Details added (first version posted on 11:40)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 12
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a delegation including co-chairs of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center – former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt Ismail Serageldin, and members of the center’s Board of Trustees – former Serbian President Boris Tadić, former Bulgarian leader Petar Stoyanov, former Albanian President Rexhep Meidani, former Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and former President of Moldova Petru Lucinschi Dec. 12.
President Aliyev thanked the guests for attending the ceremonies to commemorate the national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev.
“Mr. President, this is a great honor for us,” Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt Ismail Serageldin said. “This is manifestation of great respect for your father, great personality, a true national leader Heydar Aliyev.”
“We are together with you today when you and your people commemorate the death anniversary of national leader of the Azerbaijani people and the architect of modern Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev,” Former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said.
Vike-Freiberga paid tribute to the national leader, describing him as a leader with huge experience.
Former Bulgarian leader Petar Stoyanov recalled his meetings with national leader Heydar Aliyev that they had in Baku.
Former President of Moldova Petru Lucinschi said he had good memories of national leader Heydar Aliyev, adding that as a great personality he played an exceptional role in ensuring Azerbaijan’s independence.
Lucinschi also praised President Aliyev’s role in ensuring Azerbaijan’s development and prosperity.
“National leader Heydar Aliyev had always strived for independence of Azerbaijan,” President Ilham Aliyev said. “It was his tireless efforts that helped Azerbaijan achieve true independence. As a national leader he ensured our people’s transition from the Soviet system to independence.”
“During his tenure in the Soviet leadership, national leader Heydar Aliyev was one of the first persons to openly accuse the leadership of the Communist Party,” President Aliyev said. “And this happened before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was one of the persons to emphasize the necessity of Azerbaijan’s independence back in 1990.”
“When the Soviet army committed the Bloody January events in January of 1990, killing more than hundred innocent people in Baku, the national leader went to Azerbaijan’s representative office in Moscow,” he added. “I was with him. Many Azerbaijanis gathered there and they demonstrated great support for Heydar Aliyev.”
“Heydar Aliyev sharply accused the political leadership of the USSR of committing the Bloody January events and withdrew from the Communist Party,” Ilham Aliyev said. “At that time Heydar Aliyev was unemployed, he was on retirement, and the Soviet leadership waged a large propaganda campaign against him, they exerted pressure on him and even wanted to arrest.”
“Under such difficult circumstances he decided to come to Baku, where thousands of people gathered around him to show support,” he said. “Worried about this, the then leadership of Azerbaijan started to exert serious pressure on him. Heydar Aliyev came to the city of Nakhchivan where he was born.”
The president highlighted the activity of national leader Heydar Aliyev in Nakhchivan.
He said the people elected the national leader as chairman of the Supreme Soviet (Council) of Nakhchivan, adding that Heydar Aliyev raised the flag of the first democratic republic of Azerbaijan as the national flag back in 1999 and appealed to the parliament of Azerbaijan to adopt this flag as the flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
President Aliyev said Nakhchivan boycotted a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in 1991. The president said that Heydar Aliyev’s years in power in Azerbaijan saw the prevention of civil war, establishment of stability and peace and the beginning of new development stage in the country.
President Aliyev said the people of Azerbaijan always pay tribute to the national leader, who played an exceptional role in state building in Azerbaijan.
The sides discussed prospects for cooperation with the Nizami Ganjavi International Center.