Dear country fellows, dear citizens of Azerbaijan,

34 years have elapsed since my leadership in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and 10 years since my leadership in the independent Azerbaijani state. In these years, as both an Azerbaijani and citizen of Azerbaijan, and as its leader and President, my vital purpose was only to serve You, the people of Azerbaijan that I loved more than myself, our statehood, economic, political, and moral development of our country. In this way, I have received all my strength and will only from my wise and thankful people. In the most difficult times and complicated situations, I relied on my people. This ensured my tolerance, will and all successes.

The people of Azerbaijan hold a worthy place among the leading world nations. The world is already aware of its rich moral, peculiar contributions it made to the world cultural treasury, its ability to acquire civil world values. Azerbaijan, by its labor and talent, is quickly integrating to the family of the world peoples and nobody is surprised at this.

Benefited from the leading experience and values of the world countries, our independent state develops. With the respect for democratic society, legal state, supremacy of human and civil rights, principles of political pluralism, Azerbaijan today is marching side by side with the European and world leading countries. Our country holds a worthy place in the international arena. Now, none of the key strategic and global issues of the world and region is solved without our opinion and interest. We are recognized, accepted and reckoned.

Economic life of Azerbaijan is being reconstructed and it dynamically revives and develops. Internal and foreign capital investment to the Country’s economy increases year by year, while the agrarian field, food and light industry becomes modern, share of the non-oil sector in the economy raises, stability of the national currency is preserved, currency reserves in crease, new working places with high wages are opened. All these are the results of the new oil and economic development strategy implemented since 1994. I am sure that in such stable conditions, in the coming years there will be neither an unemployed nor a poor in Azerbaijan. Wages, pensions and profits of the citizens will considerably increase. State of Azerbaijan, our businessmen will have an opportunity to participate at the perspective and profitable projects, acquire chance and might to invest in both the country and abroad.

Our state gradually increases its defense might and strengthens its military power. Our National Army owns leading experience and technology, and the youth willingly goes to serve in the army.

All these were not easily achieved. In the passed years, we have jointly prevented many internal and external dangerous aggressions, provocations and other anti-Azerbaijan actions, faced many ordeals. You know this very well.

The adventurist nationalist separatism launched by the Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh in1988 was not timely prevented for the reason of disability of the then Azerbaijani leadership. In 1990-1993s, taking the chance of political and power crisis in the Republic, of chaos and anarchy, the Armed Forces of Armenia occupied the lands of Azerbaijan, and over one million of our country fellows became refugees and IDPs. Citizens of the country were provoked to internal armed clashes, confrontations, attempted to eliminate and destroy our state and statehood. We prevented all of these. However, we could not restore territorial integrity of Azerbaijan violated during the period of chaos and anarchy, and solve the problem of retuning of the refugees to their homelands. I am confident that we shall certainly solve this question, too.

Despite this, during these years, we could solve the problems crucial for our people and state.

We, first, have achieved socio-political stability, which is the ground of our statehood, laid foundation of the civil society basing on the national unity and supremacy of laws.

Secondly, we have reconstructed the Country’s economy, which forms the goal of every state, of its vitality, and are on the path of development.

Third, we could establish our democratic and strong state with all its relevant institutions, that reflects the wish and dream of the people of Azerbaijan, and ensure irreversibility of its independence.

Only the state that acquired national unity, socio-political stability, dynamic economy, strong governmental institutions, and that bases on democratic and civil society, can solve everything, including territorial integrity an other issues. I am certain that it will be just so.

Dear citizens of Azerbaijan, my dear people,

I have lived up 60 years of my meaningful life with today and tomorrow of my people. Ten years of them, I have served the independent Azerbaijani state. You are aware of the works done in this field, but I have uncompleted, very perspective plans. Last times I have problems with my health that do not let me to complete these works that I started and conclusions of which I see clearly. Despite this, I was nominated as a candidate to the 15 October 2003 Presidential elections and my candidacy was registered. Hundreds thousands of people joined the election campaign and propagandize for me. Taking the opportunity, I extend my deep gratitude to those people, all members of the Yeni Azerbaijan Party who nominated my candidacy and back, representatives of other socio-political organizations, men of science, education and culture, intellectuals, and the people of Azerbaijan. I hope that I shall soon recover and turn to Motherland, be again with my people. Now, I reject my candidacy in favor of Ilham Aliyev.

I call on you – my country fellows, in the coming Presidential elections to vote for candidacy of my political successor, First Deputy Chairman of the Yeni Azerbaijan Party Ilham Aliyev. He is highly intellectual, pragmatic, and well aware of the modern world policy and economy, a strong and initiative personality. I assure you that both Ilham Aliyev and Yeni Azerbaijan Party will further closely unite worthy representatives of our people, do a lot for development of the Azerbaijani state and welfare of our nation. I am confident that with your help and support, Ilham Aliyev will be able to complete the crucial works and plans that I launched and could not complete. I trust him as myself and look forward to his future.

Deep respect,

Heydar Aliyev,

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

1 October 2003

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