(MENAFN- AzerNews) President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has been
interviewed by the Azerbaijan Television in the city of Salyan.
- It is nice to see you, Mr. President. First of all,
thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Mr. President, you visit all the regions of Azerbaijan
of a regular basis, get to know the work being done and the ongoing
development on the ground, provide your recommendations and tasks.
Today you visited Neftchala and Salyan districts. Please share your
impressions about the trip.
- My impressions are very positive. As you said, I often visit
the regions of Azerbaijan. As you may be aware, state programs on
the socioeconomic development of the regions have been implemented
in Azerbaijan since 2004. The fourth such program is currently
underway. As a result of the implementation of these programs,
large-scale construction work has been carried out in the regions.
This work continues. My visits to the regions are also a means of
exercising control, i.e. how the tasks I have issued are being
implemented. At the same time, further tasks and recommendations
are provided, so that all the goals we have declared – first of
all, improvement of people's well-being, creation of infrastructure
facilities, including social infrastructure – are implemented in
the regions. In a nutshell, the overall development of Azerbaijan's
regions has both a social nature and, at the same time, strengthens
Today's trip is also a traditional one. I have visited Salyan
and Neftchala districts several times in the past, and the
ceremonies I attended during this trip are an indicator in
themselves. There is a beautiful“ASAN xidmet” center, which is the
25th center already. The“ASAN xidmet” system is already very well
known in the world as an Azerbaijani brand and is highly
appreciated by the country's population. I must also note that the
services provided in“ASAN xidmet” centers are welcomed by the
population and the approval rate of the service is 99.8 percent. I
don't know if there is any other service that would be so popular
with the population. At the same time, several countries in the
world are already implementing the“ASAN” model. We provide
methodology support to these countries. Over the last few years,
that is, over 10 years, there have been 61 million applications. So
the establishment of this service was actually created a revolution
in the field of public services. It has been a turning point, and
more than 300 services are provided there now. In other words,
“ASAN xidmet” is an example of our intellectual products. At the
same time, we are already exporting intellectual products.
Other activities are also evidence of the great things being
done. For example, the Olympic Sports Center, the children's
hospital, the maternity hospital, the digital control center for
electricity supply, other measures, as well as the steps related to
the creation of jobs, including the opening of a large fishery in
Neftchala district. All this shows that our country is developing
dynamically and that social policy is being successfully
implemented. There are also infrastructure projects – today I
attended the opening of a road. Our initiatives related to the real
sector of the economy, including jobs, our initiatives related to
industrialization, our initiatives related to the production of
export-oriented products – all these are being implemented and once
again show the strength of our country. Again, today's visit has
clarified a number of points. In other words, I am very pleased
with my trip today, with the results of the trip, and with what I
- Large-scale and rapid restoration and reconstruction
work is underway in the liberated territories – Karabakh and East
Zangezur. A period of great revival has already begun in those
areas. What can you say about this work?
- This work is going according to plan. As you may know, the
restoration of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur is our top priority,
and most of my visits to the regions are to those specific regions.
However, I regularly go to other parts of our country. The work
done in Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur shows again that we, the
owners of these territories, have returned to our ancestral lands.
Over 30 years, Armenia devastated these lands, did not leave a
single stone unturned, was engaged in looting and robbery, and was
engaged in barbarism. We, the owners of these lands, have come to
build and create. Therefore, as soon as the war ended, work was
started immediately. Currently, former IDPs live in two settlements
– in the villages of Aghali and Talish. We see the future face of
Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur as a whole in the example of these
villages – prosperous cities, prosperous villages, infrastructure
created on the basis of smart management principles. So all this is
obvious. Let me say again that these two projects show the entire
population of Azerbaijan and the whole world what the future face
of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur will be like.
Infrastructure projects are being continued. Achievements made
in the first three months of the year have allowed us the
opportunity to make additions to the budget. The government has
already been instructed to conduct budget reconciliation and submit
it to the Milli Majlis. First of all, 1.1 billion manats in excess
of the forecast was collected by the Tax Service in the first three
months of the year. This is also a result of transparency. It is a
result of new governance methods. In the customs sector, the funds
collected above the forecast exceed 400 million manats. At present,
the reforms ongoing in the field of customs and the process of
eliminating the shortcomings from previous periods are going on
successfully. In three months alone, 1.5 billion manats were
collected in excess of the forecast. Of course, we have completed
only the first three months of the year and, of course, this number
will increase further before the end of the year. Therefore, in
order to speed up work and fulfill other tasks facing the country,
I think the budget reconciliation should be performed.
In general, I think that the additions to the budget will
account for at least 3 billion manats, perhaps even more. Most of
this amount will be used in the reconstruction of Karabakh and
Eastern Zangezur. Our military spending will be in second place.
Because there is a great need for that. Everyone is watching the
processes going on in the world. Threats are increasing in the
world. Dangers are growing. It is true that we crushed the enemy
and achieved a great Victory in the Second Karabakh War. However,
revengeful forces are rising in Armenia again, so we must be ready
for any situation and create an army that would be exemplary on a
global scale, be one of the strongest armies. The Azerbaijani Army
is already strong now. We showed our strength on the battlefield.
On the battlefield, we showed the strength, resolve and indomitable
spirit of the Azerbaijani people. At the same time, we showed the
professionalism of our soldiers and our military potential.
In the two and a half years that have passed after the war, a
lot of attention has been paid to issues of army building. I can
say with full confidence that the Azerbaijani Army today is much
stronger than the Azerbaijani Army that won the war in 2020. At the
same time, I want to say again that we have to be ready for any
situation and at any time. Therefore, all issues related to
building the army and stepping up our defense potential are our top
priority, along with the task of restoring Karabakh and Eastern
Zangazur. Therefore, we will channel most of the funds into these
directions. Other key expenses will also be provided. This shows
again that at a time when many countries around the world are
struggling with an economic crisis, political crisis and military
crisis, Azerbaijan is increasing its state budget, which is already
at a record level. After this increase, of course, our budget
expenses will set a new record, reaching at least 36 billion
The public is regularly updated about the progress of work going
on in Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur. I should inform you that all
the activities related to the implementation of infrastructure
projects, railways, highways, electricity supply, water supply, and
land reclamation measures are going according to plan. Two airports
are already in operation, and the third airport is under
I said some time ago that we would return the former IDPs to the
city of Lachin by the end of this year. Well, I can say with full
confidence today that we will achieve that in the summer months. So
we are doing this work ahead of schedule. Whereas we planned to
build a little more than 400 houses in the city of Lachin at the
first stage, according to the latest information, according to our
latest plans, the number of private houses alone will be 570. At
the same time, more than 140 apartments will also be ready. In
other words, we will accommodate more than 700 families in the city
of Lachin in the summer months of this year. At the same time, work
is underway in the villages of Zabukh and Sus, where the policy of
illegal settlement was carried out. We will return the former IDPs
to those villages by the end of the year.
In parallel with this, the first residential compound is being
successfully built in the city of Shusha. We will soon lay the
foundation of the second large residential compound, i.e. a project
consisting of many houses. The construction of residential
buildings in the cities of Aghdam, Fuzuli and Zangilan is going
according to plan. Preparations are underway in the cities of
Kalbajar and Jabrayil. In parallel with this, schools, hospitals,
social facilities, mosques – more than 10 mosques are being rebuilt
or fundamentally refurbished. More precisely, only two mosques are
being refurbished because all the remaining mosques were razed to
the ground by the Armenians. So our construction work is proceeding
in this direction, and this shows again that all our plans, all the
goals we have declared are and will be materialized.
- With your permission, our next question is related to
peace negotiations with Armenia. What stage are the negotiations at
- As you know, the initiatives Azerbaijan put forward regarding
negotiations are the key factor today. Because despite the
occupation, Armenian savagery and barbarism, it was Azerbaijan that
proposed to sign a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia and
it was Azerbaijan that put forward the well-known five principles.
These principles are the fundamental principles of the norms and
principles of international law. We have declared from the very
beginning that negotiations are possible and a peace treaty can be
signed on the basis of these principles – the sovereignty of
countries, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and
In the last two years, there have been various zigzags in the
position of the Armenian side, i.e. there have been various changes
in it. As a result, it seems to us that Armenia has generally
agreed to our approach. Because there is no other option. This is
why Armenia officially recognized Azerbaijan's territorial
integrity and sovereignty at the Prague and Sochi meetings in
October of last year. In other words, they accepted that the
borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia should be resolved on the
basis of the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991. What does that suggest?
It suggests that the borders between allied republics are
considered state borders. So by taking that official step, Armenia
officially recognized Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan.
Armenia, which used to say that“Karabakh is Armenia and full stop”
must now repeat our words that“Karabakh is Azerbaijan and
exclamation mark”. Because if they have said“A”, they should also
say“B”. Having shown its readiness for a peace treaty based on the
Alma-Ata Declaration, Armenia should now officially declare that
Karabakh is Azerbaijan.
I believe that the progress of this issue is evidence of that
because there is no other option. We have repeatedly stated that we
will not discuss our internal affairs with any country. Karabakh is
our internal matter. Armenians living in Karabakh should either
accept Azerbaijani citizenship or find another place to live. There
is complete freedom in that, all democratic fundamentals have been
offered. This issue should be resolved on the basis of human
rights. Today, our actions show that and our intention is to sign a
peace agreement soon, to put an end to this conflict between
Azerbaijan and Armenia.
I should also note that in the two and a half years that have
passed since the Second Karabakh War, Armenia, its patrons and, at
the same time, the countries and forces that support it have
clearly witnessed our resolve, determination and strength. I don't
want to list anything now. Many important events have taken place
over these two and a half years, both in the direction of the
Azerbaijan-Armenia state border and, at the same time, in the
region under the control of Russia's temporarily deployed
peacekeeping forces. We have repeatedly shown that we are the
owners of these lands and we will not allow anyone to call the
shots on our territory.
The separatists should also understand that they have two
options: either they will live under the Azerbaijani flag or they
will leave. We have chased Serzhik Sargsyan, Robert Kocharian and
Seyran Ohanyan, the main figures of the separatists, out of
Karabakh like dogs and brought them to their knees. They came to
Karabakh during the Second Karabakh War supposedly to fight against
us. All three ran away from our lands like rabbits. None of them
can poke their nose into Khankendi or any other place now.
The separatists, who are currently inventing some fictitious
names for themselves – one calls himself a president, another calls
himself a minister, another one calls himself a speaker of some
parliament – this group of clowns must finally understand that they
cannot play with our patience. We have tried to explain to them
many times in different ways that they will either follow our word
or they will be rejected from there and leave the Armenians there,
who have actually become their hostages and captives, in peace. I
am sure that the majority of the Armenian population currently
living in Karabakh is ready to accept Azerbaijani citizenship.
Simply put, these leeches, these predatory animals won't let them
do that. They won't let these people live comfortably, having kept
them as hostages for 30 years. Therefore, my position is this. Let
everyone hear it – both the Armenian leaders and the forces
standing behind them today. No-one can influence our will. We have
proven it – both during and after the war. If necessary, we will
prove it again in any form.
- A few days ago, an incident happened that exposed
Armenian substance yet again. The National Flag of Azerbaijan was
set on fire at the European Weightlifting Championship in Armenia.
What is your take on that?
- I think that this is yet another dirty act of the Armenian
government. I see it that way. It did not happen by chance, it was
not an act by some individual. This is yet another dirty act of the
Armenian government. There are many reasons to believe in this.
First, the humanoid creature who committed this incident was in
direct contact with high-level officials of the ruling circles of
Armenia. Secondly, no punishment was given to this creature. On the
contrary, they have made him a hero in Armenia. They allegedly
detained him and released him a few minutes later. They set up a
spectacle there, they welcomed him with applause and no punishment
or fine was imposed on this person. So what does this mean?
Such a disgraceful event takes place before the eyes of the
political leadership of Armenia and there is no reaction to it. So
the Armenian government, the state of Armenia is the mastermind
behind this ugly act. But they should not forget where the flag of
Azerbaijan flies today. The Azerbaijani flag flies in Karabakh
today. The Azerbaijani flag flies in Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil,
Gubadli, Zangilan, Kalbajar, Lachin, Shusha, Hadrut, Talish,
Sugovushan, and hundreds of villages. Today, the Azerbaijani flag
flies in Zangezur mountains. Let them not forget that. Can they
approach those flags? Can that humanoid creature and his ilk
approach those flags? They are afraid even to look at those flags
from afar. By burning our flag, they only showed their ugly
qualities to the whole world. I want to say again that behind this
is the Armenian state, the Armenian government, the
anti-Azerbaijani campaign conducted in Armenia for many years, the
Azerbaijanphobia conducted in Armenia for decades. This is not an
I also want to note that this incident cannot shake us, of
course. It cannot have any impact on our determination. But they
should think carefully. One day they may wake up to see the
Azerbaijan Flag above their heads.
- Mr. President, with your permission, we would like to
ask you one more question related to this topic. In that
championship in Yerevan, female athletes from Türkiye won gold and
silver medals and dedicated them to Azerbaijan. You and Mrs.
Mehriban Aliyeva congratulated them. We would like to know your
thoughts about this.
- Yes, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva and I congratulated our dear girls,
Cansu and Gamze. First, because they achieved this great victory in
Armenia – the enemy state, the state that is the eternal enemy of
both Azerbaijan and Türkiye, and had the Turkish flag raised there.
The Armenians burned our flag, but the Turkish flag flew there.
They played the National Anthem of Türkiye. The National Anthem of
Türkiye must have deafened all the enemies sitting in the hall.
They dedicated this victory to Azerbaijan and the people of
Azerbaijan. What a wonderful move! This is why they won the love of
the entire Azerbaijani people. I want to congratulate them again.
Today, when I attended the opening of the Neftchala Olympic Center,
I instructed the Minister of Youth and Sports to invite these girls
to Azerbaijan on my behalf and let them be our guests. This once
again shows our unity. The Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and
brotherhood is unshakable. We are one, and in the congratulatory
letter to them, we also wrote that where there is Turkish flag, we
are there too, and the whole of Armenia saw it. Some scoundrel
burns our flag, but the next day the glorious flag of the brotherly
state of Türkiye is raised over the heads of those enemies and they
are forced to stand and listen to the National Anthem of
I want to once again congratulate our beautiful girls. We are
proud of them. In fact, I think this event will go down in history,
and not only in the history of sports, but also in the history of
world politics as a whole, in the history of the Turkic world.
Every one of us, each and every child of the Turkic world should be
like Cansu and Gamze. This is what I want.
- Thank you very much. Many thanks again for taking the
time to answer our questions.