Baku, April 5, AZERTAC
A new residential complex for 810 IDP families has been inaugurated in Kurdakhani settlement, Baku.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony.
Chairman of the State Committee for Refugee and IDP Affairs Rovshan Rzayev informed the head of state of the work done.
The construction of the complex started in March, 2018.
The complex which occupies an area of 15 hectares includes 15 buildings. The new residential complex also houses all necessary infrastructure facilities, including a school, kindergarten, club and community center, medical point, recreation park and playgrounds for kids. Extensive landscaping work was carried out and green areas were laid out in the territory.
This is the 103rd state-of-the-art residential complex built for internally displaced persons.
President Ilham Aliyev viewed conditions created in the apartments of the newly-built complex.
The building has 72 one-room, 360 two-room, 306 three-room, and 72 four-room apartments.
President Ilham Aliyev then familiarized himself with the conditions created at the 280-seat kindergarten.
President Ilham Aliyev also viewed conditions created at secondary school No 7 of Shusha district. All necessary conditions were created in the 560-seat school.
The head of state then met with the IDPs.
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the event.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- It is a very significant day today. We are celebrating the opening of a new settlement built for internally displaced persons in Sabunchu district. I sincerely congratulate you on this occasion.
I am very glad that such a beautiful settlement has been created here. It will be home to 810 families. All conditions are available. I have been shown around and seen the apartments. They are spacious and nice. A large school has been built. The kindergarten and public areas are quite spacious. In other words, all conditions are available. The IDPs who lived in difficult conditions will move here soon – the IDPs who lived in dormitories, boarding houses and other make-shift places for years. A new period begins in their lives. The conditions created here meet the highest standards. There are beautiful buildings, spacious rooms and apartments. This demonstrates our policy. Our policy is centered on the people of Azerbaijan. The solution of the problems of the internally displaced persons is the top priority for us. This policy was carried out by the great leader. As you know, the first IDP settlement was built on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev. At that time, first payments from the State Oil Fund were spent on that. Since that time, more than 100 settlements have been erected for the IDPs, and a large portion of them live in these settlements now. We are creating excellent conditions for the internally displaced persons in Baku, Sumgayit, the Absheron district, other cities and districts. This process will be continued. As you know, the last tent camp was removed in 2007. Until that time, the vast majority of our IDPs lived in tents. Last year alone, more than 5,000 apartments were built for the displaced persons. They are moving into these apartments. This year, we plan to commission at least 6,000 apartments. This process has already been launched, and I am sure that we will achieve our goal by the end of the year. Over the course of two years, approximately 11,000 IDP families will be resettled in new homes. This is an immense task. About 50,000 people on average will live in these apartments and solve their everyday problems. Major funds are being allocated for this purpose. As you know, funds have been allocated from the State Oil Fund for this purpose for years. The establishment of the State Oil Fund was also a historic event because this Fund provides support for our budget and also facilitates the solution of social issues, implementation of projects of strategic importance for our country. In the first place, the problems of internally displaced persons are addressed. Without this, of course, it would have been impossible to help the displaced people in such volumes. The State Oil Fund, which has evolved as a result of our successful oil strategy, has allocated and will continue to allocate large funds for this purpose. This is our policy. We must and we will resolve the problems of all displaced persons.
I should also note that some of the settlements were built on the lands that were once occupied and then liberated from occupation. This includes the practically rebuilt city of Horadiz, which is one of the most beautiful places of residence today. More than a thousand displaced families were resettled in Shikharkh settlement, a territory that used to be under occupation. A beautiful settlement consisting of 150 houses has been erected in Jojug Marjanli. Modern infrastructure, jobs and communications have been created there. In other words, life has returned to this land.
Of course, our main goal is to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Consistent work is carried out in this direction. There are no changes in our position of principle. This issue must be resolved within the framework of the territorial integrity of our country, on the basis of norms and principles of international law, decisions and resolutions of influential international organizations. Azerbaijan is doing everything necessary in this direction. Historical justice is on our side. Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied lands are our ancestral lands. International law also supports our position. Of course, the economic and military potential further strengthens our country. We will continue to pursue a consistent policy on this issue. I want to say again that this conflict can only be resolved within the territorial integrity of our country.
As for the solution of problems for the internally displaced persons, these problems are addressed comprehensively. Buildings are constructed, new settlements are built, social conditions of the internally displaced persons are improving, and social support provided by the state is growing. A large social package was recently approved. In particular, benefits paid to displaced persons have been increased by 50 percent. In fact, we have increased this amount several times. Today, the benefits paid to every IDP has been increased by 50 percent. This reflects our attention to the IDPs. Other social projects have been implemented. As you know, we are implementing very serious economic reforms now. These reforms expand our financial capabilities. We channel additional funds primarily into social issues. Thus, the popular support I received in last year’s presidential election enables us to fulfill all our promises. In the run-up to the election, I said that we will move to a new economic model and strive to address all social issues. In other words, major reforms, reforms in the economic and social sphere were announced on the eve of the presidential election. Serious reforms were launched after the election. These reforms are comprehensive. You and the public can certainly follow these reforms. The decisions I made and the orders signed will have a positive impact on all spheres of our life. Our country is renewing and modernizing. We are working on a new economic model and should make sure that the country's economy continues to develop steadily. We have always paid great attention to social issues, even in the years of crisis. The economic crisis that gripped the world in 2015-2016 affected all countries, including us. Just imagine – our revenues dropped three- to fourfold. In other words, the decline was measured not by percentage, but by times. This has been a great test for any country. Of course, as a result of the prompt action taken, we managed to mitigate the consequences of that crisis, and by taking serious steps afterwards, we succeeded in maintaining economic stability and moving on to development. Last year, economic development began. There are results for the first two months of this year. They are very positive, economic growth is quite high and accounts for about 3 percent. Industrial production in the non-oil sector has increased by more than 15 percent. Incomes of the population are increasing, inflation is at a very low level – at less than 2 percent, strict control is exercised over consumer prices. In other words, I want to say that a new stage of economic and social reforms was launched after the presidential election, and we are seeing their results today. I can say that as a result of the measures taken, budget revenues in the first quarter of the year have increased by more than 200 million manats. At the expense of what? At the expense of transparency, a new approach and reforms. This allows us the opportunity to channel these funds into improving the well-being of our citizens, and this is what we have been doing. The minimum wage, the minimum pension have increased by almost 40 percent, social benefits have been doubled on average. The allowances paid to the families of martyrs, those disabled in the Karabakh war, the internally displaced persons, scholarships to students – all this has been made possible at the expense of this. Our economic situation has enabled us to carry out these reforms. They cover all areas. I want to say again that we have entered a new stage of development.
I can say that all the steps taken are highly appreciated by the population. The letters and appeals from the ground give grounds to say that the reforms enjoy popular support and are highly appreciated, which creates additional opportunities for us. We should modernize our country and develop Azerbaijan. We should make sure that all problems are resolved. All negative phenomena in the economic, social and judicial spheres, in the field of public administration must be stopped. Transparency must be fully ensured in Azerbaijan, and we will achieve that. This will give us extra opportunities. Budget revenues will further increase and social issues will be addressed even faster.
When we raised the minimum wage and pension, I said that this process would be continued. It is possible to say that we have implemented major infrastructure projects. True, there are still projects that need to be implemented, including the fairly large events provided for in the fourth state program on the socioeconomic development of the regions. But we will focus primarily on social issues. Of course, there are opportunities to do that and we are creating these opportunities.
Azerbaijan is a completely independent country both economically and, of course, politically. We do not depend on anyone, our financial situation is stable, our incomes are increasing, the large-scale projects being implemented, including the Southern Gas Corridor project, will bring us additional income in the near future. These revenues will be distributed fairly. I want to say again that they will be channeled primarily into the social well-being of our citizens. Thus, this beautiful settlement opened today is a demonstration of our policy, the care to the internally displaced persons and the increasing opportunities of our country. Today, Azerbaijan is doing a great deal of creative work in all areas – economic, social. Hospitals, schools are built, new social facilities are put into operation, roads are laid, such excellent conditions are created for the IDPs. Creation, improvement and development are the factors Azerbaijan is noted for today.
I want to congratulate you on this wonderful event again. I want to express my reverence and respect to all displaced persons. I want to assure the IDPs still living in a difficult situation that their problems will also be resolved. They, too, will improve their living conditions in turn. We have the will to do that, and we will do that. I heartily congratulate you again!
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Internally displaced person from Shusha Gunash Huseynova, principal of the secondary school No 7 of Shusha district Elchin Dadashov and deputy head of Shusha District Executive Authority Vusala Fataliyeva thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his attention and care.
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Speaking next, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Thank you very much, I am grateful to you. I appreciate your kind words. Our meeting coincides with the anniversary of the April battles. The April battles are a glorious history for us, a brilliant victory. Azerbaijani soldiers, the Azerbaijani state showed that they would never put up with this occupation.
We want to resolve the issue through diplomatic and political means. But at the same time, we have military power. Today, the Azerbaijani army is one of the strongest armies on a global scale. The April battles showed that we can restore our territorial integrity by any means. They demonstrated that the Azerbaijani army has great strength. They showed that this is our land. The return of our citizens to Jojug Marjanli, including adolescents, children – people who had never been there – after a long pause, is evidence that after the liberation of our lands from occupation, all our IDPs will return to their native lands.
You have said, and I absolutely agree, that this is a temporary place of residence. After the liberation of our lands from occupation, we will rebuild all our cities and breathe a new life into them, the cities that are razed to the ground now. There, in the occupied lands, all the buildings have been destroyed. International organizations, the OSCE fact-finding mission prepared a report about this. Just as we restored Jojug Marjanli, restored buildings, houses, cities and villages that were on other occupied lands, we will also restore the cities and villages located on all the other occupied lands. We have the will and strength to do that.
At the same time, as you mentioned, we must show the world, and we are showing and proving that Karabakh is our historical land. You highly appreciate the activities of Mehriban Aliyeva in this area. I also highly appreciate it because it is the result of her activities that presentations, symposia, conferences and round-tables on this issue have been held in leading international organizations of the world. The art of mugham, tar and other national assets that represent our historical and cultural heritage are included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Exhibitions and presentations are held in connection with all this, i.e. we communicate the truth about Karabakh to the world. Earlier, especially in the first years of independence, the Armenian lobby tried to form an opinion that Karabakh was allegedly their land. We did not have the opportunities, there was no lobby and we had limited access abroad. But today we communicate the truth to the world and, on the basis of historical documents, material and cultural heritage, we prove that this is our historical land. When I said that historical justice is on our side, I meant exactly that. Looking at ancient maps, we see that all placenames in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions are of Azerbaijani origin. Historical justice, international law, all international organizations recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. This is our great diplomatic and political success. Of course, an important factor is our economic potential, our military power.
We try to resolve the issue peacefully. But at the same time, we are building up our military potential and military strength, and all necessary measures will continue to be taken in this direction. I congratulate you again and wish you continued success and good health. Thank you!
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