Azerbaijani President and Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) Ilham Aliyev made a speech at YAP’s 7th congress held in a video conference format on March 5.
The president addressed the congress after commemorating Azerbaijani martyrs who lost their lives during the Karabakh war.
Below is the text of the speech:
– Three years have passed since the sixth congress of our party. These have been decisive years for our country and region. Many important events have taken place in the life of the country in three years. Naturally, the most important among them is the restoration of our territorial integrity, the brilliant victory won in the patriotic war. Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity, has restored historical justice, has expelled the occupiers from our ancestral lands, and thus historical justice has been restored. Our glorious victory is the source of our pride. Today our victory is being studied in the leading universities of leading countries of the world. The people of Azerbaijan have shown unity and solidarity. The Azerbaijani army has demonstrated courage, heroism and professionalism. Our entire people rallied into a single fist, inflicted crushing blows on the enemy and liberated our historical lands from the invaders. We have completed this historic mission.
Over the past 17 years, in all my statements related to the conflict, I said that the Azerbaijani people would never come to terms with this occupation. Azerbaijan will never allow the creation of a second Armenian state on its historical and ancestral lands. We will never accept an agreement that does not completely suit us. In various speeches and interviews before the war, I said that we do not need some kind of an incomplete peace treaty. We must fully restore our territorial integrity. We must fully restore historical justice, because an incomplete agreement did not meet the interests of our people and historical justice. An incomplete agreement would increase the risks of war in the future. We needed a complete and absolute victory. We have won this absolute victory, defeated the enemy, destroyed its army and achieved what we wanted.
Presidential and parliamentary elections have been held in the past three years. Presidential and parliamentary elections occupy a special place in the modern life of our country, especially when we consider that the reforms carried out in our country entered a new stage in the presidential and parliamentary elections. Azerbaijan today is a country conducting large-scale reforms. In everyday life, in the economic indicators of our country and in the successes achieved in the social sphere, we see that these reforms are of great importance. At the same time, our initiatives and reforms play an important role in improving the public and political climate.
The program I announced after the presidential elections is being implemented, and we are consistently achieving our goals. After the presidential elections, I set the restoration of our territorial integrity as a primary task, and we have achieved that. At the same time, clear goals were set in the political, economic, social and other spheres, including the fight against negative phenomena. We are pursuing these goals in a consistent and focused manner.
This is precisely what has caused the need to hold the seventh congress of the New Azerbaijan Party today. A new situation has arisen. We have created it. We are a country that creates realities.
Many projects implemented on our initiative in the past brought innovation to the region and led to new formats of cooperation. Our successful energy and transport policy not only led to the emergence of energy and transport corridors, but also created new formats of cooperation in the region and, in a broad sense, in Eurasia as a whole. Today, the number of countries that have united around these projects and are implementing them with us is growing. This determines the inevitability of cooperation among these countries, even countries that did not previously have particularly warm relations with each other. Therefore, the correct analysis carried out in connection with our policy in the world recently and the high assessment of our activities fully reflect the reality. The results of the second Karabakh war also created new realities for the region. New opportunities for cooperation have emerged in the region. Important conditions have been created to ensure long-term peace. At the same time, new opportunities have emerged for our country to enter a new stage.
We are doing all this work consistently, and if we look at our history of the last 17 years, we can see that goals were defined, that they were defined correctly, that we achieved these goals and then defined new goals. Thus, we ensured sustainable development in both political and economic spheres, turned Azerbaijan into a country enjoying great authority and respect in the international arena, and met our main objective – the restoration of territorial integrity.
The New Azerbaijan Party is associated with the name of great leader Heydar Aliyev. The party was established around Heydar Aliyev. His political experience, knowledge, services to the people, true patriotism displayed during his work in Nakhchivan and devotion to his people rallied the progressive people of Azerbaijan around him. Of course, the work he did in the 1970s and early 1980s played an important part here. I have said many times and members of the party know this, as should the younger generation, that when Heydar Aliyev began to lead Azerbaijan in 1969, the Azerbaijan Republic was one of the most backward republics of the Soviet Union in all respects. In 1982, as a result of Heydar Aliyev’s activities, we occupied one the leading positions. If two republics were donors for others, Azerbaijan was one of them. The work he did at the time made it possible to achieve significant development, revitalize industry, agriculture and light industry. People remember that time. In addition, Heydar Aliyev resolve, courage and wisdom, his constant contacts with the people, the merciless fight against corruption and bribery rightfully earned him great sympathy among the people.
Another important factor is associated with the Nakhchivan period of Heydar Aliyev’s activity, because Nakhchivan was subjected to Armenian attacks on the one hand and to unreasonable attacks and persecution by the then leadership of Azerbaijan, on the other. Nakhchivan, which actually found itself in the conditions of a blockade, lived without electricity, gas, water, without any material opportunities, and the Heydar Aliyev factor played the main role here. No matter how hard the Armenians tried, they failed to achieve what they wanted in Nakhchivan even though Nakhchivan was the target of their further attacks after Karabakh. Heydar Aliyev and the people rallied around him managed to defend Nakhchivan, put the enemy in its place and win fierce battles on the border.
At the same time, the great leader’s unambiguous and resolute steps related to independence were highly appreciated by the people. At that time, a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union was held in the Republic of Azerbaijan and its results were grossly falsified. Allegedly, the Azerbaijani people did not want independence and preferred to live within the Soviet Union. It was absurd because the events of 20 January had taken place quite recently. The injustice shown in relation to Azerbaijan, the expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh and then from adjacent districts, the expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Armenia – all this remained a wound in the hearts of the Azerbaijani people. Could any patriot vote against independence under such circumstances? So it was completely falsified. In the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Heydar Aliyev did not allow this referendum to be held. This was a step that required great courage and heroism. At the same time, the leadership, which was in Baku under the flag of Soviet Azerbaijan at that time, was trying hard to hold on to the past, as if it did not want to let it go. On the instruction and initiative of Heydar Aliyev, the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was approved as an official flag in Nakhchivan, and the collapse of the Soviet Union was still a long way off.
So all these factors earned Heydar Aliyev even more respect among the people.
The establishment of the New Azerbaijan Party was a necessity. I want to reiterate that brave and fearless people clearly saw that our young country, which had just restored its independence, was left face to face with a great disaster at the time, and the processes taking place in the country had already become uncontrollable. A military defeat was compounded by an internal crisis. The negative processes taking place in the country, the political squabbles and the struggle for power called the independent existence of our country into question. To imagine what was happening in those days and months, it is enough to look at the events taking place in Armenia today. This is actually their reflection – hopelessness, total apathy, depression, lack of trust in any political force, lack of trust in the authorities, lack of trust in the opposition. This is the picture of the young independent Azerbaijan of that period. How can a country develop in such a situation? Our lands were seized, our territorial integrity was violated, more than 300,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia, all Azerbaijanis were expelled from Nagorno-Karabakh, Shusha and Lachin were under occupation, a geographical connection was established between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, refugees and IDPs appeared and there were no grounds for this situation to change in the future. Who would have changed this situation? The PFPA-Musavat tandem, which was then in power, pursued only its own interests. The random people who came to power are like twin brothers of those who came to power in Armenia in 2018. Inexperienced, illiterate, uncultured, incompetent, cowardly and deserters. Whatever epithets remain, anything negative would suit them. They governed Azerbaijan at the time.
Could the nation trust such people? The country was in an absolutely uncontrollable state. The old party nomenklatura turned out to be completely paralyzed, the PFPA-Musavat tandem, which had come to power illegally, robbed and destroyed the country, sold gasoline to Armenia despite the ongoing war. People were appointed to all positions for a bribe. Moreover, they were random people, crooks. I have repeatedly talked about this – notice who governed Azerbaijan, people of what morality and knowledge.
Like the people who came to power in Armenia in 2018, they destroyed the country and eventually brought us to the brink of the abyss. Could the Azerbaijani people tolerate this? Of course not! This was the historical necessity of establishing the New Azerbaijan Party.
At that time, patriotic people, the well-known “91”, showed courage and national thinking and, despite repressions, turned to the great leader. This required a lot of courage because laws did not exist then and everyone could do whatever they wanted. Law enforcement agencies unreasonably detained and beat up people, insulted them on the air. Complete anarchy, chaos and arbitrariness were pervasive. They killed, maimed and detained whoever they wanted. Such was the picture at the time. The supposedly democratic Popular Front introduced censorship. Censorship was introduced by them at that time. At that time, whoever raised a voice of objection was beaten up or killed. Why was the founding congress of the New Azerbaijan Party held in Nakhchivan? They didn’t allow it to be held in Baku. They were so afraid of the phenomenon of Heydar Aliyev and so aware of their own insignificance essence that they knew that if the congress was held in Baku, their power would come to an end because the people’s hatred for them had crossed all boundaries.
Today I would like to once again mention the “91”, for whom national interests were paramount at the time. I highly appreciate their activities. Many of them are in our ranks today. They will continue to work hard and carry out activities in the Council of Veterans of the New Azerbaijan Party and in public life. The people of Azerbaijan should not forget them. As President, I always highly appreciate their work. And not only because they turned to Heydar Aliyev but because they were not afraid, did not retreat and put the interests of the country above personal interests.
November 1992 actually opened the way for a new stage in the life of our young country. Less than a year after that, in October 1993, Heydar Aliyev, with the support of the absolute majority of the people, was elected to the post of President, and the process of our country’s recovery from the crisis began.
We must know this history well. And those who did not live through this history should study it. I have already said that our textbooks should provide extensive information about this history. Living witnesses to this history should share their memories in order for it to live forever. The history of our independence began precisely then, not in October 1991 – even though we celebrate 18 October 1991 as Independence Day. But everyone should know that these processes did not depend on us. Azerbaijan was actually late. Many former Soviet republics had already declared independence. The Soviet Union was already falling apart. Disintegration processes were already under way. Why did they wait until 18 October? Was it impossible to proclaim independence earlier? Of course it was! Therefore, the true history of our independence is associated with the name of great leader Heydar Aliyev because prior to that independence was only in words but it was not there in fact. Could Azerbaijan conduct an independent policy? No! Could we defend our borders? No! Did we have a say in the international arena? No! What kind of independence is this?
Of course, by analyzing that period correctly, we will insure ourselves against certain risks in the future. The younger generation, those who do not know that period and did not live at that time should know at what cost we were able to maintain independence and who we owe it to. If Heydar Aliyev had not come to power at that time, Azerbaijan would be a puppet state under someone else, a semi-colony.
We must know this history, we know it and will continue to build our activities on this solid foundation, just as we have done up to now. The 1993-2003 period was crucial. The foundations of our statehood were laid. A political assessment of the 20 January tragedy was given. Why didn’t the Poplar Front-Musavat tandem give a political assessment to the 20 January tragedy? They had a whole year. Why? Because their hands were also imbrued in the blood of the Azerbaijani people. They also wanted to hush up the 20 January tragedy. Only Heydar Aliyev gave a political assessment to the tragedy of 20 January. Only under Heydar Aliyev was the Constitution adopted. It was on his instructions that the censorship introduced by the Popular Front-Musavat tandem was abolished. Political reforms began and a multi-party system emerged. We broke out of international isolation. Azerbaijan already began to be perceived as a respected and respectable country. Large investments were attracted to our country. Army building was started. We didn’t have a regular army before. Important steps were taken to train personnel – the personnel who are still contributing to various spheres of life in our country.
Of course, in 2003 the people voted for the policy of Heydar Aliyev and showed confidence in me. Because I said that if the people trusted me, then I would remain faithful to the policy of the great leader. This was one of the main factors. Life has shown that in the last 17 years we have achieved truly historic successes. It will take a long time to characterize this period. Everything is obvious. I am sure that our historians, political scientists and scientists will correctly describe this period in articles, books, textbooks. Because it was a new period for our young country – a period based on the previous period, on a solid basis, but a new period. And this is natural because each period has
its own requirements. We cannot live in the 21st century with the demands of the 1990s. Even today, after the war, a new period begins. We must put aside all the gains made in the old days. Yes, it created a foundation for us, a basis, it allowed us to achieve our main goal. But if we always talk about that period and not think about the future, then what will happen? We must think about the future. We must be ahead of our time. I said that our main rival in the restoration of Karabakh is time. It is necessary to plan the future of the country in such a way as to ensure long-term sustainable development, so that independence becomes eternal, so that the power of our country grows, so that our possibilities of influence increase and the Azerbaijani people always live in the land of their ancestors in the conditions of security.
I can say that if we approach history from this angle, the 2003-2020 period was one of preparations. We had to prepare, and I made no secret of that. I said that if the issue was not resolved peacefully, then we would resolve it by military means. So much pressure was put on me because of this. So many representatives of large countries accused me – Ilham Aliyev does not want peace, he wants war, he threatens others, war is impossible. So many times you and the rest of the Azerbaijani people have heard that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has no military solution. So many people have said this. Did I agree to this? No! So many times attempts were made to convince me to sign a protocol with Armenia in one form or another only for the issue to be resolved peacefully, that is, to exclude the military option. I didn’t agree to this. After that, they began to accuse me, claiming that if the President does not agree to this, it means that he is preparing for war. I said yes, I am preparing, and so are the people and the state. I was saying that if the issue is not resolved, then we will resolve it by military means. I spoke openly, without hiding it. This was a period of preparation. First of all, we had to be prepared mentally. Along with all other factors, this factor played the key role. From the first day of the war, the moral advantage was on our side. And not only because we were right and they were wrong. Armenian propaganda has poisoned the minds of the Armenian people so much that many of them may have believed that they were right in occupying our lands. I was saying that they need to be treated. They are sick, a virus more horrific than the coronavirus has settled in their bodies. This is what the Armenian politicians have led them to with their nationalism and racism, Azerbaijanophobia and Islamophobia. Not only because we were right. We received a moral advantage because all these years we lived with one goal: the restoration of our territorial integrity and the expulsion of the enemy from our lands.
It would be safe to say that I spoke about this, about the conflict in all my speeches and at all international events. I knew that this factor would be decisive in the upbringing of the younger generation. But notice what some non-governmental organizations, some supposedly peace-loving circles were pushing us to. They were saying that we should let representatives of civil society and other representatives meet now, we should allow cooperation, let Armenia and Azerbaijan cooperate with each other. From the highest platforms and at many bilateral meetings, I have heard these words many times – you must cooperate, if you cooperate, you can convince those living in Karabakh, and if Armenia sees that Azerbaijan is showing goodwill, then the issue will be resolved. They tried to deceive us.
I kept saying that cooperation was possible only if the enemy left our lands. I remained true to my word again. The enemy did not leave of its own free will, we drove them out, expelled them, but at the same time we are ready to cooperate. The deputy prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia have already met several times. What are they talking about? About cooperation. Are we against cooperation? No! Today Armenia shies away from cooperation, attempts to hamper the implementation of the Zangazur corridor. But it won’t succeed. We will make them. We will force them. We will achieve our goals, just as we drove them out of our lands. But what benefit could cooperation with Armenia bring to us back then? None of course! So many times we were told to let representatives of the civil society meet. There were such meetings at one time. But we saw that the main essence was being left out – as if there was no war, as if there was no Khojaly genocide, as if our refugees and displaced persons were not expelled from their native lands by the Armenians, as if our homes and mosques were not destroyed. How can we forget this? So many times attempts were made to convince us that oil pipelines pass through the territory of Armenia. When I rejected this, the financing of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline was delayed by one year. At that time, we needed loans. Leading international financial institutions did not issue loans for a whole year to force us to do this. I said if they don’t give loans, then it is not necessary, we will find the resources ourselves.
We have created this reality. I want to say again that moral preparation played a key role. The younger generation has grown up with love of the Motherland and hatred for the enemy, and this young generation has liberated our lands from the invader. I said that representatives of all generations carried out successful activities in the liberation of our lands, but the absolute majority of the participants in the battles are people who were children when I came to power in 2003. They matured, showed patriotism and dedication, gave their lives, became martyrs, became wounded, showed heroism and restored historical justice.
What other preparatory work was required? Economic, of course! You can’t do anything without an economic foundation. Unlike Armenia, no-one helped Azerbaijan. We have achieved everything with our own hard work. We never begged like Armenia, never humiliated ourselves, never asked anyone for help. Therefore, economic independence was the main condition in terms of both preparing and strengthening political independence. We have achieved this. Today we do not depend on anyone for anything, for any parameter. We occupy the most advanced places in the economic sphere – in terms of external debt, economic growth and foreign exchange reserves per capita. So we are at the forefront in any criterion and have ensured transparency in this area. Yesterday I was informed that a very influential organization analyzed more than 60 sovereign funds of the world, and the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan ranks fifth in terms of all parameters, all criteria. I ordered to publish this list so that everyone can see the sovereign oil funds or resource funds of which countries are listed there. Notice who we are ahead of. Pay attention to the report of the Davos Economic Forum. We are ahead of developed countries in terms of economic development and infrastructure projects. Did anyone help us? No! Did we borrow for this? No! Our external debt accounts for only 18-19 percent of the gross domestic product. In addition, our foreign exchange reserves are five to six times higher than our external debt. If we want, we can pay off the entire external debt tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in a month. So we have achieved all these successes through our own hard work, as a country whose lands were under occupation, as a country in an extremely difficult geopolitical situation. It was preparation for the patriotic war in the economic, political sphere, in the field of internal stability.
Notice how much foreign investment is being made in Azerbaijan today. The main factor here is internal stability. We are at the forefront of the Doing Business program. At present, we have risen higher and are among the leading countries. Does anyone invest at least one manat in Armenia? No! You have to be crazy to invest there. Even Armenians living abroad do not invest there. Why? Because there is chaos there, there is turmoil, there is no stability, there is no leader, there is no person who can be trusted, anyone investors could trust and say that they trust in this state, in this head of state and invest there. This year, we have brought in 400-500 million dollars of foreign investment in renewable energy alone. One agreement has already been concluded, another one will be concluded this or next month. They suggested it themselves. Seven leading companies competed for these projects. Two of them presented the most favorable offers to us. They will build a solar and a wind power plant with a capacity of 440 megawatts at their own expense. Azerbaijanis will work there both during construction and operation. How much benefit will this bring us? There are so many proposals today connected with the liberated lands. We are collecting them now. We need to choose the best ones. The situation today is such that we don’t knock on some doors or ask for a loan from some bank. In general, I forbade the government to take external loans. We should take loans only for high-tech projects in order to import technologies. But if we are building a road, the asphalt is ours, the bitumen is ours, the gravel is ours, so why should we take external credits? Or similar projects. This process continues.
Therefore, internal stability is the main factor. It exists in Azerbaijan. But is it there in many parts of our region? No! Notice what processes are going on, what disagreements are taking place. People come from abroad to reconcile others. But what are the processes inside the country for then if someone comes from abroad to reconcile someone? Or look at Armenia. If there were no outside help now, it would be gone, completely! And it has nothing to hope for. There is no foundation for development. There is no basis for internal stability. They can’t even stage a coup d’état. They don’t know themselves whether they carried it out or not. Today the army does not obey the authorities. The president says: I am not involved in politics, do not involve me in these matters and let me live in peace. What a disgrace! The prime minister – I don’t want to say anything more about him. Look at other places. I mean the post-Soviet space and beyond. Therefore, there had to be internal stability. At the expense of what? At the expense of politics, at the expense of the unity of the people and government. Not at the expense of force. And we have achieved that. At the same time, issues of social security and social justice played an important role here.
During the preparation period, we had to change the international situation in our favor of course, because in the 1990s – I don’t know why, but this was probably a consequence of the times of the Popular Front-Musavat from the early 1990s – they had ruined relations with almost all countries in just one year. They put forward claims to some countries, made us enemies with some neighbors. They are to blame, we know that, they are the ones. Acting like henchmen, so to speak, they believed that they could find refuge for themselves. Therefore, we had to destroy those stereotypes. Why should it be that some country has good relations with Armenia and not with Azerbaijan? Why? I wondered what underlay that, if there were some fundamental issues, if there were fundamental disagreements. No! Just ambitions, incompetence, stupidity and outside control. They received these signals from abroad – don’t get closer to this country, you can’t get closer to that, stay away from that. So the Popular Front-Musavat tandem isolated us in our region. We were in an isolated state, but Armenia was not.
So what did we achieve? Armenia is in an isolated state today, while we are building relations with all our neighbors very effectively, on the basis of friendship and good neighborliness. This was also a kind of preparation. I want to say quite frankly that if this preparatory work had not been done in this area, then we could have faced difficulties in the second Karabakh war. Armenia has isolated itself. In other words, we isolated it from regional projects, from oil and gas projects, ruined their economy, and we can say with a sense of pride that we are the main factor here, as any independent economic expert can confirm. We exposed Armenia as an undecided and unstable country with no future. As economic difficulties increased, the exodus of the population from there became even greater. Demographic problems arose, which in itself led to a narrowing of the economic market. No-one will invest in a narrow economic market. What is there to invest in if there are no people and no money? You have to recover these investments in the future, and this requires a market. In our country, on the other hand, investments came in a large flow, the population was growing, we are already 10 million. As a matter of fact, our population in Soviet times was 7 million and the population of Armenia was 3.5 million. Today the population of Armenia is 1.8 million and ours is 10 million.
As for international issues, I want to say again that we have managed to dramatically change the situation in the region. In my speeches related to foreign policy, I said that our cooperation with neighboring countries occupies a special place among our priorities. But at the same time, we have established relations with all other countries. Today there is not a single country with which we would have problems. We have developed close ties with the European Union. Strategic partnership documents have been signed with nine member states of the European Union. I don’t want to talk about anyone now, but I must say this. Which of the Eastern Partnership countries signed a strategic partnership document with nine EU member states? None! They have signed an association agreement. I have seen this agreement. This is actually not an agreement, but an instruction, just an instruction. These countries are instructed to do things this or that way. I rejected it. I said that we did not need such instructions. We know what to do ourselves. Today we are working on an equal agreement with the European Union, it has already been agreed by 90 percent. Of course, the pandemic and the war intervened in these matters a little. These negotiations will be resumed in the near future. Therefore, we have achieved success in this area, because we have a multifaceted foreign policy with other countries.
Notice the hard work we have done in international organizations. Some thought it was in vain. No, this is not the case. We needed to further strengthen the legal basis for the second Karabakh war. Until 2005, the main legal basis for us was only the UN Security Council resolutions. Of course, these are very important resolutions but they were not implemented. We enforced them. However, in 2005, as a result of the work we did after lengthy discussions, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution that suits us. Of course, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not a structure that resolves the Karabakh issue, but its resolution was the legal basis. Looking at that, other organizations realized that this is adopted there, then it may also be adopted in other places as well. The UN General Assembly adopted similar decisions and resolutions. So did the European Parliament, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement and others. This is the legal basis. As a result, we managed to achieve the inclusion of a provision reflecting the principle of respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty of our country and the inviolability of our borders in the “Partnership Priorities” document signed with the European Union several years ago, i.e. the initialed document. Since 2004, I have been constantly discussing this issue with the European Commission. I put it to them – how is it possible that you support the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova, reflect this in bilateral documents and some statements, but when it comes to us, you say that it is necessary to resolve it peacefully. This is not fair. How long can this go on? I worked with some of the Presidents of the European Commission and spoke about this every time, and finally we have achieved this. What is this? It is a legal basis. Who could say that Azerbaijan was wrong when the war started? We are on our own land. I made statements that we have nothing to do on the territory of Armenia, that we would not cross and did not cross the border of Armenia. Therefore, such a legal basis was necessary. After that, we joined the Non-Aligned Movement. Some “politicians” were unhappy, they thought it was in vain. The Non-Aligned Movement is the second largest organization for the number of participants. During the dirty campaign carried out in the UN Security Council during the war against us, a resolution was prepared. Who stopped it? The countries participating in the Non-Aligned Movement! They defended us. Our leadership in this organization is not formal in nature. We defend members of this organization, we provide them with assistance, we helped them in connection with COVID without fear of anyone, we defended their just cause. They also defended us. So this resolution did not pass. Even if it had been adopted, it could not have stopped us. Nobody and nothing could have stopped us. I said that the Armenian prime minister himself must provide us with a timetable for the withdrawal of Armenian troops, after which we would stop. But it could have given us a headache. Therefore, we act as a reliable partner there too. We have convened a special session of the UN. This was also resisted. I can reveal that now, let people know. We have held COVID-related summits of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Turkic Council. We also appealed for a UN special session to be held. The process of approvals and coordination took several months. Finally, in December last year, we held it too. This was also international preparation.
Of course, one of the main issues was the preparation for army building, and our glorious Victory speaks volumes about everything. I would not like to talk about it for a long time. I want to reiterate that all these directions of preparation ultimately crossed at one point – the historic Victory in the 44-day war is a source of pride for us. From now on, this Victory will live for centuries in the souls and hearts of the Azerbaijani people. There have not been such brilliant and absolute victories in the centuries-old history of Azerbaijan.
We are entering a new phase. I will continue to express my thoughts about this period because, from a conceptual point of view, all views are in place. We see everything clearly. Of course, life, in particular, issues related to the restoration of Karabakh, will make various adjustments to our plans. And this is natural. But from a conceptual point of view, I would like to share some thoughts about the future.
At the new stage, we need to further deepen the political dialogue. This process began before the war, and I believe that good results were achieved in a short time. We can say that all parties, if we exclude the anti-national council calling itself a political entity, all political forces spoke in favor of dialogue, welcomed our initiative, and this dialogue has already taken place. I can say with full confidence that this happened without any outside interference. I remember that in the 1990s and even during my presidency, some representatives were coming here from abroad to organize a political dialogue for us. This was an insult to us. Who are you? Mind your own business! Your country needs a political dialogue more than Azerbaijan does. They are pecking each other, but this, as they say, is a completely different story. We have achieved this in a short time. And again, we simply figured out what fundamental contradictions there were and areas we could not agree on. We came to the decision, to the proposal that there can be no difference of opinions on national issues. Common issues include the Karabakh issue. Common issues include the activities of political parties, the development of democracy, the establishment of economic freedoms, the increase in the power of our country. This political dialogue is under way to this day. I very much approve of it. I believe that it is of great importance for improving the future political system of our country. I also call upon representatives and members of the New Azerbaijan Party to pay attention to the fact that we have no problems with any political entity in the country. With anti-national elements, of course, we will never be able to sit down at the same table because they are traitors. They receive instructions from the outside. Their emissaries are based in foreign capitals. They receive money from there, try to cast a shadow over our glorious Victory in order to mislead people. They cited Pashinyan as an example for us, called him a pure person, a democrat. They said that there would be such a leader in Azerbaijan too. This democrat has arrested all the opposition. If the war had not started on 27 September, he would not have released them. The leader of the main opposition party was arrested a few days before the war. Criminal cases were initiated. Now there is a man calling himself the leader of the opposition there, but he was also taken out of mothballs. He was also summoned and banned from leaving the country. Is this democracy? The West is turning a blind eye to this, which goes without saying. The West has already fully exposed itself on issues of democracy. There can be no other opinion. It turns a blind eye to this, of course. But why are our “democrats” silent? Why aren’t they saying that Pashinyan should become an example for us. Let him come and say this, let him answer for his words. There is no person in Armenia who would not make fun of him. They have given him some nickname, they know better. They cited him as an example. Why? Because they received an instruction from there, from the center, from their center. What was the goal? The goal was to stir up everything in Azerbaijan, break it, undermine the authority of the Azerbaijani leadership, write dirty conjectures, slander, false articles – all this is happening right before our eyes. We have not forgotten this. They wanted to distract us from the main task, so that we indulge in internal litigation, unfounded accusations, distract us from the main task, so that the occupied lands would forever remain in the hands of the Armenians. This was their goal. The national traitors represented on the anti-national council are also pursuing this goal. The same goal is pursued by those who are trying to cast a shadow over the Victory of our valiant army. In the history of Azerbaijan, perhaps, there were no such despicable people as them. But we cooperate with all other political entities and will continue to do that.
As for the economic sphere, a new stage is already evident here too. This is a period of transparency, precision, a period when monopolies are suppressed. We have already demonstrated this many times. This is further evidenced by the results of two months of this year. In two months of this year, our revenues exceeded the forecast by about 200 or 300 million. Much of this is due to tax authorities. Another part is due to customs authorities. By what means? The tax base is expanding and businesses are emerging from the shadows. Entrepreneurs are shown the right direction. The rules of conduct have been determined. The people and entrepreneurs see it. Thus, even during the pandemic period, we feel calm financially and do not experience any problems with budget execution. On the contrary, we have started large-scale reconstruction work in Karabakh. All this requires funds. Therefore, this is the main issue in the economic sphere. The development of private entrepreneurship, as well as the systematic implementation of all work on the liberated lands, the establishment of incentives for investment – this instruction has also been issued. I am sure that foreign investors will come to the liberated lands with great pleasure.
Our foreign policy course remains unchanged. The war and post-war periods also showed that this was a very correct course. During the war, some countries put forward certain claims to us. What was my answer? The Azerbaijani people know this. These claims no longer exist. The unfounded accusations have already been eliminated. I believe that the relations with countries that demonstrated an unfair position during the war are normalizing. In other words, they put forward such a proposal and we accepted it. We understand that there may be some internal reasons. There may be inaccurate information. In any case, we are not interested in dragging out this issue. I said that we should turn this page even with Armenia, that’s all. We will never forget the Khojaly genocide. We will never forget the heroism of our martyrs. But we have avenged our martyrs, including the victims of Khojaly. We took revenge on the enemy on the battlefield. I believe that this victory completely suits us in order to once again demonstrate the greatness of our people. After that, we must live like this. The blood of our martyrs did not remain unavenged, we took revenge and punished the enemy. Before the eyes of the whole world, they fell on their knees before us, surrendered, threw in the towel, and from now on they will always live with the stigma of a defeated country. From now on, we will live as a proud people and a state with a high fighting spirit.
Therefore, we are open to cooperation in the field of foreign policy. Today, many countries are showing interest in the restoration work in Karabakh. We have invited them. Foreign policy will remain unchanged. Azerbaijan has established itself not only in the political plane. We have asserted ourselves as a responsible chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as a country capable of defending its own rights. We won both on the battlefield and on the political plane. After the war, Armenia, no matter how hard it tried, could not achieve what it wanted. The municipalities of some countries are making some decisions. They don’t matter at all. Even their names are not on any list. This does not interest us. Some parliaments are passing resolutions. But what do we see? Naturally, we have fair claims too. Officials of these countries – foreign ministers or other ministers tell us not to do this, that this is unacceptable. I have been informed that the foreign minister of one country, Luxembourg, used some unacceptable expression. Moreover, I cannot understand what relation Luxembourg has to us. This country is far from this region. To put it mildly, this country does not have a special political weight in the world for its foreign minister to make any claims to us. Except for that, there were no such unacceptable expressions. Therefore, the post-war period also once again shows the success of our foreign policy.
Of course, the war is our glorious page in the military sphere. At the same time, it is an experience. As Commander-in-Chief, someone in charge of all work, I know where our weaknesses are. We fixed these weaknesses even during the war. Important decisions were made during the war. After that, this experience, of course, will and should become the basis for us. Instructions were given to create a more modern army, because now military experts, international military experts say that Azerbaijan was waging a war in the 21st century. We must plan so that to be prepared for the war of the 22nd century perhaps in 50 years’ time. Because strength is everything. Unfortunately, this is the case. If international law does not work, only the factor of force can become decisive.
Sharing with both party members and the Azerbaijani people my thoughts about some of the upcoming tasks today, I call on all political forces and the entire public for a broad discussion. There is a need for this, because, I want to say again, we have entered a new period. A completely new geopolitical situation has developed in our region and in our country. Therefore, we must take all our steps correctly to be able to win at all time, so that the flag of Azerbaijan is always on top.