President Ilham Aliyev: 2013 was a very successful year for Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 1
By - Trend:
President Ilham Aliyev congratulated Azerbaijani people on the occasion of the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and the New Year.
"Dear ladies and gentlemen! Dear compatriots! Dynamic development of our country has been ensured in 2013. All tasks facing the country have been fulfilled and our country`s comprehensive development was continued.
2013 has been a very successful year for our country. All Azerbaijani citizens are happy with development of our country on all fronts. Our international positions have been strengthened. Azerbaijan`s international relations both in bilateral and multilateral formats have been developed and strengthened.
We have pursued an active policy in all international organizations we are member of and gained great international support.
This year Azerbaijan`s activity in the UN Security Council is drawing to an end. During the past two years, Azerbaijan has actively participated in the UN Security Council, world`s number one organization. Azerbaijan defended international law, and justice.
Unfortunately, norms of international law are violated in the world. What testifies once more is that the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. Regrettably, our lands have been kept under occupation for years. Decisions and resolutions of international organizations are not being fulfilled.
The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions, which demand unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupational forces from our lands. But Armenia disregards it. The OSCE, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation adopted decisions and resolutions on this problem too. Unfortunately, they have not been executed.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be solved on the basis of the territorial integrity of our country. Other options are ruled out. Azerbaijan will never allow the establishment of the second fictitious Armenian state on its territory. I am sure that territorial integrity of our country will be restored and the citizens of Azerbaijan will be living in the occupied lands. And in the future, Azerbaijanis will return to their historical lands, I have no doubt about that.
We must be more powerful and have a stronger army and ensure the economic development in order to achieve this goal. We have great achievements in the army build-up. The Azerbaijani army is right up there with the world`s strong armies. We still have to do more in this regard, reforms must be continued.
I must say that military potential of our country is sufficiently strong. We continue to purchase modern weaponry, ammunition and hardware. Azerbaijan produces necessary military goods. Military potential, combat capabilities of our army are increasing and it makes us happy because every powerful country should have a powerful army. We will further continue our active policy in this direction.
As for the economic policy, there is no country in the world, whose development in this area is equal to that of Azerbaijan. All international financial institutions and statistical data confirm it. Our economy has grown 3,4-fold in the last decade and it is the biggest indicator in the world. Some 1.2 million jobs have been created.
The country has achieved great successes in poverty reduction. The poverty level is slightly above 5 percent in the country. Fight against unemployment yielded good results. Level of unemployment in Azerbaijan is below 5 percent.
The leading international rating agencies upgraded credit ratings of Azerbaijan even in the crisis years. The Davos Economic Forum, the number-one economic forum in the world, placed Azerbaijan 39th in terms of its competitiveness. This is a huge achievement, good result, which testifies that our country is successfully developing. Our economy is diversified and does not depend on the oil factor only. Economic reforms conducted in recent years, economic policy helped to diversify the economy of the country.
I am sure that even more impressive economic success will be achieved in the upcoming years. Our programs associated with the economic policy are being steadily realized.
The strong economy, of course, helps to solve social issues too. Azerbaijan pursues a consistent policy in this field. I reiterated and want to repeat it once again that a citizen of Azerbaijan is in the center of our policy. Therefore, the strong social policy is our major direction. 2013 saw the increase in salaries, pensions and full repayment of Soviet era deposits in compensation to the population. Other social programs are being successfully implemented as well.
I am sure that our social policy will continue in the subsequent years. Our powerful economic potential gives ground for that. No country can consider itself absolutely free and independent without economic independence. I believe that gaining economic independence is our biggest achievement.
At the same time, political reforms will be continued in our country. Positive steps to build a democratic society are being undertaken with the rule of law and all freedoms ensured. Azerbaijan is growing into one of the leaders in implementation of political reforms.
The measures to fight against corruption and bribery, which make the society concerned most, were undertaken in 2013 on a wider scale. We have achieved jaw-dropping successes.
Combating corruption and bribery is one of the major directions of our policy. Punishment and administrative measures are helpful but reforms of the systematic nature also opened the way to achieve a significant progress in this field. I want to mention the activity of the "ASAN xidmet" (Easy service) created in the beginning of the year. This service, which earned the society`s acclaim within short span of time, also proved its worth today as the Azerbaijani brand all over the world. Over half a million people have applied to this service during the year. The number of "ASAN xidmet" services will expand in the future, and along with that, the number of electronic services will increase too.
Azerbaijan has also established itself this year as the world`s humanitarian center. The 3rd International Humanitarian Forum, the 2nd Forum on Intercultural Dialogue were held this year in the country. These two events drew the world community`s attention.
Azerbaijan already shows itself as the center for conducting interreligious and international dialogue. Religious and national tolerance in our country, co-existence of all peoples as one family is our great success, big wealth and advantage. I can say that the experience of our country in this field is being studied and welcomed in the world.
Of course, the oil and gas sector is also of great importance for future development of our country. Several important issues have been solved in 2013. Selection of the Trans-Adriatic pipeline project is among them. The TAP project was approved as a major gas export route. An agreement was achieved in 2012 on building the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline and great amount of work has been done in this direction in 2013.
"Shahdeniz-2" project was launched on December 17. This is a historical project, historical event. This project is the project of the 21st century. It is the greatest infrastructure and energy project in Europe. TANAP, TAP, "Shahdeniz-2" projects are the historical achievements of Azerbaijan. I once again sincerely congratulate the Azerbaijani people on this great victory. This is the project of exceptional importance for successful future of our people and sustainable development of our country.
The presidential elections were held in 2013 in Azerbaijan. The elections took place in a free and fair manner, and the foreign observers highly praised them. The main point is that the elections were lauded by the Azerbaijani people. The will of the people of Azerbaijan was completely reflected in the elections. I express gratitude to my native people for their great attention and support to me. I once again want to assure the Azerbaijani people that I will further do my best for successful development and future of our country.
In 2013 Azerbaijan has become a spacefaring nation. Azerbaijan's launching its satellite - "Azerspace-1" into orbit earlier this year is a historical achievement. This shows that our country makes great accomplishments. Development of the space industry once again confirms general, intellectual and economic potential of our country.
Dear sisters and brothers, today at the same time is the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day. I am sure that all Azerbaijanis living across the world are proud of existence of the powerful Azerbaijani state, which works for its citizens, takes care of them. Azerbaijan, which is a modern, dynamic, democratic state, is the Motherland of all Azerbaijanis.
I once again sincerely congratulate the Azerbaijani people on the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and the New Year. I wish happiness, prosperity and peace to every Azerbaijani family.