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The road, which started with Salvation, earned Azerbaijan today`s achievements

Interview with  Member of YAP Political Council, head of Aghjabadi Executive Authorities Shahin Mammadov

Q: Mr. Mammadov, we will soon celebrate the National Salvation Day on June 15. What is the importance of this day to Azerbaijan?

A: June 15, 1993 entered our history the National Salvation Day and this day is valuable for our people.

The National Salvation Day is celebrated as the coming back of national leader Heydar Aliyev from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to Baku in 1993. In this period Heydar Aliyev was MP of the Parliament of Nakhchivan.

The people welcomed the return of Heydar Aliyev with a hope and joy, and this day went down in history of the independent Azerbaijan as the Day of National Salvation. Azerbaijan could be saved only by greatness, braveness and devotion in the moment when the state was in the center of catastrophe and on the eve of destruction, Heydar Aliyev didn’t think about himself, as any other head could do, and his devotion, which hadn’t been observed in the history saved Azerbaijan.


The Salvation, which started with the return of the national leader, both saved Azerbaijan from the tragedy and collapse, and ensured its further rapid development

Chaos was observed in all spheres of social life. The situation was hard in the armed forces. Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory was increasing day by day. Azerbaijan remained without a leader. There was a harsh struggle between separate individuals and groups for power in the newly established state. Popular Front occupied the state power on May 14, 1992, but showed inability to lead the state due to its ill-determined ruling. Thus, in 1993 Azerbaijan faced a threat of the civil war.

However, national leader Heydar Aliyev prevented civil war in Azerbaijan in a short period of time. Also, the starvation threat was eliminated in the country, and the Armenian aggression ceased. This enabled to start building modern Azerbaijani statehood and new Azerbaijani economy, lay basis of an Azerbaijani economic model, which was exemplary among countries making a transition to market economy.

Q: We should bear in mind that Salvation saved Azerbaijan from international isolation too…

A: Beginning from the second half of 1993, radical changes took place in the foreign policy of Azerbaijan. At first Azerbaijan determined its place in the system of international relations, its short-term priorities, directions and leading strategy contacts with the European countries, the United States, newly independent states.

Solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was one of the priorities of Heydar Aliyev`s foreign policy. After Heydar Aliyev`s historical return to power in 1993, his activity for the settlement of the conflict, bilateral and multilateral meetings with the heads of states and delegations, discussions with the Minsk Group co-chairmen at the OSCE summits, as well as tête-à-tête meetings with the Armenian presidents were important parts of national leader Heydar Aliyev`s foreign policy.

Q: How would you summarize Azerbaijan`s development path?

A: We celebrate 21 years since the Nation al Salvation Day. Although not a big period these years saw Azerbaijan ensure its rapid development in all spheres of life.

At a mass meeting of the New Azerbaijan Party to mark the anniversary of the National Salvation day, President Ilham Aliyev said: “The Day of National Salvation was a turning point in the modern history of Azerbaijan. Under the leadership of the great leader Azerbaijan covered a long and glorious road in 10 years. The 1993-2003 period has gone down in history as a period of stability and development in our country. The foundations of statehood were laid in those years. Azerbaijan managed to present itself to the international community. Our international relations developed. Azerbaijan managed to secure a rightful place on the world map. Political and economic reforms were successfully carried out. Azerbaijan became a member of several international organizations. Major investment was attracted to our country, which helped Azerbaijan to develop in those years and today. Azerbaijan has earned the image of a reliable partner. This is also a very important issue, because there wasn’t sufficient information about Azerbaijan at the time. Azerbaijan introduced itself to the world for what it is thanks to the hard work of the great leader.”


As long as there is independent Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev will live in the hearts

Building a modern state on a strong and solid foundation and on national values has been one of Heydar Aliyev's main policy directions. It was Heydar Aliyev who introduced the ideology of Azerbaijanism. Today, the philosophy of Azerbaijanism is one of our main ideological pillars.

After the establishment of socio-political stability as a result of the consistent and appropriate policy, the decline in production and economic downturn were gradually overcome and a new stage in the economic development of Azerbaijan began. The achieved macroeconomic stability, growth in industry and other sectors, and the initial results of economic reforms reflected the steps of Azerbaijan on the path of market economy.

Q: What future do the achievements in the past 10 years promise Azerbaijan?

A: Over the past 10 years Azerbaijan has developed at the fastest pace in the world. It is impossible to find a second country on the world map that would reach as many successes as Azerbaijan. These successes are diverse and cover all areas. In domestic and foreign policy, political and economic reforms - no matter where you look, Azerbaijan is developing successfully, confidently and rapidly.

I would like to quote President Ilham Aliyev, who said at his inauguration ceremony in 2013: “I am sure that the people of Azerbaijan are firmly convinced that Azerbaijan will continue to develop in the future too. The history of the last 10 years gives grounds to say that. Stability has been protected in Azerbaijan in the last 10 years. When celebrating the Independence Day, our thoughts go back to the early years of our independence and we see that there can be talk of development when there is no stability.”

“Our initiatives, as well as a consistent and independent policy, have created these realities. These realities will serve the Azerbaijani state and people and ensure our economic independence for decades to come. There can be no talk of political independence without economic independence. We are watching the events taking place around us and do not remain indifferent to what is happening in the world. We see the countries that are not independent economically becoming the object of blackmail and pressure. We see what this leads to. Such countries are among those asking for help. Azerbaijan is not asking, has not asked and will not ask anything from anyone. We conduct an independent policy. Our independent policy is underpinned by economic independence. The creation of economic independence has been one of the most important issues for me as President. Ten years ago I knew perfectly well that if we did not succeed in doing that, Azerbaijan may face great challenges in the future.”


State Programs on socio-economic development play a crucial role in Azerbaijan`s rapid development

The adoption of the first program in 2004 has played a special role in the development of the regions of Azerbaijan. Back in 2003, on the eve of the presidential election, I expressed my thoughts on the adoption of the first program. I said that if I was given the confidence of the people, I would first of all tackle the development of regions of Azerbaijan and a special program would be adopted.

And so it happened – the program was adopted. The first five-year program managed to create a major change in the regions. After this, the second program was adopted. The program covering the years 2009-2013 has also been completed. I can say that these programs have played a very important part in regional development and in strengthening the economic potential of Azerbaijan as a whole.

The reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and the sound policies have given an impetus to the comprehensive development of our country. Today Azerbaijan is looking to the future with very high hopes and optimism. The key to this is our economic independence, our economic strength and political will.

Over the last 10 years Azerbaijan has developed most rapidly in the world. The economy has grown 3.4 times. No other country has achieved such growth in the last 10 years. The main prerequisites for this are the reforms, the stability and public order observed in our country. Of course, stability and sound policies have created favorable conditions for the development of the economic sphere. In Azerbaijan, economic reforms are complemented by political transformation. There is consistency between these two areas. I think that from this point of view the experience of Azerbaijan can be of interest to other countries.

As a result of the implementation of two programs, industrial production has grown 2.7 times. Whereas in the first years of the program our economy and industry grew largely on the account of the oil sector, the successful development of our country in recent years has been provided by the non-oil sector. It is no coincidence that last year non-oil sector growth made up almost 10 per cent. This is also one of the highest indicators in the world. Overall, the economy grew by nearly 6 per cent last year.

Of course, all these achievements are reflected in the statistics. The economy grew 3.4 times, industrial production 2.7 times, agriculture 1.5 times. The government has created 1.2 million jobs, of which 900,000 are permanent. Poverty has declined from nearly 50 to 5.3 per cent. Unemployment is 5 per cent. For by indicators Azerbaijan is ahead of even developed countries. Our foreign debt is 8 per cent.