President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and family members have arrived in the city of Shusha after a visit to Hadrut settlement.
The head of state delivered remarks on the famous Jidir Duzu, Shusha.
Remarks by the President Ilham Aliyev
- In the past several days, I have been receiving many congratulatory letters from my colleagues abroad, heads of state and government of different countries, the Azerbaijanis living abroad and, of course, citizens of the country. I want to express my gratitude to all these people – those who said kind words about me and sent their congratulations. I would especially like to thank the people of Azerbaijan for their congratulations and support. I had felt this support since 2003 when I was first elected President. This support gives me strength. This support solidifies my resolve. Thanks to this support, we – all the people of Azerbaijan – have achieved great historic success.
I have always said that the day will come when our occupied lands will be liberated and that we will return to these lands, and we have returned here. The people of Azerbaijan have believed in me for all these years. However, both the IDPs of the olden days and the public could see that meaningless negotiations continued year after year. The settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was becoming ever more difficult. Nevertheless, my people believed in my words. I said that one day the Azerbaijani flag would fly in the occupied territories, including Shusha, and we witnessed that sacred day which was achieved at the expense of our martyrs. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace!
We are in a free Karabakh today. We are in a free Zangazur today. We, the owners of these lands, have returned to these lands, and from now on, we will live in these lands forever. The confidence of the Azerbaijani people, in my words, convinced me even more that we would achieve this. Our people united, rallied around a common goal, this sacred idea, and achieved what we wanted.
The people of Azerbaijan know perfectly well that I do not celebrate my birthdays. Usually, on my birthdays, I attend the opening of some social facilities, meet with the IDPs and martyrs’ families. I met with these people at the opening of new houses built for the families of martyrs or in newly built IDP settlements. I also celebrated my 50th birthday together with the IDPs. I celebrated my 50th birthday in Karabakh, in Aghjabadi, and my 60th birthday also in Karabakh, this time in Shusha. There is a link between these two dates. We were not merely observing the processes in the country and the region. We managed these processes to a great extent. We were shaping the regional agenda. After the Victory in the Second Karabakh War, our power, authority and sphere of influence expanded even more.
Today, while visiting the free Karabakh, Shusha and Hadrut, if I may say so, I am celebrating my birthday. This morning, as Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Azerbaijani Army, I attended the opening of a new unit of the Commando Brigade in Hadrut. I know and believe that the people of Azerbaijan will also support this choice – I should be with the military today to express my gratitude to them as President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan set new tasks for them.
Today, we have entered a new phase of army building effort in Hadrut, which is a part of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region in Khojavand district. After that, I arrived in Shusha. This is my seventh visit to Shusha this year. Shusha attracts all of us. True, I have attended various opening ceremonies here in Shusha, which once again confirm that Shusha belongs to the Azerbaijani people and Azerbaijani culture. But at the same time, every time an event was planned in Shusha, I came to Shusha with great enthusiasm, great love and affection. Therefore, I thought that I should celebrate this day here in Shusha, on the Jidir Duzu, which is so dear to each of us.
Today, I am a little saddened that my father did not live to see this day. But I am sure that his spirit rejoices. And so do the souls of thousands and tens of thousands of the IDPs who passed away longing for the Motherland but did not see these liberated lands. The souls of our martyrs are happy. We did not leave the blood of our martyrs on the ground; we avenged their blood and brought joy to the souls of our ancestors.
This year, at the “Kharibulbul” festival, a fragment of the Great Leader's historic words about Shusha was demonstrated in a video format. All of us remember those moments. With so much confidence and love, Heydar Aliyev said - “we would return to Shusha; believe me, we will return.” He believed in that and convinced us all. His confidence and the resolve of the people gave us additional strength. And we are here in this sacred land today. As I mentioned, from now on, the Azerbaijani people will live in these lands forever, and Azerbaijani mugham will be played in Karabakh forever.
Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to express my deep gratitude to you once again for all the kind words and congratulations. I want to assure you that I will continue to guard the country's interests with the same resolve and determination. With your support, we will achieve even greater success.
Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and family members then visited Yukhari Govharagha mosque.