan, for centuries, has been a part of different countries, empires. And 25 years of independence, clearly demonstrate that only being free, we can achieve success. Never in the history of our nation, Azerbaijan was as strong as it is today," President Aliyev said.
He went on to say that today Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing, dynamic, modern country, which is very close to its roots, traditional roots.
At the same time, Azerbaijan is open to the world, he added.
"The biggest problem we're facing is the Armenian occupation. Unfortunately, our restoration of independence was accompanied by Armenian aggression, which resulted in occupation of our internationally recognized territory - Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other districts," he said.
"As a result of this occupation more than a million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons. Our people were subject to ethnic cleansing, and today on the occupied territories, all our historical monuments, buildings are demolished by Armenia. Our mosques are destroyed," he said.
"Here in Baku we renovated the Armenian church, but Armenia in the occupied territories demolished all our historical and religious heritage. The pictures of it can be seen online," Ilham Aliyev said.
He went on to say that the OSCE twice sent the fact-finding missions to the occupied territories and their report clearly reflected the devastation of the occupied lands of Azerbaijan.
"The UN Security Council, the highest international body, adopted four resolutions, which demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied territories. For more than 20 years these resolutions are not implemented," the president said.
"Armenia ignores them and brutally violates international law and decisions of the Security Council, and there is no mechanism to force the aggressor to comply with the resolutions," the head of state said.
"This is a very important issue, which is of big concern to our people, that sometimes the decisions of the Security Council are implemented within days if not hours, but in our case, its more than 20 years. This is a demonstration of double standards, first of all, and this is also a demonstration of, to certain degree, inefficiency of mechanism of implementation of the resolutions," President Aliyev said.