Baku, January 28, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have met with families of martyrs at the Presidential Palace.
The head of state made a speech at the event.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Dear representatives of martyr families!
I have invited you to a meeting today. First of all, I want to express you my highest consideration for you. Your relatives have died for our lands, for the Motherland and ascended to the heights of martyrdom. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs!
In the early 1990s, as a result of Armenia's aggressive policy, our lands fell under occupation and more than a million of our compatriots became refugees and displaced persons. Thousands of people became martyrs, tens of thousands were injured and became disabled. At that time, there was a period of anarchy in Azerbaijan. The main reason for our defeat was that there was no strong leader in Azerbaijan at the time. Various groups fought for power, were engaged in provocations against each other, and Armenia took advantage of this and seized a part of our lands. I can say with full confidence – I have repeatedly said this before – that if Heydar Aliyev had been the leader of Azerbaijan at the time, our lands would never have been occupied.
In the early 1990s, as a result of the treacherous activities of the PPFA-Musavat tandem, our people were faced with a great tragedy. You know that we are trying to resolve this issue today. Great attention is being paid to army building. Our army has demonstrated its power on the battlefield. The April battles are our glorious and historic victory. We have freed several strategic positions from the invaders and raised the Azerbaijani flag in these regions, at these heights. Today, the Azerbaijani flag flies at Lalatapa, the mountains of Agdara and Nakhchivan, which were under occupation before.
At the same time, as you know, we are trying to resolve this issue through negotiations. I believe that the growing potential, the military and economic power of our country and our positions in the world are working for us today, and our country's positions in the negotiations are quite strong.
The settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is our top priority. The restoration of the territorial integrity of our country is our top priority. We have achieved maximum results in the diplomatic plane. Today the whole world declares that this conflict must be settled within the framework of the territorial integrity of our country. Numerous decisions, resolutions, bilateral agreements and declarations express support for the territorial integrity of our country. Leading international organizations of the world – the UN, its Security Council, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others – demand the settlement of this conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of our country. In other words, we are using all available means to resolve the issue and liberate our lands from invaders.
We should also know that the power factor has come to the fore in the world today. We have done a great job in the field of army building. As I have already noted, we have demonstrated our power on the battlefield. We have shown to the whole world that the Azerbaijani people and the Azerbaijani state will never put up with this occupation.
The people affected by the war are always in the spotlight. They are taken care of. In recent years, more than a hundred settlements have been built for the IDPs. Last year alone, apartments and houses were provided to 5,900 displaced persons. This process will be continued this year too. The state provides support to martyr families. To date, the state has provided apartments and houses to 6,650 martyr families, while more than 6,000 martyr families have been given cars. This is a manifestation of the attitude of our state to martyr families. I don't know of any other country paying so much attention to its citizens, those in a difficult situation and those who have lost their loved ones.
This issue is always a priority in my work. My numerous meetings with martyr families in recent years are further evidence of that. We have participated in the opening of many houses together. I have personally handed over apartment and car keys to martyr families, and I consider this to be my duty. It is my duty. Serving the people is my most important responsibility. It is a great honor for me to serve you in this matter.
Attention to martyr families was once again demonstrated last year. In April last year, the Azerbaijani people showed confidence in me once again, believed in me and elected me as president. My first decree was associated with enhancing the social protection of martyr families. Of course, this was no coincidence. I could have signed a decree in any sphere – in the field of economics, foreign policy or in connection with social issues, but I thought that the first decree should be associated with martyr families. Based on this decree, the state is to provide about 10,000 martyr families with a lump sum in the amount of 11,000 manats. Let me say it again – I do not want to compare Azerbaijan to any other country, but it is also true that Azerbaijan is an example for many countries in this area.
The process of payment has already begun. I am told that more than 3,000 martyr families have received 11,000 manats each. However, it turned out in the course of this process that the amount paid to people in the form of an allowance earlier does not correspond to the amount being provided now. In other words, although the amount of 50,000 manats was quite high for those years, the beginning of the 1990s, it cannot be compared to the current 11,000 manats. I expressed my opinion on this matter to the public. I said that this issue should be seriously examined and preference should be given to two key factors: law and justice. On the one hand, those who have received this allowance in due time should not be included in this list now. This is required by law and procedures. But on the other, we should resolve all issues fairly. We should approach all issues through the prism of social justice. Given this, I signed a new decree today. According to this decree, the number of those who will receive 11,000 manats has been increased by 2,725 people. This number, of course, includes those who received a smaller allowance earlier, and representatives of the families of martyrs who worked in internal affairs bodies and were originally not included in the list at all. This number exceeds 460 people.
This requires large funds, of course. There are plans to allocate a total of 135 million manats from the state budget to implement this program. This is a fairly large amount. We are trying to treat all funds economically. We are trying to provide great support for the directions that determine the economic and social development of our country. However, I have always said that the well-being and prosperity of the Azerbaijani people are top priorities for us. Therefore, this decision is, first of all, fair. Secondly, after this presidential decree, it already comes into force as an official document. We have provided these two factors.
I want to say again: social problems of our people will continue to be in the spotlight. We will continue to build and provide housing for martyr families. Last year alone, 626 families of martyrs were provided with new apartments and houses. This year, another 800 families of martyrs will receive new apartments and houses. In the next few years, all martyr families will be provided with houses and apartments. There will not be a single martyr family not provided with a house or apartment by the state.
This is our policy and our path. We are going along this path. By inviting you here to the Presidential Palace today, I wanted to convey these words and thoughts to you myself. I wanted to meet you again, express my appreciation, deep respect and highest consideration for you. I wish you good health. I hope you never come across such terrible tragedies in your life again. Thank you!
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The head of state then presented the lump sum payment cards to martyrs’ heirs. The families of martyrs thanked President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva for their attention and care.
Summing up the meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- I am grateful to you for all the kind words. I want to say again: it is a great honor for me to serve the Azerbaijani people. As President, I have always tried to serve my people with dignity and to give an impetus to the all-round development of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan today is one of the rapidly and successfully developing countries on a global scale. The economic and military potential of our country is strengthening. I should emphasize that as a result of a successful economic policy, Azerbaijan can implement large-scale social projects now. If we did not have financial opportunities and if our financial situation were bad, we would not be able to put forward these projects and initiatives. The citizens who were once granted allowance received only a small amount. If we translate it into dollars at the exchange rate of the time, it would be about 20-50 dollars. This was all we could afford. There were no other opportunities. Today, 11,000 manats is a completely different figure. Therefore, the economic development of our country and the improving material situation allow us the opportunity to carry out many social projects. We have built more than a hundred settlements with our own money. A total of 6,650 martyr families have been provided with apartments. As I have already noted, all martyr families will be provided with apartments. A program is being drawn up.
Large funds are required to strengthen the military potential of our country. We are now equipping our army with the most modern weaponry. Why? Because we are in a state of war. Because our lands are under occupation. Large funds are also being allocated for this purpose. Last year, two military parades were held in Baku, demonstrating our powerful military potential. The Azerbaijani army today is one of the strongest armies on a global scale. We strive to comprehensively resolve the problems facing the country. Social issues are a priority but solution to these issues requires a powerful economy. Therefore, our economic development should continue to be such as to enable us to carry out social projects.
You know, we live in a market economy which has its own laws. Sometimes the market economy is not very consistent with the social policy. I believe that the model of a successful development of our country includes both of these two important directions because we want to achieve economic development in order to address social issues on a larger scale, so that our citizens live even better. As far as possible, we help those of our citizens who are in dire straits. We build settlements, houses for those who have lost their home and lands, we provide them with apartments. Those who are still unable to provide for themselves at the proper level receive targeted social assistance from the state.
Azerbaijan is one of a handful of countries in the world where a targeted social assistance program has become so widespread. Today we are looking for and finding new opportunities for those who are still unable to find a job. A self-employment program will assume large proportions. This year alone, the self-employment program will cover 7,000 families. What for? In order for vulnerable families to be provided with special means by the state to start a small business. To do all this work, of course, this policy must be continued. This is the only correct policy. It was thanks to this policy that Azerbaijan was able to assert itself as an independent country on a global scale.
Some speakers today talked about Jojug Marjanli. Jojug Marjanli has become a symbol of our intransigent will. Its improvement and reconstruction have become possible as a result of a military victory. We have proved that we have an advantage over the enemy also on the battlefield. We have dispelled the myth the Armenians, the leadership of Armenia have been creating for many years. We have completely dispelled it. They tried to prove that they are superior to us militarily and were therefore able to seize our lands in the early 1990s. The Azerbaijani public is well aware of the reason for the occupation. The main reason is the traitorous and corrupt, incompetent and illiterate people represented in the leadership of Azerbaijan at the time. Waging a struggle and war among themselves, they allowed the enemy to seize our lands. The April battles showed the whole world that Azerbaijan is a strong state, that Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are fearless professionals. They showed that our country has a strong army and that the Azerbaijani people would never put up with this occupation. Two years after the April battles, a successful Nakhchivan operation was carried out. An area several times larger than in 2016 has come under our control after being freed from the occupiers. We are in control of strategic routes and communications passing through the territory of Armenia. We will continue to increase our military power. We want a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We do not want any more martyrs, do not want young people to become martyrs. A peaceful resolution of the conflict requires political, economic and military power. These three factors are available today and they lead our country into the future.
Dear brothers, sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers! I want to once again express my deep respect to you. You have raised wonderful sons for the Motherland. You provided support for your loved ones. You can be rightly proud of your martyr sons. All the people of Azerbaijan are proud of our martyrs. Martyrs always live and will live in our hearts forever. Thank you!
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