The Azerbaijan State News Agency

OFFICIAL NEWS

SPEECH OF PRIME MINISTER OF AZERBAIJAN ILHAM ALIYEV

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Ambassadors,

Dear guests,

It is a very remarkable day in the life of Azerbaijan. A new object of infrastructure - Qaradaq gas compressor station has been constructed and is being put into operation. Let me congratulate all of us on this occasion.

President Heydar Aliyev reached the agreement on construction of this station during his official visit to Japan in 1998. This station and an 87-km gas pipeline were constructed at the expense of a loan of the government of Japan. This fact proved once more that Azerbaijan and Japan enjoy high-level relations. We have mutual respect and cooperation between us and it is very important. These relations with Japan, our economic cooperation will give a chance to solve many issues. Therefore, it is taking place right now. The North power station was reconstructed and put into operation for loans of the Japanese government. Today we put into operation this station. I know we will be working on projects of the kind in the future. Our cooperation will embrace other fields as well, I believe.

Side by side with this credit - I should point out that it was allocated at low interest rate for 40 years - the government of Japan renders interest free financial aid to Azerbaijan. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend gratitude to the government of Japan on behalf of the government of Azerbaijan.

Construction of this station and putting it into operation gives an opportunity to solve a number of problems. By means of this station, Baku and its suburbs will be perfectly supplied with gas, volume of supply will considerably increase. This is a very important task for us. We want that gas was supplied to each spot of Azerbaijan. You know, between 1970 and 1980 when Heydar Aliyev was leading the republic, gas pipelines were constructed everywhere, to each village of Azerbaijan. Of course, some of these pipelines are old, and are out of order, that is why gas supply was held up. We are restoring all these lines, and a lot has been done for recent two years in this field.

Gas is being supplied today to 32 regions. Regional centers of these regions have gas. We purchase 4 billion cu m of gas from Russia with this aim. Of course, this is a social action first of all, I would tell you frankly, from the post of view of economy it is not beneficial. Because the price for gas in Azerbaijan is low, I can tell, $200 million are being allocated every year for gas purchase. Only 5 percent are coming back, even, maybe, not returning to budget.

Despite of this, we acknowledge the importance of this issue; we consider this issue from the social point of view and do not raise prices for gas. The same is with electric power, I would like you to know that the government has no intention to raise prices for gas and power energy. We know that financial abilities of the population are not so high yet. I would like everyone to know, that implementation of this project is of social character. In addition, we are going to continue our activity in the direction. We will provide purchase of extra gas by Azerbaijan. However, within a few years, Azerbaijan will cover its gas consumption. Such natural gas field and Shah Deniz was discovered in Azerbaijan. The works are to intensify over there near time; new wells are to be drilled. Therefore, within a few upcoming years Azerbaijan will fully provide itself with necessary volume of gas. Nevertheless, before that, we will go on buying gas. At the same time, this station will give a chance to increase the volume of electric power in the country. All of us know good work has been done in this field for recent two years; power supply has been considerably improved, especially in regions of Azerbaijan. I have just visited some regions of Azerbaijan and I am pleased to tell you that there are no breaks in power supply, the population is fully provided with power energy. The works will be continuing in this field as well; two new power stations with capacity of 400 megawatt each are to be constructed in Azerbaijan. I am sure, that one of them North-2 will be constructed for the loan of the Japanese government. After these stations are put into operation, there will not be any power supply problems in Azerbaijan; we will be able to meet fully our power consumption. Maybe we will be exporting power energy. All these works have become possible as a result of general economic program carried out by Heydar Aliyev recent years.

As economy strengthens in Azerbaijan, naturally, social problems are being solved first. A lot of work has been done in this direction.

Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy is being successfully carried out in the country. As a result of this strategy, thousands of jobs appeared. Big investments were brought to Azerbaijan. It is important that there are Japanese companies among those investing to Azerbaijan. They are very active in oil and gas sector of the country. At the same time, as investors they bring big money.

Oil pipelines have been laid and put into operation in Azerbaijan. Currently, we are constructing Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. In the near time, it will be put into operation as well. This pipeline, in its turn, will help us to resolve other social problems that we face. Azerbaijan’s perspectives are good. We have good potential, natural resources, and the main thing, strong manpower and potential. We should use these values productively.

Dear friends, we are putting into operation this station. We are happy about it. Because we know, in the near future Azerbaijan will see benefits of it. In the future, we will be constructing and putting into operation infrastructure objects of the kind.

During the last 20 days, new, modern, meeting world standards objects in different fields have been put into operation all over the country. It is not Baku only; it takes place in other parts of Azerbaijan as well. We eagerly want that Azerbaijan were developing in all fields. Of course, capital is something special, but regions should be developing. If we have gas and electricity in Baku it means that gas and electricity should be supplied to all regions. We will provide it.

Putting into operation of the station is very important for me from the other point of view as well. This event is taking place in the territory of Qaradaq district. This district is very special for me. In 1995, people of Qaradaq trusted me and elected as Milli Majlis member. I have been representing Qaradaq district for 5 years. I think I was not bad in doing that.

In the year of 2000, I was elected as Milli Majlis member as a representative of the Yeni Azerbaijan Party. However, despite of the fact, I have never lost ties with this district, I am always in touch with heads of local authorities. The activities of social-economic fund of Qaradaq, founded by my initiative goes on its activities, and will be working tomorrow.

In 2000, when I visited Qaradaq region, I told in my speech, we are together. Despite of the fact that I am not represented by Qaradaq district officially, I will always represent you in my heart. We will be always together. I will try to use experience that I accumulated in Qaradaq in other parts of Azerbaijan. We have done a lot here together. Two modern 50 apartment buildings were constructed and distributed among families of fallen soldiers in Karabakh, Karabakh war disabled, etc. Our President took part in the ceremony on that occasion. A settlement Umud (Hope) was laid here for refugees and IDPs. Mr. President took part in the opening ceremony of that settlement as well he was with us.

Some other issues were solved. Roads were constructed. Refugees and IDPs here have been and will be rendered aid. Mr. President has always shows care about Qaradaq district and you have always felt it. Mr. President is not in the country, but he will return to motherland and will be with people of Azerbaijan.

Dear friends, I will congratulate you once more on the opening of this station. I wish you a good health, happiness. Thank you.

Chief of President’s Apparatus Ramiz Mehtiyev, First Deputies Prime Minister Arthur Rasizadeh and Yagub Eyubov, Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov, Ministers, Chairmen of Committees, Presidents of companies, representatives of diplomatic corpse and other officials took part in the ceremony.

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