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June 15 is the Salvation day of the Azerbaijani statehood

Interview with  Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov

Q: Mr. Mammadov, celebrations are underway in all parts of the country to mark June 15 National Salvation Day. What is your opinion of the place and role of the National Salvation Day in the history of the Azerbaijani statehood?

A: The National Salvation Day played an exclusive role in the history of the Azerbaijani people`s independence as it marked a turning point in the country`s life, in the strengthening of independence and statehood.

Shortly after gaining its independence with the collapse of the empire at the end of the 20th century, Azerbaijan faced a threat of losing its independence again.

First years of independence were marked by the vacuum of the political power and total crisis of the State’s foundations and all its institutions, including army and national security bodies. The situation was further exacerbated by irredentist aggression of Armenia. Real menace of civil war became apparent in Azerbaijan in summer, 1993. During such vitally important times for the Motherland, national leader Heydar Aliyev came back to power. He was elected as the Chairman of the MilliMajlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on June 15, 1993. Since that time, the 15th of July has laid into our history as the Day of the National Salvation. In June 1997, the MilliMajlis has announced this day as holiday in accordance with public opinion.

Q:The early 1990s were very difficult and critical for Azerbaijan. How do you remember that period?

A: Azerbaijan faced crisis after regaining its independence. On one hand, then-government was unable to solve important problems. On the other hand, Armenia`s territorial claims, internal and foreign impact on undermining political stability, occupation of lands and other factors shattered domestic stability in the country and domestic discipline.

In the light of these events, every citizen of Azerbaijan who thought of his future saw the only way out of the crisis in Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power.If Heydar Aliyev did not come to power, there had not been Azerbaijan. Internal and foreign forces could divide the country. It was going on before the eyes of everybody. The role of people in his coming to power was great. Heydar Aliyev risked his life to avert threat of collapse and led the country to the path of development.

Q: What achievements did national leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power mark for Azerbaijan?

A: The return of national leader Heydar Aliyev to political power was a requirement of time. this return boosted the Azerbaijani people`s self-confidence and morals. It`s no coincidence that when national leader Heydar Aliyev returned to Baku from Nakhchivan the entire Azerbaijan was in joy and happiness.

The return of national leader Heydar Aliyevsaved Azerbaijan from many problems and crises, including the civil war, collapse, and isolation from the international community.

As a result of this today Azerbaijan is leading not only the CIS, but also many developed countries in terms of the development rate.

Q: We would like you to highlight what has been done to build and improve the country`s transportation system.

A: The national leader attached a particular importance to developing the country`s road and transport infrastructure. And today this work is successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. The Head of State pays great attention to increasing the country`s transit potential and improving transport infrastructure and park.

Considerable work has been done under the presidential decrees on extra measures to speed up the socio-economic development in Azerbaijan and on State Program for development of the regions of the country.

We have carried out very important and large-scale projects, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, New Baku International Sea Trade, improvement of the transport infrastructure in Baku, and so on.

Q: What about the future plans with respect to improvement of the transport infrastructure?

A: We have approved a special Plan of Action on the transportation and road complex in preparation for the inaugural European Games to be held in our capital city in 2015. The Plan of Action covers highways, intellectual transportation system, as well as road transport.

One of our key priorities is solving social problems, improving the common transportation policy, carrying out reforms and expanding cooperation with international organizations.