Ilham Aliyev lit Novruz bonfire in the city of Khankendi

18 March 2024, 12:25
Ilham Aliyev lit Novruz bonfire in the city of Khankendi

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has lit the Novruz bonfire in the city of Khankendi.

The head of state congratulated the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the Novruz holiday.

Congratulatory address by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear brothers and sisters.

I sincerely congratulate you on the upcoming Novruz holiday.

It is the fourth time that I have lit the holiday bonfire in the liberated lands of Karabakh – in 2021, it was in Shusha, in 2022 in Sugovushan, last year in the village of Talish, and this time, the holiday bonfire was lit in the city of Khankendi. It brings enormous joy. Six months ago, as a result of an anti-terrorist operation which lasted less than a day, we fully restored our sovereignty, and today the territorial integrity of our country is fully secured across the entire territory of Azerbaijan.

We demonstrated tremendous heroism during the Second Karabakh War and the anti-terrorist operation. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! Thanks to the dedication and heroism of our martyrs, and professionalism of our brave soldiers, and officers, we are now building and creating in these lands. Life is returning to these lands. Through extensive construction efforts, we have already facilitated the return of former displaced persons to their ancestral lands, and this process will continue this year.

Unfortunately, the results of the Second Karabakh War did not teach Armenia a lesson. In my Novruz address last year, I spoke about this and expressed my regret that their defeat in the Second Karabakh War did not teach them a lesson. If they had learned the lesson, there would have been no need for the anti-terrorist operation. After the Second Karabakh War, Armenia failed to draw the right conclusions in the three years that passed and sought to maintain its illegal armed groups on our lands indefinitely.

They aimed to perpetuate the existence of the so-called nagorno-karabakh republic, which was illegally established here. All this was completely against the international law and, most importantly, it ran contrary to the resolve of the Azerbaijani people.

As a result of the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan liberated most of its territory on the battlefield. However, during the occupation, signals were repeatedly sent to us from many capitals that there was no military solution to this conflict. We have proven that any conflict has a military solution. If the occupying state illegally occupies the territory of another country and does not want to vacate those lands of its own free will, the only way is the military option. We have restored our territorial integrity and sovereignty within the framework of international law. We enforced the four resolutions of the UN Security Council on the battlefield.

The successful anti-terrorist operation six months ago was a celebration of international law and the indomitable spirit of the Azerbaijani people. We have shown yet again that we will not deviate from our path whatever forces stand behind Armenia. We will achieve what we want and we have achieved it.

We had been preparing for the liberation of our lands for 20 years. Consistent work was ongoing in many directions. At the political level, Azerbaijan's position in the world was strengthened, the number of our friends increased to a significant extent. On our initiative, international organizations adopted decisions and resolutions in favor of our position on the conflict and in line with international law. This created a legal and political basis for the resolution of this conflict. We have achieved economic growth, we have achieved economic independence, and today we are not dependent on anyone economically and, of course, politically. A strong economy has allowed us to pursue our policy independently at the political level. Today, Azerbaijan is one of a handful of countries in the world with a completely independent policy, a policy that is based solely on the interests and determination of the Azerbaijani people.

Of course, our primary goal was to liberate our land from invaders. For this purpose, the top priority was to build up our military power. The combat capability of our army and all our Armed Forces has significantly increased, material and technical infrastructure was secured to the maximum extent, and the Second Karabakh War and the anti-terrorist operation demonstrated this to the whole world. Most importantly, a young generation was raised that will be a source of eternal pride for our people. It has demonstrated the greatness of the Azerbaijani people to the whole world. Our young people were brought up in the spirit of patriotism, in the national spirit. Three years ago, they were ready to die for the liberation of our lands. Once again, may Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! We avenged the blood of all our martyrs and innocent victims of Khojaly on the battlefield, and we are proud of that. Any country, any nation can be proud of this. We have restored our territorial integrity, sovereignty, international law and national dignity, and today we live and create as free people. We will live forever across these lands.

For many years, this square and this building were a separatists’ nest. The separatists funded and armed by Armenia were actually part of the Armenian army. It was in this square that sordid plans against our people were orchestrated. It was from this building that orders were given to commit the Khojaly genocide. Today we are standing in this square. I want to inform my dear people that I have named this square “Victory Square”. It will be called Victory Square from now on.

Khankendi is ancient Azerbaijani land founded by Panahali Khan. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 1920s, an autonomous region was created here without any legal, political and demographic grounds. After that, the problems of our people began. As a result, in the late 1980s, Armenia declared war on us, supported the separatists, committed genocide and other heinous crimes against our people, and regrettably achieved their sordid aspirations. They believed that they would be able to keep these lands under occupation forever. The foreign forces that supported them in this matter and the foreign forces that support them today share this bloody responsibility with them.

Today we live in the liberated Karabakh holding our heads high. This year, the former IDPs will return to Khankendi and other cities, including Khojaly, Shusha, Jabrayil, and Kalbadjar. IDPs will return to several villages and life will be revitalized there.

Khankendi was built by Azerbaijani architects and builders with all the efforts financed by Azerbaijan’s budget during the Soviet era. Look at the building behind me, it was the building of the Regional Party Committee. It was designed by Azerbaijani architect Hasan Majidov. The building next to it was built in the 1970s and housed the Regional Executive Authority. This building was designed by Azerbaijani architect Nasrullah Kangarli. This building was built as a hotel at that time. After that, the Armenians changed its appearance. Now the former appearance of this building is being restored. The author of this hotel was Azerbaijani architect Anvar Gasimzada.

These examples alone show that it was representatives of the Azerbaijani people who built and created this city and indeed all the cities and villages of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. They were the authors of architecture and participated in construction. These buildings are our historical asset. They are and will be protected, and currently, as you can see, are undergoing major refurbishment. Where I am standing, the separatists had built a so-called parliament building. As you can see, there are no buildings here anymore. As if this was not enough, they were trying to build the second parliament building in Shusha. The construction of it had started, but they could not complete it and the building had since been demolished. The five-star hotel Shusha is now located on the site of that building. The former parliament building was also demolished – the demolition work started on February 26.

On February 26, I laid the foundation of the Khojaly memorial together with the natives of Khojaly. Demolition of the illegally built devil's nest located here – the so-called parliament building and the building of the terrorist organization next to it – began on February 26, and they were razed to the ground. There is no longer any trace of separatists here. The Novruz bonfire is also doing the final cleaning.

My fellow citizens, it is a great pleasure to convey my congratulations to the people from here. We all live with pride after the Second Karabakh War. We are all proud that we have restored justice ourselves, we freed our lands of the invaders, we have shown our strength, and from now on, everyone must reckon with us, otherwise, they will regret it.

I want to congratulate my dear people on the occasion of the upcoming holidays from the bottom of my heart again and wish the people of Azerbaijan robust health and continued successes. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!