Azerbaijan , Baku, July 6 /Trend/
Details added and title changed (the first version was posted at 13:25 on July 5)
Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the opening ceremony of the Third Congress of World Azerbaijanis in Baku on July 5, Azerbaijani President's official website reported.
Congress delegates and guests greeted the Azerbaijani leader and his wife with a storm of applause.
The Third Congress of World Azerbaijanis declared open.
The anthem of the Azerbaijan Republic was performed.
The congress participants observed a minute silence in memory of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, who made a great contribution to the institutional development of the World Azerbaijanis, their close rallying around a common purpose and common ideas of Azerbaijanism.
Then, a documentary "Our strength is unity!" was shown at the event. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed the congress.
President Aliyev underscored that the Third Congress of World Azerbaijanis is a very significant event.
"Holding the congresses of world Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan has become a wonderful tradition. National Leader Heydar Aliyev laid the basis of this tradition in 2011. Azerbaijanis lining all over the world gathered in Baku for the first time upon his initiative and a great congress took place. New conditions for the institutional development of Azerbaijanis living in the world have been created following this event," President Aliyev said.
The State Committee for Work with Azerbaijanis living abroad was established in 2002 upon Heydar Aliyev's initiative, he said. "Now it's called the State Committee for Diaspora Affairs. Our compatriots living on all continents have created their own organizations thanks to this committee's activities. Today, these organizations already successfully operate on all continents, in all countries," Aliyev said.
Aliyev said Azerbaijan gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. "However, developments occurring in the country then and tough situation observed here put our independence under the question. Chaos, anarchy and mass disobedience dominated in the country. The economic and political decline actually led the country into the abyss. Moreover, the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and occupation of our lands as a result of this aggression, internal squabbles, confrontation and civil war - all these happened in the early years of our independence. All negative phenomena came to an end in 1993 thanks to Heydar Aliyev's tireless activity. Stability was established in Azerbaijan and a period of development began. That is why we say, with confidence and firm, that Heydar Aliyev was the founder of independent Azerbaijan, creator of the independent Azerbaijan. Today, Azerbaijan is moving and developing on the way laid by him," he stressed.
The process of building a modern state successfully runs in Azerbaijan. "Moreover, we are very committed to our national and spiritual values and cherish them. The Azerbaijani values are of utmost importance for us. The Azerbaijani people have managed to preserve their national and spiritual values, native Azerbaijani language during the centuries. Today, the modern Azerbaijan state is being further created and strengthened on this solid foundation and has become a very important factor in the region," Aliyev stressed.
President Aliyev stated that political and economic reforms carried out in Azerbaijan supplement each other. "Our goal is to create a strong, modern state through deepening these reforms. We have been able to achieve great successes in this direction. Over the past seven years the economy has grown three times. The GDP increased by 300 percent. This experience is unique in the world. The country's industrial production also increased about threefold. The number of people living in poverty decreased by five times. This suggests that reforms carried out in the country are socially oriented. Human factor lies in the core of our policy and the slogan "We must turn the oil capital into human capital", announced a few years ago, is realized today. We observe a revival and development in all areas of our economy thanks to this. Our financial capabilities also expand. Azerbaijan carries out a tremendous creative work. Foreign and domestic investments are made in Azerbaijan. Some $15 billion were invested in Azerbaijan only in 2010. I hope that this figure will grow. I repeat that we were able to maintain economic and macroeconomic stability in the heavy and most crisis months and years as a result of the reforms. Moreover, material well-being of people improved, social programs were realized and social benefits, wages and pensions increased as a result of the undertaken steps and initiatives," Aliyev said.
"Of course, Azerbaijan's economic independence allows us to openly and clearly express our opinion on international issues. Azerbaijan's ability to influence on processes ongoing in the region grows and this is natural, since Azerbaijan's economy makes up 75 percent of the South Caucasus economy. I should note that 80 percent of GDP is formed in the private sector. This, in turn, shows that Azerbaijan has successfully carried out liberal reforms. A good atmosphere of cooperation was formed in the region thanks to promotion of regional cooperation initiatives. Our initiatives put forward as a part of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy give excellent results. Azerbaijan pursues a very successful energy policy. As for the energy security, much more is said about Azerbaijan in recent months and this is natural, since the work carried out in Azerbaijan and funds invested in infrastructure led to a new situation. We will be further committed to this policy. Azerbaijan's development should not be limited only to the economic strides. I would reiterate that we seek to apply the most advanced technologies, best practice in all directions and annually increase people's well-being. We have all possibilities to achieve this. We have a sound strategy and our tactical moves are also very successful. Azerbaijan has never made a mistake either in foreign or domestic policy, or in the implemented projects. I believe our country is gaining much respect in the world thanks to this," Aliyev emphasized.
Azerbaijan is recognized as a reliable partner, he said.
"The number of countries willing to cooperate and establish friendship with us grows. Independence is the greatest achievement and our greatest success. Azerbaijan has been living independently for 20 years. The Azerbaijani people live freely. The Azerbaijani people are the master of their fate. The Azerbaijani people's will is crucial factor for us. I am confident that social and economic issues that the country faced will further be successfully addressed. Our experiences, the already gained financial capacity and economic opportunities give us ground to state this," Aliyev said.
President Aliyev emphasized that the most painful issue before Azerbaijan is the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Unfortunately, the issue is not solved despite long negotiations. Although all international organizations protect and support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, our lands are under occupation. The United Nations, OSCE, the European Parliament, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Council of Europe and other organizations have taken the appropriate decisions and resolutions that protect Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and provides for the withdrawal of occupation forces from the occupied lands. Unfortunately, the issue is still unresolved. The only reason for this is Armenia's unconstructive position and its non-readiness for peace. However, we are well aware that Azerbaijan's territorial integrity will be restored sooner or later. We want to solve this issue peacefully and rapidly. The Armenian side should understand that its potential cannot be compared with the potential created in Azerbaijan. Our economic opportunity and economic potential tenfold exceed Armenia's opportunities and potential. This difference will be even greater gulf over time and gap between the two countries would further expand. Therefore, Armenia should be interested in the early resolution of this question, because it cannot compete with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's only defense expenditure is more by 50 percent than the entire state budget of Armenia and this is the first result of our activity. We well understand and see what awaits us. Azerbaijan will be among the richest countries. Azerbaijan's position, in any direction, is already very high in the ranking of international organizations. We occupy the first place in the CIS on the Azerbaijani economy's competitiveness. We are in the first place in the CIS on the use and availability of the ICT. Based on the UN estimates, Azerbaijan recorded the biggest jump on the human development index," Aliyev stressed.
"That is, we are well aware of what will be Azerbaijan's potential in 5, 10 years, as I would like to repeat, our activities and ongoing projects give ground to predict it. Therefore, an early settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict meets the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. The international community also seeks this ," he said.
Aliyev said the cooperation between embassies and diaspora organizations should be more solid and purposeful. "I hear this applause and see that you too well know what I mean. I do not want to go too deep, but sometimes contradictions between embassies and diaspora organizations disappoint me. We should not allow this," he added.
Azerbaijan , as an independent state, has passed a long way for 20 years and become fully free and independent country with great economic potential. People live in an atmosphere of security in Azerbaijan.
The country protects the tranquility, security, socio-political order and provides all the freedom. There are no restrictions in the political and economic spheres. Our positions in the region are strong enough, and I'm absolutely sure that eventually our ability to influence will increase even more. We have a large family-Azerbaijanis living abroad. These are people tied to their native homeland. Our distinctive feature is that regardless where we live, we are tied to our country. Here is our motherland, our common homeland.
The independent Azerbaijan is the motherland of all Azerbaijanis. We have one motherland- Azerbaijan! We have one language - Azerbaijani! We have nationwide ideology - the ideology of Azerbaijanism! I wish that all Azerbaijanis living around the world have always been together. They should know that the strong Azerbaijan state stands behind them and they can always rely on the Azerbaijan state. I want to summarize with great leader Heydar Aliyev's unforgettable words: "We are proud that we are Azerbaijanis," President Aliyev stated.