President of Azerbaijan
Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva Tuesday attended a solemn ceremony at the Buta Palace to mark the 88th birthday anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev and 7th anniversary of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijani President's official website reported.
Azerbaijan's First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.
"This year, as every year on May 10, I sincerely welcome you at the traditional ceremony organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I say "Welcome to Azerbaijan!" to all guests, who arrived in our country to participate in the ceremony. I would like to voice deep appreciation for being with us in this evening," Mrs. Aliyeva said.
Mrs. Aliyeva said Azerbaijan is celebrating in 2011 the 20th anniversary of the restoration of state independence. "Azerbaijan, possessing an ancient history and rich culture, exists in the world map as an independent country only for 20 years. Twenty years is a short period from the standpoint of the history. But, Azerbaijan has made great achievements during the 20 years. Today, Azerbaijan is a country demonstrating a record pace of development in various fields. Azerbaijan is a leader in the region, it established partnerships with the leading states and enjoys the reputation in the international arena. Today, Azerbaijan is a powerful state, which is able to set and achieve any goal, and looks forward to the future with hope," she said.
"If we turn to our recent past, then it should be noted that the way that brought us to present was not easy and smooth at all. We have faced enough problems, difficulties and sufferings on this way. Looking at every year left behind, we see indelible traces of genius, great man Heydar Aliyev on every page of our modern history. Regardless of whether he is with us or not, Heydar Aliyev has great merits in each project implemented during these 20 years and each of our achievements. Let's recall the first years of our independence, when a tough crisis prevailed in our country due to various reasons. But, I do not want to list them this evening. In brief, we seemed to have been deprived of light. A ray of hope was extinguished in our hearts, as the lights went out in our cities. Heydar Aliyev returned us a hope and light. He saved the country from major disasters and began to write the first pages of our new, modern history relying on the Azerbaijani people. In 1993, not all believed that one day Heydar Aliyev's all dreams, plans and ideas will come true. Despite all the difficulties, Aliyev successfully implemented Azerbaijan's oil strategy and thereby laid the foundation for our future victories and achievements," Mehriban Aliyeva said.
She said today the way of great man Heydar Aliyev has become a symbol of service to the people and Motherland for each of us. "Repeating one of his favorite sayings "I am proud of that I am Azerbaijani" we bow our heads before his unforgettable memory," Mrs.Aliyeva stressed.
"Dear friends, the Foundation named after Heydar Aliyev has been functioning for 7 years. The Foundation implemented a number of large-scale projects over the last year . As always, we sought to cover different areas - science, education, health, culture and social issues. This evening we will hear the detailed information and a film about the activities of the Foundation will be shown. I just want to say that our greatest achievement, the biggest success over these 7 years was winning of the confidence and respect of the Azerbaijani people. Taking the advantage of this tribune, I would like again to assure everyone that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will further be ready to continue to work for the present and the future of Azerbaijan. I am deeply grateful to everyone, every organization - both public and non-governmental agencies supporting and assisting us along the way, and international organizations that established relations and cooperation with us," Mrs. Aliyeva said.
"Dear friends, I hope that this fine evening organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will leave none of you indifferent. I express my deep appreciation to all who made efforts in organizing this evening, especially a team of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I wish you success, happiness and love. God bless Azerbaijan! Thank you very much!" she said.