Zagatala, November 4 AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the Heydar Aliyev Center in Zagatala district. The head of state viewed landscaping work carried out around the center.
President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the center.
The head of state was informed that the building, whose construction started in 2013, occupies a total area of 2,765 square meters. A bust to national leader Heydar Aliyev was installed in the foyer of the building.
There is a rich exhibition here, which features books, photos, honorary diplomas and other documents reflecting the life and activity of national leader Heydar Aliyev. There are also photo stands depicting the national leader`s and President Ilham Aliyev`s visits to Zagatala.
The Heydar Aliyev Center houses a 350-seat conference hall, cinema, culinary and painting rooms, a sculpture studio and printing workshop. Extensive landscaping work was carried out and a green area was laid out here.
President Ilham Aliyev met with local residents.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- Good morning!
My warm greetings to all of you! I am very glad to be back in Zagatala. This is my seventh visit to Zagatala as President. This in itself suggests that great importance is attached and support provided for the development of Zagatala District and the work carried out here.
It is a very auspicious day for Zagatala today. A beautiful building is being opened – the Heydar Aliyev Center. I remember laying the foundation of this building two years ago, and today we are gathered for its opening. It is indeed a beautiful building both architecturally and functionally. The building is worthy of the great leader.
The materials and photos describing the life and work of Heydar Aliyev are displayed here. At the same time, there are many clubs and studios. In other words, the Centre is of great importance and is functional and modern. I am sure that the people of Zagatala will make effective use of the Centre.
Special measures are taken for the development of Zagatala. Infrastructure projects are successfully implemented in the district. The industrial potential is strengthening and enhancing. In short, Zagatala today is a modern city. I am convinced that further development of the city and the district will also be positive because we are trying, above all, to implement the main infrastructure projects. Two years ago, we resolved the problem of drinking water in Zagatala. Today, these projects have become widespread in our country. But Zagatala is one of the first districts to have resolved the problem of drinking water in the city and several villages. Today, the city receives continuous supply of drinking water, which, of course, is very important for a normal life of people.
Gasification work is under way. The city is almost fully gasified. There is some work to do in the villages. But if we consider the Zagatala terrain, we can see that it is no easy task to run gas to all villages here. Despite this, the State Oil Company has been instructed, if possible, to maximize gasification of villages, so that this problem is resolved too.
There is construction of rural roads. Today, we officially opened one of the rural roads. There are other projects as well. I know that there is still a great need for the construction of rural roads. In the coming years, these issues will also be resolved within our possibilities.
Such beautiful architectural monuments are being created. Today, we will celebrate the opening of a branch of the Institute of Teachers. Schools and kindergartens are built. Of course, I would like this work to go even faster. However, as you know, we do all this work everywhere, in every city and every district, within our capabilities.
After the renovation of the Zagatala airport and extension of its runway, it will receive the status of an international airport. In general, the construction of the Zagatala airport was my initiative, and it was built. We have now set the task of extending the runway, so that it could receive all kinds of aircraft. This will enable us to carry out international flights and, at the same time, further increase the flow of tourists.
Zagatala has beautiful nature, many attractions, historical and ancient architectural monuments. I want the people of Azerbaijan to see this and, first of all, to develop domestic tourism. I also want foreign tourists to come here and see how much is being done in Azerbaijan, how beautiful and picturesque our country is.
On the whole, our country is doing well. We will successfully complete 2015. All our socioeconomic indicators are at a high level despite the fact that a global crisis is still ongoing. In fact, the financial and economic crisis has been ongoing in the world for several years. Now it has been joined by political and military crises. You can also monitor global developments. You can see that processes of great concern are taking place in different parts of the world and in our region. Europe, the CIS and the Middle East are faced with bloody clashes, conflicts and bloodshed. Under such circumstances, each country should seriously think about its own security. In fact, we have always thought about it. The life of the Azerbaijani people in a secure environment has always been our top priority, because if we had failed to achieve it, there could be no talk of development. Where there is no stability, development is impossible.
But in the current circumstances even more attention is paid to that. Security in Azerbaijan is at a high level. Stability is strengthened and there is unity between the people and the government. The last parliamentary election confirmed this again. First of all, I should note that voter turnout in the parliamentary election was high. At the same time, all democratic norms were provided. The fair and transparent election showed again how committed Azerbaijan is to democratic development. My words are confirmed by more than 500 foreign and tens of thousands of local observers. All international observers noted that the election was held at a high level. They also noted that the election reflects the will of the Azerbaijani people.
This is really a great achievement and our great success. It shows again that the Azerbaijani people endorse and support the national policy through elections and express their opinion. And we must continue trying to justify people's trust and accelerate the processes taking place in the country, so that there is not a single social and economic problem left.
In recent years we have done a lot in this area. This is confirmed by all international organizations. In terms of competitiveness, Azerbaijan is ranked in 40th place in the world, ahead of many developed countries. At the same time, international organizations appreciate our fight against poverty and unemployment. Recently, in September of this year, the United Nations presented a high award to Azerbaijan for these achievements.
In just 10 years, poverty in Azerbaijan reduced from 50 to 5 per cent. Actually, I set the task of completely eliminating the problem of poverty in Azerbaijan. There should not be a single person living in poverty in Azerbaijan, and we are getting closer to this goal.
Recently, we have taken important steps related to unemployment. It is at a very low level, but as a result of the global financial crisis, unemployment may rise a little. Some jobs are closing. But the number of jobs being created is higher than the closing ones. There is positive dynamics here. Whereas 30,000 jobs have been closed, 67,000 have been created.
Of course, priority in the future will be economic reform – development of private enterprise and agriculture, and food security. Zagatala District has a huge potential in these areas. We must now try to make the most of our natural capabilities. We need to try to create even better conditions for business people, so that they could grow more products and sell them on the domestic and foreign markets. With this aim, we have taken very serious steps. I have signed a decree and a law has been adopted to improve the business environment so that no-one could interfere with the work of entrepreneurs.
I am sure that as a result of the work done, Azerbaijan will be able to maintain the positive dynamics of economic development in the future. It is not so easy to do this in the current environment. Many countries both in the neighborhood and throughout the world are experiencing economic slowdown, while Azerbaijan is going through economic development. In the first nine months of this year, the economy grew by about 4 per cent and the non-oil economy by more than 6 per cent. Of course, this was made possible by the work done. But we should not feel complacent with the results achieved. Each one of us should be more active and try to achieve further progress of our motherland, so that this great public and political environment in Azerbaijan could become eternal. I am sure that it will be the case.
Many international organizations, politicians, political scientists and scholars cite the inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations in Azerbaijan. It is really the case. Azerbaijan is a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state. This is our greatest asset. Representatives of all nationalities living in Azerbaijan are valuable citizens enjoying equal rights. Azerbaijan has never had confrontations on religious and ethnic grounds, and we are committed to this policy. Countries where these problems do not develop in a positive direction are facing disasters. The situation in Azerbaijan in this area, first of all, strengthens our country and, on the other hand, suggests to other countries that it is possible to live together, support each other, respect religion, customs, traditions and national values to each other.
Europe is experiencing a moral crisis today. Europe can’t remain committed to its stated values. Suffering is inflicted on migrants and Muslim refugees. They are humiliated, intolerable and unacceptable steps are taken against them. I have repeatedly said that these people are not guilty of anything. Their countries were destroyed as a result of foreign intervention. They lost tens and hundreds of thousands of loved ones, millions of people have become refugees and are now seeking shelter in Europe. They are faced with barriers and barbed wire. They are watched over by dogs and locked in cages. And then, in a manner inappropriate for people, food is thrown into their cages. Such actions in the 21st century are intolerable for anyone. It is a time of tests. Europe must overcome these tests and remain committed to its own values enshrined. Otherwise, if this situation continues, no country can face any demands. First of all, you should be able to return the domestic processes into a normal course, be committed to the stated values and only then demand something from others.
We are worried and disappointed with such processes. We observe them with a heavy heart. I am sure that seeing these poor people in such a state, every normal person feels sad. On the other hand, it is a religious confrontation, not a migrant crisis. It is a religious confrontation, a sign of Islamophobia. This is the result of the anti-Muslim propaganda of recent years, and it can lead to even more problems and a clash between civilizations in the world.
We in Azerbaijan promote the values of multiculturalism. We conduct a variety of forums, conferences, international events and prove that it is possible to live together. On the example of Azerbaijan everyone can see that.
But today we can see that confrontation on religious grounds may lead to even more serious problems. We also need to know that. Sometimes they say that we should integrate into Europe. I have repeatedly said that we do not have to integrate anywhere. We have built a strong state on our national values and established equal relations with all countries. Especially today, at the time of discrimination and Islamophobia, there is no need for integration. What form can we integrate in? Can they accept us? No! This is already a reality, but a bitter reality. Therefore, we should continue to live only at our own expense.
No-one has ever helped us. We all achieves everything ourselves. We do not expect any help and this is not even necessary. But let no-one interfere in our affairs or try to speak to us in the language of diktat. All the same, such attempts are useless.
I believe that today the Azerbaijani people can defend its national dignity and we have proved it. Our strength lies in the unity between the people and the government. Therefore, in spite of the sad processes ongoing in the world, we see development in Azerbaijan. New buildings and industrial enterprises are built. People live in peace and in excellent conditions. Elections are held. This is a successful model of development of Azerbaijan. I am sure that we will continue to go down this successful path.
I congratulate you on this wonderful event again.
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On behalf of local residents, intellectual Tahir Mammadov thanked the head of state for his attention to the development of Zagatala.
Then a picture was taken.