– Dear ladies and gentlemen!
Dear fellow countrymen!
Year 2015 is being left in the past. The economic, political and military crisis in our region further exacerbated in 2015. Risks and threats have increased and new challenges have emerged.
Despite all this, Azerbaijan developed successfully in 2015. Our main goal has been to secure a sustainable life of the Azerbaijani people and achieve dynamic development of our country. Public and political stability in Azerbaijan has been ensured. The people of Azerbaijan are living and will continue to live in security. At the same time, the price of oil dropped sharply in 2015 – it dropped three times. This was impossible to imagine at the beginning of the year. However, it is a reality. As a result of a judicious economic policy conducted in Azerbaijan, economic growth has been secured. Non-oil sector development has been achieved. In particular, I am especially delighted with the development of the non-oil industry by more than 7 per cent. This suggests that the policy conducted in previous years is yielding fruit. Azerbaijan is a sustainable economy and our dependence on oil will reduce even further. Of course, our revenues have dramatically decreased and the national currency has depreciated. However, we have done and will continue to do our best for this situation not to affect people’s living standards. In particular, our main goal is to maintain consumer prices at a stable level.
This year has been a Year of Agriculture. I am pleased that agriculture has increased by about 7 per cent. In general, our economic policies are also praised by prestigious international organizations. According to the estimations of the Davos World Economic Forum, the Azerbaijani economy is ranked in 40th places in the world for the level of competitiveness. This is a great and historic achievement. It shows that we are conducting a prudent policy and, of course, will continue to secure the interests of the Azerbaijani people in the future.
Social issues are being resolved in Azerbaijan. Although our revenues have reduced dramatically, not a single social program has been postponed. All our social projects have been implemented. This is evidence of the essence of our policies. It attests to the fact that our policies are centered on citizens of Azerbaijan. We are building a powerful state and a strong economy. At the same time, the well-being of our people has always been a top priority for us.
The international reputation of our country further enhances in 2015. My visits abroad and the visits of the heads of state and government of foreign countries are further evidence of that. In 2015, I paid official visits to different countries and attended international events. I have paid visits to 20 countries and 15 heads of state and government were in Azerbaijan on official and unofficial visits.
At the same time, our foreign policy is praised and respected by the world community because we are conducting an independent policy. We have a principled position on every issue. No outside force can affect our will. Azerbaijan conducts an independent policy. This policy protects the interests of the Azerbaijani people. The campaign of pressure and threats against us do not and will not affect us in any way. We are not afraid of anyone and anything. Our main mission is to serve our people and enhance the international reputation of our country.
I would like to assure you that in 2016 and beyond we will not deviate from our principled policies and will conduct an independent policy. Let this be remembered by those who want to wage a campaign against us. Their efforts are all in vain. They do not and will not affect our policy.
Our main foreign political priority is to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Unfortunately, there was no progress in this direction in 2015. The reason for that is clear to our people. Armenia does not want peace. It wants to delay a solution and gain time. They conduct themselves insincerely in the talks and use different pretexts to prolong the process of talks.
Our policy is to resolve this conflict on the basis of the norms and principles of international law. Our territorial integrity must be restored. The occupiers must vacate all occupied lands and Azerbaijani citizens must return to their native lands. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions regarding this conflict. These resolutions state that the occupying forces should leave the occupied lands without any preconditions and immediately. These documents form a basis for the solution of the conflict. The issue must be resolved only within these frames. Azerbaijan will never allow a second Armenian state to be created on our lands. No-one will ever recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. We will use all political, diplomatic, economic and other resources to restore our territorial integrity. Justice is on our side. Economic and political power support and reinforce our position. I am sure that we will achieve what we want and Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. To achieve this, of course, in addition to diplomatic efforts, we need to have a strong military potential, and we are doing that. The people of Azerbaijan are already seeing that the Azerbaijani army is among the world’s strongest armies.
In 2015, all of the enemy’s provocations received a fitting rebuff. Devastating blows were dealt to the enemy and the situation on the battlefield demonstrates our advantage again. We want to resolve the conflict peacefully, but we will not back down from our position of principle. If necessary, it is our sovereign right to use military power.
The problems of internally displaced persons continued to be resolved in 2015. Thousands of IDPs move to new houses and apartments every year. This policy will be continued next year too.
Important steps were taken in the energy policy in 2015. The implementation of the TANAP project has begun. The implementation of the TANAP project is already a reality. Azerbaijan plays a very important part here along with partner countries. Azerbaijan is the main shareholder and main investor in the TANAP project. This project will allow us the opportunity to transport our ample gas reserves to world markets for decades to come. This will secure our political and economic interests more fully.
We have done a lot of work this year to create transport corridors. The East-West transport corridor is already being realized. A new Silk Road project stretching from China, across Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe is being realized and the role of Azerbaijan is fairly large here. At the same time, Azerbaijan has taken specific steps to create the North-South transport corridor. I am sure that this project will also be implemented successfully. Thus, after these two important projects have been implemented, Azerbaijan will become an internationally indispensable transit country. There is no need to explain what this means.
This year, European Games have been held for the first time in history. Azerbaijan demonstrated its power here too. More than 6,000 athletes and thousands of guests came to our country and got acquainted with our realities. The European Games were held at the level of summer Olympic Games. The European Games have been a triumph of the Azerbaijani state. At the same time, they have been a triumph of Azerbaijani sports because our athletes and the national team won 56 medals, including 21 gold ones, finishing the Games in second place. This is a huge victory of our state and every citizen of Azerbaijan is proud that we have achieved this success.
The parliamentary election was held in 2015. This was a major event for the development of our country. The parliamentary election was held transparently and fairly. This was acknowledged by all international observers. The will of the Azerbaijani people was fully reflected. The results of the parliamentary election have been a reflection of the people’s assessment of our policies. This is how I see it.
Azerbaijan moves along the path of democracy and development, and this is our conscious choice. The unity between the people and the government and national solidarity are at the highest level.
Dear friends, it is the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis today. I want to take this opportunity to greet all the Azerbaijanis of the world and wish you all the best. They, the people of Azerbaijan and all Azerbaijanis of the world are aware that Azerbaijan is moving along the path of independence and development. The independent Azerbaijan is a strong state today. Our main goal is to further strengthen our state and create an even better life for the people of Azerbaijan.
I sincerely congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis of the world on the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and the New Year, and wish every Azerbaijani family continued success and happiness.