On October 4, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with members of the general public of Jabrayil, and laid foundation of Memorial Complex and restoration of the city.
President Ilham Aliyev first met with members of the general public of Jabrayil.
The head of state made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
-Dear natives of Jabrayil, dear friends! I sincerely greet you and say “Welcome to Jabrayil”.
This is my first meeting with the people of Jabrayil after the victory of our victorious Army, and it is especially important that this meeting is being held on 4 October. Exactly one year ago, on 4 October, the Azerbaijani Army liberated the city of Jabrayil from the occupiers, so I invited the people of Jabrayil to their homeland to celebrate this glorious history together today. Therefore, I begin my speech with the words “Welcome to Jabrayil”. But I am sure that from now on, whenever I come to Jabrayil, the people of Jabrayil will always greet me with the words “Welcome, Mr. President”.
Specific work is being done to achieve this, and the foundation stone of several facilities has been laid today. There will be a presentation of the master plan of the city of Jabrayil and day-to-day work has begun. When assessing the work done over the past year today, we are seeing how great the potential of our state and our people is, of course. Because it is evidence of the great potential to be able to return life and people to the territories completely destroyed by the Armenians after only a year. We have mobilized all our resources and will continue to do so in a short period of time in order to rebuild and restore Jabrayil and all other districts. Everyone who comes here can see these ruins and witness Armenian savagery and vandalism. This atrocity, this vandalism was committed during the occupation. There could not have been so much destruction during the war. During the occupation, the Armenians were engaged in looting and robbery, tearing down all houses and buildings, but the whole world turned a blind eye to this. Seeing this, the international organizations, the supporters of Armenia simply remained indifferent and turned a blind eye to all this. The entire world can see it now, and those who do not want to see it should see it because there are almost no traces of Jabrayil left. There are only two five-storey buildings left, and those were used by the Armenian military. They turned a former hospital into a military unit. In addition, all buildings and historical sites were destroyed.
The date of 4 October will forever remain in our history. Because the city of Jabrail was liberated from the invaders on 4 October, and this victory had tremendous importance. Because a city, a district center were liberated for the first time in the first week of the war. It had a great symbolic meaning. This gave additional strength and confidence to our Army. After this Victory, our glorious Army fulfilled its historic mission in other places as well. The people of Jabrayil are well aware that on the first day of the war, two villages of Jabrayil were liberated from the occupiers – Boyuk Marjanli and Nuzgar villages. The liberation of four villages of Fuzuli district was our first success. Despite heavy fighting, it was not possible to liberate any new settlements during the following week. In other words, this was dictated by the objective course of the war, and Sugovushan settlement and Talish village, as well as several villages of Jabrayil district, were liberated from the occupiers on 3 October. This gave our army additional strength.
On 4 October, I delighted the people of Jabrayil and indeed all of Azerbaijan by sharing this good news – the city of Jabrayil has been liberated! If we go one year back, we will see the greatness of our victory again. When the war broke out, of course, our daily efforts were focused on reinforcing the victory and liberating all the occupied territories. In other words, there was no time to analyze the successes achieved, and this wasn’t necessary either. But while analyzing it more accurately and clearly today, a year after the war and after the liberation of Jabrayil, we can see that this victory was of immense importance. At the same time, it was here, in this area, that the enemy had built fortifications consisting of several lines of defense, and to break those fortifications required great heroism and self-sacrifice. Our soldiers and officers were literally facing death. We have returned to our native lands at the cost of the blood and lives of our martyrs. I would like to take this opportunity to once again commemorate our dear martyrs. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace.
The significance of the Jabrayil operation also consisted in the fact that after the liberation of Jabrayil, we were able to successfully move to other districts that were under occupation at the time. The liberation of Jabrayil was followed by the liberation of Zangilan, then Gubadli and the southern part of Lachin districts from the occupiers. Thus, we were able to take full control of the Lachin corridor. I have said this before but I want to say it again that there were for several days of fierce battles for the villages of Soltanli and Amirvarli, and this was one of the places where the Armenian army had put up stiff resistance and erected strong fortifications.
In other words, we needed a few days to liberate those strategically important villages, and after that the liberation of Zangilan was inevitable. I can say that the city of Zangilan was hardly even defended by the Armenian army. They were already in so much fear that they were dropping their guns and fleeing. At the same time, the Fuzuli and Jabrayil operations opened the way towards Hadrut. On 9 October, the settlement of Hadrut was liberated and our road to Shusha was opened. The Jabrayil operation was extremely important. In fact, I can say that it was crucial because it was in this direction that we were able to break through the enemy's line of defense.
The liberation of Jabrayil began five years ago. As a result of the April fighting, we created opportunities for the return of our people to the village of Jojuq Marjanli. After the liberation of strategic heights from the occupiers, it was possible for Jojug Marjanli to return to life, and this was our important victory. This was our first great victory after a long break and ceasefire. It is true that the Armenians attempted to downplay this victory at the time. They even stated that these areas were not of great importance and that it was actually the Armenian side that had won. I was saying at the time that we were there, that we were right in their trenches, so how could Armenia have won here? At that time, we liberated a large area – of course, a large area for that time – several thousand hectares, and took control of about 9,000-10,000 hectares. We took very important strategic heights not only in this direction, but also in the direction of Aghdara, and these heights proved highly important in the second Karabakh war. At that time, we rightly celebrated the victory in the April battles as a glorious victory of our Army, and that was the beginning of our return. The return to Jojug Marjanli was the beginning of the Great Return. I remember telling the chairman of the State Committee for Refugees, Ali Hasanov, that I had an idea of returning the residents of Jojug Marjanli to their village. At that time, one family lived there – Ogtay Haziyev's family. I told him to find out if people wanted to go there. It has been a long time, some people had a job in Bilasuvar, others in Baku, there are many jobs now, so ask them whether they want to return or not. After a while, Ali Hasanov told me that almost all of them wanted to return. This made me very happy. Because there were different opinions at the time that even if the lands were liberated, the IDPs may not want to go back. Many of them have not even seen those places. They have children and grandchildren now. But those words showed again how great our people are.
I immediately issued an order and the State Committee for Refugees built a large settlement in a short time. And I came to the opening of that settlement in 2017. At that time, a settlement of 150 houses was built in stages. A school and a medical center were built. A mosque similar to the Shusha mosque was built there and employment opportunities were created. When I was in Jojuq Marjanli, I said that we had built a mosque similar to the Shusha mosque, the Govharaga Mosque, which is quite symbolic. After the liberation of Shusha, we will restore all our mosques destroyed by the Armenians. Four years later, or three years later, to be more exact, these words were materialized.
So our Great Return began with Jabrayil and our first major success in the second Karabakh war is associated with the city of Jabrayil, with Jabrayil district. This is an event that will forever remain in the history of our country. Because our victory in the second Karabakh war is a historic victory. Such a victory has never happened in the centuries-old history of our people. All our people rallied around this Victory, stood behind our Army, and our Army fulfilled the orders of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief with dignity. I want to say once again that by showing heroism and selflessness, by shedding blood and giving martyrs, we have restored historical justice, expelled the enemy from our land and taught the enemy the necessary lessons. The enemy fell to its knees before us, waved the white flag, and from now on the people of Azerbaijan will forever live as a victorious people.
We have restored international law, historical justice and human justice. Because this destruction was not caused by humans. One can’t call them humans. The perpetrators had to hate the Azerbaijani people so much that they resorted to such ugly deeds, the Azerbaijani people that embraced the Armenian people earlier, the Azerbaijani people that once gave a place to the Armenians deported from Iran by Tsarist Russia. It is true that there were no Armenians in Jabrayil district. There wasn’t even one percent of Armenians here. I looked at a note today and saw that only 10 Armenians lived in Jabrayil before the occupation. But the Azerbaijani people gave them a place in other parts of Karabakh. I think that such ingratitude, such cruelty and such savagery towards someone who gave you bread is barbarism and vandalism unprecedented in the history of the world. Armenia's supporters must see this. Although they do not want to, they must and they will see this. The whole world can see this. We have already started publishing books. We have started to hold presentations. We will be able to provide the whole world with complete information about Armenian atrocities. This process has started. The whole world must see that not only did we defend ourselves, we have also restored our territory and broken the back of Armenian fascism. Armenian fascism spread its arms in this region and relied on the support of foreign patrons to occupy our territory for 30 years.
We are rightly proud and will always be proud of our servicemen. They are the real heroes. We are proud of all our people. Because the solidarity and unity shown during these 44 days showcased the Azerbaijani people in the whole world as a very dignified and great nation. The fist, a symbol of our victory, is not only a symbol of strength, it is also a symbol of our unity. We joined our forces and achieved what we wanted by restoring historical justice. Notice what statements Armenia is making now. There are no traces left of the myths they had been inventing for 30 years. Where is their “victorious” army? Where is the “invincible” Armenian soldier? Those engaged in ugly propaganda against us for 30 years and trying to humiliate the dignity of the Azerbaijani people have already taken their share, have learned their lesson. No-one in the world is saying a word about “victorious Armenian soldiers”. After all, what kind of bravery and heroism can we talk about in an army of 10,000 deserters? Nobody talks about the “invincible Armenian army” any more. There is no Armenian army. We have crushed it. We have destroyed it from the bottom up. We have destroyed all the equipment they had been collecting for 30 years. Part of it is displayed in the Military Trophy Park. We have destroyed their troops. The Azerbaijani people did it and showed their superiority.
So an end has been put to this mythology. All other Armenian claims against us must be stopped gradually. I have said this before, and when I say something, I say it for a reason. I have done everything I have said so far. Therefore, a proper analysis of the real situation in Armenian society must be continued. They must give up their myths. They must give up the dream of a Great Armenia. They must give up the mythical Armenian fantasy from sea to sea. They must and will give up their territorial claims against Azerbaijan and Turkey. There is no other way. We will force them to do that.
If someone thinks that the war is over and everything will go back to the previous state of things, they are wrong, so to speak. The war is over, we have won and created a new reality, so everyone must and will reckon with this reality. When I say that we will not allow any provocation against us in Armenia, I mean exactly that. It is our legitimate right. If we see a threat, if we see a small manifestation of danger, we will take the necessary steps, and no-one can stop us, no-one can stand in front of us. During the Second Karabakh War, the supporters of Armenia tried to obstruct our cause in various ways – some by making statements, others by providing them with tangible assistance. But it did not help, and it will not happen again.
Therefore, the end of the second Karabakh war does not mean that the region will return to its previous state. It will never be the same. Everyone should know this. I know that some people are worried about this. Some believe that they are out of the process now. It is up to them. In any case, we have provided a platform for cooperation to all neighboring countries. Azerbaijan was the first country to support the cooperation platform proposed by the President of Turkey. If this does not satisfy anyone, we do not need that platform either.
At present, a framework of real cooperation in the region is being defined. The Turkish-Russian cooperation is a guarantor of stability in our region. Armenian-Azerbaijani relations were discussed during the recent meeting of the Presidents of Turkey and Russia, and we are in constant touch with both Turkey and Russia. As President, I am always in touch. Turkey and Russia have a great role to play in establishing stability in the region today. In other words, this format is sufficient for us. Armenia will also join this format. Because there is no other option. That is the reality now. We also support the recent statements on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. We have openly stated that we support that. We believe that this is necessary for the region. In other words, it is necessary to eliminate any risk of war. This format is sufficient for us – Turkey-Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia. Anyone interested in joining in may join, those who aren’t are in a better position to judge. In any case, no initiative can be realized in this region without the consent of Azerbaijan. Everyone should know this.
We are showing good intentions. But this does not mean that we will accept baseless accusations against ourselves. I am saying this to the Azerbaijani people and the whole world here in Jabrayil, on the banks of the Araz River, that all baseless accusations against us will not remain unanswered. We brush off and deny these allegations, and demand evidence. Some Iranian provincial mullah recently opened his mouth and fabricated slander against Azerbaijan. When I was informed, I said not to pay attention. We can’t pay attention to the words of some provincial mullah. Who is he after all? Just don't pay attention to that. Then, unfortunately, some government officials started making unfounded accusations against us – Azerbaijan has allegedly brought Israel to these regions. Let them open their eyes wide and look. Where did they see Israel here? Not a single person lives here. There is no building here. Is there evidence? No. If there is no evidence, everyone should be held accountable for what they say. We cannot allow anyone to fabricate baseless slander against us.
Azerbaijan is a country pursuing an independent policy. Everyone knows this, and this is not the first year we have pursued an independent policy. We build relations with our neighbors and all other countries through an independent policy. No-one can interfere in our internal affairs. It is our own business to establish relations with any country. After all, we do not sue countries that have close and friendly relations with Armenia. See how many patrons Armenia has – the second Karabakh war showed it. See how many countries support Armenia today. So should we be enemies with these countries? No. We acknowledge the sovereign rights of these countries. It is their sovereign business. True, deep inside we may be worried about this, this may hurt us, especially when neighboring countries are particularly active in relations with Armenia. But we never say that. We respect the sovereign rights of each country and demand that everyone respect our sovereign rights too and not interfere in our internal affairs. Such attempts have been made before and all of them have failed. I want to say again that the accusations against us must be proved officially. Let them come and see if there is a single foreign citizen in this region.
We have cleared 130 kilometers of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border from occupiers. A total of 130 kilometers was under Armenian occupation. They should investigate what processes were going on here at that time. We are now investigating what the relationship was. Instead, they are accusing Azerbaijan of bringing in some country to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is allegedly governed not by the Azerbaijani people, not by the Azerbaijani state, but by some external force. This is disrespectful. We can never accept that. Everyone should know this. Azerbaijan will continue to plan its foreign relations and domestic affairs the way it considers expedient. Let no-one interfere in our affairs.
As for the future development of the region, we are ready for cooperation. The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers met recently. A bilateral meeting was held between them during a session of the UN General Assembly. Our Foreign Minister reported to me and said that the meeting was constructive. We also support it. At the same time, the Azerbaijani public probably knows that I recently said I was ready to meet with the Armenian Prime Minister. He also said that he was ready. So what does this show? This shows that our agenda is adopted here. Some are probably concerned about that. But the main thing is to make peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, to sign a peace agreement. We want that. There should be a delimitation of borders. However, certain people have accused us of wanting to change the borders of the region. What is the basis of such accusations against us? For some reason, no such accusations were made against Armenia when our borders were violated for 30 years. Was that acceptable? We have not violated anyone's borders. We came to Lachin and Kalbajar districts bordering Armenia after 30 years. We came here after the snow melted, in May. If the snow had melted earlier, we would have come earlier. In other words, this border was in the hands of the Armenians for 30 years. If the border passes there, why didn’t they protect it? If we have violated the border, they should have come and taken us out. They should have come and attacked us. They have come to terms with that, they have accepted it. At a time when Armenia has come to terms with this, someone else comes and says that we have violated someone's border. We have not violated anyone's borders. There are maps, maps of 1920, maps of Tsarist Russia. Let them come and see where the border lies. We consider the territory where we are stationed the territory of Azerbaijan and we are right. The Armenian leadership has explicitly stated at the highest level that Azerbaijan is rightly located on a certain part of the Gorus-Gafan road. Because the maps of the Soviet era show that. We are in our own territory. Armenia says this now, but someone else says that we have violated someone's borders. This is ridiculous. Therefore, a new era is beginning in the region. We believe that this period should be channeled in a positive direction. In any case, this enmity between Armenia and Azerbaijan should not last forever. Despite all this destruction, barbarism and savagery, we must look to the future. The delimitation of the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the peace agreement, the recognition of each other's territorial integrity, and then the restoration of economic relations, the opening of transport communications – all these are on the agenda. There is political will on the Azerbaijani side. If there is will on the side of Armenia too, I think that the two countries can resolve these issues themselves without any mediators and there can be long-term peace in the region.
It is a very important day for the development of Jabrayil district today because we have already laid the foundation of several facilities today. Many socioeconomic issues will be resolved during the construction and operation of these facilities. First of all, security measures. Today I inaugurated a new military unit of the State Border Service. The most modern weapons and ammunition displayed there will allow us the opportunity to protect our borders firmly and at the required level. Today, important steps have been taken to facilitate economic activity. The foundation of the “Araz Valley Economic Zone” was laid. This is a large project covering 200 hectares. Initial funding has already been allocated. Initial investors have also been identified. Today, the Deputy Director General of KAMAZ and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan of Russia arrived in Azerbaijan and took part in the opening of the KAMAZ regional service center together with me. This is a very important event. The Russian company has already started investing in the region. As you know, Turkish companies have already started investing in a large agricultural project in Zangilan. Our two friendly and neighboring countries have this attitude towards Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan treats them equally. At the same time, the foundation of social facilities was laid. A hospital, a school – all these are the key prerequisites for the return of our people here.
We have done almost all the work on power supply of Jabrayil district. The Jabrayil substation was put into operation today. Rehabilitation of hydropower plants is under way in Lachin and Kalbajar districts. Several stations have already been put into operation, including the Sugovushan Hydroelectric Power Station in Tartar district. I have given the task that next year we will restore 10 of the stations destroyed by the Armenians as they fled Kalbajar and Lachin and the remaining 20 stations in the following years. So Jabrayil district already has electricity supply. This is the basis because nothing would be possible without it.
You have probably seen the road you used to come here. Notice how beautiful the road is. A 4-6 lane road is being built to Jabrayil. The Armenian leadership wanted to build a road to Jabrayil. But it was left unfinished, just like all their other dreams. We are building a road to Jabrayil. We have the right to do that. It will be one of the best roads. I have given a special task to make it wide, so that people citizens coming to Jabrayil can travel comfortably. The Zangazur corridor passing through it will also use this road. The foundation of the first residential building was also laid today. The construction of this building is already under way. As soon as this building is ready, first residents of Jabrayil will settle down there. Prior to that, there will be a hospital, a school and jobs. The program of gradual restoration of all villages of the district has also been approved. At the same time, the foundations of the Museum of Victory and Occupation will be laid today. I think the most important thing is that the master plan of the city of Jabrayil will be presented to you, the people of Jabrayil. We will look at this plan together. If you are happy, we will approve this plan. These are our plans. We ended the war with Victory. Now we have started a period of peace with victory and we will end it with victory too. So I greet you again from the bottom of my heart. I embrace and kiss all the people of Jabrayil. May Allah protect you. From now on, the people of Jabrayil will live in Jabrayil. Thank you.
Member of the Veterans Council of the New Azerbaijan Party, former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov said:
- Distinguished Mr. President. All the people of Jabrayil are proud and honored to see you in Jabrayil today. On 1 October 2003, you met with the people of Jabrayil in your first pre-election meeting before the presidential election. The first village to be liberated was in Jabrayil district and the first city to be liberated was the district center of Jabrayil. I cannot say whether this was a coincidence or not, but I can say that the people of Jabrayil have historically been loyal to the state, and this loyalty will be continued. There is probably no coincidence here. As for the 44-day Patriotic War, each of these 44 days is magnificent, every hour is the hour of Victory. You made people grow accustomed to expecting good news. Everyone was waiting for the good news every minute, every hour. In other words, people instantly forgot about the 28 years of longing, they forgot that we have been longing for 28 years.
Mr. President, after 28 years you have regained the lost ownership of this land. This is a victory that has never been and never will be achieved in the history of the world. Those military operations are and will always be unique in the history of warfare. I am saying that these will be unique because there are about 70 conflicts in the world today. If anyone could resolve them, they would have resolved those conflicts if they had the head of state like ours, that character, that ability, that capacity, that policy, that worldview and that courage. Perhaps someone will come forward now, but they’d better not because they will lose. Not everyone can be Ilham Aliyev. They shouldn’t think that it is easy.
You have brought innovation to the history of warfare. You have brought a lot of innovations to Azerbaijan, there are already many Azerbaijani models. All the brands that exist today – you are the author of all of them. You have put forward a new model to the world’s military history – the Azerbaijani model. The 44-day military operation is a new military brand, Mr. Ilham Aliyev's brand. Therefore, we once again congratulate you on our great victory and wish you good health, continued success and more victories. We are confident that this will be the case.
At the meeting in 2003, you said that you had a dream and you thought that this was everyone's dream. We will liberate the lands from occupation and I will come to Jabrayil to be your guest. True, it is slightly different today because we were your guests. Apparently, this was destined to happen like this.
As for the 10 November statement – it is true that it is being widely analyzed by politicians, but I think that it was also the strength of your policy – the coming together of three countries mediated by Russia. The Shusha Declaration signed by esteemed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and yourself is also a historic event. You noted yourself that there was no such national unity and brotherhood between Turkey and Azerbaijan in the last 100 years. This brotherhood reached a new high in the last 17 years, during your presidency and the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Today we must say everything openly. Today, the younger generation needs to know where we came from. You always follow these recommendations. Unfortunately, there are those who damage the brains of today's young generation. Therefore, everyone should know what has happened, what achievements have been made, how they have been achieved, what the great leader had done from 1969. In fact, this preparation had been going on for 50 years, but you have brought it to its summit in 17 years.
What kind of a nation is it if its religious leader promotes the ideology of fascism? Can it ever become a nation? Is there another country in the world that would corrupt the brains and souls of its youth with the ideology of fascism? You have destroyed them all. The Armenians will never ever recover from that. You have restored our indented dignity. Our dignity had been insulted, but you have raised our head. You have earned such glory, you have won such a victory, you have given the people of Azerbaijan such joy that it is irreplaceable and cannot ever be repeated in the history of the world.
Always be there for us, thank you, we wish you good health, continued success and new victories.
I will close my remarks by saying one more sentence. I will take only 10 more seconds of your time. In November 2001, the Second Congress of the New Azerbaijan Party was held. At the end of my speech there, I used a sentence that had nothing to do with the congress. I said that all the Azerbaijani people were saying that there is no Karabakh without Shusha, that there is no Shusha without Karabakh, but I say that there is no Azerbaijan without the Aliyevs!
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
The Chairman of the Board of AZERTAC, Aslan Aslanov, said:
- Dear Mr. President and Victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief. We are living one of the truly happiest days of our lives. Your laying the foundation stones of Jabrayil, which will be an example for the entire region, is viewed with great esteem, respect and pride by all natives of Jabrayil. We, the people of Jabrayil who are gathered here today, are happy – it seems that this is also our destiny – to be witnessing such a historic event and to be together with the Commander-in-Chief, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Therefore, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the opportunity to experience this happy day. May Allah protect you. You are the true savior of the Azerbaijani people. After you shared the news of the liberation of Jabrayil from the occupation, victories started replacing each other. Thanks to your brilliant leadership in the true sense of the word, Azerbaijan won a victory unparalleled in the world’s military science in 44 days. The lands of Azerbaijan have been liberated from occupation, the enemy has been brought to its knees and forced to sign an act of surrender. It is a great honor and pride for us, for all the people of Azerbaijan. You have shown the whole world that the Azerbaijani people are a victorious people, a heroic people. You have told the whole world that this nation is a dignified nation, this nation is a proud nation, this nation is a nation capable of fighting, this nation is a nation ready to die and become a martyr for its land. You have shown it to the whole world, and this will go down in history forever.
Mr. President and Victorious Commander-in-Chief, this is a great history. You have written glorious and dignified pages in the centuries-old history of Azerbaijan, and these pages will continue to be written with new creative work.
We, all the natives of Jabrayil, want to say with great pride that Mehriban Aliyeva, who is loved so much by the Azerbaijani people, stands shoulder to shoulder with you in carrying out this work as a true comrade-in-arms, supports and helps you. The moral and political support provided by Mehriban Aliyeva during the war, the calls she made, the visits to the liberated regions are the brightest pages of our history.
Mr. President, I must emphasize that great leader Heydar Aliyev was the first savior of our people. In 1993, at the request of the people, Heydar Aliyev came to Azerbaijan to rebuild the collapsed, fragmented and invisible Azerbaijan, became the founder of the modern independent Azerbaijani state. Victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief, we are proud that you have transformed Azerbaijan, which was founded by Heydar Aliyev, into one of the most developed countries in the world. You have turned Azerbaijan into a powerful state. The whole world now reckons with Azerbaijan, the whole now reckons with Ilham Aliyev's policy. The whole world has to reckon with your wise policy, with the development path determined by the great leader.
Mr. President, may Allah protect you. Believe me that all the natives of Jabrayil, all the people of Azerbaijan begin their prayers every morning and evening with the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. May Allah protect you. You have decided the fate of Azerbaijan.
Thank you, thank you very much, I am grateful to you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Thank you for the kind words. It is a truly historic day today. First of all, because 4 October will forever remain in the history of Jabrayil district as Victory Day, the day of liberation from occupation. On the other hand, today we are starting the restoration of Jabrayil. Both the Victory and the restoration work show the strength of our state and our people. Because if we did not have the strength, we could not have achieved this Victory. My work as President is based on this. Because our main goal was to liberate Karabakh from occupation. All the other steps – the Program on the Socioeconomic Development of the Regions, our oil and gas projects, transport initiatives, the revival of the country's economy, the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves in the Oil Fund, our foreign policy, our relations with major powers, our relations with neighboring countries – all this work was done in the lead-up to this sacred moment – Victory Day. We mobilized all these resources to achieve what we wanted due to the hard work and heroism of our people.
Of course, a lot has been said about the great leader here. If the people of Azerbaijan had not shown their wisdom in 1993, if they had not invited the great leader, the fate of Azerbaijan could have been very bleak. Not only would we be unable to restore the lands we lost, we could have faced even greater disasters. We could have lost the statehood that was only emerging. That is an undeniable fact. Heydar Aliyev's unparalleled services to the people of Azerbaijan are evident here today. Because he laid this foundation – army building, reforms, oil contracts, the arrival of first currency in our country. He also channeled the first revenues into improving the living conditions of the IDPs. Ali Hasanov will remember this quite well – we were standing behind the great leader in the village of Ashaghi Aghjakand on that rainy day. The Reconstruction of Ashaghi Aghjakand village meant a lot. It was called Shaumyan district in Soviet times. He has the first camp for IDPs built there and allocated the first funds. At that time, we had no money. The treasury was empty. The first money came from the sale of oil and he said that we would spend it there. I followed in his footsteps. When people placed their confidence in me in 2003, I said that I would follow in my father's footsteps. So much work has been done for IDPs. Ali hasanov was implementing that work. More than IDP settlements were built. But every time I met with former IDPs, I said – they, of course, were very grateful – that this was temporary. Do you remember that? I was saying that it was temporary. We will build better homes for these people after the lands are liberated. Today's presentation is a confirmation of those words. Those houses were also good houses. When foreigners and representatives of international organizations visited the IDPs before the war, they were amazed that we were building camps for IDPs at the level of five-star hotels. We also said that these are our standards. These are the top priority category of people for us. They lived in misery, so they should live in the best conditions. I said that we would create better conditions for them and we doing that.
Work of the highest standard will be done both in Jabrayil and in Aghdam and Shusha, where work has already begun. I do not want to compare this work with any other standards, because it does not exist in urban planning. This is the first practice in urban planning, so we have brought the best experience in the world. All work will be based on the most advanced technologies, and we will do this at our own expense, as they say.
Let me return to those words – if the great leader had not laid the foundation of this country properly and built a statehood, there would be no talk of Victory today. The Azerbaijani people simply showed wisdom and voted for this policy in 2003 and subsequent years. Despite all the pressures, threats, insults, lies and fabrications, we never turned back. How many times have there been to overthrow us? The people of Azerbaijan know this very well, I know it well, because some foreign circles wanted to overthrow me using the hands of some local traitors. It didn’t work. Why? The people did not support that. If the people had supported that, of course, they could have succeeded. Notice how many coups have taken place in post-Soviet republics with the use of force. This is now called revolution, coup d'etat, evolution, but the fact of the matter is that it is a change of government. Take Armenia, for example. The Armenian people hated the previous Armenian leadership so much that they have even voted for someone who lost the war, only for the previous government not to return. Therefore, the people did not support that. Because the people knew and saw that ours was the cause of truth and that we were strengthening our country.
The pressure and provocations against us was underpinned by the Karabakh factor. Because during my presidency – I have said this several times, it may not be the time for me to open the full picture to the people – but there have been suggestions that you should forget about Karabakh, you should come to terms with this situation, then make peace with Armenia and start cooperation. It has been repeatedly suggested that Azerbaijan should take on the commitment not to use force. I refused to do that every time, every single time! Last time this happened in Vienna, after the April battles. At that time, after Armenia’s defeat, the United States, the co-chair of the Minsk Group, hastily organized this meeting in Vienna to support Armenia. When I arrived at that meeting, the foreign ministers of the Minsk Group countries were already sitting there and gave me a protocol, or the text of a statement. I said there that if you had prepared it, you should have given it to us a day or two earlier. Why are you making me face facts? I started reading it there. I saw that there were provisions that did not meet our interests in it, including those related to the non-use of force. I turned it down. I said that I would not sign it. They asked how that was possible and I said it was. You can adopt whatever you want, but I will not sign it. So what I am saying is that all the pressure on us was underpinned by that, that we should deal with our internal problems, strive to resolve our internal problems so that Karabakh is forgotten and Armenia keeps these lands forever. Representatives of some foreign countries were saying to us that we had to reckon with reality, we had lost the war, no-one would let us start a new war – they would not, the neighboring countries would not. We were threatened. They threatened that if a new war broke out, we would lose even more land. Armenia’s former defense minister, who is now in prison for theft, was threatening us. America also threatened us. Did he say this on his own? No! There were those who put these words in his mouth that we should come to terms with this situation, give up these lands and start cooperating with Armenia. I said that we would never cooperate with Armenia. I said that we would bring Armenia down economically at any cost. All of our oil and gas pipelines, transport lines, railways bypass Armenia. In other words, we finally brought Armenia down. They could no longer compete with us economically, they could no longer compete with us militarily, they had to accept the weapons that were given to them for free and could not buy the weapons they wanted. Thus, the internal crisis in Armenia was inevitable, the people stood up, rose against the hated Sargsyan regime, and change took place. I said back then we had a hand in that change too – of course, not directly. We must not lie. Not directly, but indirectly. If Armenia had been a developing country, would the people have stood up? Of course not. Therefore, our role in that change of government was quite tangible. I said that our goal was to liberate our lands at any cost, and we went to the war of death. Everyone knows that. Who could have predicted the way countries would react. I could not give this guarantee. We were, in fact, in a life-and-death battle – either live or die. Our patience had run out.
Let me repeat that new realities have emerged since the war ended, and some cannot digest these realities. Look at the new wave of provocation and fabrication against Azerbaijan which has begun. It will continue, we had to be ready for it and we were. Nothing at all, no issue can be above Karabakh and the liberation of our lands. No issue can overshadow it. We have already imposed these realities, whether someone likes them or not, but we have imposed them. We are starting restoration work now. I am sure that in about five years from now, we will build a new Azerbaijan, a new Karabakh, a new Zangazur and the whole world will envy us. We are doing this, first of all, for the people. Those who have suffered, who have lived in unbearable conditions in tents, under carriages, in dormitories, in kindergartens must and will live in the best conditions. We will provide that.
Congratulations again! Now there will be a presentation. Let us see what the new appearance of Jabrayil will be like.
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The head of state laid the foundation stone for Jabrayil Memorial Complex.
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President Ilham Aliyev: I would request that you take an active part in this historic day – the groundbreaking ceremony of the museum.
Resident: Mr. President, Inshallah, houses are being built and conditions are being created. I would like you to be our guest in Chakhirli village when all the villages of Jabrayil are restored, and to offer a sacrifice on this occasion.
President Ilham Aliyev: Inshallah, thank you very much.
Resident: Thank you very much for everything. I am asking you as a wounded veteran of the Karabakh war.
President Ilham Aliyev: We will definitely come. Villages will be built here, cities will be built. Jabrayil will definitely become one of the most beautiful cities.
Female resident: The natives of Jabrayil love you very much. Everyone, all of Azerbaijan loves you very much. You have written your name in the history of Azerbaijan in golden letters. There is no-one like you. You have brought back both our dignity and our lands.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. The best days for me are when I meet with you. I am happy when I see your joy these days.
Resident: You are dear to all of us. Thank you very much.
Ali Hasanov: In October 2003, the people of Jabrayil welcomed you with such warmth that there has not been such a grand pre-election event since.
President Ilham Aliyev: In Bilasuvar.
Ali Hasanov: Yes, in Bilasuvar. They had moved into a tent camp 10 or 15 days earlier.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, they had just moved in there.
Ali Hasanov: There were 12,000 natives of Jabrayil there. But Mr. President, these days, after those these 44 days, many more brands will emerge. One of them is the young people you have brought up in the national spirit for 17 years, which proved themselves during the war. That courage, bravery, national and military patriotism will always be talked about. In other words, there will be many more of those brands from now on.
President Ilham Aliyev: The war showed that. Even the enemy did not expect that. They did not expect it. Little did they know that such a generation has grown up here that was ready to die.
Ogtay Haziyev: Mr. President, let me tell you one more thing. I have just mentioned that I live in Shusha. But as you know, when the city of Shusha was liberated from the occupation, the Armenians destroyed the water lines there.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, they destroyed it.
Ogtay Haziyev: I was leading that emergency repair group. I have been doing that for a year.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. We did it in a very short time. I think they destroyed the Zarisli line. Also, we are also restoring the springs. They hade dried up all the springs.
Ogtay Haziyev: They had also dried up a water canal in Jabrayil.
President Ilham Aliyev: There was no water in any of the springs there. The Natavan spring, and 17 other springs – all of them were dried up.
Ali Hasanov: They are fascists, what else can we say? You have repeatedly said that they are fascists.
Resident: Mr. President, last time you said that they were not even animals
President Ilham Aliyev: This is really the case. After all, no animal would do what they did.
Resident: They have brutally ravaged everything.
Anar Guliyev: Dear Mr. President, first of all, before moving on to Jabrayil, I would like to briefly touch upon the work carried out on the liberated territories. According to your instructions, work is currently under way on the master plan of liberated territories, and it is nearing completion. This regional development map provisionally shows the main transport vectors, the vectors coming out of the capital. The southern development vector in the liberated area, the industrial, logistical and agricultural vectors will be the key areas in this direction. In the central part, it is a vector uniting mostly areas of culture, tourism, education, the cities of Lachin and Shusha. In the upper part, there is Tartar, Kalbajar and mostly the northern development vector – tourism, agriculture and industry again.
Speaking about the future of Jabrayil district, of course, the economy and socioeconomic development is the most important issue and, as you mentioned, a large part of the transport corridor passes through the territory of Jabrayil. Work is currently under way on three highways – two motorway and one railway. At the same time, the “Araz Valley Economic Zone”, which you laid the foundation of today, is shown here. We at the Coordination Headquarters are currently working on alternative energy resources. There are already plans to organize a solar energy farm in these areas, which can provide 240 kilowatts of power. The next map outlines a number of issues related to economic sustainability. Jabrayil district is also rich in minerals, as shown here. There are Kavdar sand deposits and others.
Resident: Kavdar is our village. It is 5 kilometers away from here.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is there a sand quarry here?
Anar Guliyev: Yes, there are sand deposits, Kavdar sand.
Resident: It is a small village, the name remains, but the village is gone.
Anar Guliyev: There are more than 5 million cubic meters of sand in that area. In addition, volcanic ash is useful for the production of building materials – stone, gypsum, lime, etc. At the same time, of course, there is a great potential for tourism. Historical monuments are also important here. The main directions are the extraction of minerals.
President Ilham Aliyev: What was agriculture based on?
Residents: Viticulture, grain growing, animal husbandry, cocoon growing.
Resident: We were among top 10 districts for cocoon growing. About 300 tons of cocoons were produced.
President Ilham Aliyev: Three hundred tons. Azerbaijan currently produces 500 tons of cocoons.
Resident: Yes, all the villages along the Araz produced cocoons. There were mulberry trees, but they are all gone now.
President Ilham Aliyev: We will plant them all. There are new species of trees, with larger leaves.
Resident: We planted them in the settlements.
Resident: We planted them in the settlements.
Anar Guliyev: The vineyards are located mainly in the southern part, along the Araz, and there are plans to build the economy around that. As mentioned, then comes grain growing and livestock breeding.
Ali Hasanov: The best livelihood for the people of Jabrayil was associated with viticulture.
Resident: A total of 64,000 tons of grapes were harvested.
President Ilham Aliyev: Did it bring an income?
President Ilham Aliyev: Then we must restore the vineyards. Have places been identified? Are they the same?
Anar Guliyev: On this map, we have shown places where there were traditional gardens. This will be implemented during the next period. Now, with your permission, I would like to show the development map of the city. The dark area of shows the city before the occupation – it was 335 hectares.
President Ilham Aliyev: 335 hectares?
Anar Guliyev: Yes.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is slightly larger than Shusha.
Anar Guliyev: The administrative border is slightly bigger, but the settlement area was 335 hectares. New development areas are marked in yellow.
President Ilham Aliyev: Are these villages?
Anar Guliyev: Yes, three villages – Shahvaladli, Gurbanjafar and Khubyarli villages were integrated into the city back then. Mr. President, the conceptual basis of the master plan is that this space is envisaged for housing, employment opportunities and social well-being.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is there an indication on the city map of what is located where?
Anar Guliyev: Yes, there are plans to organize the city's workplaces as shown on the right, an industrial agro-park as shown at the top, and there will be a relatively small free industrial zone in the region. There is the zoning of the city shown. The center of the city is Zone 1. The public business zones will include residential, administrative and cultural buildings. Zone 2 will be located west of the center, then there will be Zones 3, 4 and 5. As we move away from the center, the residential areas will become relatively sparse and the density will decrease. These are the buildings you laid the foundation of today.
Mr. President, the agro-park I mentioned will be located in this part of the city, covering an area of 50 hectares. A small 20-hectare industrial zone is in the southern part.
President Ilham Aliyev: There will be quite a few jobs here. Because proposals are already being submitted for the 200-hectare “Araz Valley Industrial Park”. One more will be located on the outskirts of the city.
Anar Guliyev: Some zones, such as Zone 17, are kept in the reserve and will be developed at the next stage. Some parts will have a very interesting view, such as Zones 9 and 10. Because the local terrain of the city is such that it is located on the hills, so great importance is attached to landscaping. All the areas we see in green are 150-152 hectares in total. About half of them are areas where special forest strips will be established. But at first glance, the city may seem to have no park, but we think that the whole city will be a park, with very wide green strips to be established.
President Ilham Aliyev: I believe that a Turkish-Azerbaijani Friendship Park will be built here in the near future. Where will it be located?
Anar Guliyev: Mr. President, it will be located in this part, in the upper part. That Friendship Spring is at this intersection and it is on this road.
These are the main social facilities, such as the school building the foundation of which was laid today. There will be a total of three schools. Dark blue areas are the coverage area of the schools. The location is designed so that everyone can move comfortably on foot.
President Ilham Aliyev: Were there three schools here in Soviet times?
Resident: Yes, three schools together with a boarding school.
Anar Guliyev: Preschool institutions are marked in other colors, healthcare facilities are light blue, etc.
Public transport is to operate on these three main roads. Slightly more detailed information about employment is shown here. This is the agro-park. In general, examples of agro-parks are shown here. The agro-park is designed for production, processing, research, car service and trade. There are also great benefits to this. Agro-parks are already being established throughout the country.
President Ilham Aliyev: First of all, we need to work in a planned manner to facilitate employment opportunities, so that people returning here can have jobs. No-one should be unemployed.
Anar Guliyev: As for industry, we are thinking of the production and repair of building materials, food, beverages, weaving, carpet weaving, metallurgy and machinery. The transport map is presented here. As I mentioned earlier, the length of the bike path along these green corridors will be 18 kilometers. A longer 70-kilometer lane is envisaged for sidewalks. Great attention will also be paid to green transport.
President: Electric transport.
Anar Guliyev: Yes, electric vehicles. Sample street and road profiles are shown here. The plan is designed so that all traffic participants– pedestrians, cars and bicycles – can move freely without any obstacles.
President Ilham Aliyev: So we must use green transport here.
Anar Guliyev: In general, in the whole of Karabakh.
President Ilham Aliyev: Green points, then buses.
Anar Guliyev: Yes, electric cars, electric buses. In general, as you announced, the whole of Karabakh will be a green energy zone.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, a green energy zone. A 240-megawatt solar power plant will be built in Jabrayil and Zangilan districts. At the expense of BP. See how great the interest is. An analysis has already been done. Jabrayil and Zangilan are ahead in terms of the number of sunny days.
Anar Guliyev: Mr. President, this is the hospital you have laid the foundation of. These are healthcare and social facilities. The three pictures above are a hospital. The district central hospital will have 150 beds. The pictures below are the first secondary school to be founded. At the same time, it is a school with a history. The school named after Academician Mehdi Mehdizadeh has operated here before. Planning work has begun on an area of 11 hectares. This is the neighborhood of the first building the foundation of which has been laid. The buildings will have four, five and in some places six floors. We tried our best to preserve the historical appearance and use those balconies of private houses and apartment buildings.
Mr. President, we would request that you lay the foundation stone of the city.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, together.
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The head of state laid the foundation stone for the city of Jabrayil.
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Female resident: Please allow me to contribute to this too.
President Ilham Aliyev: This will remain in history forever.
Resident: Mr. President’s words spoken at the Valdai meeting, “Karabakh is Azerbaijan and exclamation mark!” made me convinced that Karabakh would be liberated. Mr. President, the key thing is that we lived through this glorious history together. Indeed, you and the people worked very hard. We are a truly peaceful and humane people. You have said this many times.
You have also said that you know exactly what to do, when and where.
President Ilham Aliyev: It could not have been done a year earlier or a year later.
Resident: No, you have chosen the most suitable time.
President Ilham Aliyev: But everything had to be ready for that. We prepared everything.
Resident: Yes, you prepared that too. Indeed, the joy of the people of Jabrayil has no limits, Mr. President. May Allah protect you. You have given us happiness.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are living historic days.
Yagut Abdullayeva: May Allah grant you good health. Always be there for us, be happy together with your family. I wish you good health. May Allah always bless you for us. You are our President for life. We do not want anyone else.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.
Resident: The elders of Jabrayil have already made that decision. Inshallah, with the grace of Allah.
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A picture was taken.
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President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
Residents: Thank you very much, always be there for us. The people of Jabrayil are always by your side, Mr. President.
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