BAKU: Speech of Aliyev at Novruz festivities

AzerTag, Azerbaijan
March 22 2005

[March 22, 2005, 15:39:41]

Dear country fellows,

Dear sisters and brothers,

I cordially congratulate all of you on the occasion of the dearest
holiday of the Azerbaijani people, Novruz Bayrami, and wish each of
you health and success.

Novruz Bayrami has always lived in heart of the Azerbaijani people.
The Azerbaijani people preserved this holiday for centuries. However,
only after regaining by the Azerbaijan people of the state
independence, this holiday started to be marked as the state holiday.
Independence of Azerbaijan is our biggest property. All of us should
every day, every month and every year maintain, protect, strengthen
this independence.

After gaining the state independence, Azerbaijan experienced heavy
conditions, and there were big threats. It is possible to tell that
a crisis ruled in the country, and the future of Azerbaijan could
face very big dangers. Thanks to wisdom and will of our nation,
Heydar Aliyev has come to power, and after that the situation in the
country was completely changed.

For the period since 1993 to 2003, Azerbaijan has passed big way of
development. We see, and we feel this development in all directions.
The processes proceeding in the country, economic development,
political reforms, and growth of authority of the country today have
transformed Azerbaijan into very strong state in region.

Since 2003, in our country positive tendencies in all directions
have even more strengthened. Azerbaijan confidently develops, and
even more strengthens the state independence. Our authority on region
grows. Carried out in Azerbaijan political, economic reforms in the
near future will transform our country into stronger state. I have no
doubt about it. From this point of view, 2004 was very successful for
our country. Azerbaijan successfully moves ahead in all directions.
In 2004, all questions to be solved have found solution.

2004, from the point of view of economic development was very
successful, and opening of 170 thousand workplaces is evidence to
that. In Azerbaijan, social questions find quick solution. Increase
of the minimal wages more than twice, increase of pensions, and other
social payments has one purpose. And this purpose is that the people of
Azerbaijan lived better, and that in Azerbaijan was created stronger
economic potential, and each citizen of the country has improved his
vital conditions. It is our strategic course, and a priority question
for us.

I am very glad, that all questions stipulated in the last year, have
been solved, all promises given at presidential elections carried in
2003, have found their reflection in life.

I am very glad that all plans and projects have found their solution
with support of Azerbaijan people. It is confident that 2005 will
be successful for our country. Anyway, the first months of year
evidently testify that positive promotion is observed in economic
development. However, 2005, in many respects will be decisive. In
2005, will be commissioned the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
after Heydar Aliyev and this in many respects determines future of
Azerbaijan. With commissioning of the said pipeline, new situation
will be created in region. In Azerbaijan, all stipulated projects
will start to be executed even more intensively. It is our desire.
Azerbaijan will become richer. Our people will live better. I do not
doubt of it, and all our efforts serve one purpose: to make Azerbaijan
rich, to improve vital conditions of people living in the country,
even more to strengthen our positions in region and as a result to
solve all questions the country faces.

Parliamentary elections will take place in 2005 in Azerbaijan. We
attach great importance to these elections, and I do not doubt that
they will be important stage in democratic development of Azerbaijan.
I am confident that elections will be carried out in conditions of
transparency and justice, and the determination of Azerbaijan people
will find its expression at these elections.

The will, desire and dream of Azerbaijani people are for us a priority
question. Support of our policy in 2003 creates remarkable conditions
for more successful realization of all tasks. I always feel this
support, I base on it, and the political, economic reforms conducted
in the country, also base on this support.

I want to hope that 2005 can become important also in the settlement
of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I want to hope
that in this direction there can be a promotion. Anyway, the existing
and coming processes give basis to speak about it. Diplomatic successes
of Azerbaijan, political steps undertaken in this area, already have
created new conditions in negotiating process. The discussions, which
have been carried out in the United Nations, the resolutions adopted
by the Council of Europe, increase of attention to this question
in other international organizations, are positive phenomenon. I am
confident that it is those questions, which render positive influence
on process of negotiations.

Cause of Azerbaijan is just. We want to restore our territorial
integrity on the basis of principles of international law and we shall
achieve it. Let nobody has doubt of it. Simply, we want to solve it in
the peace way, by negotiations. We hope, that this way of negotiations
will lead to settlement of the question. It cannot be otherwise.

Norms of international law should be main principles for each
country. Azerbaijan did not occupy the lands of any other country. We
do not want lands of others countries. However, we shall not give
to anybody our lands. If we cannot achieve it in the peace way, new
position will be created, and in this case Azerbaijan will resort
to other variants. However, to solve this question, as a whole to
develop our country even more comprehensively, we should be strong.
We should strengthen our economic potential. And should do big work
on construction of army, and improve living standards of our people.
In a word, we should transform Azerbaijan into a rich, powerful
state. Only in this case, all questions we face can easily find their
solution. Only in this case, Azerbaijan can itself undertake serious
steps connected to these questions. I reiterate, I hope that the
potential of peace talks has not run low yet. I do not doubt that we
shall achieve the fair solution, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
will be restored and more than one million of our refugees and IDPs
will return to their homelands.

Dear friends!

Dear sisters and brothers!

Today, together with us, this remarkable holiday is being marked
as well by the visitors from Georgia. Together with us, there is
the spouse of my close friend and brother Michael Saakashvili, Mrs.
Sandra. We greet her.

We are supporters of strengthening of bilateral, mutually beneficial
relations with all friendly, brotherly countries. We want that in
region there was peace, calmness, and cooperation. In this case, all
peoples living in region, all states will receive only benefit. This
is policy of Azerbaijan. First of all, national interests of
Azerbaijan should be protected, and well being of Azerbaijan people
provided. At the same time, warmer relations with the next, friendly
countries should be created that our force strengthened both inside
and outside. If we shall be strong inside, we shall be stronger on
international arena as well. As far as we shall reach big diplomatic
successes, so the Azerbaijani people will benefit of it.

Once again I warmly congratulate all of you on this remarkable holiday,
I wish each of you health, success, happiness.

Happy Holiday!