President Ilham Aliyev visits military unit of Special Forces of Defense Ministry (PHOTO)

President Ilham Aliyev visits military unit of Special Forces of Defense Ministry (PHOTO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 2

Trend:

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev has visited a military unit of the Special Forces of the Defense Ministry.

Minister of Defense, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, First Deputy Minister of Defense, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Colonel General Najmaddin Sadikov and Commander of the Special Forces, Major General Hikmat Mirzayev reported to Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev.

The head of state laid flowers at a bust of national leader Heydar Aliyev here.

Minister of Defense Zakir Hasanov informed Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev of the reconstruction work carried out in the military unit. This included the reconstruction of headquarters, canteen, barracks and creation of modern training centers in the territory of the military unit.

The head of state was informed of the plans to construct new buildings here.

President Ilham Aliyev also inspected combat readiness of the special forces.

President Ilham Aliyev then met with servicemen.

The Commander-in-Chief addressed the meeting.

Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev

- Dear officers, warm greetings!

Familiarization with the military unit today made a pleasant impression on me. In recent years, the military unit has been overhauled and all necessary conditions have been created for the educational process. This shows again that the Azerbaijani army is successfully developing today. The process of army building is proceeding rapidly, our military units are being refurbished and rebuilt, and the army is fitted with the most sophisticated equipment. This is natural, because we are at war. The war is not over yet – only the first stage of it is. Today, the Azerbaijani army is one of the strongest armies on a global scale.

Three years have passed since the April fights. The April battles are a glorious page of our history. During the battles we sustained losses. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace. The state made every effort to provide for the treatment and rehabilitation of our wounded soldiers. All our soldiers who were injured have fortunately returned to normal life. All measures were taken for their treatment, rehabilitation and return to active life.

The April battles are a great historic victory for us, one of the most successful military operations in our modern history. You are well aware that prior to the fighting, the armed forces of Armenia constantly fired at our settlements and military positions from occupied territories. The Azerbaijani army carried out a very successful operation to thwart Armenian provocations and liberated a part of Agdara, Fizuli and Jabrayil districts which were seized earlier. Thousands of hectares of land were freed from the invaders and an area of tens of thousands of hectares passed under our control. The Azerbaijani flag now flies on the once occupied lands. During the battles, our soldiers displayed true professionalism and heroism. They once again demonstrated that Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are professional, they are attached to their homeland and are ready to fulfill their duty at any time. The April battles were a very successful operation in military terms, because our military personnel liberated important strategic heights from the invaders from unfavorable positions. At the same time, these battles are of great importance from a moral and psychological point of view, as Armenian propaganda had been spreading the myth for years that they are superior to us militarily. The April battles showed to the whole world that the Azerbaijani army possesses the highest qualities and can complete any task at any time. The myth created by Armenia has been smashed to smithereens.

Our civilians also showed heroism during the fights. Several civilians died as a result of Armenian provocation. Hundreds of houses became uninhabitable and were burned out. We restored all these houses in a short time. In meetings with residents of the villages close to the contact line which I visited shortly after the fights, I was convinced of how high the national spirit of these people is, how fearless they are, as they did not abandon their homes and their villages even under shelling.

As a result of the fights, the village of Jojug Marjanli gained a new life. It was reconstructed in a short time, 150 houses, a school, a kindergarten, a medical center, a mosque, which is an analogue of the Shusha mosque, were built, and jobs were created. In other words, life returned to Jojug Marjanli. This shows yet again that the Azerbaijani people will never put up with this situation. It shows once again that all citizens of Azerbaijan live with one dream – the soonest liberation of our occupied lands and restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Unfortunately, our lands fell under occupation in the first years of independence. The reason for this is that the forces that were in power at that time allowed Armenia to seize our lands by their unsatisfactory activity. As a result of the treacherous activities of the PFPA-Musavat tandem, the Armenian armed forces entrenched in the occupied lands and a direct communication was established between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which allowed the enemy to continue its aggressive policy. But after the return of great leader Heydar Aliyev to power, the situation changed, a successful Horadiz operation was carried out. As a result of that operation, more than 20 settlements were freed from occupation. Today, the city of Horadiz and those very villages are flourishing and reviving. Work is carried out at the highest level there.

The army building process was started. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the most powerful countries in the world in terms of army building. As I have already noted, according to the latest ratings, the Azerbaijani army is ranked in 52nd place in terms of its potential on a global scale. The two military parades held last year demonstrated our military might. The most modern weapons and equipment are purchased for our army and its combat capability is increasing. The April battles are a good example of this. We are doing and will continue to do everything necessary for our army. Last year, a successful Nakhchivan operation was carried out. As a result of this operation, we have seized strategic heights. These heights allow us the opportunity to control a vast territory. The successful Nakhchivan operation showed that our army is professional and its combat capability is at a high level.

All this is a reality. Today, every citizen of Azerbaijan can be justly proud of the Azerbaijani army, and we are proud of our soldiers and officers. The Azerbaijani army is the main factor playing a role in the protection of the territorial integrity of our state.

Day-to-day problems of our military personnel are being addressed. Great attention is being paid to that as well. At the end of last year, more than 300 servicemen were provided with new apartments. To date, the state has provided hundreds of military personnel with apartments. This process continues. At the same time, the process of reconstructing military units has gained momentum. In recent years, I have participated in the opening of many military units and camps. I observe a high level and excellent conditions everywhere, including this military unit. Here I was shown photographs showing the situation in previous years. Of course, the situation was very difficult. However, on the basis of my special instruction, the military unit was reconstructed in a short time and good conditions have been created here. Excellent conditions have been created for those who work here, and for those who stay in hostels. I should also note that civil affairs in our military units are dealt with by civilians, and this is also an innovation. Thus, we have enabled servicemen and their activity to focus on the main service duty. At the same time, about 20,000 civilians have been provided with jobs.

As for the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, there is no change in our position here. This conflict must be resolved only within the territorial integrity of our country. Nagorno-Karabakh is our ancestral and historical land. Our people have lived, created and built on these lands for centuries. Today, the whole world recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. All influential international organizations have adopted relevant decisions and resolutions. This is a historical and legal basis. No country has recognized and, I am sure, never will recognize the self-styled “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”.

Therefore, the goal of continuing the negotiations is to liberate the occupied lands. As you know, the new leadership of Armenia wanted to change the format of negotiations. Some of their statements are also known to the public. However, the unequivocal position of Azerbaijan did not allow that to happen. The conflict is between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied our lands. Eighty percent of soldiers on the occupied lands on the other side are Armenian citizens. Therefore, the negotiations must be conducted between the two countries. The last Vienna meeting was important also because it reaffirmed the existing format. Both the talks between the foreign ministers and the meeting between the leaders show again that this is an Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Whenever we talk about a conflict, we call it like this: the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Justice and historical truth are on our side. Economic and military strength is also on our side. The work done in recent years, the reforms carried out in the military sphere, the buildup of our military power, the victories both in the political arena and on the battlefield inspire us even more and strengthen us.

You, the people serving here, know and understand your duty perfectly well. You have participated in the most difficult battles and showed heroism and courage. The state appreciates your activity. I congratulate you on the successes achieved, I wish you and our army continued success and new victories. Thank you!

X X X

On behalf of the personal staff, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov thanked the Commander-in-Chief for his attention to army building.

X X X

President Ilham Aliyev was also presented with uniforms of the special forces, special supplies and food norm samples.

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