Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of the Imishli Olympic Sports Center, Azerbaijani president's official website reported. Following the opening ceremony, President Aliyev met with representatives of the region's public.
The public warmly greeted President Aliyev.
Addressing to the public, Aliyev congratulated the residents with the opening of the Imishli Olympic Sports Center. "I am confident that this excellent sports facility will well serve the athletes of Imishli. All conditions have been created here in order to engage in sports. I can say this is one of the most beautiful complexes among those that were opened in the country. The complex has large gyms, open spaces, closed sports halls, swimming pool and small hotel, as well as a very nice appearance. I am very glad that a wonderful Olympic sports complex was built in Imishli. I would like to reiterate that this complex is one of those that stand out for its beauty and functionality. This is the 31st sports complex in Azerbaijan. Some 31 Olympic Sports Complexes were built in the country in short period of time and the process is underway. New facilities are under construction in the country's nine regions," he said.
Thus, President Aliyev said, Azerbaijan makes bold steps to develop sport and the Olympic movement. "Our athletes, in turn, rejoice us with their victories. They adequately represent Azerbaijan at the international competitions, world championships, European and Olympic Games. Holding international competitions in Azerbaijan has become a fine tradition. These international competitions are held not only in Baku, but in the regions," Aliyev said.
The president said if the initiatives voiced at the time were not implemented, there would be no conditions for holding such events. "Today, all conditions have been created for the organization of local athletes' training and conduct of national and international competitions. It is planned to create a beautiful, modern sports facilities in each region," President Aliyev said.
"Our athletes make us happy. We have the Olympic champions, world and European champions. Moreover, we pursue a policy of ensuring mass sport. Children, adolescents and young people will train to improve their professional skills in such complexes and be physically healthy. We need physically and mentally healthy new generation. I am very pleased that the inflow to sports clubs increases and children, youth and teens come in sections for sports, exercise, and enhance physical health. At the same time, we see the result of involving children, adolescents and youth in sports in the successes at the international competitions. Particularly, we are infinitely pleased with the achievement of the Azerbaijani youth at the first Youth Olympic Games. The Youth Olympic Games were conducted at the international level for the first time. The Azerbaijani national team took the 11th place in the globally in these competitions. This is a great victory. It also indicates that Azerbaijan, in the truest sense of the word, is a sports power. It also suggests that the sports process is organized very properly here, youth, teens and children engaged in sports and adequately represent our country at international arenas," Aliyev said.
President Aliyev said measures should be taken so that Azerbaijani youth had been physically healthy, mentally strong, and loyal to the state and statehood and brought up in a spirit of patriotism. Azerbaijan pursues a very strong youth policy. "The national program for the Azerbaijani youth will be adopted in the near future. This program will reflect all the issues related to youth. The document will reflect solutions to specific questions relating to employment, healthy lifestyles of young people, creating jobs and sports. There will be taken additional measures to ensure activities of young scientists. A Youth Fund will be established. Youth centers will be built in Baku and regions. All this is reflected in our programs and we should ensure that sport further rapidly developed in Azerbaijan. At the same time, youth policy is and will be held at a high level in Azerbaijan," he added.
He expressed satisfaction with that Azerbaijan could show itself in the international sports world as a sports power. "When we see that our athletes become champions, raise our flag and our anthem sounds, each Azerbaijani citizen rightfully prides. This shows the strength of our country. Our country, as an independent country, is still young. But, the country is developing dynamically. Specific programs and projects are implemented in all areas in the country. The second part of the State program on regional development is being realized. This program covers all regions. A plan of special events was created for each region and these plans are implemented. The program of Socio- Economic Development Imishli Region is also underway. Work is underway in all directions and social infrastructures are being constructed. A wonderful Olympic center and schools are constructed and repaired. The regional hospital's overall repair has been launched. The hospital will be equipped with modern equipment. A large program of gasification will be implemented. The Imishli region's all villages will be gasified by late 2012. Such a goal was set and I am sure that it will be executed. Appropriate instructions have been given on matters of land reclamation, drinking water, laying of sewer lines and they will soon be implemented," he stressed.
Other initiatives of social orientation will also be put forward, he said.
A specific and very precise program is implemented to create jobs.
"Today I attended the opening of several enterprises in the Imishli region. I attended laying a foundation stone of a new enterprise. One can say that construction of a large sugar plant here a few years ago was one of the major investments in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector. Great amount of money was invested and a state-of-the-arts plant was built. At present, new plants are being built around this plant.
New initiatives related to modern processing industry are launched and realized in Imishli. Thousands of jobs are opened at these plants. As a result of measures to be adopted in the future, these plants will be expanded, their job functions will increase, and thus, we will increase local production, reduce our dependence on imports and open new jobs. That is the process in Azerbaijan is underway. More than 900,000 new jobs, majority of which are constant, have been opened over the last 7 years in the country. We know all the problems associated with unemployment, we are addressing and will address them," Aliyev said.
Reducing poverty, creating new jobs, strengthening the industrial potential, developing non-oil sector, implementing regional development programs - all these are key directions for us, and concrete results are observed in each of these spheres, he said. "Opening this beautiful and grand Olympic Sports Center shows Azerbaijan's power. Developing the economy, we could solve social programs. Addressing social problems and improving life conditions of low-income population are always in the spotlight. As you know, the population's debts for gas and water have been written off. Why? In order to remove the burden of this debt from the shoulders of those who are unable to pay. Other social programs are also implemented - a program of targeted social assistance. At present, concrete proposals to increase pensions and minimum wages have been made. In the near future we will see results of these initiatives," he said.
Aliyev said Azerbaijan pursues a strong economic and social policy. "Today our country lives and develops thanks to its own resources. Such development is unique throughout the world. Our economy has grown by 3 times over the past seven years. This figure has not been observed worldwide. Our development is dynamic, steady and comprehensive. Nevertheless, the country still has problems, and they are being solved. We will continue our policy in all directions. Additional measures are planned to develop the country and regions. We must take measures so that to provide every citizen living in Azerbaijan with a job, and salary meeting his/her demand. Perfect conditions are created for those who are engaged in business.
Otherwise, the private sector would not be developed. Specific measures are taken to develop private sector. Today, I got acquainted with activity of agricultural service base. By establishing the state company Agroleasing a few years ago, one can say we could greatly improve agricultural machinery provision. Now there is no deficit. So, we should actively work on each sphere and pursue a purposeful policy. The whole society should unite around this idea further to strengthen our independence and the economy, and ensure a good life for people. This is our policy. This policy will be further pursued," Aliyev said.
Aliyev expressed confidence that the sports center which opened today would well serve to the Imishli residents. "I believe that this complex should be used not only by athletes, but also residents of the region. There are all conditions for sport. I always advise every citizen to do sports and pay attention to their health. Physical health is very important for each person. Once again, I sincerely congratulate you on this wonderful event. I wish all Imishli residents good health and happiness. Thank you," President Ilham Aliyev said.