Baku, June 25, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev has reviewed conditions created in a residential building for servicemen in Khatai district, Baku.
Minister of Defense Zakir Hasanov reported to the head of state, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev.
The building was constructed in accordance with the order of President Ilham Aliyev on measures to strengthen social protection of servicemen of the Defense Ministry.
The new 14-storey building has a private entrance. There are a total of 65 apartments, of which 39 have two rooms, and 26 have three rooms.
President Ilham Aliyev reviewed conditions created in the apartments.
The head of state then met with servicemen.
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev
- Dear servicemen! Dear participants of the ceremony.
First of all, I want to congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on the upcoming Day of the Armed Forces. I wish all personnel of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan further success.
On the eve of this wonderful holiday, we are gathered for the opening of a new residential building constructed for our servicemen. The building has been constructed in a short period of time and consists of 65 apartments. I have just reviewed the apartments and was convinced that there are very good conditions and that all apartments are renovated. I am sure that servicemen and their families will feel comfortable here.
The construction of this building shows once again that housing problems of servicemen are successfully resolved in Azerbaijan. As you know, according to a decree I signed at the end of 2011, the servicemen with an immaculate service record of 20 years are provided with apartments by the state. Within this program framework, around 900 military personnel have already been provided with apartments and hundreds of other servicemen will have their housing problems resolved in the near future. To date, more than 100 million manats have been allocated for the implementation of this program from the state budget. In other words, we are strengthening our army, its material and technical infrastructure. At the same time, we are resolving day-to-day problems of our servicemen.
Also improving are service conditions of the military. Relevant reconstruction work is carried out in military units and military camps located in different parts of Azerbaijan today. Repairs are under way and military bases are under construction according to relevant instructions. Last year, on the eve of the Day of the Armed Forces, we celebrated the opening of a naval base built on the Caspian coast in Baku. This base is one of the largest military installations in the Caspian Sea. All necessary conditions are available there. At the same time, repairs are carried out in all other military units. I have set the task of renovating every single military unit. The military should have good accommodation and service conditions. This once again shows that we in Azerbaijan are paying great attention to the process of army building, and this is natural. This should be the case in any country, especially those in a state of war.
Azerbaijan's economy is growing and our financial capabilities are expanding. As you know, the biggest expenditure of the state budget is associated with the military. The work we have carried out in recent years as a result of an increase in budget expenditure is obvious. Today our army is one of the strongest armies in terms of material and technical provision. The equipment, weaponry and ammunition we have acquired in recent years meet the highest standards. Today, our army uses high-precision weaponry with very high destructive power. In other words, all our military needs are provided. In addition, our soldiers have not been involved in civil works in military units for several years now. Instead, we engage civilians, and by doing do we pursue two objectives: first, soldiers have to serve in the army and raise their professionalism; and second, this means new jobs for civilians. Thousands of civilians work in military units and receive good salaries within the framework of this program. While visiting military units, I talk to them and see that they are also pleased with this work.
In short, the process of army building in Azerbaijan is carried out consistently and systematically, and the work we have done is obvious. In parallel, we in Azerbaijan have created a military-industrial complex. We manufacture military products of more than a thousand denominations. This provides for the needs of our army. At the same time, we have already reached foreign markets. The defense industry exhibition held in Baku shows once again that Azerbaijan has made great strides in this direction too, because the first exhibition aroused great interest. The military products displayed in the exhibition were manufactured by leading companies of the world, and Azerbaijan has already acquired a part of them. Thus, in addition to attending the traditional exhibitions of defense industry held in various countries, Azerbaijan has also had its say in the matter.
As I have already said, the process of army building in Azerbaijan is carried out systematically. Of course, an important place in this process is occupied by military and technical facilities, because the technologies emerging in the world today are manifested not only in science, industry or economy, but also in the military sphere, and the wars of the coming decades will be based on technology. Of course, conventional weapons, as always, will also play a role, but the picture we are seeing in various places today, the wars and clashes suggests that military advantage, among all the other factors, is largely determined by technological progress. Therefore, the most sophisticated weaponry and ammunition imported to Azerbaijan meet the high technological level.
I have recently issued instructions to further expand and improve the logistics. Azerbaijan is already importing new weaponry and hardware. This has been happening in the last few months. This process will be continued. We have enough material resources, and we are buying military products from many countries. By saying this I mean that we are not dependent on a single source. In this area, and indeed in all other areas, we are following a path of diversification. Of course, we must continue to try to import the most modern weaponry and hardware for the Azerbaijan army. I am confident that we will achieve this. In parallel, our soldiers, of course, having received relevant training, are already highly qualified to use this equipment, and the recent developments on the frontline have confirmed this once again.
The process of army building, of course, is not limited to logistical support. An important place is occupied by combat capability and the morale of our soldiers and officers. I can say with full confidence that the Azerbaijani army is among the strongest armies from this perspective. The combat readiness, the morale and the psychological atmosphere in the army are very positive. The patriotic spirit and discipline are at a high level. Of course, all these factors multiply our military strength. I have repeatedly pointed out in recent years that the Azerbaijani army is among the strongest armies on a global scale now, and the April fighting confirmed this once again. It showed the world that Azerbaijan is a country to reckon with.
Azerbaijan not only has economic and industrial power. We have already made great strides in the military sphere. This process will be constant. Our fighting capacity should be improved continuously. Azerbaijan will continue to fulfill all these tasks.
We live in a time of war. Therefore, of course, military issues receive special attention. This is the top priority issue in our daily work and, as I have already noted, this policy is reflected in the state budget.
Our lands have been under occupation for many years. Unfortunately, Armenia flagrantly violates the norms and principles of international law, the resolutions and decisions adopted by international organizations are not fulfilled, remain on paper, and international law essentially does not work. This being the case, we certainly need to step up our military power. Along with this, of course we will continue to pursue diplomatic and political efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
As you know, in order to disrupt negotiations, Armenia committed an armed provocation against us in April. Our positions were under fire. Weapons were used against civilians. Six civilians were killed in the aftermath of Armenian provocation. Our soldiers were also killed and wounded. Of course, Azerbaijan had to give and did gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy. The April fighting, as I have already said, will remain in history as our great military victory. By showing great heroism, the Azerbaijani army liberated a part of its territory from occupiers – to be more exact, a part of Agdere, Fizuli and Jabrayil districts, and regained control over strategic heights.
I am sure that those events sent a serious signal both to Armenia and to those dealing with this matter. After all, Armenia’s desire is not a secret. They want this process to last infinitely and to maintain the status quo. Seeing the mounting pressure on them from international mediators, they resort to various provocations. For example, in November 2014, they committed an armed provocation against us, and after receiving a decent answer, Armenia, using this as an excuse, effectively froze the negotiations. From November 2014 to December 2015, there were practically no talks. The meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents held in December 2015 was a formality. Seeing that political pressure from the mediators has grown this year, they resorted to yet another armed provocation. But I am sure that they are reaping the bitter fruits of that now.
The conflict must be resolved soon. It must be resolved on the basis of norms and principles of international law. There is no and can’t be any change in our position. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is recognized by the entire world. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on the subject. There is no international body higher than the United Nations Security Council. These resolutions state that Armenian armed forces must withdraw from our lands immediately and unconditionally, and they will.
So these are the ways to resolve the issue. The Azerbaijani state will never allow a second Armenian state to be created on its historical lands. This is not and never will be a subject of negotiations. The issue may be resolved in stages, and I am sure that we can resolve the issue in this way. But, of course, there are international mediators. In a broader sense, the international community should exert more pressure on the occupier state of Armenia.
As you know, after the April events the Armenian leadership put forward a number of conditions for a continuation of negotiations. None of them, of course, can be accepted, because no-one can put forward any conditions to us. Negotiations are not a favor to us. The Armenian side is well aware of what awaits it if the talks are frozen or disrupted. Therefore, of course, the Azerbaijani side entered the negotiations without accepting any conditions. The Vienna meeting was initiated by the United States of America. I believe that this meeting had positive results. In other words, the conditions put forward by the Armenian side were not accepted. In Vienna, the Azerbaijani side did not sign any documents. The co-chair countries simply made a statement. It is their statement.
The positive fact is that a month after the Vienna meeting, another meeting was held in St. Petersburg on the initiative of the Russian side. We view its results as positive. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed an official position of Azerbaijan, which, of course, is open to the public.
For my part, I want to note that the meeting in St. Petersburg has positive results. I do hope that this process will be continued. Once again, we have entered these talks without accepting any conditions. The negotiations should be meaningful and substantive. They should not be held just to create a semblance of talks.
At the end of the meeting in St. Petersburg, a joint declaration was adopted. It has also been published. The declaration states everything, in particular, the ways of resolve the issue. At the same time, we also discussed the issue of increasing the number of office workers of the personal representative of the OSCE chairman. However, the number was not specified. I can say though that whereas six people work in this office now, their number can be increased by 2-2.5 times at most. So we are not talking of a large mission. If we consider that the line of contact is tens of kilometers long, we should not look for another meaning in this. The mandate of the office is also in place. There are no changes. So instead of six people, there will be 12, 13 or 14. That is all.
As to the condition put forward by the Armenians regarding the application of a mechanism for investigating incidents, I believe that there is no need for that at this stage. First, there are no such mechanisms. No-one is telling us exactly what these will be about. Therefore, it would be wrong to examine this issue today. Second, what is the meaning of this? If the idea is to freeze the conflict and take further steps on the contact line, then, of course, Azerbaijan will not agree to that. This would be possible only if there is positive dynamics in the negotiations, if we see tangible results and if we know when our lands will be liberated from the occupation. Then, of course, a variety of mechanisms can be developed and this issue van be discussed.
I want to touch upon another important issue in the statement we adopted in St. Petersburg. It noted that the situation on the contact line has been stable lately, a ceasefire has been restored and this is regarded as a positive development. This being the case, there is no need for applying any mechanisms for incident investigation. So this condition was not accepted either.
I want to say again that we need to negotiate the subject matter. Armenia’s aggressive policy must end. We must know when the process of liberation of our lands will begin. This process, of course, will take place. The Azerbaijani side and I personally have repeatedly said that we can resolve the conflict only in stages, because it is impossible to do it otherwise. Armenia has always tried to further complicate the situation, disrupt the process of negotiations and the phased solution. We believe that this is the most appropriate way. It can lead to a solution of the issue in a short time.
I want to note once again that the principled position of the Azerbaijani state on this issue is obvious. There is no and never will be any changes in this position. Let me repeat that the issue must be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh will never be provided with independence. A second Armenian state will never be created on historical lands of Azerbaijan.
This is the main issue. As for the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, it is something for the future. Of course, there can be a certain status. There is Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic within Azerbaijan. It has the status of autonomy. In Europe and other countries, there is progressive experience. There are different statuses. However, this status should not violate the territorial integrity of our country.
I would also like to note that the document signed by the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2008 – it is called the Meiendorf declaration – and the statement adopted in St. Petersburg this month refer to the Helsinki Final Act. Let the Armenian side carefully read the Helsinki Final Act. The principles are clearly stated there, and the prevailing principle is one of territorial integrity. There is also a principle of self-determination but, first of all, the Armenian nation has already gained independence and has the Armenian state, even though this state was created on historical Azerbaijani lands. Secondly, the principle of self-determination must not violate the territorial integrity of countries. These are international principles for every country to comply with.
We will continue to pay serious attention to army building. This issue, the process of army building, will always be a priority. Today, the Azerbaijani army is ready and capable of performing any task. Such a rapid development and construction of the army in the years of independence, of course, pleases every citizen of Azerbaijan. We are proud that we have a strong army. I have repeatedly said that Azerbaijan is a strong state with a strong army.
Dear servicemen, let me once again cordially congratulate you on the forthcoming Day of the Armed Forces and I wish you good health and continued success. Thank you!
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President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev presented apartment ownership certificates to a group of servicemen.
Then a picture was taken.