Speech by President Ilham Aliyev at a ceremony to inaugurate the State Flag Square
01 september 2010, 22:53
Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!
Let me cordially salute you all. It is a remarkable and historic day in our country today. The State Flag Square is being inaugurated in Baku today. I would like to warmly congratulate you and all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.
The opening of the State Flag Square is a truly historic and unforgettable event. This square is a great architectural monument in itself. The upper part of the square covers 3 hectares, while the area of the whole square is 60 hectares. State symbols of Azerbaijan – the national emblem, words of the anthem and the map of the country – are depicted here. There will also be a state flag museum here and in the center of the square there will be Azerbaijan’s state flag. This is the biggest and the highest flag in the world. The flagpole is 162 meters high and it can be seen from anywhere in Baku. It was with this aim that this place was selected. The area around the square has been refurbished. Large parks, the seaside boulevard will be established here in the future and wonderful conditions created for people to rest. This work has already begun. The boulevard to be set up here will be linked to the Baku boulevard in the future.
Large-scale construction and assembly work was carried out to establish the Flag Square. It is gratifying that most of this work was done by Azerbaijani specialists and workers. This show that our great potential manifests itself in all spheres. Our opportunities have expanded so much that we can resolve any issue and create any piece of architectural work ourselves. I signed the resolution on establishing the square on 17 November 2007 and the work commenced shortly afterwards. Two years later, on 17 November 2009, the Day of the State Flag of Azerbaijan was established.
As you know, the Azerbaijani flag, our tricolor flag, was approved by a decision of the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on 9 November 1918. From now on, 9 November will be annually marked in Azerbaijan as the Day of the State Flag of Azerbaijan. The reason for the signing of both of these resolutions on 17 November is quite logical and clear. It was on 17 November 1990 that the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was first hoisted in Azerbaijan as the state flag. A session of the Nakhichevan Supreme Council chaired by Nationwide Leader Heydar Aliyev approved the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as the state flag in Nakhichevan. At the same time, a petition was filed with the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan requesting that this flag be approved as the state flag of Azerbaijan.
There was a little over a year left for the break-up of the Soviet Union. Our road to independence began on that day. It was the hoisting of the state flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic that brought Azerbaijan closer to independence and gave a powerful impetus to the processes unfolding in the country. We all remember those years. They were crucial for the development and future of Azerbaijan. When Azerbaijan gained its state independence, developments in the country were going in a negative direction. There was anarchy, chaos and turmoil in the country. Development prospects were uncertain and, in essence, Azerbaijan could lose its state independence. Following the return of Nationwide Leader Heydar Aliyev to power on the demands of and thanks to the wisdom of the Azerbaijani people, Azerbaijan put an end to all unpleasant phenomena, stability set in and a period of development started. Today, citizens of Azerbaijan can see the results of this development.
The 1993-2003 period were crucial for Azerbaijan. It was in those years that economic and political stability was established in Azerbaijan and the country managed to introduce itself to the international community. We joined international organizations. The Azerbaijani flag was hoisted in all international organizations. Azerbaijan built successful relations with foreign partners on the basis of mutual respect. We succeeded in attracting major investment to our country. These processes keep on securing the development of Azerbaijan and will continue to do so for decades. In those 10 years Azerbaijan covered a long road and practically laid the foundation of its statehood. Today, Azerbaijan is successfully developing on a strong foundation and all the processes are unfolding in a positive direction.
Domestic stability, calm, public and political order in Azerbaijan are one of the key contributors to our successes. On this strong foundation, we are conducting economic and political reforms. The processes of democratization are successfully ongoing. All the tasks our country is facing are being fulfilled. The global financial and economic crisis of the last two years has left a deep mark. Despite that, Azerbaijan managed to come out of this ordeal with dignity. All the tasks our country is facing are being fulfilled. Creative work, improvement is underway throughout the country, economic reforms are ongoing. Today, Azerbaijan is a developing country.
The period of economic transition is already over in Azerbaijan. We must become one of the developed countries. This task has been set and we will reach it. Azerbaijan has managed to secure a worthy place in the international arena. The number of our foreign partners and friends is increasing by the day. Azerbaijan has a wonderful international image. Our foreign policy pursues one goal – to secure Azerbaijan’s national interests to the maximum extent, to strengthen the Azerbaijani state enabling the people of Azerbaijan to live even better.
I want to reiterate that all processes in the country are developing in a positive direction. By conducting economic and social reforms, we are securing a successful economic development of the country. At the same time, we have achieved great successes in the solution of social issues.
Today Azerbaijan looks like a large construction project. Construction is underway everywhere, in every district. Social and infrastructure facilities are under construction. The work underway in Azerbaijan will not only determine the immediate future of our country. The infrastructure being established and the projects being implemented today will manifest themselves in 10, 20, 30 years from now and will serve the people of Azerbaijan. Our successful energy policy has laid the groundwork for the introduction of Azerbaijan to the world community as a reliable partner. Today, this policy is having a positive impact on the processes occurring in the country. We have practically fulfilled all our tasks in this sphere and are simply trying to fulfill new projects in the future on the basis of the successes made. I am sure that we will meet our goals.
We are an economically self-sufficient country. We are a country that does not depend on outside assistance. We have ensured our energy security and are ensuring our food security. Under such circumstances, we can say only one thing about the future of Azerbaijan – the future of Azerbaijan will be even better than its present. Although we hold high places not only among post-Soviet republics but also in the region and among all countries in general, the people of Azerbaijan must be able to live better with every year. With this aim, all social programs are being implemented, salaries and pensions are regularly raised and all measures are being taken to ensure economic development.
We have a beautiful country and a wonderful nature. Every corner of our country is beautiful. Every part of Azerbaijan is being improved and made nicer. We have natural resources which are multiplying our strengths. We already have great material capacities. We do not depend on outside assistance. In fact, we can provide assistance ourselves when necessary. And this is a new direction in our policy. After several years, Azerbaijan will become an international donor country, and a specific action plan is being prepared to meet this objective. In the economic and social spheres there is no issue Azerbaijan cannot resolve. There are many issues awaiting their solution, but most importantly we are aware of these issues and ways of their solution. To resolve them, there are execution mechanisms, financial resources and the political will. When all of these factors are present, any issue can be resolved.
We are all thinking and must think about the future of Azerbaijan. We must ensure the independence of our country, preserve the rate of dynamic and rapid development in the country. It is necessary to further strengthen Azerbaijan’s international standing. Azerbaijan is already playing an active part in the processes unfolding in the region. N some cases our role is pivotal. Our political and economic initiatives are being implemented. This is beneficial not only for us but also for those who maintain friendly relations with us. We will be taking more active steps in this direction to ensure a confident and successful future of our country.
Along with all these important issues, I would also like to highlight Azerbaijan’s independent policy in this wonderful square today. Independence is our biggest asset, the biggest happiness. For centuries the people of Azerbaijan lived with the independence dream. For many years, for decades we were part of other countries and were denied independence. This historic opportunity, the historic chance presented itself to the people of Azerbaijan again in 1991. As I mentioned earlier, we could have wasted this opportunity and we probably would have done so if the people of Azerbaijan hadn’t made the right choice in 1993. Today our independence is already irreversible and eternal. We have lived as an independent country for about 20 years now. We have passed all the ordeals with our head high, built a beautiful and strong country, a country with all the freedoms, a country where there is security, social well-being and economic development. We have built a country in which representatives of all ethnicities live together like one family, in the spirit of friendship and accord. Ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan are at a high level and Azerbaijan is often referred to as an example in these issues. This country has been built by us. Today Azerbaijan is a dynamically developing young and at the same time experienced country, confident of itself, leaning only on itself and aspiring to establish relations with all partners on the basis of mutual respect. Azerbaijan is already a major regional factor, a factor of stability, security and development. All our initiatives and projects are yielding fruit, producing benefit both for us and our partners. The implementation of these projects requires not only serious financial resources, but also a strong will, courage and adherence to our own policy. All the steps our country has taken to date have been in the right direction.
Today we live as an independent country and are very proud of that. We are proud to be citizens of Azerbaijan. We are pursuing an independent policy. The people of Azerbaijan are masters of their fate. This is a great happiness and a great asset. Previous generations lived with the dream of independence, but we are lucky enough to see it. We are destined to experience this happiness. Not only do we see this independence, we work hard to strengthen this independence. Every citizen, regardless of his status, must work hard every day to strengthen our country by specific work, dedication to the Motherland and steps being taken. Today, there is such solidarity in Azerbaijani society, there is national accord, national mobilization and patriotic spirit. We must raise younger generations in this spirit to make them professional, patriotic and loyal to the Motherland because we must secure a bright future for Azerbaijan for ever.
I want to repeat that the steps being taken and the initiatives being made will manifest themselves after decades. We must look ahead and think about the future: how will Azerbaijan develop in 20, 50 years from now?! What resources will enable us to ensure a successful development of our country?! We are thinking about that and the work being done aims to resolve both present and future problems. We are an independent and free nation, we are pursuing an independent policy and there is no bigger happiness than that.
I want to repeat that we are marking a historic and unforgettable event today. This square is a unique architectural monument. This flag is our national asset. I am not talking about this flagpole being the highest in the world. An even higher flagpole may be installed somewhere else after some time. This is not the point. The point is that the establishment of the Flag Square demonstrates Azerbaijan’s strength, the love of the Azerbaijani people for their state and our respect for state symbols. I am sure that several months after the completion of construction and assembly work around the square, this magnificent square will be filled with people. Today, thousands, tens of thousands of people walk in our parks, in the seaside boulevard. People will be gathering in this square, underneath this flag and next to our national symbols. This square commands a wonderful view of beautiful Baku. Below the square there are great places for people to walk. In other words, the Flag Square will become a cultural center of Baku and Azerbaijan’s political center.
The establishment of such a magnificent square in our capital Baku is a truly great event. Our flag is a source of our pride. Our flag is our flesh and our heart. The state flag of Azerbaijan is hoisted in all parts of Azerbaijan. After the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, our state flag will be hoisted in the lands still under occupation now. Our state flag will be hoisted in Nagorno-Karabakh, Khankandi and Shusha. We must and we are making this day nearer by our work.
Long live Azerbaijan!