Ilham Aliyev received delegation led by ICESCO Director General
13 January 2021, 11:10
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by ICESCO Director General Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
-Welcome Director General, welcome dear guests, I am very glad to see you. I am very grateful for your visit, and very grateful that you found time to visit liberated territories. I was informed that yesterday you visited the cities which Azerbaijan liberated during the war. And you yourself witnessed the situation. It is total destruction. We knew about that because we had some video about the situation on the occupied territories. But we frankly speaking could not even imagine that the destructions are so widespread. It demonstrates that the country which kept these lands under occupation wanted to destroy the traces of Azerbaijani culture, destroy the heritage of Azerbaijani people. And actually, we now clearly understand that these destructions were made after the 1st Karabakh war. It was not during the war because during the war this kind of destructions is not possible. It was after occupation, in order to destroy everything which belonged to the people of Azerbaijan and not to allow any time in the future Azerbaijanis to go back.
That once again demonstrated that during all these almost 30 years of negotiations Armenia had only one objective to make these negotiations endless and useless. And it happened because during these almost 30 years of negotiations process there were no results. Only talks, only visits, only statements, but no results and that gave the aggressor opportunity to try to change the historical cultural and religious origin of the occupied territories. Their policy of illegal settlement is a war crime. And they did not even hide this policy in the last period of occupation. They were bringing people of Armenian origin from different parts of the world, resettling them in the historical Azerbaijani territories, including historical city of Shusha, changing the names of our cities and villages, changing even the origin of Christian religious monuments. They were changing the origin of ancient Christian nation of Udins’ religious heritage. They were converting ancient Caucasian Albanian churches into Armenian churches. So, they did a lot of things which are subject to criminal investigation. And as you probably heard Azerbaijan already started the process of evaluation of the damage; material, cultural, moral and ecological. The comprehensive damage will be evaluated with the assistance of well-known international companies. That will allow us to sue the aggressor state Armenia in international courts.
44 days of war changed the situation in the region. As I said, the war is over; we need to turn the page. We will never forget the pain and we will never forget the wounds. The wounds will never be healed. We will never forget our heroes. But at the same time, we need to look to the future, and to rebuild the territories, rebuild the area of total devastation. And we will do it. It has already started. Infrastructure projects, city planning, and many other important elements of reconstruction are already in the process of implementation. This year we have allocated substantial funds for that.
We did by force what international community could not or did not want to do by peaceful means. And the liberation of historical lands of Azerbaijan is not only a historical event in our history, but also a remarkable event in the history of wars. Because we did what seemed to be almost impossible thanks to courage and bravery of our soldiers and officers, and by proper planning, commitment, and unity of all the people.
I would like to express gratitude to you Mr. Director General, personally, and to ICESCO for continuous support to Azerbaijan during all the years of our close cooperation. Especially, I would like to express gratitude for decisions made during the war. In the beginning of October, just several days after the war started ICESCO issued a very supportive statement, decisions to support Azerbaijan’s just cause. Also, I would like to express gratitude for your letter of congratulations with respect to the victory which you kindly sent me after our glorious victory. All this demonstrates our unity, demonstrates the unity of our peoples.
As you know, Azerbaijan always was a strong advocate for issues related to Islamic solidarity and there were numerous ICESCO events held in Azerbaijan. I hope this will continue. We always called for unity among Muslim countries. What you have seen in Aghdam and in other parts also show how Armenian leadership treated the religious feelings and history of Muslims. They destroyed all our mosques except one, the one in Aghdam. They did not completely destroy it only because they needed to have some landmark to plan their artillery attacks, if or when Azerbaijan’s army moves forward. They needed to measure the distance. That was the reason. But there have been numerous pictures and videos how they keep pigs and cows in our mosques. And this is insult not only to Azerbaijanis, but to all the Muslims. During my visit to the liberated territories in Zangilan, I went to completely destroyed mosque in Zangilan. In Shusha they destroyed all the mosques completely except one, which was also semi-destroyed but they, to demonstrate that they “protect” Islamic cultural and religious sites, they tried to make some repair works. Unfortunately, one foreign company joined this provocative initiative and without our permission came to Shusha, violating our legislation, violating our borders. Without permission of Azerbaijani government that foreign company under the patronage of illegal regime which existed in Nagorno-Karabakh at that time, made some restoration. And thus, they became the partner to criminals because Armenians destroyed almost 70 mosques in the occupied territories and trying to make refurbishment in one of them was just an attempt to demonstrate that they are tolerant, that they respect the Muslim culture, the feelings of the Muslims. If they did so, why they destroyed the others, and why they did not repair the others? And that foreign company which came to Shusha, didn’t they see that other mosques are destroyed? The entire religious and cultural heritage was destroyed. They behaved even worse than separatists who destroyed it.
But we will restore everything. We will bring everything to its initial origin and rebuild the territories. I am sure that next time you visit us you will have also an opportunity to visit Shusha which was announced by me as the capital of Azerbaijani culture. Also, one of the issues I wanted to discuss with you is the one related to the regional center of ICESCO in Azerbaijan. You know that this issue was in discussion during the last 3-4 years, and we want to revive the discussions. If there is a positive movement I think we can do it very soon and that will be very important for us and for all the people who contribute to the strengthening of Islamic solidarity and protection of Islamic cultural heritage. So, once again, Director General, I welcome you. I pay special importance to your visit now, after war is over, as a sign of friendship and brotherhood. Welcome.
ICESCO Director General Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik said:
-Thank you very much Excellency. It is a great honor for me and my team to meet with you. I have always seen you as a visionary leader who has passion, who led fight for his country and paved the way for others. You are the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and I want to refer to your speech at the latest United Nations General Assembly saying that Azerbaijan over the past 30 years has helped more than 120 countries and has organized many international forums that is of a great help to the world. I think, this by itself puts Azerbaijan among the top countries worldwide.
Your Excellency, rest assured that Azerbaijan is a priority for us and has always been and will continue to be. We celebrated the victory, because it is part of us. Your victory is part of ICESCO victory. Our member states are very important and regardless of who they are we will support them by all means. With me, I brought the most important people. I want them to witness and see what has happened and also celebrate Victory. Professor Raheel Qamar, he is the head sector of science and innovation and he was the president of COMSATS University in Islamabad. Professor Mohamed Zine El Abidine, he is the head secretary of culture and 6 months ago he was the Minister of Culture in Tunisia. Ambassador Khalid who is the head of partnership and also we are building a new civilization dialogue center. He was the ambassador of Sudan to the Kingdom of Morocco and a Special Advisor to the former President of Sudan. And also Mr. Samy he was editor of the one of the most famous newspapers in Egypt – Al Ahram.
So you see that we are here to congratulate you, and appreciate your invitation to come to meet with you and also participate in this important victory. We visited the liberated area, and we have seen the tragedy and we have seen something that we have never seen before. The city that has been totally destroyed and razed to the ground. That is totally inhumane and cannot be accepted by any measures. It is a crime for humanity, but we know and we are sure what we saw yesterday from the mayors, from the people, the passion and the willingness to rebuild. I was talking to the minister and I said that with government, those people will rebuild the Karabakh and that something that we felt in everyone that we met yesterday. We are very proud to see that kind of willingness.
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President Ilham Aliyev, Director General of ICESCO Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik and his delegation posed for photographs.
Then the Director General of ICESCO presented a keepsake to President Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of the Victory.
Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik: This is a reflection of your victory. It says Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim [in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful]. It also says here that we are celebrating the Victory, and these are the words of Allah to Prophet Muhammad.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much!
Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik: It is written here that this is for His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev. We are celebrating the Victory in Nagorno-Karabakh and this is our logo. Your Excellency, this sword is more than 100 years old.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much! The symbol of our Victory was an iron fist. Now we also have a sword. Thank you.