Milli Majlis Meets in Plenary for National Leader Heydar Aliyev`s Centenary
Speaker Sahiba Gafarova said as she opened the special meeting of the Milli Majlis on 16 May that it was dedicated to the hundredth anniversary of our National Leader, architect and builder of the independent Azerbaijani State Heydar Aliyev.
Sahiba Gafarova greeted the attending speakers, vice speakers and members of overseas parliaments, delegates from international organisations, foreign diplomats and all the other participants of the jubilee assembly on behalf of the Milli Majlis. She mentioned that the session was being honoured by 12 heads, 15 deputy heads and 57 members of overseas legislative bodies, representatives of 4 inter-parliamentary organisations and overseas diplomats. Over all, people from more than 228 countries on four continents had arrived in Baku and their cordial speeches will be heard at today’s gathering, according to Speaker Gafarova.
The Chair of the Azerbaijani Parliament proceeded to share her thoughts about the outstanding person and wise leader Heydar Aliyev.
The unquenchable light of deeds and ideas of true national leaders is like a torch illuminating the lives and destinies of their peoples both during their lifetime and after their untimely departure. The life of Heydar Aliyev, one of the most prominent statesmen and politicians in Azerbaijan’s whole history, set the criteria of love and devotion to the native land and its people. His exploits are in the treasury of global political art. It is thanks to him that our people first built a solid foundation for their political and state independence and then were able to seize the opportunity given by History to create, vitalise and maintain their independent state, Mrs. Gafarova was saying.
During his first term in office, which lasted from 1969 to 1982, Heydar Aliyev's administrative genius, strategic thinking and far-sightedness made it possible for Azerbaijan to overcome its decline and negotiate a most amazing path from being one of the more underdeveloped to one of the most advanced republics of the Soviet Union within a short period. Looking into the future, Heydar Aliyev set all the state authorities on a course for economic and socio-cultural progress as well as national reawakening. Creative work began and went on in all the segments of national life on a grand scale. Thousands of industrial enterprises were built; agrarian outputs rose many times. Azerbaijan went from an agrarian province to an agrarian and industrial country.
The wealth of economic potential accumulated whilst Heydar Aliyev was at the helm poised Azerbaijan, already then one of the only two Soviet republics not relying on subsidies from the Union budget, to live on as an independent state eventually.
Those years are inscribed in our annals as an epoch of cultural revival as well. All the facets of Azerbaijani art went through a period of upheaval; literature, music, theatre, ballet and the other arts were evolving rapidly. The national consciousness was nurtured and the historical national traditions were preserved; a legal platform was put together upon which to preserve and promote the nation’s spiritual wealth, in particular the language, even if within the limits of how it could possibly be done at the time. On the other hand, an ever-increasing care was taken of fostering education and having national specialists educated outside the republic; everything necessary was done to create a national military cadre.
Referring to Heydar Aliyev’s tenure as Member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Soviet of Ministers during 1982–1987, Mrs Gafarova remarked that he oversaw the activities of 12 ministries and some 20 committees of the USSR whilst in those positions. In addition, the Commission on Operational Affairs that Heydar Aliyev had headed had dealt with many pressing issues of economic administration in the Soviet Union; social, educational and health-care reforms went on under its supervision. Further still, the Great Leader was one of the key figures in the foreign economic relations system; to be specific, he had played a crucial role in decision-making on the international relations of the USSR in Asia and the Middle East. He was also actively involved in a succession of other sectoral projects.
Heydar Aliyev would never spare an effort to ensure a comprehensive growth of Azerbaijan even when he was occupied in Moscow, according to Sahiba Gafarova. The very presence of the archon within the top government ranks in the Union capital shielded Azerbaijan from the forces harbouring hostile intentions towards Azerbaijan. Speaking of which, those forces found an opportunity to go into the offensive with Mr Aliyev’s removal from elevated positions within the Soviet Union Administration in October 1987: after all, the dismissal of Heydar Aliyev was the first milestone on their roadmap to execution of vitriolic plans concerning our country.
As one casts a glance over Heydar Aliyev’s first tenure helming Azerbaijan whilst also being one of the doyens of the Soviet Union, one can see clearly that a dependable and competent administration is a decisive factor in social and state progress, which maximum was only reaffirmed at the time of the calamitous events our nation ended up facing during 1988–1993. The ineptitude and at times treachery of those who floundered in the Republic's leadership, the struggle of various forces trying to scramble their way into power and the chaos that went with it brought Azerbaijan to the brink of disaster. Azerbaijanis’ mass eviction from Armenia, the Sumgait Rising, the bloody January Massacre, the pillaging of our national material and intangible fortunes, the Khojali Genocide and the other disasters, the captures of Shusha, Lachin and the rest of our lands then doomed to decades of occupation, our people being ousted from their native land… all that came as tragic strokes in the gradual implementation of a vicious plan to destroy Azerbaijan.
At that time, many had lost faith that Azerbaijan would avoid such formidable perils and retain her independence regained in 1991. And it was precisely at that point that the fabled civil valour and political heroism of the politician had turned the tide and the disastrous scenarios scribbled for Azerbaijan had been shattered, Sahiba Gafarova was saying. Heydar Aliyev’s retaking of the nation’s helm in June 1993 made certain that Azerbaijan had stepped back from the very lip of an abyss and been able to preserve her nearly lost political and state independence. The honour and dignity of our people were thus protected.
It would have been rather difficult to talk about an independent Azerbaijani state but for Heydar Aliyev’s personal interference in that time’s developments unfolding in our country. The gravity of the grand pacesetters’ work in those years he himself expressed with abundant clarity, saying, ‘History has proved repeatedly that preserving independence, a nation’s priceless patrimony, is a far more arduous and difficult task than attaining it can ever become.’
It took a powerful political will and determination, a flexible and profound mind, a treasure-trove of experience and, above all, a boundless love for the nation to lead the state out of History’s perilous white water and into a broad current of steady and consistent progress. Mrs Gafarova asserted that the opposition to the will of the great powers that our nation’s Captain spearheaded had come as a manifestation of his selflessness for the good of his own people and Motherland. It is quite natural, therefore, that subsequently our legislative assembly responded to the people's aspirations by declaring the 15th of June – the day when Heydar Aliyev came back to power – to be The National Salvation Day.
Referring to Heydar Aliyev’s political and state work as an epitome of loyal service to the nation and selflessness for the nation’s sake, Sahiba Gafarova stressed the sheer staggering scale of what the National Leader had done within ten years from 1993 till 2003. The first step that the Great Captain took in the course of his rescue mission was one to overcome the administration and power crisis that had left the state facing collapse and disintegration; that step averted the threat of civil war, terrorist attempts and coups. The Grand Leader made it one of the paramount tasks to form a National Army capable of fending our lands. The decisive steps in that area brought about a revolution in the war zone of the time: a ceasefire along the frontline was declared in May 1994.
The country's strong socio-political stability made it possible to implement a new national oil strategy; dozens of contacts were signed with foreign petroleum companies to develop the hydrocarbon fields offshore Azerbaijan. Billions of dollars of investment flowed into the Azerbaijani economy.
Sahiba Gafarova recalled the emergence of the Oil Fund tasked to see to it that oil revenues would be employed more effectively in the public interest and mentioned the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline to carry Azerbaijani hydrocarbons to world markets. The revival of the oil industry also set the stage for the progress of the national economy’s non-oil sector. Market economy principles fell into use; economic reforms – including the land one – were initiated and so was privatisation of state property; thus, our country reached the highway of determined, consistent and dynamic development.
Going further, Mrs Gafarova spoke about the development and implementation of a scientifically sound foreign policy concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's political ties with the world became strengthened and close relations were established with other countries. Azerbaijan became an equal member of influential international organisations. In addition, a new Constitution was drafted and adopted to guarantee establishment of a legal state and birth of a civil society, separation of power, installation of democratic institutions and supremacy of law. The mechanism of democratic elections was launched, too.
The abolition of the death penalty, the first such occasion in the East and in the Muslim World, and other moves of Azerbaijan increased its international prestige significantly. Dozens of new political parties were established and began to operate freely in the country. The New Azerbaijan Party founded by Heydar Aliyev emerged as the leading political force in society and became the ruling party.
In addition, everything necessary was done to keep our national spiritual values intact as well as to develop our culture, literature and arts. An ideology of national statehood and a philosophy of governance were formulated. Practical steps were taken to forge national solidarity in the name of the Azerbaijanism and to solidify our independence and statehood. Developing ties with our compatriots living in different countries around the world and assisting them in the creation of Diasporas became state policy components.
The fate had chosen Heydar Aliyev for a very special mission and he knew that full well himself; that realisation gave him strength and enabled him to overcome the hardships on which others had given up. He was breaking the chains with which our nation was to be bound.
Heydar Aliyev’s profound intelligence and political acumen, his courage, manliness and determination all add up to one grand whole. His whole existence was permeated by love for his Homeland; he drew his strength from the people, and the people responded and continue responding with boundless love and respect. Here, Sahiba Gafarova quoted President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan as having said, ‘Having chosen a strong leader in the person of Heydar Aliyev, the Azerbaijani people entrusted him with their destiny and were not mistaken in their choice. The Azerbaijanis are a wise nation: in the most difficult moments, at the direst moments they have made the only right and wise decision repeatedly. Heydar Aliyev has unique merits as President of independent Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is successfully following the road he built.’
The visionary policy of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev who pursues the work begun by Heydar Aliyev with the tenacity and wilfulness to match whilst keeping up with the demands of ever-changing historical realities has made steady and unfailing upheaval and renovation a fact of daily life with us. The successes achieved in every aspect of social life and statehood riveted the attention of the whole world to Azerbaijan.
The tremendous political, economic and defence potential we had accumulated allowed us to fulfil with flying colours the most important will of our National Leader, namely, to solve the fateful problem of our state and put an end to the three decades of occupation of our lands. The national territory was made whole again; historic justice was restored.
A powerful state whose voice is heard clearly in a large portion of the world, the Republic of Azerbaijan looks into the future with confidence, according to the Chair of the Milli Majlis who added as confidently that the forward-looking policy would continue winning further successes for our state and people.
The independent Azerbaijani State authored by Heydar Aliyev through his genius and workmanship will abide forevermore; it will ‘live perpetually’ as the Great Leader said, Sahiba Gafarova said in conclusion.
After that, the Assembly heard the speeches of the attending Speakers and Vice Speakers from abroad, Chairs of Parliamentary Committees, Heads of Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Groups and Leaders of International Organisations.
Those were Chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Arab Republic of Egypt Hanafy Ali El Gebaly, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Shalva Papuashvili, Chairman of the House of Representatives of Jordan Ahmed Ali Safadi, Speaker of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Yerlan Qoşanov, Speaker of the Joğorqu Keñeş of Kyrgyzstan Nurlanbek Shakiyev and Chairman of the Moroccan House of Representatives Rashid El Alami. Also spoke Chairman of Narodna Skupština of Serbia Vladimir Orlić, Speaker of the National Assembly of the RSA Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Head of the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Majlisi Oli Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda, Chair of the Senate of the Oily Majlis of Uzbekistan Tanzila Narbayeva, Deputy Head of the Algerian People’s National Assembly Salim Shennofi and Deputy Chairmen of the Council of the Republic and the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, respectively, Valery Belsky and Valery Mitskevich. Speeches were delivered, besides, by Deputy Chairman of Hrvatski Sabor of Croatia Davorko Vidović, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary Lezsák Sándor, Malawi Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo, Deputy Speaker of Moldova’s Parliament Mihai Popșoi, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly of Pakistan Zahid Akram Durrani, Deputy Head of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament Vasile-Daniel Suciu, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the RF Federal Assembly Andrey Yatskin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the RF Federal Assembly Alexey Gordeyev, First Deputy Head of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates Hamad El Rahoumi, Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratiuk, Head of the Friendship Group for the Azerbaijani Parliament in the Italian Senate Marco Scurria and his counterpart from Dewan Rakyat of Malaysia Tuan Aminolhuda bin Hassan. Furthermore, the House heard out Secretary of the Bureau/member of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye Bayram Özçelik, Chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee of the Turkmen Parliament Begmurat Muhamedov, Chairman of the Permanent Administration and Services Commission of the National Assembly of Venezuela Pedro Carreño, Chairman of the Arab Parliament Adel bin Abdul Rahman El-Asoomi, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States Mehmet Süreyya Er, Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Parliamentary Assembly Asaf Hajiyev and First Chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Joğorqu Keñeş Medetkhan Sheremkulov.
All those who spoke thanked Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova for inviting them to the National Leader Heydar Aliyev Centenary parliamentary session, a momentous event in the history of the Azerbaijani people and state, and for the high standards of organisation set by this dramatic congress.
Overseas guests said that the outstanding leadership qualities and vision of National Leader Heydar Aliyev had enabled Azerbaijan to maintain and strengthen her national independence. They also talked of his indisputable merits in the progress of Azerbaijan, emphasised that the Great Leader had successfully carried out his salvation mission and addressed the forerunning part of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan’s international recognition as well as boosting the national level world-wide.
It was said, besides, that the prominent son of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev had overcome many an obstacle; that he had founded the economic independence of his country; that he had exceptional merits in the forming of the modern Azerbaijani statehood, preserving the Azerbaijani language and keeping the rich cultural heritage of the nation. As regards the Great Leader’s contribution to striking up and promoting relations with other countries, the speakers underlined his special place in the fate of not only the Azerbaijanis but also the friendly nations. The wide policy of Heydar Aliyev factored considerably in making the Azerbaijani independence irreversible and permanent, in making the national economic potential stronger and in elevating the regional as well as global profiles of the country.
They referred to the work Heydar Aliyev had done in the name of unity and solidarity of the Turkic World at large and mentioned his initiatives and generous input in enhancing the international reputation of the Turkic World. Promotion of co-operation with Turkic states as one of the essential components of his political course is forever at the fore in Azerbaijan’s foreign politics. The inaugurations of streets and parks named after the Great Leader, installation of his monuments and other wonderful moves made in the fraternal countries demonstrate vividly the appreciation of Heydar Aliyev’s labours and unique achievements in cementing the unity of the Turkic World as well as in advancing the ties between Azerbaijan and the other Turkic states.
The Centenary Meeting participants were saying that the ideas of the author of the modern Azerbaijani state Heydar Aliyev continue being carried into life successfully by the Head of State Ilham Aliyev. Today, Azerbaijan places great emphasis on multicultural values. Steps taken by our country to ensure peace and stability in the world and the region are justly acknowledged. Azerbaijan`s relations with other countries, deepening and expanding on their course, are today being promoted both in bilateral and multilateral dimensions due to the fruitful policy of Heydar Aliyev.
Azerbaijan has productive co-operation with countries the world over, including via the reputed international entities, and is being as proliferous as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, what with the many significant initiatives put across.
The orators underscored the necessity of inter-parliamentary collaboration in the furtherance context of inter-state relations, the special role of parliamentary diplomacy and the need to bolster the links under the aegis of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Parliamentary Network which was established at the suggestion of Azerbaijan, incidentally.
The blessed memory of Heydar Aliyev, the founder of the modern Azerbaijani state, a great politician, a genius personality and the leader of his people, will always be cherished.
Sahiba Gafarova said as she was summing up the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev Centenary Meeting of the Milli Majlis that this remarkable politician and statesman had treated all nations and countries with utmost respect and had tried to make sure that Azerbaijan had many friends because he knew a state is strong by its friends and partners.
Next, Sahiba Gafarova once again thanked the friends who attended today’s special sitting and said it was very gratifying to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijanis’ National Leader with them.
She went further to stress that the tireless work of the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev done for the sake of Azerbaijan had earned him deep respect and fervent love of our nation even during his lifetime; the people had taken that to the heartwood, as it were, and it was thus that Heydar Aliyev had an unwrought monument erected to himself perennially in the heart of the nation. His ideas live and will live henceforth – they will do, in what the current and next generations achieve and will achieve. Heydar Aliyev will abide with Azerbaijan for as long as there is Azerbaijan.
And the anniversary meeting of the Milli Majlis was over.
The Press and Public Relations Department
The Milli Majlis