President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to give out apartments and cars to families of martyrs and war disabled in Khojasan settlement, Binagadi district, Baku.
The head of state met with members of martyrs` families and war disabled.
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
Hello. At the beginning of our meeting, please, let us remember our martyrs who died heroically for the Motherland with a minute of silence.
May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace.
A new residential compound for the families of martyrs and war disabled is being commissioned today. This compound consists of 810 apartments, so it is a large compound. I have just inspected it, the conditions are very positive, very good. Apartments are bright and spacious, a school for 620 people and a kindergarten are ready for operation. In other words, there are all the opportunities for a comfortable life here. This place will be home to martyr families and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war.
The state always pays great attention to this category of people – not in word but in deed. This is also confirmed by figures. A lot has been done in this area in recent years. If we take this compound into account, 10,000 martyr families and those disabled in the war have been provided with apartments and private houses by the state, and this process continues. Last year, in 2020, we achieved the greatest result in this direction – 1,572 martyr families and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war were provided with houses and apartments. In fact, I said last year that we had to provide our citizens with more houses and apartments in 2021, and today we are seeing the results of that. This year, about 3,000 martyr families and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war will be provided with houses and apartments. More than 1,300 families of this category have already been provided with apartments, including this residential compound. At the same time, we have been providing veterans of the Karabakh war with private cars for many years. Several cars will be presented today, so a total of 7,200 cars have been presented to people of this category.
By citing these figures, I want to show again that the work done in this area in Azerbaijan is exemplary. I do not want to compare our country with any other, but life and the work we are doing show that the policy Azerbaijan is pursuing in this area is the most humane policy, the fairest and the most honest policy. Because the family members of our heroic sons who sacrificed their lives for the Motherland must be taken care of by the state, and we are seeing that today. Veterans who have lost their health and have been injured should be taken care of by all government agencies, and we are making sure that this is the case. I must also say that the principles we apply to this area are quite. Because there have been wars and conflicts in many countries, but I do not know of a country that would pay so much attention to the relatives of people who lost their lives in war. Armenia also suffered losses in the war, they lost two to three times more than us in the second Karabakh war. But has a single apartment been given to a family of those who died in the war? No! Has a car been provided? No! They haven’t given anyone a single hut. In other words, this shows that we are pursuing a policy in this area that meets national interests in the true sense of the word. Because our policy is centered on citizens of Azerbaijan. Citizens of the most vulnerable categories should be taken care of by the state in the first place.
Today, we are also resolving the problems of civilians who lost their homes and relatives as a result of the cowardly Armenian fire during the war. Everyone knows that Armenia fired on civilians, committed war crimes, used banned weapons, including white phosphorus bombs, when it was unable to resist us on the battlefield during the war. This has already been proven. It used long-range ballistic missiles, killing more than 100 civilians and destroying thousands of homes and businesses. Today, construction work is under way in all our cities and districts that have been destroyed. New houses are being built by the state, individual houses are being built, and these houses will be much better than the previous ones.
This shows again that we are pursuing the right policy in this direction, and this policy fully meets the interests of the Azerbaijani people. The state always takes care of the people disabled during the second Karabakh war. Issues of employment of our disabled war veterans are being addressed, and I am very glad that the private sector is responding positively to our call, which is only natural. The state has done a lot for the development of the private sector and for the activities of entrepreneurs. Now the private sector and entrepreneurs should and do show their social responsibility. More than 200 entrepreneurs have joined the employment marathon and 160 disabled war veterans have already been employed. This is also an innovation. The holding of employment marathons for this category of people reflects both the state policy and the maturity of our society, of course. Entrepreneurs have also joined this initiative with great enthusiasm, and I am confident that the scope of this initiative will continue to expand.
As you know, a large-scale self-employment program has been implemented in our country in recent years. Every year, we provide tools for those who want to be self-employed, and their number is growing. This year, there are plans that 16,000 people will be involved in the self-employment program. The state will provide them with funds, and thus they will be able to provide for their future themselves. Among the 16,000 people involved in the self-employment program, more than 5,000 are martyr families and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war. In other words, this is an issue that is always in the spotlight.
We have ordered the most modern prostheses for our servicemen who lost their hands, arms and legs in the war, and these prostheses are already being utilized. About 100 disabled veterans of the second Karabakh war have already been provided with the highest quality prostheses produced by the world's leading companies, and these prostheses bring them back to normal life.
With the help of these prostheses, a person can live normally, walk, run and even play football. This is what we are doing. Of course, in addition to all these large-scale programs and initiatives, social payments have been made to 8,400 people who took part in the war.
We have already established several rehabilitation centers, and our wounded servicemen are recovering there. These are very large-scale and costly programs. But we are doing and will continue to do that. All the families of martyrs and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war should know that we are always with them – not in word but in deed. After all, everything is measured by deeds. It is very easy to say good words, we have heard that, and during the second Karabakh war all our words reflected the truth. The Armenian side deceived its citizens, shamelessly lied, and it is now suffering from that. But our words are true. The words we give are fulfilled. All the promises made so far, including the restoration of our territorial integrity, have been fulfilled.
I have held numerous meetings with the families of martyrs in recent years, i.e. throughout the past 18 years. I have always tried to give them moral support and, of course, solve their problems. At the same time, I knew that the most important thing for them was to take revenge for their children. I understood this perfectly well, we all wanted that. We had to take revenge for them. I said that their blood would not remain unavenged, and it did not. We avenged the death of all our martyrs. We avenged the death of our martyrs of the first and second Karabakh wars on the battlefield, and we can be proud of that. I think that those who lost their loved ones can find some comfort in that. Because their heroism, courage and selflessness contributed to the liberation of our lands. It was at the cost of their blood that we liberated and returned to the lands. Each of us was saying it in our hearts and by word of mouth that we must take back our lands at any cost. Of course, the death of every person is a great tragedy – for the family, for the relatives and for society. But our martyrs died in the way of truth, they died for the Motherland. Today, their heroism is recognized as a reality all over the world. As a result of their heroism, our flag has been raised in the liberated lands. As a result of their heroism, our people and our state live as a victorious state, as a victorious people, and this will be the case forever from now on. This can be a consolation for the families of martyrs.
Our plans were fully implemented in the second Karabakh war. I have touched upon this issue several times, but I want to say it again today. Because it is too early in the day to talk about all the operations we carried out during the war. But one of my most important instructions was to achieve the goal we set when planning and carrying out operations with minimal losses. I think we have achieved this.
Yes, we have about three thousand martyrs. The life of each of them is very valuable. But we should also know that our losses in the war could have been even greater. This is because the counter-attacking party usually incurs more losses – at least three to four times greater than the defending side. The military will know this better. On the other hand, the natural terrain of the liberated lands was very unfavorable for us. It was favorable for the opposing party. They had all the strategic heights. Of course, the fortifications they had built over 30 years, the six lines of defense and the engineering work they had done gave them a great advantage. They thought that we could never break through these lines of defense, these fortifications, these mountains. But they were wrong, they made a big mistake. They did not know that the people of Azerbaijan have been living with one mission for 30 years: to liberate our lands from occupiers at any cost. We lived with this mission. It was not only the professionalism, heroism and military equipment of our servicemen that led us to victory – it was also the love of the Motherland that led us to victory. The key factor, the primary factor was the love of our country.
We drove the enemy out of our lands and restored our territorial integrity. Therefore, the death of about 3,000 martyrs is an immense tragedy, of course. However, Armenia has not yet disclosed its losses. According to the information we have and independent experts, their losses are at least 7,000-8,000. This is confirmed by the course of operations, as well as video footage, the Armenian military equipment we have destroyed and taken over. We either destroyed or took 336 enemy tanks as soils of war. Let them count how many people there are in a tank. We have destroyed hundreds of armored vehicles and air defense systems. We have destroyed a large number of artillery installations. There are at least three to four people around each artillery unit. If we calculate only these, the real picture emerges. Therefore, we assume that their losses exceed 7,000-8,000 people. What does this show? It shows the heroism and professionalism of our servicemen. This shows the accuracy of our operations. I want to say again that when planning each operation I said that losses should be minimal.
Sometimes we postponed certain operations because of this. We carried out some operations afterwards because we saw that we could have many casualties. Of course, the capitulation act Armenia signed on 10 November allowed us the opportunity to save the lives of thousands of young people. If Armenia had not signed the act of capitulation and if the war had continued, we would not have stopped, of course. Because I repeatedly said during the war that we are ready to stop. In the first days of the war, I said that the Armenian leader should give us a timetable of when they would vacate our lands. We are ready to stop the war. We do not want war. However, they only gave us a timetable when we took back Shusha and liberated more than 300 settlements. But if Armenia had not signed the act of capitulation on 10 November, we would not have stopped. Our next operational directions were clear. There would have been many casualties: in Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin. They had turned Aghdam into such a fortification that it was very dangerous to enter it from the east. Of course, after the capture of Shusha, after Hadrut and Fuzuli were already in our hands, the Armenian military contingent in Aghdam would have been besieged and destroyed. But we would have had losses too. The natural terrain, climate and weather conditions of Kalbajar and Lachin districts could make our task very difficult, especially considering that winter was on its way. Winter is very severe in those places. Snow never melts in the mountains. I can say that we managed to access the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in that direction only in May. Because there is no road, there are even no paths there at all. There were no settlements in those regions during the Soviet era. We were able to get there only after the snow had melted. Therefore, the work we did during the war was carried out with full precision. Our steps were very well calculated – we did everything on time and we stopped on time. We have restored our territorial integrity and incurred minimal losses.
It is no coincidence that our war, the second Karabakh war, is being studied in the military schools of the world's leading countries today. We follow this in the media. At the same time, we are receiving appeals from many places, from partners who want to learn from our experience.
The second Karabakh war is our glorious history. This glorious victory will forever remain in the history of the Azerbaijani people. Perhaps there has never been such a brilliant and complete victory in history. We were preparing, we were taking all the measures, we were taking all the steps on time. We mobilized all our resources to liberate our lands from occupiers. The professionalism, heroism, technical capacity and a sense of patriotism of our servicemen – all these factors, the unity of the people and the government, the stability and good atmosphere in our country were the factors that contributed to our common victory. I must also say that there were no deserters during the war. There were more than 10,000 deserters in the Armenian army. Half of them fled the country and criminal proceedings were instituted against the other half. But then the Armenian leadership started wondering how they could arrest these 10,000 people. So he pardoned them. There were more than 10,000 deserters. There is this famous footage showing chained soldiers of the Armenian army in the trenches, they chained them to cars so that they would not run away. There was pervasive desertion in their army. This is our achievement. Not a single one of our servicemen escaped from the battlefield. On the contrary, those wounded in hospitals were telling their doctors to heal them as soon as possible, so that they could go back. And many of them did return and died.
A new era has begun now – the era of construction, the post-conflict era. I have said this many times and I want to say again that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved. This conflict has been resolved. It is us who has resolved it, the Azerbaijani state. We have resolved this unilaterally. I have been hearing this from here and there – some people begin to say that the issue must be resolved, that this conflict has not been resolved. They are on the wrong and dangerous path. If it is not resolved, let them explain to us how it should be resolved. We believe that it has been resolved and the war is over. Nevertheless, we are ready and must be ready for war at any moment. I said this in my statement on the Armed Forces Day on 26 June. We are implementing new plans for our army. However, we believe that the conflict has been resolved and we have restored our territorial integrity. We have won. We do not have any other issues on the agenda today. We have accessed our borders and taken control of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. We have already started construction work. If someone says that the conflict is not resolved, let them come and say how they see a solution and what is not resolved. If we are talking about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, I said that there is no territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. In general, this word, this expression should not be used. There is no Nagorno-Karabakh – there is Karabakh. The Karabakh economic zone was established on the basis of a decree I signed on 7 July, and this is all. All regions of Karabakh are united into one. The East Zangazur economic zone has been established. Armenia has now raised a hysteria about this issue. There is no need for that because East Zangazur is our historical land. West Zangazur is our historical land. We cannot forget history. We cannot become hostages of anyone's political interests. Let them look up historical documents and maps and see when the Soviet government tore Zangazur apart from Azerbaijan and handed it over to Armenia. This is a relatively recent date – 101 years ago. So why should we say that this didn't happen? Why? We are telling the truth. It is the land of our ancestors: the whole of Zangazur – East and West Zangazur. It is now being said in Armenia that Ilham Aliyev is making territorial claims. If there is East Zangazur, then there is also West Zangazur. Yes, West Zangazur is our ancestral land. I said that we have to go back there. I said this 10 years ago. All my speeches are available in the media. I said that it is the land of our ancestors, that we must return there, we will return and we are already returning there. No-one can stop us. We will definitely return, because there is no other way.
When all communications are opened, we, the people of Azerbaijan will return to their ancestral land, of course. The 10 November Trilateral Declaration states: all refugees must return to their homeland. Our native land is Zangazur, our native land is Goycha district, Iravan. We will definitely return there.
I want to touch upon another issue today. I have already said this several times. I think I need to clarify this in front of you too. I have said several times that we are ready to sign a peace agreement with Armenia. In other words, we are ready to begin this work. However, there is no reaction from Armenia, there is no official reaction. The information we have received through unofficial channels is that Armenia is not ready for this. I think this would be a big mistake. Just as the Armenian side made great mistakes and committed war crimes both in the run-up and during the war. This may be yet another grave mistake. Because our proposal is based on a new real situation. We believe that the issue has been resolved and there should be a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. There must be recognition of each other's territorial integrity, recognition of borders, and delimitation work must begin. I should also say that international organizations are now reacting positively to the delimitation work. If Armenia does not want to do that, it is up to it, but let them think carefully before it is too late. Just as in the past, if they had voluntarily vacated our lands, they would not have been humiliated like that. Our proposal is the proposal of the winning country, the proposal of the strong side, the proposal of the victorious people. If there is a negative reaction to this in Armenia, it is up to them. But again, they will regret it. From now on, we will only move forward. We are systematically implementing plans for our construction work, and the construction work has already begun. As I said, we will turn Karabakh and East Zangazur into a paradise. People will return there and live comfortably in the land of their ancestors.
I am glad to see you at this ceremony again. I once again congratulate you on the new apartments and private houses. You can be rightfully proud of your relatives and children. All the people of Azerbaijan are proud and know that their memory will always live in our hearts.
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