The statement came from President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, speaking at an official reception at the Buta Palace dedicated to the Republic Day.
"Creation of the Azerbaijani state contributed to the spread of the republic as a form of government in the Muslim world," said the head of the Azerbaijani state, recalling that in a short time the bodies of state administration were formed in the country.
"It was a democratic process. Women were given the right to vote, and the national army was formed within three months," said President Aliyev.
According to him, the founders of the republic did a great job, and the people of Azerbaijan have a great respect for their memory.
"In the centre of Baku, there is a monument in honour of those who signed the Declaration of Independence," said the head of state, expressing regret at the fact that in two years the republic fell, and Azerbaijan lost its independence.
"After that the Soviet period began, which lasted 70 years. Despite this, the development process in Azerbaijan continued. I believe that in the Soviet period there were many positive aspects," said the President of Azerbaijan, noting that good results were yielded in the first place thanks to the fight against illiteracy. Poverty was eliminated. Unemployment was almost nullified. In parallel, there was a process of industrialization. And the process took even greater momentum in the 70s.
"However, despite this, we were not independent and were part of another state. Besides, the political and economic system of the Soviet Union did not create the basis for active development. Clear evidence of this was the collapse of the Soviet Union," he said.
However, he said that in the 70 years under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, there was a large-scale creative work in the country.
As a result, Azerbaijan was different from the other Soviet republics. Here, there was active development. We could see this success also after 1993.
"But, unfortunately, at the end of the 80s - a period when the Armenian separatism raised its head, figures governing the Republic failed to perform their duties. Azerbaijan roll back to a crisis. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the situation in the country was particularly severe. Political chaos, civil strife, anarchy, economic collapse and industrial paralysis prevailed in the country. The oil industry, being the backbone of the local industry, also was close to collapse. Production levels fell. In 1991 - after the restoration of independence, Azerbaijan was in the worst position among the former Soviet republics," President Ilham Aliyev continued.
"On the one hand, the territorial claims by Armenia, manifestations of separatism on the other - the plight of the country. The struggle for power. In particular, in 1992-93, as a result of the policy of national betrayal by tandem Musavat - Popular Front, the independence of Azerbaijan was on the verge of losing. And history threatens to repeat itself. Azerbaijan Democratic Republic existed two years, and in 1991- 93, the republic experienced great cataclysms," said the head of state.
At the same time, he emphasized that the contribution of national leader Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan's independence was very high.
"Back in Nakhchivan, the tricolour flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was declared the national flag and the words "Soviet Socialist" were omitted from the name of the autonomy, reminded the President, pointing out that these were all steps in the direction of independence of Azerbaijan.
"It is no accident that in 1993, when the country was having a civil war, the people of Azerbaijan once again appealed to national leader Heydar Aliyev, and after his return, the political situation in the country changed and Azerbaijan embarked on the path of development," he said.
The head of state noted that the years 1993-2003 were crucial in the history of Azerbaijan.
It was during this period that the strong foundation of statehood of the country was laid, as well as the strategic line of the republic was defined both in domestic and foreign policy. At the same time the country achieved the recognition of the international community. Major reforms were carried out. Principles of market economy took precedence. The Constitution of the independent state was adopted. The political system was strengthened. A solid foundation for the development of the entire region was created.
"The period of 1993-2003 went down in history as a time of stability and development in Azerbaijan. The steps taken during that period served do develop the country. Projects started in that period successfully continue today," said President Aliyev.
According to him, to understand the current realities of Azerbaijan, you need to go back to that time. Fortunately, the factor of the Heydar Aliyev has proved to be fateful moments in the history of Azerbaijan. And today, this policy remains unchanged.
"Today Azerbaijan is developing successfully and confidently. The main tasks assigned to the country are successfully implemented. At present, Azerbaijan is globally perceived as a reliable partner and a friendly state. In the last ten years, the policy of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan continued," said the head of state, recalling that on the eve of the 2003 presidential election, he addressed the nation and promised that if he is given the trust, then as the President of Azerbaijan, he will be faithful to the policy of the national leader and continue this course.
"Over the past ten years, most of the problems have been resolved in Azerbaijan. Specific programs for each of the areas were developed and implemented. Most of these programs have been completed. The processes occurring in Azerbaijan are positive," President Aliyev listed.
"The internal situation in the country is stable and the number of states that want to become friends of Azerbaijan is growing. We on our part also positively approach bilateral relations. The more our friends in the world, the stronger our position is. Excellent relationship in the bilateral format has been formed," said the head of state, noting that Azerbaijan's position in the region has strengthened.
"Today the republic is actively involved in all the processes occurring in the region, and initiatives of Baku form the basis for the development of regional cooperation. No project or initiative in the region can be successful without the participation of Azerbaijan," said the president.
According to him, the apex of the success of Azerbaijan's foreign policy was the election to the membership of the UN Security Council.
"This was a historic event. The vast majority of the world community believed and supported Azerbaijan. For the second year Azerbaijan in a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and protects international law and justice. Over the years we have accumulated a lot of experience. This irreplaceable experience is very useful for our future work," said the president of Azerbaijan, noting that membership at the UN Security Council allowed comprehensively demonstrating the capacity of Azerbaijan to the international community.
"Membership at the UN Security Council means that on each of the issues, the country must have a clear position. And Azerbaijan shows and will show this position," said the president.
According to him, the processes occurring in the last decade in the political sphere strengthened the country. Political stability was ensured. There is a unity of the people and the authorities. These are the very factors that ensure the development of any country.
"Had not the stability been maintained, of course, Azerbaijan would not have received so much investment and the country would not have such opportunities. Of course, the basis for stability is a sound policy," the head of state said.
According to him, if there is disagreement between the people and the government, and implemented programs do not meet the aspirations of the people, the stability is certainly violated.
"We are closely monitoring the processes in the region, and we see the confrontation, mass protests and bloody clashes and other negative acts. This is the reality”, the President of Azerbaijan said.
He drew attention to the fact that most of the processes taking place in the world are negative. The developed countries are trying to overcome the effects of the economic crisis and the situation in the developing and underdeveloped countries does not need comments: these are civil wars, conflicts, political and economic crises and unemployment.
"I certainly do not want to idealize the situation in Azerbaijan. I have always regarded the implemented work with a critical eye. I tried to reveal and correct mistakes. However, no criticism canovershadow the positive aspects that I face”, the head of state said.
According to him, Azerbaijan has achieved great success both in economic and political spheres over the past years.
"This is the reality of present-day Azerbaijan. Economic transformation is also reflected in the reports of international organizations. The country’s ratings continue to grow. The country is among the 50 most competitive economies in the world. Azerbaijan took the 46th place on the list”, he said, adding that the country has also successfully implemented social programs.
"The number of our partners in the international sphere is growing. We are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe. The country is also an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement. A lot of work has been done, but we cannot stop on this”, President Ilham Aliyev said.
According to him, today the focus is laid on the future of the country so that to determine a list of priorities and implement a strategy that would ensure long-term development of Azerbaijan.
"The experience of the country in the last 20 years is very important. The country has successfully overcome the transitional period. I believe that for countries in difficulty, the experience of Azerbaijan would be very interesting as an example ", the president said.
He noted that after gaining independence, Azerbaijan has changed not only the economic but also the political system. Most of the countries that have achieved independence only get freedom, while the political system does not change. "Clear evidence is the experience of the countries that gained independence in the 1970s. The political and economic relations have remained the same in those countries. The process was totally different in Azerbaijan. Both political and economic systems have transformed. I believe that this difficult transition period has been successfully overcome in Azerbaijan”, the head of state said.
"As for the future plans, we intend to continue to follow the defined foreign policy. We are willing to and interested in developing relations with all countries on the basis of respect, mutual benefit, equality and partnership”, President Ilham Aliyev said noting that the international community recognizes Azerbaijan as an equal partner.
"I think that we will be even more active in the international arena in the future”, he said.
With regard to the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani President noted that this is the most important issue on the country’s agenda.
"This is a topic of both foreign and domestic policies. This is also the matter of justice and international law ", President Ilham Aliyev said.
Azerbaijani President expressed regret over the lack of progress in this direction. And the main reason for this is the fact that Armenia ignores the norms of international law. This country ignores statements by heads of Minsk Group member-states, seeking to maximize the status quo.
According to him, Armenian side behaves disingenuously and hypocritically at the negotiation table, coming out with false statements. "Armenia is trying to mislead the international community. Armenians also ignore the requirements of mediators. This is the reality. Repeated efforts of Azerbaijan remain unanswered”, the head of the Azerbaijani state said.
"At the end of 2009, Azerbaijan responded positively to the updated " Madrid principles "developed by the OSCE Minsk Group. We believed that these principles can become the basis for the Great Peace Agreement. Baku also advocated the immediate launch over the work on the agreement”, reminded the President of Azerbaijan, again noting that Armenia has rejected the proposals of the mediators and did everything possible to slow down the negotiation process.
"We cannot put up with this state of affairs. We are interested in the continuation of the talks. However, the negotiations should be conducted in essence”, he said, noting that Azerbaijan is the most interested party in this issue.
The Head of State pointed out that Armenia is trying to stall for time, however, if the Armenian politicians were interested in promoting the national interests of the country, they would have understood that time is against Yerevan. According to him, the Armenians act on the principle of "negotiations for the sake of negotiations”, taking tactical steps.
At the same time, the President expressed his regret at the fact that the main goal of the mediators is to keep the ceasefire regime.
"We also wish to preserve the regime. However, at the same time we want and demand the restoration of the territorial integrity of the country. This is required by international law and, in particular, the UN resolutions and documents of other international organizations ", the head of state said.
"Azerbaijan is willing to settle the conflict peacefully. However, for us it is important that the issue is settled. Unlike us, Armenia is not interested in settling”, said the head of state, noting that the mediators, are, unfortunately, engaged in actions to increase confidence between the parties.
"The co-chairs seek to stabilize the situation at the contact line, and various other matters not related to the problem. This situation is unacceptable and inadmissible. It needs changes”, said the President of Azerbaijan, stressing that negotiations should be carried out in fact. "But the point is to ensure the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, recognized by the international community. The occupying forces must withdraw from the territories of Azerbaijan ", the head of state said.
"As for the future of the people living today in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as citizens who will return to the region after the settlement, there is a positive international experience, including in Europe. The principle of self-governance can be used without going beyond this practice”, said the President of Azerbaijan, stressing that Nagorno-Karabakh is and will be the native land of Azerbaijan.
The Head of State reiterated that there can be no concessions on the territorial issue.
"In fact, the choice is not great in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, it will be either peaceful or military. We are ready for both options”, the President continued, noting that Azerbaijan has never ruled out a military settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Head of State added that the international law and the UN Charter give Azerbaijan the right for self-defence. And Baku may carry out any operations on the territory recognized by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan any time.
"We remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict so far. I believe that the opportunities in this area have not yet run out. We need to do more to resolve the conflict ", the head of the Azerbaijani state said, noting that Azerbaijan should become even stronger.
According to him, Azerbaijan should continue to seek to isolate Armenia from international projects.
"This strategy and policy are already producing effect. From 80 to 100 thousand people leave Armenia every year, in line with its official statistics. The process of depopulation is widening in the country. There is a demographic crisis, and this crisis will deepen”, President Ilham Aliyev said.
According to him, the less is the able-bodied population in the country, the lower the chance for growth is. However, he noted that the outlook for economic growth in Armenia is vague, as this state is stagnating.
"We must and will isolate Armenia. We will also do everything possible to improve our potential, including in military”, the president said, noting that today the Azerbaijani army is the strongest in the South Caucasus”.
As for the foreign policy, President Ilham Aliyev said the efforts of Baku are producing effect.
He drew attention to the fact that over the last 10 years the final declarations have been signed by results of almost all meetings with the heads of states and governments and they also reflected the issue of respect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani president stressed the need to strengthen the economic development of the country. The President expressed confidence that all of this will strengthen Azerbaijan's position at the negotiating table.
He noted that the demographic situation in Azerbaijan will also have a positive effect on the processes that take place around the country.
"The population of the republic is close to 9.5 million people, while Armenia accounts for less than two million people. And if the current rate of increase in the population of Azerbaijan continue, and the demographic crisis in Armenia goes on, in 5-7 years, the people of Azerbaijan will be 10 times more than of Armenia, President Ilham Aliyev said. According to him, the population is also a factor of power,
The Azerbaijani President reiterated that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the main issue on the agenda and the Azerbaijani public must strengthen for the soonest resolution of the conflict.