Details added (first version posted at 13:38 on Oct. 24)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 24
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received academician Akif Alizade and presented the "Labor" Order 1st Class to him.
Welcoming Akif Alizade, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear Akif muallim, yesterday you tendered your resignation from the post of president of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. I invited today you to thank you for the work done.
Akif Alizade: Hello, Mr. President. Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: You have been playing an important role in the development of Azerbaijani science for many years – both in Soviet times and in the period of independence. You are a great scientist, a great organizer. You have also done a lot to prepare a generation of scientists in Azerbaijan. The work you have done is highly appreciated by the Azerbaijani state. Both in Soviet times and in the period of independence, you have been received various awards.
Akif Alizade: Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: You are still making a valuable contribution to the development of Azerbaijani science. We often talked about the development of Azerbaijani science, and you know about my attitude to this issue. In recent years, a lot has been done to strengthen the material and technical infrastructure of science – renovation of institutions and the acquisition of modern equipment. I believe that the modern scientific library is an excellent gift for our science. I laid its foundation and took part in the opening. As you know, the preparation of the Azerbaijan National Encyclopedia is also under way on my initiative, and we have provided a beautiful modern building to accommodate the offices of the encyclopedia.
I have presented you with high state awards and orders, and this is well deserved. You have been awarded the orders of Shohrat, Sharaf and Istiglal. And today, in recognition of the work you have done, you will receive another high order of Azerbaijan – the "Labor" Order 1st Class.
Akif Alizade: Thank you, Mr. President.
President Ilham Aliyev: Congratulations.
Akif Alizade: Thank you. Mr. President, first of all, of course, thank you for your high confidence. You know, I’ve been working at the Academy for more than 60 years. In the 1970s, the great leader invited me to his place, and we talked. We talked for a long time.
Mr. President, you have done a lot for Azerbaijan. I did my best to serve our state, science and you, and I will continue to do that. With your support, the Academy is experiencing a revival, of course. You have provided great support, Mr. President. After 2005-2006, major and dynamic development began, and the pinnacle of that was the new library. There is no analogue of it in the CIS. These buildings have been a huge gift for the Academy.
President Ilham Aliyev: At that time, some buildings of the Academy were seized by other organizations. I took them back and returned them to you.
Akif Alizade: Yes, you did. They even seized and privatized some of the Academy institutes.
President Ilham Aliyev: They captured, privatized and wanted to demolish them because these places are in the city center. They wanted to construct buildings there.
Akif Alizade: Absolutely. I turned to you and you immediately returned them to the Academy. Let me also thank you for the large technology park. This is the future of the Academy. We are currently doing some military work there. We have an agreement with the Ministry of Defense. We also fruitfully cooperate with the Border Troops, the Ministry of Agriculture.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, our science should give an impetus to the overall development. The development of fundamental science is a priority, of course. The development of the humanities, especially history, is of great importance because our notorious neighbors are engaged in falsification of history.
Akif Alizade: Right.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, the development of applied sciences also needs to be given a powerful impetus. New technologies in agriculture increase productivity several times. We must analyze them. We also need to find out whether these technologies have any side effects. In other words, we must protect ourselves. This is why the Food Safety Agency has been set up that the food products offered to Azerbaijani citizens have all the best qualities. There is also great progress in geology, which you have been dealing with for many years. Look at the depth we are drilling wells today! At the depth we extract oil and gas from! You are well aware that in Soviet times we could not go beyond the depth of 150 meters.
Akif Alizade: Yes, 200 meters.
President Ilham Aliyev: This actually allowed us the opportunity to preserve these fields for the period of independence. If there had been such technologies at that time, then all the oil would have been pumped out from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli and all gas would have been pumped from Shah Deniz. Currently, the depth there is 400 meters. In other new exploration projects, it reaches 700 meters. We have built the “Heydar Aliyev” drilling rig, which is capable of drilling wells in sea depths of 1,000 meters. The next reservoir depth is 7,000 meters. This was not available in Soviet times. I always say that the absence of such technologies at the time saved us. Otherwise, all the reserves would have been drained. Just like all our onshore oil was pumped out. Over a billion tons of oil was produced in Azerbaijan. What were we left with after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Rundown infrastructure, oil polluted sites of Bibiheybat, Balakhani. We were left with an ecological disaster. We are cleaning them now, investing a lot of effort and a lot of money.
Akif Alizade: A lot.
President Ilham Aliyev: Fortunately, there were no such technologies at the time. Today they are available. I should also say that no-one knows about the natural resources of Azerbaijan, our subsurface resources, the deposits under the seabed as much as our geologists do.
Akif Alizade: That's right, nobody does.
President Ilham Aliyev: I will tell you from my own experience. As you know, some of the signed contracts were terminated because no reserves were discovered there. There were deposits where a foreign company drilled a well but since it came out dry, it abandoned it and left. Our geologists were saying to them: you are drilling in a wrong place and showed them where to drill. After that, another company drilled a well on the advice of our geologists and discovered a field. Clear evidence of this is the “Absheron” field. When signing a contract for the “Absheron” field, we were absolutely sure that there were major gas deposits there. A foreign company arrived, drilled in the wrong place and left. Then another company took up this project and we would be producing gas condensate from “Absheron” in two years.
Therefore, the work done in the field of science is producing results. The development of agriculture and maintenance of the environment balance are of great importance. I also think that we have done a great job to improve the living conditions of scientists.
Akif Alizade: We have started work there. Mr. President, a whole block has already been built in Masazir.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, scientists are looking forward to it. Also, relevant instructions have been given to increase the salaries of scientists. To the extent possible, we will do all this work.
Akif Alizade: Let me express my gratitude to you on behalf of all scientists. Everyone is happy, everyone is working. You are well aware that the main direction now, of course, is associated with innovative sciences and their application. Instructions have been given, I am sure that we will continue to develop this direction. We are very grateful to you for all this.