President Ilham Aliyev: Successful, dynamic development of Azerbaijan ensured in 2012
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 1 / Trend /
President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and the New Year. The congratulatory message reads:
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
2013 year is beginning in a few minutes. 2012 has been a very successful year for our country. Successful, dynamic development of our country has been ensured in 2012. All tasks facing the country have been fulfilled.
Azerbaijan`s economy successfully developed in 2012 and development manifests itself again in the economy. What makes us delighted the most is that the non-oil economy grew by 10 per cent, and it shows that our reforms-related policy is very successful and very effective.
Our economy is diversified. I am sure that additional opportunities will be created in future years for sustainable economic development of our country. All economic indicators are high. The poverty level dropped to 6 per cent. Jobless rate is 5.2 per cent. This year saw over 100 thousand jobs opened with a total of 1.1 million jobs created during the past nine years. New jobs directly helped reduce unemployment.
International rating agencies upgraded our country`s credit ratings in 2012. It is a very good and momentous event for the year of crisis. Azerbaijan`s economy is the 46th for the competitiveness index in the world. I am confident that our positions will be higher in the years to come.
Economic reforms, deliberate policy enable us to achieve great accomplishments in the social sector too. 2012 saw the rise in salaries, pensions. Targeted social assistance covers tens of thousands families. Returning of soviet savings began in 2012. I am sure that this process will end next year. Azerbaijan`s policy in this direction is worth accolades in the CIS area because we will manage to pay back these deposits within short time and with highest coefficient. All these issues show that the deliberate policy is generating concrete results in both economic and social spheres.
Much work has been done to solve problems of internally displaced persons in 2012 with 20 thousand IDPs provided with new flats and houses. Housing conditions of over 20 thousand IDPs will be improved next year, and thus, we will provide perfect conditions for our compatriots as a result of implementation of the state program. Of course, after liberation of our lands from occupation, we will build new buildings, districts and towns in the occupied lands and provide good conditions for our citizens. I am sure that Azerbaijan will recover its territorial integrity.
Our economic and military power is building up. Our international positions are being strengthened.
Very serious political events took place to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2012. First of all, I want to highlight the heads of Minsk Group co-chair states` statement, which underlined that the status quo is unacceptable. It shows that no one including mediators dealing with this issue, countries assuming functions refuse to put up with the occupation. Changing status quo means the end of occupation.
The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement that Azerbaijan acceded to adopted a very comprehensive and fair resolution in 2012, which says the conflict must be solved on the basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan only.
At the same time, the resolution adopted at the NATO summit in 2012 highlighted the issue of resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on the basis of territorial integrity. The countries, which are the members of the Non-Aligned Movement and NATO, constitute the vast majority of the world community and the stance of these countries is unambiguous: territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored. There is no other solution to the conflict.
I want to reiterate that Azerbaijan will never allow creation of another so-called Armenian state in its native lands. The present Armenia was established on the historical Azerbaijani territories. We know this history very well. Irevan khanate, Zangazur, Goycha mahals are our historical lands. The creation of the second Armenian state in the Azerbaijani lands will never happen. Azerbaijan will never allow this. Nagorno-Karabakh will never get independence.
Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity and Azerbaijani flag will be raised in all currently occupied towns, including Shusha, Khankendi.
I think mediators must give more concrete proposals to solve the conflict in 2013 and aggressor must be forced to leave occupied lands as soon as possible.
It is not a secret to anybody that we are seriously working on the military build-up. The Azerbaijani army is the strongest force in the South Caucasus. All necessary measures are being put in place to beef up the army. Large amounts of military equipment, ammunition, aircrafts, helicopters, artillery, air-defense systems were acquired and, at the same time, production of over 40 military products was organized domestically.
We will strengthen our army even more in 2013. Our military spending is 50 percent more than the overall Armenia`s budget. This purposeful and comprehensive policy will be continued from now on so that the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh could be solved and Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity could be recovered.
As to the energy security issues, a landmark event took place in 2012 - TANAP project was signed. The TANAP project will allow us to ship huge amounts of gas to world markets. The TANAP project, in my judgment, is the greatest step among energy security-related issues in recent years in not only our country but also the region, the European continent. Azerbaijan was an initiator of the TANAP project. I am sure that Azerbaijan will execute the TANAP project with its partners in a timely manner and, thus, the European energy map will dramatically change.
At the same time, the other important Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project was successfully implemented in 2012. I am sure that we will celebrate the opening of the railway next year.
Great work has been done in the humanitarian sphere in 2012. Baku has grown into the somewhat of a global center for organizing and expanding the intercivilizational dialogue.
The successfully held the second International Humanitarian Forum, its results, successes achieved in this area, presents our country to the world, and at the same time, I am sure that our experience is studied in other countries, because all peoples, all representatives of religions in Azerbaijan live and will live as a family in a friendly atmosphere. National and religious tolerance is the great wealth of Azerbaijan.
Great accomplishments were achieved in sports in 2012. Azerbaijan gained a historical victory in the London Summer Olympic Games. We won ten medals including two gold, two silver and six bronze medals. We have gained ten medals for the first time in the history. Thus, Azerbaijan ranked 30th on a world scale, 15th in Europe and 3rd in the Muslim world in the Olympic medal count.
A good news reached us in the end of the year. The European Olympic Committee`s General Assembly made a historic decision in December to hold the first 2015 European Olympic Games in Baku. It is our great victory too. These games will remain as the first games in the history. It is the great honor and great responsibility for us to host the first European Olympic Games in Azerbaijan, Baku, and, at the same time, it is the European Olympic family`s high assessment to the work done in Azerbaijan. Given we skillfully hosted this year the Europe`s and the world`s first song contest - Eurovision contest - I am sure that European Olympic Games will be perfectly conducted too. In all spheres I mentioned, 2012 remains as the successful year in history and these accomplishments achieved allows us to look into 2013 with great optimism. I am sure that all tasks facing our country next year will be successfully implemented.
Today, we also celebrate the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day. Availing myself of the opportunity, I cordially salute and congratulate all world Azerbaijanis. I want to let them know that they can be proud that the independent state Azerbaijan exists in the world. This is the Azerbaijani state that is today a member of the world`s number one international organization - the UN Security Council. This is the state that managed to continue its economic expansion even in crisis years, lay the solid economic foundation based on internal resources, and looks into the future with great hopes and optimism.
I once more wholeheartedly congratulate all world Azerbaijanis on this wonderful holidays, both the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and the New Year, and wish every Azerbaijani family good health, happiness.
Happy Holiday! '