On 13 August, a ceremony dedicated to the departure of the Azerbaijani peacemaking detachment to Iraq was held at the ‘N’ military unit.

Commander of the detachment reported defense minister of the Republic, colonel-general Safar Abiyev.

Defense minister of Azerbaijan addressed the staff of the peacemaking detachment. Participation of the Azerbaijani militarily unit in the peacemaking operation in Iraq is evidence to the increasing prestige and reputation of the Republic in the world community, the Minister said. Today, the officers of Azerbaijan worthily represent the Republic of Azerbaijan at the security operations throughout the world.

After President Heydar Aliyev signed the NATO’s ‘Partnership for Peace’ framework program in Brussels in 1994, the Republic of Azerbaijan set up its peacemaking detachment in 1997, Safar Abiyev stressed.

It should be noted that the first peacemaking detachment of Azerbaijan was sent to Kosovo in 1999. Azerbaijani peacemakers actively took part consisting a part of the Turkish military unit.

In November 18, 2002, we sent the second peacemaking detachment to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan and it successfully implements its mission there.

Basing on the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev made an offer on sending a peacemaking detachment as apart of the international coalition forces to Iraq. In May 2003, Azerbaijan Parliament approved the decisions on sending an Azerbaijani detachment in the coalition forces to participate at the peacemaking operations in Iraq.

Noting that a landmark event has happened in the life of the Republic – on 4 August, on the Decree of President Heydar Aliyev, Mr. Ilham Aliyev was elected as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Appointment of Ilham Aliyev as the Premier of the Republic is the logic conclusion of his activities.

Congratulation message sent by the US President George Bush on 11 August to esteemed Ilham Aliyev is evidence to that. It reads: ‘We look forward to working with You, your government, and the Parliament of Azerbaijan to strengthen Your country’s democratic institutions as you prepare for the upcoming presidential elections’.

We are sure, at the coming presidential elections, the officers and servicemen of the Azerbaijani detachment will vote for the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Heydar Aliyev, the Minister said.

Ambassador of Turkey to Azerbaijan Ahmad Unal Chevigoz, the US charge d-affaires to Azerbaijan Nancy Mcldowney, representatives of diplomatic missions and other officials attended the ceremony.

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