Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev at the ceremony of inauguration

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Dear guests, I express to the Azerbaijani electors, citizens of Azerbaijan and the whole Azerbaijani people my deep gratitude for the confidence and election as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

I will do justify the confidence, cope with this task in a worthy manner and continue the policy of Heydar Aliyev.

On October 15, the people of Azerbaijan came to the polling stations and gave their votes for the policy of Heydar Aliyev. They voted for peace, progress, development, creativity and stability. There are not alternatives to this policy in Azerbaijan.

The Heydar Aliyev’s policy has brought great successes to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is developing and gains successes in all spheres. Azerbaijan has managed to take a worthy place in the international community; its prestige has risen. Today, they settle account with Azerbaijan, and show respect to the country. All international large-scale projects in the region are carried out with Azerbaijan’s involvement taking into account its national interests.

Azerbaijan is carried out successful activity in the international organizations. At the request of Azerbaijan, such authoritative international organization as the Council of Europe has recognized Armenia as a state-aggressor. This process will be continued. Azerbaijan will do achieve more solid stance in the international arena.

Our relations with neighbors are developing very successfully: bilateral relations are strengthening, and regional cooperation is developing. Presence of outstanding state figures from the neighboring countries, who has arrived here, to participate at the today’s inauguration is another conformation of that.

Taking this opportunity, I welcome President of Georgia, Mr. Shevardnadze, Chairman of the Council of Federation of the Russian Federal Assembly, Mr. Sergey Mironov, deputy Prime minister of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Abdullatif Shener, Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Seyid Mohammad Abtehi and the head of the Ukrainian Government Mr. Viktor Yanukovich.

Azerbaijan is experiencing all-sided development, its economy is strengthened. Economic reforms are carried out in Azerbaijan. Due to these reforms, our country has for the short time ensured development of its economy. The most important indicator of the economy,the Gross Domestic Product, is yearly increased by 10%; inflation rate makes up 2 %, while ten years ago it was 1600 percent. The private sector is also successfully developing in Azerbaijan. It is very pleased that the share of the private sector in formation of GDP makes up 70 percent. A class of entrepreneurs has appeared. A large-scale program of privatization is being carried out. Land reform has been carried out as well: land has already been handed over to peasants. Therefore, the agricultural production is being developed. All this show that the economic reforms being carried out in Azerbaijan under he leadership of Heydar Aliyev bring their fine results..

Foreign investment flow in Azerbaijan is on a very high level, and the process is continuing. I can say that the volume of investments from all sources makes up 15 billion dollars. On the volume of investments per capita, Azerbaijan is leading among former soviet republics, and even left behind a number of Eastern European countries.

It is no secret that investments, especially foreign ones are made in the countries where there is stability. From this point of view, Azerbaijan is very favorable for making investments. Stability, public order prevailing for the last years in Azerbaijan have allowed taking important steps in the sphere of investments attraction.

Of course, we all must defend, guard and reinforce the stability established in Azerbaijan. Nobody will allow violating stability in Azerbaijan, and we will provide the people of Azerbaijan with living in stability, security and peace.

This stability will allow us to further achieve much more extreme, all-round development of Azerbaijan. In this field, we have a comprehensive plan. All fields in Azerbaijan should develop.

Of course, priority on the economy of Azerbaijan is realization of its oil strategy. Launched by Heydar Aliyev in 1994, the new oil strategy brought to Azerbaijan great successes. After the “Contract of the Century” was signed, this strategy has been realizing for 9 years. Thanks to this, Azerbaijan sufficiently delivers to the world markets its oil and gas resources. Azerbaijan very successfully cooperates in its sector din the Caspian with the foreign companies. In the oil field of the Republic invested was an amount totaling ten billion USD. Opened was tens of new working places, set up drilling rigs, devices, platforms, oil pipelines, terminals and other necessary infrastructure in the country.

Azerbaijan delivers its oil to the world markets via the two pipelines. Through the Baku- Novorossiysk pipeline currently is exported 2,5 million tons of oil. Through the Baku-Supsa in the west direction is exported 6,7 million tons of oil. At present, the pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan is being constructed and has already done 40 percent of the works. In construction of this pipeline has been invested 1 billion 200, million USD. Late this year, we are to open it.

Azerbaijan managed to successfully work at the “Shahdeniz” field, with great gas reserves. Means are being invested to the construction of the Baku-Erzurum gas-pipeline, and if thongs will go ahead within schedule, then in 2006 the Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to Europe.

Base for all these plans was laid in 1994. The conditions in that period were complicated and difficult. Azerbaijan was considered a high-risk country. Mr. President Heydar Aliyev did a grandiose work to attract investment in Azerbaijan. Finally, he made the legend a reality, a truth.

A component of the oil strategy is that the oil revenues effectively served the people of Azerbaijan. For this purpose, was created State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. Creation of the Fund was an extremely landmark event in the modern history of Azerbaijan. This is a transparent structure corresponding all the international standards. The international finance structures gave highly estimated its activity.

Currently, the Oil Fund accumulated means at amount of 800 million USD. This money belongs to the people. Therefore, the public is regularly informed on the activity of the Oil Fund. Every citizen should know on the amount of the currency resources of his country and that where and how they are spent.

In future, as the economic potential of Azerbaijan develops, after opening of new oil fields in Azerbaijan, putting into operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, opportunities of the country, of course, will raise. Azerbaijan will receive annually billions of USD. Due to this means, in Azerbaijan, will be conducted a creative work in all fields, a lot will be done in the field of social problems solving.

As you know, the means, allotted from the Oil Fund, first, are spent for the refugees and IDPs, residing in Azerbaijan in hard plight, for improvement of their life conditions. On the Decrees of Mr. President Heydar Aliyev, for these purposes were allotted 70 million USD, on which will be built new settlements, towns and houses. Tens of thousands refugees and IDPs have already moved from the tent camps to modern houses, and this process goes ahead. We shall further attach great attention to this question. Sure, recently all the refugees and IDPs, suffering from occupation, will be provided with modern conditions.

Other social problems are also being solved in Azerbaijan. As you know, recently on the executive orders of Mr. President, wages of the employees of health, education, culture and others increased by 50 %. By 40 percent were raised the pensions. This once again evidences that social problems were always in the focus of our president. This policy will be continued in future. All opportunities of the country will serve this goal. Not be chance, 60 percent of budget of the next year will be directed to solution of the social problems.

Azerbaijan will become in future a very rich and powerful country. Continuing the oil strategy, we in short time will achieve all-round development of our country.

In particular, great attention will be paid to the non-oil sector. New plants and factories will be put into operation. A plan of activities for development of entrepreneurship, a program of economic development of Azerbaijan is being prepared. This all-round program pf development will allow in short period to make Azerbaijan a rich state. We have all opportunities – natural resources, human potential, and the main – will of the people. All we, uniting and consolidating our efforts, shall make Azerbaijan a rich, mighty state.

A lot is being conducted in Azerbaijan for army building. In our country, created was a strong army, and this work will be continued. I will pay permanent attention to the said question. Azerbaijan should have a strong army. It should be able to solve all the problems it faces. Sure, economic potential of Azerbaijan will allow making all the possible, that the army corresponded the highest standards and could solve all the tasks it faces.

The heaviest problem for our country is the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict. It has been for many years we live on the ceasefire regime. Unfortunately, activity of the OSCE Minsk Group, directly engaged in the mentioned question, does not give any result. This question should find its resolution. We are hopeful. We hope that the co-chairs will more seriously, with responsibility regard the question. The said problem can be solved only on the base of several principles, norms of international law: the Azerbaijani lands should be liberated from occupation, one million of refugees and internally displaced people should return to their homelands, territorial integrity of our country should be restored. Azerbaijan will never agree with such situation, with occupation of its lands. You must know that though we are for peace, do not wish resume of war and endeavor to peacefully resolution to the problem, nevertheless, our patience is not unlimited. Azerbaijan will at all costs liberate its lands.

I believe in the happy future of Azerbaijan. Sure, that our country will further develop and strengthen. Democracy in Azerbaijan will get further development, be ensured political pluralism, freedom of speech. To reach all these, in Azerbaijan we have to do a lot.

For realization of all these and making Azerbaijan a powerful state, first, it is necessary to continue in the country the political course of Heydar Aliyev. Speaking from this high rostrum, I promise the people of Azerbaijan that I will adhere this policy, never turn aside from this way, will continue the policy of Heydar Aliyev.

Addressing today from this high rostrum to our dear President Mr. Heydar Aliyev, I say: dear President, we shall achieve that modern Azerbaijan, being your creation, became stronger, richer, reach all-round development, along Your way we shall gain new victories.

Long live the national leader of the people of Azerbaijan, founder of the modern Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev!

Long live heroic Azerbaijani people!

Long live free and independent Azerbaijan!

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