2009 goes down the history. 2009 became for all countries a year of real test. In 2009, financial and economic crisis had negative impact possibly on all world countries. In 2009, the countries have demonstrated on what they are capable with their opportunities, their natural resources and conducted reforms, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in his congratulatory message addressed to the Azerbaijani people on the occasion of the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and New Year.
"In 2009, Azerbaijan, despite all difficulties, continued to develop successfully. In 2009, economic growth in our country has exceeded 9 percent. In crisis year, it is very good indicator. The crisis endured in all region and reforms carried out in region in various fields have shown economic and political potential of each country. The crisis year has very clearly and openly shown who on what is capable. Azerbaijan belongs to those countries that live at its own expense. We base on talent of our people, we base on our reforms and carried out changes, we base on will of the Azerbaijani people," President Ilham Aliyev said.
"In 2009, in Azerbaijan, in all directions were observed advancement and development. Economic growth, as I have told, has exceeded 9 percent, industrial production has increased almost for 9 percent. Inflation is in our country at level below 2 percent. That is, the basic indicators providing economic development are at the highest level. We have managed to achieve all this together with you, carrying out expedient policy. We have managed to achieve it, carrying out reforms. Not casually that the international financial structures highly appreciate the work carried out by Azerbaijan in the said direction - in the direction of carrying out of economic and political reforms. In 2008, the World Bank recognized Azerbaijan as a country-reformer number one. In 2009, the authoritative international organization - the World Economic Forum has placed Azerbaijan on 51st place in the world on competitiveness of economy. On the given parameters, Azerbaijan is the leading country on CIS space," Aliyev added.
According to the head of state, in 2009, all our plans, all the planned measures have been realized. Development of regions promptly continues. During the last 6 years in Azerbaijan we have opened more than 800 thousand new workplaces. All regions are reviving, and huge accomplishment and creation activities are underway. Our country is realizing the second program of socio-economic development of regions. It is very detailed program thanks to realization of which the basic economic and social problems the country faces should be solved till 2013. On the results of 2009, we see that the program is successfully carried out.
Aliyev said the huge improvement and reconstruction work is being done in Azerbaijan. Notwithstanding the crisis year, all infrastructure projects are being implemented. New roads are being built. New roads in Baku and highways connecting us with neighboring countries are being constructed. These roads meet the highest standards. Construction of electric power stations is underway successfully. By doing so, Azerbaijan totally ensured its energy security, and we will largely shift our attention to creation of renewable energy sources. The gas supply to regions of Azerbaijan is improving. The population is being supplied with pure drinking water. Hundreds of thousand citizens received drinking water as a result of urgent measures. This process in going on, and realization of huge infrastructure projects will allow us supplying population of Azerbaijan with fresh water, which is up to the standards of the World Health Organization.
"All social programs are being realized. It is no secret that some part of our economy is based on oil revenues but oil prices plummeted down in 2009. In spite of this, all social programs are being implemented in a timely fashion. The targeted social assistance program will be continued further. New schools, sport complexes, medical and cultural centers have been created everywhere. All social programs stipulated in the 2009 state budget have been realized.
Concrete steps were taken to improve living conditions and increase employment of our countrymen who suffered from the Armenia occupation. New settlements, beautiful houses, multi-storied buildings are being built. It suggests Azerbaijani economy is based on its own resources. We do not live on foreign aid as other states do. We pursue an independent, worthy policy, rely on our own resources, live on our own funds, strengthen and improve our country. We do everything possible to make our country stronger in the international arena," the leader said.
Much work was done in 2009 to develop agriculture. "Azerbaijan reaped three million tons of grain. It is a record figure. Azerbaijan has never produced so much grain in its history. The practical work is being done for production of other agricultural products; subsidies and credits are being set aside; refrigerator warehouses and granaries are being built; irrigation programs are being implemented. We have a deliberate program to further develop agriculture. It will ensure the agricultural growth. Today, we supply ourselves with major farm products. The production is going to rise in the future. Additional opportunities will be created in the future to meet our internal needs and increase export potential. Integrated measures help develop the field, which is very important for our country from both economic and social points of view," Aliyev said.
Aliyev noted that in Azerbaijan there are fine conditions for business development. Businessmen get state support - moral, political and economic. If there were not state credits in development of agriculture we would have serious problems. However, timely granting of credits and all carried out measures on business development, certainly, create fine conditions for businessmen. In coming years, the economy of Azerbaijan will depend more on enterprise activity. "All infrastructural projects are realized, power stations, roads are under construction, and I already spoke about it, this at the same time is the main condition also for business development. Equipped with modern conveniences, the cities of Azerbaijan become nicer and prettier. Business development is as earlier for us a priority question and necessary measures in this direction will be accepted also in the years ahead," the president said.
Azerbaijan has completely solved questions of power security. All planned oil and gas projects are realized. We have solved all planned questions, and have managed to diversify our export. Oil and gas of Azerbaijan are delivered on the world markets by various routes, and from next year the geography of export will become even wider.
In 2009, Azerbaijan has produced 50 million tons of oil and 25 billion cubic meters of gas. Next year these figures even more will increase, and, thus, our country will receive additional financial resources, and also our export possibilities will extend. The number of the countries day by day grows, wishing to cooperate with Azerbaijan in energy sphere.
"As to foreign policy, very significant steps have been undertaken in this field. In 2009, Azerbaijan has done very important work in the said direction. The meetings and negotiations I had with heads of the states and governments of the various countries have even more strengthened positions of Azerbaijan in the world. The number of the countries wishing to be on friendly terms with Azerbaijan is growing. The number of our strategic partners grows, and it is not a secret, that today Azerbaijan is the country having huge respect on a global scale. Our foreign policy aims at high-grade protection of the national interests of Azerbaijan. With all neighboring countries we have established relations based on mutual respect. Azerbaijan acts exclusively in the conditions of friendship and cooperation with all countries," the president stated.
"We very actively work over settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which is the basic problem of our foreign policy. I can tell that in 2009 very important steps have been undertaken for settlement of the problem. The world community and the parties, directly engaged in the question, show the will concerning the ways the problem is to be resolved by. It is very pleasant that the position, which Azerbaijan protects throughout many years, prevails. That is, the question should be solved on the basis of international law, in the frame of territorial integrity of the countries. We always adhered to these principles.
The president stressed that Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity has not and will never be a topic of discussion. The Nagorno-Karabakh will never be independent, it is not possible without Azerbaijan`s consent. And Azerbaijan will never agree to this. Armenians living in Karabakh and Azerbaijanis who will live there must live on the basis of autonomy, and we need the world`s best practice to be applied here. It is our principal position and we will never take a step back from it.
"We will try to use all means, including the political, economic and diplomatic ones, to find a soonest and just solution to this issue, based on international legal norms, so that Azerbaijani citizens can return to their homelands as soon as possible.
At the same time Azerbaijan is strengthening its military potential. It is our sovereign right and we exercise it. It is necessary to mention that Azerbaijan is strengthening its army using its own means. Surely, it is our domestic affair. Over last few years Azerbaijan`s Armed Forced have gone through a great and successful path. Today our military is capable of fulfilling any task set. We possess everything to liberate our lands from occupation. We have both the military effectiveness, patriotism, and our potential is being strengthened in terms of weapons and equipment. Four years ago we created defense industry in Azerbaijan, and we have already made considerable achievements in this sphere. Our military potential is increasing day by day, and this process will continue. We set large amounts of extra funds for 2010 to achieve these goals. We can use all our means to solve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Aliyev said.
"Dear fellow countrymen, dear friends! Today, at the same time, marks the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day. This day is marked by all our compatriots across the world. I wish the world Azerbaijanis successes, health and happiness. They should know, and they know, that the powerful Azerbaijani state stands by them. At the same time, their successes, their successful activities in countries they live in contribute to strengthening our Motherland - Azerbaijan. With great pleasure I note that there are strong Azerbaijani organizations in different countries, in almost all parts of the world. Azerbaijanis are involved in business, they hold different positions, including in governments, and are already elected to legislative bodies. It is very important. Such well-organized Azerbaijani communities strengthen Azerbaijan and, at the same time, contribute to improving their living standard in countries of their residence. This is a very positive factor.
There is a vast number of Azerbaijanis across the world, and our activity, our organized work strengthen us. Recently, when Azerbaijan faced unjust decisions, Azerbaijan`s diaspora members demonstrated their strength, they launched numerous protest actions, they made their voices of protest heard in a civilized manner. And it is the power of Azerbaijan, it is the triumph of the philosophy of Azerbaijanism.
On this dearest day, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all Azerbaijanis across the world. Each of them is dear to us. They are aware that they can always rely on their Motherland," President Ilham Aliyev said.