Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of the Heydar Aliyev Park Complex and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Ganja21 january 2014, 12:10
- We are gathered for the opening of this magnificent Heydar Aliyev Center. I sincerely congratulate you and all the people of Ganja on this wonderful event.
Exactly two years ago, on 21 January 2012, we laid the foundation of this park. It is a pleasant coincidence that exactly two years later we are celebrating the opening of the park and this majestic center. The establishment of this park and of this center is a major event. It is a magnificent center – a great monument to the memory of the great leader. It documents all the moments, all stages of the great leader’s life and work. At the same time, there are excellent opportunities for conducting international events here.
The establishment of this large park is a miracle. I can say that it is the largest park in Azerbaijan. It covers an area of 450 hectares and is 2 kilometers long. There are all the opportunities for walks and recreation here. A new beautiful area has been created in just two years. I am sure that new residential buildings will be built around this park in the future. There are projects to that effect.
There are several large parks in the world. One of them is the Ganja Park. The Ganja Park is among five biggest parks of the world. This, of course, pleases all of us - not only the people of Ganja but also the people of Azerbaijan in general. The creation of such a huge park and of this center on an empty area in a matter of two years is a sign of love of the people of Ganja for this city. I congratulate you on all these successes.
Landscaping will be carried out here in the future too. Thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of trees have been planted. More trees will be planted, new homes and residential buildings will be constructed. A beautiful lake and an amphitheater have been created. This is truly a miracle. I am sure that the people of Ganja and visitors will leave this place with the most pleasant impressions. The people of Ganja have made great efforts to implement such an ambitious project, especially the local executive authority, activists and residents of Ganja. This is really is a great event. I congratulate you on this wonderful event again.
Such projects are truly a testament to people’s love of their nation, city and this land. In general, Ganja is getting prettier and improving. This is my 12th visit to Ganja. We can say that in the last 10 years I have visited Ganja every year or twice a year, and every time I see something new, changes, improvement and creation. Buildings are being renovated, streets expanded and beautiful restoration work is under way. The special architectural style inherent in Ganja is preserved. Restoration work is carried out where necessary. Public places are being set up. This is also very important. I have repeatedly said that public places such as parks, alleys and recreation areas should be established in Baku and all other cities, so that people could spend their free time there. You have created the biggest of such public places. The biggest park and public center are located in Ganja. The future development and landscaping of the park, the establishment of new culture centers will, of course, attract all the people of Ganja here.
Ganja has a rich cultural life. This has always been the case. Ganja was also one of Azerbaijan’s biggest culture centers. Currently, the cultural life of the city is quite diverse. New museums are opening. The museum of Nizami and the Mahsati Ganjavi Culture Center have been opened. A few museums were opened prior to that. The construction of the Philharmonic Hall is under way. I believe that the work should go even faster. Additional measures will be taken so that the Philharmonic Hall could be opened in a short time. I know that the people of Ganja dream of having their own Philharmonic Hall. And they will! Masonry work is already close to completion there. I think that we will celebrate the opening of the Philharmonic Hall together if not this year then next year. In other words, the city has a very rich and full public and cultural life, and this, of course, makes me very happy because Ganja is an ancient city, the second biggest city of Azerbaijan and the homeland of Nizami. Of course, the preservation of the historical past and of the rich historical heritage of Ganja is the duty of every citizen of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, Ganja is modernizing, new buildings are constructed here, the industry is developing, large industrial estates are emerging and jobs being created. Ganja is becoming an industrial center of Azerbaijan. I have repeatedly expressed my thoughts about it. There are plans to establish new industrial estates here – the aluminum and steel complexes. In general, we will implement plans associated with the creation of jobs. Perhaps in the near future Ganja will become a place where people from other districts will come to work. In short, the city is growing rapidly, and this is commendable. There are specific ideas and plans for the future development of Ganja. I am sure that they will all be implemented and additional work will be carried out on the development of Ganja.
In general , things are going well in our country. We finished 2013 with good results. 2014 has also got off to a good start. We are meeting in the first month of the year. I am confident that 2014 will also be a successful year for Ganja, and indeed for all our cities and districts. The economy is growing, social issues are being dealt with and Azerbaijan is strengthening its positions in the international arena. In short, there are all the opportunities for completing this year successfully too. We simply need to work hard, each one of us in his place should contribute to the development of our native homeland with hard work. I want to emphasize the activities of the people of Ganja. You have always been very attached to the country and have always been active in strengthening our independence. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic also began with Ganja. These traditions of statehood live and will live on. All the necessary measures are and will be taken for the development of our country. Azerbaijan will continue to go forward. I warmly salute you and congratulate you once again.
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- Thank you very much, thank you for your kind words. You have really touched upon very important topics. Your words show again that our country is developing comprehensively. I have repeatedly said that Azerbaijan is developing comprehensively. We have specific programs and plans for each area. We see development in each direction. In the field of culture – there are palaces of culture built in the country, the restoration of our historical monuments, the promotion of our history and culture in the world, the provision of complete and accurate information about Azerbaijan in international forums. All this shows Azerbaijan in the world as a modern country which, at the same time, has a rich history and culture.
With regard to the industry, you are absolutely right – Ganja has a great industrial potential. The plan on the development of Ganja should be drawn up so that we could properly build our long-term strategy because Ganja will grow, Azerbaijan will grow, our population is growing. Ganja, of course, will be home to a million people in the future. The urban development strategy should be built correctly. At the same time, additional measures should be taken to provide people with jobs in the future. We have created more than a million jobs. But the population is growing. Last year, 170,000 kids were born in Azerbaijan. The population is growing and will continue to grow. Therefore, the development of Azerbaijan, the development of industry, our urban development strategy must be consistent with that. Speaking about the spheres of industry and economy, I should note that the Azerbaijani economy is in one of the leading places in the world today. Over the past 10 years the Azerbaijani economy has been the fastest growing economy in the world. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan is ranked in 39th place in the world for the competitiveness of its economy. Being in 39th place among 200 countries is a great achievement. Our oil strategy and gas policies are attracting worldwide attention today. Our decisions will determine the energy security of our region and, to a certain extent, of Europe in the future.
Our international position is unequivocal and very principled. As you pointed out, it has won the sympathy of the international community. Why have they voted for us? Because they saw that justice is on our side. Because they saw that we stand for justice. We will not succumb to any pressure. We will uphold the principled and fair position, as we have done in the Security Council for two years.
All areas, including education, healthcare and public processes, are evolving in a very positive direction in Azerbaijan. You mentioned that a variety of forums are held in Azerbaijan. We have become accustomed to this. We can say that Azerbaijan hosts summits, activities at the level of presidents, heads of state and government, and international forums almost every month. The activity of the International Nizami Ganjavi Society is already expanding. It has turned into a great public movement not only in the region but also globally. The Club of Madrid is one of the reputable organizations in the world and seems to be pursuing a single policy with the Nizami Ganjavi Society.
Ganja also conducts various activities and will continue to conduct them in the future. Ganja has been declared the European Capital of Youth in 2016. In other words, the correctly chosen policy related to the strategic development of our country is asserting itself. Therefore, public processes are also going in a positive direction, the Azerbaijani people live in a comfortable and safe environment. We are watching the developments unfolding in the world today. Look at the events taking place in post-Soviet republics! I do not even want to talk about that. But today we live in the age of information. Everyone sees and knows everything. The processes in the region in which we are located are quite complex. But Azerbaijan is an island of stability and development, a land of solidarity. This is our biggest advantage. The humanitarian forums and the forums on intercultural dialogue introduce the present-day Azerbaijan globally as a model country in addressing issues of ethnic and religious relations. In fact, this has always been the case. The Azerbaijani people have always been kind and tolerant. But the world did not know about that. We are communicating this to the world now. Therefore, in the future we will certainly ensure the successful development of our country, but in various events we must provide the world with even more complete information about Azerbaijan. The most beautiful events among them are events that take place in Azerbaijan. Over the past 10 years, as you know, I have attended various forums, events and conferences abroad and repeatedly spoken about Azerbaijan and its realities. Of course, it is also of great importance. But again, some people think that the president simply embellishes his country. However, on coming to Azerbaijan, to Ganja and other cities they will see firsthand what country Azerbaijan is. I can also say that the successful development of Azerbaijan annoys some people, some feel envious. This is also an assessment of our development and success. Never mind, let them envy and we will always go ahead.
Let me sincerely salute and congratulate you again, and wish you good health. There will be many more meetings and wonderful ceremonies in Ganja. Thank you!