2020

On this historical day

Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited liberated from occupation Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts, as well as Fuzuli and Jabrayil cities

On November 16, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts, liberated from occupation, as well as Fuzuli and Jabrayil cities.

President Ilham Aliyev instructed to build a road from Fuzuli district to Shusha city. The construction of the road has already started. President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva inspected the progress of a project’s implementation.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– It is a significant day in our country’s life today – it is a historic day. The groundwork for the Fuzuli-Shusha highway is being laid today. I cordially congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion. This road is vital because this road leads us to Shusha – Karabakh’s crown jewel.

Many roads have been built in our country in recent years. I can say that more than 16,000 kilometers of roads have been built since 2004, and these roads are of high quality. According to this indicator, Azerbaijan holds one of the leading positions in the world. But this road has a special significance. As I said, this road leads to Shusha. At the same time, this is the first project to be implemented in the liberated lands.

After Shusha’s liberation, the enemy realized that there was completely no point in resisting us. One day after Shusha’s liberation, the heroic Armed Forces of Azerbaijan liberated more than 70 settlements from the occupiers, which was the last blow to the enemy. It is no coincidence that on November 10, the enemy signed a capitulation act. November 8 is the day of our glorious Victory. The people of Azerbaijan will always celebrate this day from now on. Shusha’s liberation showed our strength, our Army’s professionalism, and our servicemen’s courage and heroism. The capture of Shusha was an operation that required outstanding skills and valor. I am confident that this operation will have a special place in the world’s military history books. Our heroic servicemen carried that operation themselves, having had to cross mountains, forests and paths, armed with light weapons only. The liberation of Shusha from occupation is our glorious Victory.

We have already started development work. Eight days after the Victory Day and six days after Armenia’s capitulation, the construction of the Fuzuli-Shusha highway begins from here – from the settlement of Alkhanli. This road will be very comfortable and broad. This road will allow us the opportunity to get to Shusha and back quite effortlessly.

The Second Karabakh War is our glorious Victory. The occupied territories have been liberated from the occupiers. The damage caused by the enemy is being calculated and will be calculated accurately. All the affected people will return to their ancestral lands with state support. We will carry out this work in a planned way – the calculation of damage, accurate records, and then the reconstruction work.

As you know, the enemy has destroyed the entire infrastructure in the occupied and liberated lands. Our cities have been destroyed, and this once again shows the enemy’s savagery. The whole world will see it now. The entire world will see what savage enemy we are facing.

We are currently at the phase of conflict’s political settlement. At this stage, Azerbaijan is achieving and will achieve what it wants. The military phase of the conflict is over. The liberation of Shusha and the liberation of more than 70 settlements on November 9 had put an end to the conflict’s military phase. I said at the outbreak of the conflict – of the Second Karabakh War, and I wish to repeat with great pride today that a military-political solution to the issue was available, and Azerbaijan proved that on the battlefield. We forced the enemy to sign an act of capitulation, and thus our occupied Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts will return to Azerbaijan in the coming days. But look at the atrocities committed by the despised enemy – they torch houses, burn schools, cut down trees, break power lines. The whole world can see that all the leading international television channels have shown that. They have no conscience, no shame, and no morality whatsoever. Therefore, the Victory in the Second Karabakh War is of tremendous historic significance. It is not just a matter of liberating Azerbaijan from its occupiers. At the same time, it shows the whole world and all the occupiers that this is how they end up. It is the end of invaders and occupiers.

This wonderful groundbreaking ceremony today has great symbolism. We are building a new road from the liberated city of Fuzuli, from the villages leading to Fuzuli and onwards, from Fuzuli to Shusha. This road has never existed. Azerbaijani citizens would know that in Soviet times the road to Shusha passed through the territory of Aghdam – the Aghdam-Khankandi-Shusha road. It is not yet possible to use that route now.

I once again sincerely congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this wonderful occasion. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva then posed for photographs together with road construction workers.

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The head of state and first lady arrived in the liberated Fuzuli city. President Ilham Aliyev raised the glorious Azerbaijani flag in the city of Fuzuli.

These moments are one of the most glorious pages in Azerbaijan’s modern history. The Victorious Commander-in-Chief raised Azerbaijan’s tricolor flag on the historical land liberated by the heroic Azerbaijani Army.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

-The city of Fuzuli has been liberated from the occupiers. The Azerbaijani flag has been raised in Fuzuli. We have returned to Fuzuli. But it hurts to see the destroyed villages and the city of Fizuli along the road. Look what these savages have done to our city! They have destroyed everything; they have demolished houses and destroyed the entire infrastructure. There is not a single building standing. The whole world should see what the Armenian savagery means, and we will show it to the entire world, not only Fizuli but also Agdam and other cities. It was as if a savage tribe had devastated these lands. They wanted to destroy and plunder everything, to erase our cultural, historical and religious heritage, but they could not achieve what they wanted. Because we had to come back, we had to return. We have come back, we have returned. We have driven the enemy out of our lands and raised the State Flag of Azerbaijan here. From now on, we will live on this land, as we have done for centuries; our people have lived here for centuries.

The despised enemy had also changed the name of Fuzuli, gave it some ugly name. Fuzuli is named after our genius, our great poet Mahammad Fuzuli. We have restored this name. The destroyed city of Fuzuli is a living witness to Armenian fascism. The whole world must see this and not remain silent, as it has been silent and indifferent for 30 years. That indifference reinforced the Armenian occupation. We were urged to put up with this situation and to resolve the issue peacefully. We have heard the same words year after year for 30 years – there is no military solution to the conflict; this issue must be resolved peacefully. But we have proved that there is a solution to the conflict, including a military solution. Thanks to our heroic servicemen’s courage and bravery and at the cost of our martyrs’ lives. We have proved this to the whole world. There is a military solution to the conflict, and we have achieved it. If it had not been for this military solution, the enemy would not have signed an act of capitulation.

From the first days of the war, I said that the Armenian leadership, Armenia’s Commander-in-Chief – if such a title can at all be attributed to him – should declare; provide a timetable when they vacate each district. Then we would have stopped. Otherwise, I said, we would go to the end, and we did. Fuzuli, Hadrut, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Shusha, and more than 70 villages were liberated one day after Shusha’s liberation. A total of more than 300 settlements were liberated, the enemy’s back was broken, and the enemy knelt and was forced to surrender on November 10 by signing an act of capitulation precisely due to our strength. We forced the enemy to do so, we showed the enemy where it belongs, and we showed the Azerbaijani people’s greatness.

For 30 years, the Armenian leadership, their patrons, pro-Armenian and Azerbaijanophobic forces had been inventing myths about Armenia’s strong Army, the Armenian people being combative, and the Azerbaijani people incapable of fighting. We have destroyed this fabrication; we have shown who are combative people. We have shown who victorious people are. Those who led Azerbaijan in the early 1990s simply did not pay attention to army building and dragged our country into chaos and anarchy. In those years, when our lands were occupied, the then government started a civil war. The PFPA-Musavat tandem took their own soldiers prisoner and bombed Gandja. That was why the lands were lost. The Armenian people are going through what the Azerbaijani people went through in 1992.

The people of Azerbaijan overthrew that loathed government a year later. After Heydar Aliyev came to power, all the positive trends began to develop. Our Army is one of the strongest armies in the world today. We have shown the whole world that the Azerbaijani people are invincible, and it was the Azerbaijani Army that was victorious. We have destroyed the Armenian myth. We have shattered the Armenian fabrications. We have put them in their place, we put them on their knees, and they will live with this mark, they will live with this mark of humiliation. For our part, we will live on with a sense of pride – as victorious people and a powerful state, with an invincible army and a strong will.

During these 44 days, there was steady pressure, threats, orders, messages and signals from different sources and places. I said that no-one could stand in front of us; we will go to the end. The loathed enemy must accept our conditions, provide an exact date, and ultimately, they were forced to do so. That is why the people of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis worldwide are celebrating our brilliant Victory with great pride these days. This Victory befits our people, befits our brave sons, befits our state, and this Victory has shown our strength. It showed that Azerbaijan would never put up with this situation. For the 17 years, I have been President and Commander-in-Chief, I have repeatedly spoken about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I said that we would never allow for the establishment of a second Armenian state on Azerbaijan’s historical land. I said that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan had never been and never would be negotiable. I said that Azerbaijan would restore its territorial integrity. I said that if it was impossible to do so peacefully, we would restore it by military means. My speeches are available. They have been published. I said these words, and I did what I said. We have restored our territorial integrity, expelled the occupiers from the occupied territories, prevented the establishment of a second Armenian state, and there can be no talk of any status. There is a single state – Azerbaijan. There is a multiethnic, multi-confessional and progressive state of Azerbaijan. All Azerbaijani citizens, representatives of all peoples and religions, live normally, in peace and harmony. The Armenian people will live like this too. We have nothing against the Armenian people. In numerous interviews over the past 44 days, I have said that they are our citizens, and they will see that they are better off under Azerbaijan, that they must get rid of the criminal and cowardly junta. The separatist leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh are cowards. Their cowardice was witnessed by the Armenians living there and by the Armenians living in Armenia. So many people fled! The head of their junta was hiding in a bunker and couldn’t even stick out his nose. Where are your courage and bravery?

We have defeated the Armenian Army and, at the same time, taught a lesson to the criminals who led Armenia for years. Pashinyan has destroyed his country in the last two years, and now he is only preoccupied with how to save himself from the wrath of the Armenian people. We have destroyed the Kocharyan-Sargsyan Army. They are the ones that have destroyed our lands. This time these cowards could not even stick their noses into the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Where is your heroism? The fake “hero” medals you have put on your chests – get rid of that metal scrap and throw them into the trashcan – we have defeated you. Pashinyan is nobody. Kocharyan and Sargsyan, the Azerbaijani people’s executioners, the slaughterers of Khojaly, we have defeated you, we have destroyed your Army. If Armenia had not signed the act of capitulation, they know how this war would have ended. This is our strength. This is our unity. The iron fist crushed your head, and from now on, no-one will speak to us in the language of ultimatums. In particular, the humiliated Pashinyan, the one that put forward seven conditions. We hit him on the head with those conditions. Where are those conditions now? I had one condition – get out, get lost, and that condition was met. Thanks to our strength, thanks to our unity, thanks to our heroes, thanks to our martyrs. Here, in the liberated city of Fuzuli, I once again pray for Allah’s mercy on all our martyrs, wish patience to their relatives and thank their parents for raising such heroes for our state and our people. Their memory will live forever in our hearts. I wish Allah’s healing to all our wounded servicemen. I am sure that they will soon return to everyday life and always be at the center of our attention.

All our servicemen, the residents of Fuzuli and other liberated lands should know that we will restore all these places. I said earlier that we could not find a single building in Fuzuli to raise the Azerbaijani flag. But we will restore them all. Relevant instructions have been given, we will do everything in a planned manner, we have invited international experts, and they will come. We will assess all the damage together. After that, we will invite urban planning specialists – both Azerbaijani and foreign. They will come here, and a new urban plan will be introduced. Restoration of villages, cities, infrastructure, and environmental measures – all these plans are there. We will do it all, Inshallah, everything! Allah willing, we shall do it all. Just as we returned our lands, destroyed the enemy and raised our tricolor flag, we will solve all other issues. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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While driving, the head of state saw people gathered along the road and stopped the car to meet with them.

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President Ilham Aliyev, who drove the vehicle to Jabrayil, said:

– Jabrayil district. We are heading for the Khudafarin Bridge. The Khudafarin Bridge is ahead.

These are the houses of Azerbaijani citizens destroyed by the savage enemy.

There are the Araz River and the Azerbaijan-Iran border – border of friendship.

As we drive, we see villages destroyed by the enemy, and we see yet again what kind of savage enemy we are facing. After seeing this, people are further convinced that we have restored our territorial integrity and destroyed the predatory enemy. There have been many wars in the world, and some are still going on. The occupation continues in some places, but I do not believe anyone has ever faced such a ruthless and callous enemy.

Our historic Victory is the one over Armenian fascism. Our Victory is the restoration of truth and justice. Today, November 16, will be a special date in my life because, in a few minutes, we will approach the Khudafarin Bridge, our ancient architectural site.

These mountains are ours. They have always been ours. But for about 30 years, the enemy sat in these mountains, these lands – lands of our ancestors and challenged us.

We will restore all the houses destroyed by the savage enemy.

This is the Khudafarin water reservoir.

Below us is the Araz River. Now we are entering a tunnel. The neighboring Islamic Republic of Iran is over there.

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The President and the First Lady arrived at the Khudafarin Bridge. These moments will be enshrined with golden letters on our history pages.

President Ilham Aliyev hoisted the glorious Azerbaijani flag on the Khudafarin Bridge. It is a source of pride for the Azerbaijani people that the President raised our flag on the historic Khudafarin Bridge. Khudafarin, a place that has left a deep mark on our people’s spirituality and history, is also a national pride matter.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva then walked along the Araz River banks and took photos in front of the Khudafarin Bridge.

Then the President and the First Lady left for Jabrayil.

The road to Jabrayil is in the same condition. This is the ugly face of Armenian occupiers. This reveals the true nature of Armenian vandals, displays their true colors.

President Ilham Aliyev: We are entering the city of Jabrayil. The enemy has created military bases for themselves here. There is nothing in the town but military facilities.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva arrived in the city of Jabrayil liberated on October 4.

We are living the moments our people have longed for over many years. The President and Commander-in-Chief also raised our tricolor flag in the city of Jabrayil.

President Ilham Aliyev: The city of Jabrayil has been liberated from occupation, and the state flag of Azerbaijan has been raised. I congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

Let’s now check out some buildings.

This was the enemy’s police station. Now the Azerbaijani police are standing here.

Notice what the despised enemy has done to the city of Jabrayil. The whole world should see this. Let them see and know what vile of an enemy we are facing. All buildings have been destroyed and looted. Their goal was to prevent Azerbaijanis from living here again. We will live here! We will live here forever! We will restore all these buildings, all of them. Notice what is left of them. Has any international organization raised this issue in 30 years? Has any monitoring been carried out here? The whole world will see now what they have done to the city of Jabrayil.

This is the center of Jabrayil. There is not a single safe building. They did not leave behind a single safe building. Only there they build a military base for themselves. The enemy has demolished entire infrastructure, houses, buildings, schools, and public facilities.

They will be held accountable for this. They will answer in international courts. I have said before, but I want to say again that international organizations and experts will come here, and all the damage will be assessed. The damage inflicted in over 30 years will be calculated. The enemy who is destroying Kalbajar these days, cutting down forests, setting residential buildings and schools ablaze will be held to account.

They thought that the people of Azerbaijan would never return here after this destruction. They have destroyed it for that purpose. But they were wrong. We are back. Look, we are standing here, on our native land, in the city of Jabrayil. We will restore all these places.

A new master plan will be drawn up. Relevant instructions have been given to develop a master plan for each city. All office buildings, public buildings, schools and medical centers will be established here. The entire infrastructure will be put in place. Streets, parks and alleys will be built. Victory monuments will be erected in all the cities, and life will return here.

The people of Azerbaijan will live, build and create here again. But today’s history will never be erased. These destroyed houses are witnesses to Armenian savagery. Azerbaijani people used to live in these houses. The hated enemy came here and drove them out of their lands, destroyed their buildings, appropriated and plundered their property. The enemy is a thief, an immoral and dishonest enemy. Again, I want to say that our brilliant Victory is not only about the restoration of our country’s territorial integrity. It is also about a struggle between good and evil. The forces of evil have been defeated, and we have won because we are here to create and build. The Armenians have only devastated everything.

We will restore all this, restore everything. The people of Azerbaijan will show their greatness yet again. We will prove to the whole world that we are a great nation. We are back; we have returned by fighting. No-one has handed these lands to us. No international organization has put pressure on the aggressor. No-one demanded that they implement UN Security Council resolutions. Their goal was simply to keep the conflict in a neither-war-nor-peace status, to keep everything in a frozen state, to perpetuate the occupation, to erase the historical heritage in our lands, to Armenianize our lands, to give our cities and villages their ugly Armenian names and erase this issue from the memory of the Azerbaijani people. But they were wrong. I have repeatedly said that we will never put up with this occupation. Every resident of Jabrayil lived with a desire to return to their ancestors’ lands.

Justice has prevailed. The victorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have prevailed. The enemy’s back is broken. The enemy has been driven out of our lands. The Azerbaijani flag has been raised in the liberated lands and will fly high there forever.

Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

https://en.president.az/articles/46840

Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited liberated from occupation Aghdam city

As reported earlier, on November 23, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the city of Aghdam, liberated from occupation.

Driving the car on the way to Aghdam, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– Look at the enemy’s line of defense. The enemy had several lines of defense, all the way to the city of Aghdam, look at that.

Now we are driving into the liberated lands. The destination is the city of Aghdam. We have liberated the city of Aghdam and the occupied lands of Aghdam district without firing a single shot. We have defeated the enemy on the battlefield and forced them to withdraw from the Aghdam district.

Look, here is another line of defense. On the right are the houses of Azerbaijani citizens destroyed by the enemy. Let the whole world see what the savage enemy has done to our villages, what savages we were facing, what savages we have defeated. The entire world should see this.

There is not a single safe building here. Everything is devastated. They have destroyed our houses and villages; they exploited our lands. The enemy will be held accountable for all the war crimes. We will also invite journalists to Aghdam, including foreign journalists and representatives of the diplomatic corps. Let them come and see.

The head of state raised Azerbaijan’s tricolor flag in Aghdam. The national flag of Azerbaijan is now flying proudly in Aghdam, liberated from occupation after 27 years. Every Azerbaijani watches this with pride and great joy.

The head of state and first lady then visited the Aghdam mosque. The mosque with two minarets, which became a place of hope and refuge for the survivors of the Khojaly genocide, was also savagely destroyed by the enemy.

President Ilham Aliyev presented the Holy Quran he brought from Mecca to the Aghdam mosque.

The President and First Lady prayed in the mosque.

The head of state delivered remarks in front of the Aghdam mosque.

Remarks by President Ilham Aliyev

– Dear fellow countrymen.

As you know, the occupied city of Aghdam and Aghdam district were liberated on November 20. I have congratulated the people of Azerbaijan, the people of Aghdam on this occasion. Today I am here, in the city of Aghdam. I visited the Aghdam mosque and raised Azerbaijan’s state flag there. We have returned to Aghdam. I want to congratulate once again all the people of Aghdam on this historic event. I know that the people of Aghdam have been looking forward to this day for many years. Both during the occupation, for about 30 years, and during the Second Karabakh War – the Patriotic War, they waited for Aghdam to be liberated from occupation. We have honorably fulfilled our historic mission and liberated the occupied territories from the enemy. The Victory on the battlefield made the liberation of Aghdam district, as well as Kalbajar and Lachin districts possible, without firing a single shot and without sacrificing a martyr.

We have returned to these lands at the cost of the lives and blood of the Azerbaijani people, our martyrs, and the courage of our heroes. We had to gather strength, and we did that. Over the past 17 years, I have repeatedly told the people that we must be more vigorous and build a stronger army. The factor of strength plays a decisive role in the world today. Justice is on our side, international law is on our side, and power should be on our side too. It was because we weren’t strong enough that Azerbaijani lands were occupied in the early 1990s. We were gaining strength and becoming stronger. I said that every Azerbaijani citizen should bring this sacred day, this Victory day, closer through their work, hard work, and dedication to the Motherland.

We have done a great deal at the international level, and I have informed the people about that in my speeches. Today, after the war and even during the war, the whole world, all the people of Azerbaijan, saw how important that was. If we had not created the necessary legal framework for resolving the conflict, we could have encountered problems today. We have had all international organizations adopt decisions and resolutions that recognize and reflect justice and international law. Four UN Security Council resolutions were adopted in 1993. Then we created a solid legal basis for resolving the conflict by having the UN General Assembly, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopt respective decisions and resolutions.

All these critical steps have been taken since 2003, and we have got the upper hand in the political arena. Simultaneously, the “Partnership Priorities” document initialled between Azerbaijan the European Union two years ago contains clear statements about Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of our borders. It is our great success because we could not achieve this for many years. Some international organizations did not want to call the aggressor by its name. Some international organizations did not want to expose the occupier in the documents adopted in connection with the occupation. Even four UN Security Council resolutions did not mention Armenia as an aggressor state and referred to it as “Armenian forces”.

We have created a legal ground for resolving the conflict over the past 17 years. I communicated Azerbaijan’s position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, its historical realities, and the current situation to all my colleagues in all of my international contacts. The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has a special place in almost all of my bilateral international contacts. It is enough to go through my speeches. Over the past 17 years, I have expressed my views on this issue in almost all of my addresses, informing the international community about it. Unfortunately, in the early 1990s, the world did not have a full picture of the conflict, and there was distorted information. There was information circulated by the Armenian lobby. Otherwise, the U.S. Congress would not have passed the notorious Section 907 while our lands were occupied. Azerbaijan’s lands were under occupation, but the U.S. Congress recognized Azerbaijan as an aggressor and deprived us of humanitarian aid. The Armenian lobby achieved this at the time. Azerbaijan’s diplomacy failed to take adequate steps to counter them.

We have won the information war. We have fully informed the world about the Khojaly genocide. There was no information about the Khojaly genocide in the world. It is possible to say that the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign and the recognition of the Khojaly genocide by more than ten countries as an act of genocide created a picture reflecting the realities of the conflict and conveyed it to the world community.

We, the country chairing the Non-Aligned Movement, have kept this issue in the spotlight during our chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, the second-largest international body after the United Nations. Today, Azerbaijan chairs the organization, which brings together 120 countries. A summit was held last year. The people of Azerbaijan saw again how important this was because, during the Second Karabakh War, there were attempts at the UN, the UN Security Council to adopt a new resolution. If that resolution had passed, it would not have stopped us, of course, but it could have entailed undesirable circumstances. It was countries of the Non-Aligned Movement that prevented that resolution’s adoption and supported us. I also thanked them and said that they stood behind us like true gentlemen, even though big powers exerted enormous pressure on them. Many members of the Non-Aligned Movement recognize Azerbaijan as an independent and strong country ready to defend them. We have provided humanitarian and financial assistance to more than 30 countries during the pandemic, including special assistance to the Non-Aligned Movement through the World Health Organization. All this work has paid off. We were able to get the necessary international support in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh issue, which is a crucial issue for us.

Today we chair not only the Non-Aligned Movement but also the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States. Our international relevance is high, and it has played a notable role in having this conflict resolved.

During these 17 years, I have always said that we must provide a strong impetus to the economic sector, ensure economic independence, and we did exactly that. Today we do not depend on anyone economically. If we were, we could come under pressure. The pressure was still there, but to no avail, due to the pointlessness of using the economic factor against us. We do not depend on anyone, on any country or international financial institution.

On the contrary, we are a donor country now. We lend money to others. Our strong economic potential and financial resources have allowed us the opportunity to ensure economic independence fully. It has also played a unique role in our Victory. If we were not economically independent, we would not be able to achieve political independence. Without political independence, we could not liberate our lands from the enemy, an enemy with great powers behind it, with very influential circles of those powers, Armenian lobby organizations.

These factors have increased our prowess and paved the way for our Victory. The number one issue is our military might. I have repeatedly said that building up our military capacity is the primary issue for us. It is no coincidence that during my presidency, our military expenditures topped other budget expenditures every year. I have said and explained to our people that we have many other issues, some problems need to be addressed, but our primary concern is that our lands are under occupation. That is why military expenditures come first among others. We bought the necessary military hardware. We demonstrated that equipment and modern weapons during numerous parades on Azadlig Square. We adopted the most advanced trends in the development of our Army. We acquired weapons that would give us an advantage, and the Second Karabakh War demonstrated that.

Today, many countries, many developed countries are studying our experience. Many experts in this area note that Azerbaijan waged 21st-century warfare. For the first time in the 21st century, historic achievements of this scale and magnitude have been made in such a short time. On my way here, I saw at least three lines of defense. But according to the information given to me by the military, there were five lines of defense here. The same goes for Fuzuli. Thanks to our soldiers and officers’ heroism and professionalism, we have crushed these lines of defense. We are technically equipped with the most modern weapons, and the Second Karabakh War revealed that, and there are videos available. They are now being studied; they will be reviewed in many countries and included in military books.

Simultaneously, we were strengthening our Army’s combat capability because it was clear that Victory could not be won by weapons alone. It is a soldier and an officer who raises the flag, raises the flag on the enemy’s positions, raises it on liberated lands. Our soldiers and officers fought like lions. We gave martyrs. May Allah have mercy on all our martyrs! May Allah grant their parents patience! We have wounded servicemen, and they are recovering. Many of them have already recovered. May Allah send healing to them! We have won this war thanks to our heroic soldiers and officers. I am sure that the operation to liberate Shusha will forever go down in history. We have destroyed the enemy in an almost hand-to-hand battle, crossing ravines, forests and mountains with light weapons, and ultimately liberated Shusha – Karabakh’s crown jewel.

All these factors have preconditioned our Victory. I want to emphasize again that the people of Agdam have been waiting for this day for many years – for almost 30 years. At the same time, they were waiting during the Second Karabakh War. I know and feel that as our cities, districts and villages were liberated from occupation, the people of Aghdam also looked forward to when their villages and the city of Aghdam would be liberated. Jabrayil was liberated, Fizuli was liberated, Hadrut was liberated, Zangilan, Gubadli, Sugovushan, and Shusha were liberated, and the people of Agdam probably wondered why Agdam was not being liberated.

I can say that now. I wanted to communicate this message to the people of Aghdam in some form, but they should also understand that I could not do that during the war. There were five lines of defense here. The enemy was expecting us here. We could not afford to attack where the enemy was waiting. We kept a large military contingent in this direction so that the enemy’s military forces would remain engaged and not be deployed elsewhere. After the liberation of Fuzuli, Hadrut, most of Khojavand district and Shusha, of course, we already intended to move towards the city of Aghdam. The order was given that the next direction was Aghdam. The enemy also knows and already admits that if they had not accepted my conditions to vacate our lands, they would have died here. We were on our way to Aghdam.

It is too premature to disclose all the secrets of the war. Fascinating matters will emerge in the future. But I can say with full confidence today that the Agdam operation was part of our plans. We would have taken Aghdam one way or another, but there would have been casualties, a significant number of casualties. Therefore, after liberating Shusha and more than 70 of our villages on November 9, we broke the enemy’s back; they surrendered, raised a white flag, agreed to my terms and admitted their defeat.

Almost from the first days of the war, I said in my numerous interviews and nationwide addresses – everything is documented – I said give us a timetable. I said, Pashinyan, you personally, not your foreign minister or defense minister, who were fired after this defeat, but you, Pashinyan, must give us a timetable, you must do it yourself, and I succeeded.

If he had listened to me, he would not be in such a miserable situation now. I am fully convinced that we would have liberated our occupied lands. The enemy thought that someone would help them out. They thought that all their supporters would come and fight against us on their behalf. They made a grave mistake. After the liberation of most of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Hadrut, Zangilan, Gubadli, Shusha, Sugovushan, Khojavand districts on the battlefield, the enemy fell to its knees and remains on its knees today. We have broken the enemy’s back. We have won a glorious Victory. We have proved to the whole world that Armenians’ legends and myths are all nonsense. There are more than 10,000 deserters in the Armenian Army, and there would have been more. If we executed the planned operation in Aghdam, thousands of Armenian servicemen would have either fled or died.

We have shown that it is the people of Azerbaijan who are true warriors. We have shown that we will never put up with this occupation. Let them look up my speeches. I have said perhaps a thousand times in the last 17 years that we would not put up with this occupation. They thought that they could keep our lands under occupation forever. Those who invested so much and built so many fortifications here, in Fuzuli, in Jabrayil wanted precisely that. There were several days of fierce battles for Soltanli village of Jabrayil district. They built fortifications there that are second to none in the world. Why? They did not want to vacate those lands. They thought that they would live there forever. They tried to Armenianize our lands. The whole city of Aghdam has been destroyed. They demolished it in the 1990s so that if a peace agreement were signed, the Azerbaijani people would not be able to return and live here. Everything is mined. Most of the mines are here. But they were wrong. All these years, we have been living with one desire, with one wish – to return to these lands, and we have returned. We have destroyed Armenia’s Army. Armenia’s Army is almost non-existent now. We have crushed the war criminals. We have annihilated their scum. I said this in Fuzuli, and I want to repeat that we have destroyed Kocharyan’s and Sargsyan’s Army. We have shown our strength against Kocharyan and Sargsyan. We have defeated them. Who is Pashinyan?

I do not want to talk about him now. I have already said what was needed. Kocharyan and Sargsyan, you have knelt before us. You have brought this place, all the occupied lands, to this plight. You have destroyed this mosque. They fled and went into hiding during the Second Karabakh War. They could not even stick their noses into the battle zone. So, where is your heroism? I said to them – take out this metal scrap; it has no value. You are wearing hero medals on your chest. They are fake heroes.

Look, at me – I am standing here, in front of the mosque you have destroyed, in the city of Aghdam which you destroyed. I came here with my Army. I came here as a winner, while you will live the rest of your pathetic lives with a mark of defeat and cowardice. Why are you hiding there like mice? Kocharyan and Sargsyan, I am talking to you. Pashinyan is nobody. His only concern now is to cling to power. Therefore, he is imprisoning the entire opposition. The West remains silent about this. Why is there a deafening silence? Can’t they see what’s going on there? War criminals and Khojaly executioners, we have obliterated you. Azerbaijani soldiers, Azerbaijani officers have destroyed you. And it serves you right!

Today, it is excruciating to see the city of Aghdam destroyed. But a few years ago, when I was in this area, I looked at that building through binoculars in our trenches. It is difficult to express these feelings in words. It is impossible. It was so painful to look at our city on our lands, see that building from afar through binoculars, and not be able to come here. Many times when I was on the line of contact, in the trenches, I thought that one day we would return; we would restore our territorial integrity.

Today, I presented the Holy Quran I brought from Mecca to the Aghdam Mosque. I am happy to have visited Mecca four times – once with my late father and three times as President. I am happy that I prayed with my family inside the Holy Kaaba. I have the same feelings in my heart as everyone else. My first prayer was for the liberation of our lands from occupation. I asked Allah to give me the strength to liberate our lands from the invaders, provide us with this happiness, and return to our ancestors’ land.

Today, in front of the mosque destroyed by vandals, I am saying that I am fortunate. I praise Allah for answering my prayers and giving me this strength. We are living through these historic days, having mobilized our prowess. These are truly historic days. Perhaps there have never been such glorious and proud days in the centuries-long history of Azerbaijan. We have achieved this thanks to our unity and our strength. Nobody helped us. On the contrary, they only wanted to hamper us. I will talk about this in detail due time.

It was the Republic of Turkey that supported us morally and politically for 44 days, my brother President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and leaders of several other Muslim and non-Muslim countries. We have achieved this Victory through unity, determination, strong will and strength. Today, after the end of the war, some leaders from Western countries are raising the issue of Christian shrines in the liberated lands under Azerbaijan’s control. They express these concerns both during conversations with me and in their official statements. No-one should worry, especially the leaders of Western countries that ignite Islamophobic sentiments, those who have turned a blind eye to the insults of Islam and even justified those who were insulting it. They have no right to talk about it. This is the first. Second, all the shrines across our territory are our historical heritage.

Azerbaijan hosts the Baku Humanitarian Forum or the Forum on Intercultural Dialogue every year. Azerbaijan hosts summits of leaders of world religions. Go and see what they say about us. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation cites the attitude towards Islam in Azerbaijan as an example. During his visit to Baku, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill praised the work in this sphere in Azerbaijan and visited Orthodox churches. In his official speech during his visit to Baku, Pope Francis spoke about tolerance, religious tolerance and multiculturalism in Azerbaijan. Who can criticize us? Those who shut down mosques? Can those throwing the heads of slaughtered pigs into Muslim mosques lecture us and express concern? They do not need to voice any concerns. The state protects all our historical sites. On my instruction and at the government’s expense, two Orthodox churches are being repaired, while the third church has already been restored, with an auxiliary premise also completed. During the war, our Udi brothers’ church was repaired and put into operation by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Our Caucasian Albanian churches are our national treasure. The same goes for our Georgian churches, the Armenian сhurch. The savage enemy kept cows and pigs in this mosque. These pictures are available on the internet. They kept pigs in the liberated Zangilan mosque, in the Jabrayil mosque.

We work very closely with UNESCO. But if they want to come and visit Christian shrines, they should come here. Come and tell what savage Armenians have done here. Also, a few years ago, the ambassadors of Minsk Group co-chair countries visited this mosque. They conducted fact-finding missions twice and told me that they had visited the Aghdam mosque. Why didn’t they raise this issue? Why didn’t certain Western leaders express their concern? Does this mean that Muslim mosques can be desecrated and destroyed; cows and pigs kept here? Let them say so, let them deal with their countries’ problems and not interfere in our work. Let no-one meddle with our work. We have made it here ourselves. We have come here despite all those countries’ efforts, we have come regardless of all the provocations, we have shed blood, and we are standing on our land. Let every one mind their own business. We have, and we will respond to those who want to interfere in our work.

It is a historic day today. We are celebrating our glorious Victory. The ruined city of Aghdam is a witness to Armenian atrocities. We will restore the city of Aghdam and all the villages. Let no-one ever doubt that. It will be a difficult task. Of course, it will take much effort. But just as we have shown unity for 44 days, I am confident that we will show unity and determination in the restoration of our liberated lands. We will restore all our cities and built even more beautiful cities. We will restore the remaining historical sites in our cities and show our strength once again.

We have won our Victory by driving the enemy out with an iron fist, and now we are standing on our land.

Long live the people of Azerbaijan! Long live the Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijani officers! Aghdam is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

https://en.president.az/articles/47685

Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited Gubadli and Zangilan districts

As reported earlier, on December 23, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the liberated from occupation Gubadli and Zangilan districts.

Driving the car on the way to Gubadli, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– We are on the territory of Jabrayil district. We are on liberated lands. On the right are our villages destroyed by the Armenians. We are heading for the Gubadli district.

– Destroyed vineyards. All villages are destroyed. The electricity poles on the left and right of the road were installed shortly after we liberated these lands.

– All villages are destroyed. The enemy will be held accountable for these crimes. The enemy had devastated all our towns, historical and religious monuments. The whole world should see it.

– A memorial from Soviet times. It is a memorial for World War II. They have destroyed it too.

– Another destroyed village.

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: What is the name of the village?

President Ilham Aliyev: Goyerchin Veysalli village. The Armenian fascists destroyed it. Even the Nazis did not commit such atrocities during World War II. See what savage enemy we were facing, what evil forces we have defeated?! We have liberated our region and the Caucasus from fascists. We will restore all these villages. But, first of all, all the villages, all the destruction in them will be documented and registered.

– We are driving through the territory of the Zangilan district.

– Babayli village. It is also in ruins.

– There is not a single safe building. Have a look. All the buildings are destroyed. Here is an old cemetery.

– Beautiful views of Zangilan district. What a magnificent place. We will restore it all. Here is Uchunju Aghali village. It appears the Armenians lived here. But notice how they lived here. I have been saying that the Armenians live in poverty on the occupied territories, and this is proof of that. They came to our village and destroyed most of it.

The Armenians occupied our houses. Residents of Uchunju Aghali village will probably recognize this house. They came here, occupied someone else’s lands, left people homeless, lived in other people’s homes, turned them into ruins and then claimed that that was ancient Armenian land. Fraudsters, thieves, liars and savages have kept our lands under occupation for almost 30 years. All these videos will be material evidence for our claims in the legal field.

– Birinji Aghali village. It is destroyed too. But some houses have survived. The Armenians lived in our houses. From now on, we will live in our own homes. Let them go and live in their homeland.

– Selali village. This village is also destroyed. See what they have left behind. Even before the war, I was saying that all our villages and cities had been looted. Armenians torn down roofs and took away window frames and all other items. They openly looted and exploited our lands.

– They demolished one half of the house and lived in the other half. Notice what they have left behind. Looters!

The savage enemy passed through these lands and destroyed them so that the Azerbaijani people could never return here. Inshallah, we will all return. Everything is destroyed.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: This is probably a military base.

President Ilham Aliyev: The Azerbaijani flag has already been hoisted there. Military bases were built to keep our lands under occupation forever, but we threw them out of here and expelled them from our lands. Rightful owners of the land are returning here now.

Notice how they have cut down the trees. See what the wild enemy has done – it has chopped down all the trees. Zangilan has a vibrant nature and rare forests, also known for its plane trees. See what the enemy has done. The whole world should see this. Whom have the pro-Armenian forces defended to this day? Let the countries that have adopted resolutions against us open their eyes and have a look. You hypocritical politicians open your eyes, have a look. Your parliaments have adopted resolutions. We couldn’t care less about your resolutions. They are just a piece of paper. But the fact is that the accusations against us are baseless again. Members of the French Parliament, members of the Belgian and Dutch parliaments, have a look and see what your beloved Armenians have done to these lands? Look at the map, look up the encyclopedia and see which country Zangilan and Gubadli districts are part of. You are adopting resolutions – hell with those resolutions. Look at them, accusing Azerbaijan!

– Khanlig village of Gubadli. Fierce battles for Khanlig village took place. The Armenians have given our historical ancient village an ugly name. Khanlig village is located on the territory of Gubadli district. We are now in Gubadli district. Armenians have built military fortifications and a military base in Khanlig village. An illegal settlement was carried out here. Armenians brought from abroad were resettled here illegally. That is another war crime. According to the Geneva Conventions, a country that conducts illegally resettlement in the occupied territories commits a crime. Have a look. A settlement was built in Khanlig for the Armenians from abroad paid by the Armenians residing in different countries.

Here is agricultural equipment produced in the 1950s. Armenians living abroad have committed a crime. The Armenians were brought here from abroad and resettled on our lands. After demolishing the houses of the Azerbaijanis in Khanlig settlement, they built homes for the Armenians. This is an Armenian car. They were driving such vehicles. And these are the names of our heroic soldiers – they wrote their names on these houses. Bilasuvar, Shabran, Sabirabad, Shusha, Oguz. This is what you get for illegal resettlement. This is another Armenian car, have a look.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva arrived in Khanlig village of Gubadli, where Armenia had carried out a policy of illegal settlement, and met here with servicemen.

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, guys.

Soldiers: Thank you!

President Ilham Aliyev: How are things? How are you?

Soldiers: Thank you very much!

President Ilham Aliyev: How is your service?

Soldiers: Excellent. Everything is good.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. This is a settlement built by the Armenians in our ancient village. Our houses were destroyed, and then this settlement was built with Armenians’ money, those who came from abroad. We are living here now. You are stationed here currently. You are doing your service here. We have returned to our native lands and liberated them on the battlefield. We have driven the enemy out of our lands – thanks to soldiers like you. The whole world saw what Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijani officers are capable of.

Come on, guys, come on here.

Soldiers: Welcome, Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: Great to see you! This is our ancient land. Our people have lived on these lands for centuries.

Soldier: A brave man, what a brave man! Well done!

President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, hello. Let’s take a picture afterward.

We showed our strength on the battlefield. We have expelled the Armenians from our lands. We have raised the Azerbaijani flag on our lands. We have fulfilled the greatest wish of the Azerbaijani people on the battlefield, not through negotiations. They were deceiving us. For 27 years, the Armenians built settlements here for themselves and brought Armenians from abroad. Khanlig settlement was given an ugly Armenian name.

Soldiers: Your words are our motto: “We chased them down like dogs”.

President Ilham Aliyev: They saw our strength. They thought that they would live in our lands forever and challenge us. We ran out of patience, and I said – charge!

Soldiers: Thank you, long live Azerbaijan! May you always be at the helm!

President Ilham Aliyev: Heroic Azerbaijani soldiers showed their strength to the whole world. I am aware that our combat tactics are now being studied in the world’s leading military schools. This is a novelty, a war of the 21st century. We have liberated our lands from occupiers thanks to the professionalism, resolve, national spirit and heroism.

Soldiers: Thanks to your leadership and determination.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.

Soldiers: We are proud of you. Long live Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev: Long live Azerbaijani soldiers!

Soldiers: Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

President Ilham Aliyev: Let’s take a picture.

Soldier: Happy birthday, live to be a hundred, may Allah prolong your life!

Then President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva left for the city of Gubadli.

President Ilham Aliyev: Two large rivers pass through the territory of Gubadli district: the Hakari River and the Bazarchay River. Here is one of them, have a look. Most likely, this is the Hakari River. This is Ashaghi Mollu village.

– A photo of our martyr Rufat Asgarov. Rest in peace! May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace!

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Rest in peace!

President Ilham Aliyev: Beautiful views of Gubadli district. Another village razed to the ground. We will rebuild everything, including the roads and infrastructure. What a gorgeous view!

That is probably the Bazarchay Rover because the Hakari River flows on one side of Gubadli and the Bazarchay River on the other side. It is also called the Bargushad River.

– Gazyan village. Look, they have written something in Armenian there. It should be dismantled. Let us do it. Bring it down.

– Dilalimushkanli village. This village is also destroyed. All the houses are destroyed. One or two houses remain standing. The enemy lived in them. This is Saray village. Saray village is located near the city of Gubadli. This village is also destroyed.

See what the enemy has done to the city of Gubadli. All buildings are destroyed. They only built a military compound for themselves. This is the city of Gubadli. This was probably their warehouse. Here is another demolished house. The Armenians built a military base at the entrance to the city of Gubadli. The sun has come out. Nature also welcomes and greets us. Rightful owners of this land are here. See what they have done to the city of Gubadli? See what the enemy has left behind?

President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Gubadli.

The head of state delivered remarks there.

Remarks by the President Ilham Aliyev:

– It was raining this morning, but when we reached Gubadli, the sun came out. Nature itself is greeting and welcoming us. Real owners have returned to Gubadli. The liberation of Gubadli from occupation was a historic event. The liberation of Gubadli on October 25 brought us closer to victory. There were fierce battles for Gubadli. We had martyrs. Among them, National Hero Shukur Hamidov, born here in Gubadli, perished as a hero in the battles for his homeland. I awarded the title of a National Hero to Shukur Hamidov for his heroism in the April 2016 battles. May Allah rest his soul in peace! May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! Azerbaijani servicemen, including Shukur Hamidov, have been awarded high military orders by the state.

The operation to liberate the Gubadli district took several days. After the liberation of Zangilan on October 20, of course, our next destination was the Gubadli district. The Armenians had built strong fortifications in the city. There are no traces of the city. All buildings have been destroyed and demolished. All the villages and settlements in Jabrayil, Zangilan and Gubadli districts have been devastated along the road. But here, at the entrance to the city, the enemy had set up a military compound. Enemy troops were positioned at these heights. This is why it was not easy to liberate the city of Gubadli. First of all, Armenian fortifications had to be destroyed, and one of them was located in Khanlig settlement. They had built solid fortifications there and turned the Khanlig settlement into a base for themselves. The Armenians living abroad had built a settlement there. But it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are stationed in this settlement now. Armenians were brought here from abroad with the Armenian diaspora’s money and were illegally resettled in Gubadli. This is a war crime in itself. The Armenian state will be held accountable for this and all other crimes.

To liberate Gubadli, we first had to capture these elevations because the enemy was constantly firing on our soldiers from those heights. At the same time, we were fired on from the territory of Armenia proper. Azerbaijan did not intend to move into Armenia’s territory, and I have repeatedly stated this during the war. They believed that they could use that to their advantage to stop our attack. The distance from here, from the city of Gubadli to the Armenian border over there, is five kilometers. They fired on our soldiers with heavy artillery both from there and from those heights. Therefore, the Gubadli operation required extraordinary professionalism and self-sacrifice. And Azerbaijan’s Army showed that professionalism and self-sacrifice. First of all, we took the heights overlooking the city, the surrounding villages, including Khanlig settlement, Padar, Sariyatag, Mahmudlu villages, and other strategic elevations. Then Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces entered the city and cleared it of the enemy.

The liberation of the Gubadli district and the city of Gubadli gave us a tremendous strategic advantage because the next destination after Gubadli was Lachin district. Every day, I approved a combat operation plan. Daily, the work was summarized and analyzed – to what extent the job was done during that day and what goals we achieved. The road from Gubadli to the southern part of the Lachin district was constantly under fire. Because the road to Lachin district passes right next to Armenia’s state border – the distance there is perhaps 10-20 meters, so Armenia was constantly firing on us from that side. Therefore, our military units reached Lachin district’s strategic heights by other roads and various mountain paths. Thus, Gulabird, Safiyan and Turklar villages located in the southern part of Lachin district were liberated. In the meantime, the capture of strategic elevations allowed us to keep the Lachin corridor within firing range.

The enemy expected us from there. Of course, the enemy was well aware that the war wouldn’t stop without the liberation of Shusha. After taking over the Lachin district’s southern part, the enemy thought that we would advance towards Shusha from there. We also knew that the enemy was awaiting us there. Therefore, we moved towards Shusha from another direction, a direction they did not expect. They are still in disbelief as to how our heroic soldiers and officers approached Shusha through those mountains, valleys and forests, and liberated Shusha from occupation. They were expecting for us both here and in the direction of the Girmizibazar settlement of Khojavand district. But we went towards Shusha in another direction. Approaching Shusha, we liberated several villages, including Sighnag, Chanakhchi and Dashalti. The Gubadli operation was of great importance because it was after Gubadli that we liberated the city of Shusha from occupation. Gubadli was liberated on October 25, and Shusha was liberated on November 8. And the enemy was forced to surrender.

The accomplishments of ours during the war are now studied in the military schools of leading countries. I have detailed information about this. Our foreign partners have informed us that Azerbaijan’s military tactics and operations are now studied in the higher military schools of the most developed countries – our modern combat tactics. No-one in the world had used such tactics before us. All of the key factors here were aimed at achieving the goal by inflicting crushing blows to the enemy with minimal losses and virtually destroying the enemy’s army, which is precisely what happened. We launched a counter-offensive on September 27 and then switched to the full offensive. We had to liberate our lands. Armenia’s provocations had to be stopped.

The killing of innocent people had to be stopped. After the counter-offensive, the attacking side usually suffers more casualties. However, our losses are minimal, given the scale of the war. Every single martyr is irreplaceable. The death of each person is a great tragedy – for their relatives and for the entire nation. But we must also say that we have achieved what we wanted with little losses. This is probably why some people think that this matter could have been resolved earlier. However, it requires great heroism to liberate this territory from the occupation in 44 days – destroying the enemy, eliminating their army and forcing the enemy to surrender.

We tried to build our tactics so that the losses were minimal. At the same time, there were quite a few unexpected steps in our tactics as well. The tactical methods we used are a novelty for the world’s military science. More information on this issue will be provided in due course. However, foreign media suggests that this war is and has been seriously analyzed by military experts. Professionalism, heroism, planning, firm resolve, national spirit, technical capabilities – all these factors combined and the unity of the people and the government have preconditioned our victory.

Every day, we were moving forward, and over the course of 44 days, there was not a single day on which we retreated. There was not a single day on which we did not achieve our plan. Every morning, I approved the daily combat plan, which was subsequently analyzed at the end of that day. As a result, we were able to achieve a great victory in a short time and liberate our native lands from the enemy. We have dealt such devastating blows to the enemy that it has not yet been able to recover.

The trilateral statement signed on November 10 was, in fact, a capitulation of the Armenian state. Armenia surrendered, threw in the towel and dropped to its knees. After that, Aghdam, Lachin, and Kalbajar were returned without a single shot being fired. Today, it is Azerbaijani soldiers who are serving in those districts. This is an outstanding achievement. We would definitely have taken those districts by fighting, but we could have suffered many losses, especially in the direction of Aghdam, which was extensively mined. Also, there were several lines of defense.

Moreover, especially if we consider the weather conditions, Kalbajar and Lachin districts’ liberation by military means would have been fraught with heavy losses. Winter had already begun, and the roads were frozen. It takes hours to cross into Kalbajar from the Goygol district.

Therefore, the statement signed on November 10 is of great importance. Of course, if we had not liberated a large territory from the invaders, if we hadn’t broken the enemy’s back and achieved the desired goal of destroying the enemy army, the enemy would not have signed such a humiliating document for them. We forced them, expelled them from our lands, and, as always, I remained true to my word. From the early days of the war, I said that the Armenian leadership must explicitly state when, on what particular date, it would vacate our lands. It had to give us an exact date. If that had happened, we would have stopped the war. But we were not given a date. They carried on with their ugly deeds and occupation and resorted to various tricks to involve foreign countries. If the Armenian leadership had heeded my words and taken the right step, it would not have been such a humiliation. I said that we would go to the end, and we did go to the end. We stopped at the right time. We returned the three districts without a single shot fired, without a single loss. We have restored our territorial integrity.

Today, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in the occupied territories. Today, as Commander-in-Chief, I am meeting with soldiers in these liberated lands. Specific steps have already been taken to restore this region, the Karabakh region. Initial contracts have already been signed. The despised enemy has destroyed everything there. Everything along the road is destroyed – from Jabrayil district to the liberated lands in Gubadli. There is not a single safe building. Only a few buildings remain in Gubadli, where their servicemen and their families used to live. The loathed enemy has destroyed all buildings, houses, historical sites, mosques, and graves. All those crimes are documented.

When I visit these liberated territories and see the atrocities committed by the Armenians, I get further convinced what a great service we have done to ourselves and our entire region. We have caved in the head of Armenian fascism. It is the Armenian fascism that has brought our lands to this plight. We have broken the back of the fascist Armenian state, the terrorist state. We brought it to its knees, so they must draw the right conclusions. Armenian society must draw the correct conclusions. If they still cherish any revenge sentiments, the end will be bitter. If a single bullet is fired here from the other side – the Armenian border is 5 kilometers from here – we will crush them so hard they will forget their own names.

We have achieved our goal. The Victory Parade was held on December 10. In that Victory Parade, we demonstrated the enemy’s destroyed military equipment, the trophies we have taken and presented our military potential. We will continue to strengthen our army. Next year’s budget is now being discussed. On my initiative, military spending is increasing because we used a significant amount of ammunition and military hardware during the war and it needs to be replenished. At the same time, there are plans to continue purchasing modern equipment. Our army’s modernization, our military’s combat potential, and our army’s professionalism will always be in the spotlight.

We have won a victory! We have driven the enemy out of our lands! But no-one can guarantee that Armenian fascism will not rise again in a few years. Therefore, the Azerbaijani state must always be strong. The Azerbaijani state must always have a powerful army. We know how strong we are. And so does the world. If we had wanted, we could have carried out any military operation not only on our territory but also inside Armenia. We still can. The Armenian side is also aware of that. But we have always respected international law, and I have always said that we don’t set our sights on other countries’ lands. We must live on our land. We will live here. We have driven the enemy out of our lands, and we will restore this entire region.

Gubadli district is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and all the necessary restoration work will be planned in a short time. Foreign experts have been involved and invited, and they will do all the appraisal work. Video and photo documents are collected, and the entire extent of damage will be calculated. Our lands have been exploited. Our natural resources have been plundered. A gold deposit in the Zangilan district has been exploited. The same holds true for other liberated territories. The Armenian state will be held to account for all this. In the meantime, all the restoration work will be carried out. We will restore all our cities, settlements and villages. Our people will return there, and we will live on our lands forever. No-one can expel us from our lands ever again.

In my many addresses to the nation before the war, I said that Azerbaijan was a strong country and that we were strong as ever. When I said this, I meant not only our economy but also our military potential. History and the results of the war have proven me right. Azerbaijan had never achieved such a brilliant Victory in its entire history. Azerbaijan had never been as strong in its entire history. Our strength lies in our unity. We have shown unity, we have demonstrated perseverance, we have shown heroism, and as a result, we have crushed the enemy with an iron fist and liberated our native lands. Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijani soldiers! Long live Azerbaijan!

Then the head of state and the first lady left for the liberated from occupation Zangilan district.

– President Ilham Aliyev: Zangilan. Zangilan city is close.

In Zangilan, the enemy has destroyed everything too. Look at the destroyed houses. Notice what state this house is in.

President Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva then visited the mosque in Zangilan, destroyed by the hated enemy.

Standing in front of the mosque, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– Notice what the despised enemy has done to the mosque. The enemy has destroyed all our religious sites. The world has been tight-lipped for 30 years. We have repeatedly raised this issue, raised it in the international arena – our historical and religious sites have been destroyed and desecrated. We have shown those images many times. Showing the condition of the Aghdam mosque, Shusha’s mosques and other mosques under occupation at the time, we said that the enemy had destroyed and desecrated our religious sites.

After the liberation of Zangilan, a video was circulated of pigs in one of the mosques. The enemy has insulted our religion, insulted all the Muslims. There was a mosque here, but now it is gone. They have destroyed it. Some are now raising the issue of the religious heritage of the Armenian people in the liberated lands now. But why didn’t anyone raise the case of our national and religious heritage? Some UNESCO official has recently made a groundless statement that they had allegedly asked us, but Azerbaijan remained silent. We have repeatedly appealed to UNESCO for 30 years, repeatedly stated that our mosques had been destroyed, our historical sites have been devastated, and the Armenians have misappropriated our historical sites. Have they sent a mission here at least once? Has our request been answered at least once?

As soon as the war ended, they started to advocate for the sites of the Armenian people. We are protecting all the sites. We are protecting the places of value for all nationalities, and the world knows that. But you should have a look. There was a mosque here, UNESCO, get over here, come and see this. The Council of Europe – don’t remain silent. Come and see this! All our mosques are destroyed. Is it alright to destroy mosques? Is it not a crime to demolish a mosque? How much longer will this injustice last? How long will this hypocrisy last? How long will these double standards last? How long will this Islamophobia last? It was the Armenians who destroyed it. Can someone positioning oneself as a civilized person and regarded as such by some foreign patrons do this? Can a civilized person keep pigs in a mosque? Let the whole world see this! Let Muslims of the world, the peoples of Muslim countries, see this. What kind of friendship can we talk about with a country that has committed this? Unfortunately, we still hear that some Muslim states refer to Armenia as a friendly country. The executioners who ruled this “friendly country” for 20 years have done this. They came here and destroyed our mosques and insulted us. The whole world should see this. If any claims are made against us, we will respond.

Let international organizations come and see this, reflect this in their reports, condemn the occupying state and see what kind of evil we fought against, expelled this evil from our lands, and threw them out of here. See what happened to our cities. There is not a single safe building. I have come here, all the way from the liberated lands in Jabrayil and Gubadli to Zangilan. There is not a single safe building. All the buildings have been demolished. Our villages have been renamed, and ugly names have been given to them. Our mosques are in this state now. Armenia will be held accountable. It will be held to account! We have expelled them from our lands, destroyed them and their army. I am sure that even after these images, “international officials” trying to criticize us will continue to remain deaf mute. We will restore this mosque, and our citizens will come and worship here, the call to prayer will come from here, and life will return to these lands.

President Ilham Aliyev: Now we are heading from Zangilan back to Baku. Along the way, we enjoy the beautiful nature of Zangilan. See how beautiful these places are. While visiting Gubadli and Zangilan districts, we saw again what the savage enemy has done to our cities and villages. Lands occupied for 30 years have returned to their owners. We are back. We have destroyed the enemy and emerged victorious. After a while, life will return to this region, Inshallah.

Now we are heading for Baku. I say thank you to Mehriban Aliyeva for filming the video. Please show yourself too.

First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: With deep respect and love, your Mehriban.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, dear sisters and brothers. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

https://en.president.az/articles/49394

President Ilham Aliyev laid foundation stones for Fuzuli-Shusha highway and Fuzuli airport in Fuzuli district, visited the city of Shusha

On January 14, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev laid the groundwork for the Fuzuli-Shusha highway at the 27th km of Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway, and that for an airport in Fuzuli district.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then visited the city of Shusha, the capital of Azerbaijani culture liberated from occupation.

The newly developed project of the Fuzuli-Shusha highway includes the construction of bridges and tunnels. The new road will be connected to Fuzuli airport, and another new one will be built to Isa Bulaghi.

The head of state and first lady laid the groundwork for the road.

President Ilham Aliyev then laid the groundwork for the international airport in Fuzuli district.

The airport, to have a 2,800 meters long runway, will be equipped with infrastructure in compliance with international standards. All amenities will be available here for the arrival and departure of planes and passengers’ comfort.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

-Today, on January 14, the foundation of Fuzuli International Airport was laid. I have informed the Azerbaijani people about the construction of the airport. It is an essential project for the development of our liberated regions. The Fuzuli International Airport is to be commissioned this year. At least the runway should be commissioned in 2021. The airport building may be commissioned this year or next year. This airport’s primary purpose will be to cater to the needs of foreign visitors arriving in Shusha. The distance from here to Shusha is not long. Considering the foundation of a new four and six-lane Fuzuli-Shusha highway was laid earlier today, foreign visitors will be able to arrive at the Fuzuli International Airport and travel to Shusha very comfortably in no time.

I have declared Shusha the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. Work has begun to restore the city of Shusha, restore its historical appearance. In general, only two months have passed since the war ended, but extensive construction work has already begun. A second international airport will be built in our liberated lands in Kalbajar or Lachin district. A site is now being selected, and the construction of two international airports must be completed soon.

The Grand Return begins. The work has already started. I am sure that just as we drove the enemy out of our lands in a short time – in a matter of 44 days – we will restore our ancestral lands of Karabakh in a short time.

Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then headed to the city of Shusha.

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President of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, hoisted the national tricolor flag in Shusha.

The head of state then met with the servicemen and delivered remarks.

Remarks by President Ilham Aliyev

– Dear servicemen, November 8 will forever go down in the history of our people. On November 8, Azerbaijan won a brilliant victory by liberating our ancient city of Shusha from the enemy. The liberation of Shusha required extraordinary heroism, professionalism and national spirit. Azerbaijan’s army demonstrated all these inspiring features.

I have come to Shusha using the Victory road. That road is now open. There was no road there before. Azerbaijan’s heroic army, crossing mountains, forests, valleys and tens of kilometers, liberated villages and settlements along the way, approached the city of Shusha, liberated the village of Dashalti and then liberated Shusha from the occupiers.

I am confident that the Shusha operation will be included in leading international military schools’ textbooks. I already know that experts from many developed countries analyze every single day of the 44-day war because every day of the 44-day war is a story of triumph. The liberation of Shusha was a tremendous blow to the enemy because the enemy thought that it was impossible to liberate Shusha, and they were probably right to some extent. Panahali khan built this city, so that steep rocks and natural landscape would protect Shusha from all sides. In May 1992, Shusha was occupied due to the betrayal of the then leadership of Azerbaijan and the PFPA-Musavat duo fighting for power. At that time, the Armenians gave their so-called operation a name – Wedding in the Mountains. But there was no operation. The city of Shusha was surrendered. The then minister of defense said that if Shusha were lost, he would shoot himself in the head. Instead, he cowardly fled Shusha. After that, the Armenians invented legends about this operation – the so-called “Wedding in the mountains”. We have arranged a “wedding” for them they will never forget. The heroic sons of Azerbaijan liberated Shusha from the occupiers by conducting a flawless military operation, demonstrating courage, bravery, heroism, strength and national spirit. After a long break, Azerbaijan’s flag was raised in Shusha on November 8.

In my remarks at the inauguration of the magnificent National Flag Square in Baku, I said the day would come when Azerbaijan’s flag is hoisted in the occupied territories, including Shusha. And this is the day. I remember some representatives of the Armenian separatist regime saying at the time that Azerbaijan’s flag could be raised in Shusha only if Azerbaijan recognized the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” and then opened an embassy in Nagorno-Karabakh. Notice what disgusting and arrogant expressions they used. They are hiding like mice now, tight-lipped, unable to utter a word. We came here as winners. We raised our flag. Azerbaijan’s flag is flying in all the liberated lands. We have come here through fighting. Nobody handed these lands to us. Negotiations were futile. We realized that we had to liberate our lands on our own, and we did that. We have proved our strength to the whole world by crushing the enemy’s head. We forced the enemy to kneel before us and sign the act of capitulation. That is is what happened, and the humiliating act of capitulation will go down in history forever. The whole world is talking about our Victory. Leading media outlets worldwide write about Azerbaijan’s brilliant Victory and publish reports. Analytical articles are now being published, and books will be written.

The 44-day war of our glorious army is the war of the 21st century. We had appropriately prepared for this war, and we made no secret of that. I have said many times, including in my meetings with the military, that if the enemy does not leave our lands of its own free will, we will force them out of our lands. Force will play a role, and so it happened. Every single day of the 44-day war was a day of Victory. Every day we moved forward. We did not drop back a single time. It is an infrequent occasion in wars.

There are offensives during the battles, and then there are fallbacks and maneuvers. Yet, we advanced every day. Every week we liberated dozens of settlements from the occupiers. As a result, we liberated more than 300 settlements and Shusha by dealing crushing blows to the enemy. We forced them to withdraw their troops from Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts in just 20 days. They were thrown out of our lands, and we returned. From the day the war began, I told them to commit to vacating our lands. I said that the Armenian leadership should take this responsibility and give us a timetable for leaving our lands, and only then I would stop the war. Otherwise, we will go to the end. Despite the pressure, the phone calls and threats, I said that we would go to the end and drive the enemy out of our lands. We did that. We went all the way; we drove the enemy out and forced them to sign an act of capitulation on November 10, thus ending the war.

This war will live forever in our history. We won this war through sacrifices – our martyrs’ lives and blood, and thanks to our servicemen’s bravery. May Allah have mercy on all our martyrs! May Allah grant patience to their relatives! All martyrs’ families are taken care of by the government. All martyrs’ families will be provided with apartments and houses by the state. Instructions have already been issued this year. The allowance for martyrs’ families has been increased from 300 to 500 manats, and these families will always be in the spotlight. The state has already provided apartments to the families of 9,000 martyrs killed in the First Karabakh War. Our wounded servicemen are being taken care of by the state. We will address the rehabilitation of disabled servicemen and provide them with modern prosthetics. I have awarded high orders and medals to thousands of servicemen who showed heroism in the war.

The Order of the Patriotic War is the highest military order of Azerbaijan. The “Victory” Order, the “Karabakh” Order. I suggested the names of all these orders myself. The servicemen who distinguished themselves in the liberation of our settlements and cities were awarded medals bearing these districts’ names. Our army successfully liberated Jabrayil, Fuzuli and Khojavand districts, Sugovushan and Hadrut settlements, Murovdag range, the southern part of Lachin district, Gubadli, Zangilan districts and the city of Shusha on November 8. On November 9, the enemy surrendered, threw in the towel, was put on its knees and conceded defeat.

We are a victorious people. I last came to Shusha 39 years ago. I came here twice 39 years ago – first on January 14. Here I am again today, on January 14. I arrived as the Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. I have come as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that broke the enemy’s back, and I state it here under the sacred flag and before the heroic servicemen that we will live in these lands forever! We will restore Shusha and all other destroyed cities and villages. We will restore all our destroyed historical sites. Armenia spread falsifications about Shusha worldwide, claiming that Shusha is their ancient city. How can a city built by Panahali Khan be an Armenian city? After all, this is a matter of recent history, recent events. If they considered it their city, why did they bring it to such a deplorable state? Why did they destroy all the buildings? Look at the plight of the city. Over 30 years, they razed everything to the ground and only built villas and created amenities for themselves.

We will restore this city. A large group was sent here on my instructions and carried out an assessment. I received the first update yesterday and already issued relevant instructions. Soon, we will ensure the restoration of Shusha in a planned manner. Of course, we must protect Shusha like the apple of an eye from now on. Our soldiers, our heroic sons, will protect Shusha so that the enemy does not venture to look in this direction. I said that if anyone in Armenia even thinks of revenge, they will deal with our iron fist again. This iron fist broke their backs and crushed their heads. If they commit any provocation against us, our response will be harsh. They will regret and face a bitter defeat again. No-one can confront us. That will always be the case from now on. Azerbaijan’s Army, Special Forces, our heroic sons, fighters of military units must cherish Shusha and all the liberated lands like the apple of an eye so that the enemy never dares to attempt anything ever again. If they do, the end will be bitter.

At the end of my speech in the Alley of Martyrs on November 8, announcing the liberation of Shusha to the people of Azerbaijan, I said: dear Shusha, you are free! Dear Shusha, we are back! Dear Shusha, we will reinvigorate you! I repeat the same words today. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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Then a photo was taken together with the servicemen.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Saatli Mosque in Shusha.

The head of state presented the Holy Quran to the mosque.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– We have visited the Saatli Mosque, prayed there and presented the Holy Quran from Mecca to the Saatli Mosque. We will then visit the Ashaghi Govharagha and Yukari Govharagha mosques. I will present the Quran I brought from the holy Mecca to these mosques. During the occupation, the enemy destroyed our religious sites in the liberated lands, devastated 67 mosques or made them unusable. After the liberation of Shusha, our citizens cleaned up the mosque and carried out some repairs. Of course, the mosque will be overhauled, relevant instructions have been issued, and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has undertaken this mission. Mehriban khanim made a statement on this. We will restore all our historical and religious sites.

I must say that the overhaul and restoration of the Aghdam Juma Mosque I visited most recently already began. Experts have already been sent there, and proposals for repairs will be submitted soon. At the same time, mosques in Shusha will be restored. The destruction of the minaret shows the Islamophobic nature of the enemy. Armenia is continuously trying to establish relations with Muslim countries, develop ties with some countries, and position itself as a country with a positive attitude towards Muslim peoples. That is a lie. If anyone still believes this, let them come to Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and other liberated lands of ours and see what Armenian leaders have done to Muslim mosques – the temples sacred to every Muslim. They have destroyed and desecrated them, kept pigs and cows in them, wrote obscenities on the walls of our mosques. Can such a country be friends with Muslim states? Of course not! I have repeatedly stated this on all international platforms and addressed Muslim countries’ leaders in bilateral and multilateral meetings and international events. I have said that Armenia cannot be friends with Muslim countries. A country that has brought mosques to this condition cannot be friends with Muslim states. It is hypocrisy, and viewing Armenia as a friendly country is hypocrisy and ungodliness. How can Muslim countries’ leaders be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques? Let them answer. Let them respond to their people, not to me. Can they be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques and put cows there? Let their people answer this.

We are protecting and will continue to protect the temples of all religions. Let no-one doubt that. The history of our independence and the pre-independence history showed that. The religious sites of all faiths are protected in our country – churches, synagogues, including an Armenian church in the center of Baku, are protected and repaired by the state. What did they do? While in Zangilan, I delivered remarks outside a local mosque, or whatever is left of it. I appealed to the people of Azerbaijan and said what they have done. Addressing the international organizations, I said, come and see this, prepare a report here, not in your cabinets. Don’t believe the false information of the Armenian leadership and its patrons. Come and see what they have done to our mosques with your own eyes. They repaired the Yukhari Govharagha Mosque jointly with a foreign company to create an image. We do not need this repair. This repair is a symbol of hypocrisy. It is intended to create the impression that the Armenian leadership repairs mosques. Unfortunately, the company of a particular country was involved in these ugly deeds. Of course, the Yukari Govharagha Mosque repair is unacceptable because they came to our lands illegally without our permission, stayed here for months, and allegedly repaired this mosque in collaboration with the Armenian criminal junta. We do not need such repairs. Let no-one be deceived; no-one should fall for this. We will repair and rebuild all our mosques, and the whole world must see what the hated enemy has done to our holy temples.

After the liberation of Shusha, restoring the city and all its historic buildings began. Attempts to Armenianize Shusha have been stopped. For 30 years, they tried to Armenianize Shusha, but they failed. They were aliens in this city. If they ever considered it their own, they would not have brought it to this deplorable condition. The real owners of Shusha are back. We are here. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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The head of state, the first lady and their daughter Leyla also visited the Ashaghi Govharagha and Yukari Govharagha mosques in Shusha.

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As a result of Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani lands, including Shusha, historical and cultural monuments were destroyed, and home museums were looted.

Busts to Khurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli, Bulbul in Shusha are among them. These shot busts are witnesses to Armenian vandalism. In one of his speeches, President Ilham Aliyev said that after the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, busts to Bulbul, Natavan and Uzeyir Hajibeyli would be returned to Shusha. These words of the head of state have already become a reality. The busts of these prominent figures were returned to Shusha.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– When I came to Shusha today, I brought the busts of our geniuses Khurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli and Bulbul, which were kept in the premises of the Arts Museum in Baku for almost 30 years. The cultural center of Shusha, the House of Culture, was located here, and the busts of Uzeyir Bey and Bulbul used to stand here. The hated enemy destroyed the Shusha House of Culture and shot at our prominent individuals’ figures.

The bust of Khurshidbanu Natavan was unveiled personally by Heydar Aliyev in the summer of 1982. I was here with my father at that time. There was a bust of Khurshidbanu Natavan not far from here. After desecrating our prominent personalities’ figures, the Armenians took them to Armenia to be melted down and sold. Just imagine how evil is that to shoot at and insult the memorial busts of historical personalities, take them away and try to melt them down. At that time, Poland Bulbuloglu found out about that and appealed to great leader Heydar Aliyev. As a result of the measures taken, these busts were taken away from the Armenians. I must say we had to pay for them. They sold them – just as they have sold everything else throughout their existence. We repurchased these busts. We brought them back then and placed them in the Arts Museum’s premises.

Every now and then, some people suggested that we put these busts somewhere in Baku. I said no to that. We will take them back only after liberating Shusha from the enemy and put them in their original places.

The busts of our great personalities are a symbol of our Victory. Their spirits will be rejoicing. They have returned to their homeland. We brought them back, chased the enemy away, crushed the enemy, threw them out of our lands, took back Shusha and liberated it. Everyone coming here to Shusha will see the Armenian savagery.

Historical justice is being restored. We are restoring historical justice – at the expense of strength, perseverance, resolve, courage, and national spirit! Natavan, Uzeyir bey, Bulbul are the embodiment of our national spirit. Their cherished memory has lived and will live on forever in our hearts. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev, the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva also viewed the building of Shusha District Executive Authority, Natavan bulaghi, and the house-museum of Bulbul.

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President Ilham Aliyev, the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at the place where the bust and mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif once situated.

Delivering remarks in front of the mausoleum, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– The mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, built on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev, was inaugurated exactly 39 years ago – on January 14, 1982. I remember that historic day. Because at that time, along with my father, I was standing right here. There is video footage of that historic event. It was freezing and snowy. It was snowing heavily. However, the people gathered at this event, Azerbaijani intellectuals did not feel that cold because of the magnificent mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, the vizier of the Karabakh khan, being inaugurated. Great leader Heydar Aliyev put forward this initiative. The construction work was carried out under his guidance, and a beautiful, majestic mausoleum was built.

It was quite unusual to erect a mausoleum in honor of the khan’s vizier at that time, during the Soviet era. Everyone can see it as a natural phenomenon now. However, at that time, in the age of socialism, the construction of a mausoleum in honor of the khan’s vizier was a truly extraordinary event. Thanks to Heydar Aliyev’s persistence and courage, Azerbaijan achieved this at that time, and this place was not chosen by chance. The grave of Molla Panah Vagif is here. This mausoleum’s inauguration was, on the one hand, signified respect for the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the genius of the Azerbaijani people. On the other hand, the opening of this mausoleum in Shusha once again confirmed that Shusha is an Azerbaijani city.

When the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region was established, the goal of including Shusha in it was quite clear – to steadily and gradually erase the traces of Azerbaijan here, to Armenianize this territory and to make Azerbaijanis a minority in this part of their republic. That was the goal. During the time of national leader Heydar Aliyev, in 1969-1982, thanks to his efforts and policy, the ethnic composition changed significantly in favor of the Azerbaijani people. Primarily due to the construction of a railway from Yevlakh and Aghdam to Khankandi, the establishment of enterprises in Nagorno-Karabakh and the arrival of specialists from different parts of Azerbaijan. In 1982, Azerbaijanis already made up 25 percent of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region’s population. Had Heydar Aliyev stayed in power in Azerbaijan at that time, Azerbaijanis would have constituted a majority in the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region in the next ten years, and no conflict or separatism would have ever arisen here.

The great leader’s foresight, devotion to his native people, love of our literature and culture were manifested in the construction of this mausoleum. Again, I want to say that khanates were described as anti-national entities in the official Soviet ideology, while khans were presented to the public as enemies. The Soviet Union’s official doctrine was that khanates existing in Azerbaijan allegedly only exploited people. The Azerbaijani people allegedly waited for these khanates to be abolished and Soviet rule to be established instead. Of course, this was nonsense. The Azerbaijani people have lived with the love of freedom and independence for centuries. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our history passed in the colonial format, as we were part of other states. We were forced to do that; it was not our choice.

The national leader did a great deal to keep up the national spirit at a high level in Soviet times. The opening of this mausoleum was a historic event. I remember that day very well. I stood there slightly aside while my father and prominent cultural figures stood here. I remember Azerbaijani and Armenian poets reciting poems. Even Armenian poets recited poems in Azerbaijani. It was a celebration of friendship, a friendly event. No-one could ever imagine that separatism would break out here in a few years. That Armenia would invade Azerbaijan, that our historical city would be taken away from us, that our historical sites, mosques and this mausoleum would be destroyed. They would try to erase the Azerbaijani people’s centuries-old heritage from the Karabakh land. That could not have occurred to anyone. I have said this many times, and I want to repeat – if Heydar Aliyev had not left Baku for Moscow in 1982, if he had not been appointed to Moscow, he would never have allowed any separatism to take place here. But when Heydar Aliyev came to power, Shusha was already under occupation, Kalbajar was under occupation, Lachin was under occupation, Dashalti was under occupation, all surrounding areas were under occupation, and a geographical link was established between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.

The government of the Popular Front and Musavat is to blame for this. They committed this betrayal and then cowardly went into hiding, fled and sold Shusha. They handed over the impregnable fortress of Shusha to the enemy to overthrow the then government of Azerbaijan and come to power. And this is what happened. The loss of Shusha led to the collapse of the then government. The Popular Front took advantage of this and came to power after the loss of Shusha and the surrender of Lachin to the enemy. Everyone remembers this history. It is recent history. The Popular Front-Musavat duo committed treason, betrayal and crime only to come to power. What did they do next? They turned plunder into a state policy in Azerbaijan, declared corruption their ideological principle, and left the mark of betrayal and desertion on the Azerbaijani people’s history. The Popular Front-Musavat traitors humiliated and put our people to disgrace in the eyes of the whole world. After all, who was Armenia to defeat us? Who were they? The anti-national Popular Front-Musavat elements gave Shusha to the enemy, then fled and went into hiding.

After that, Armenian vandals razed all our cities to the ground. While visiting the liberated lands, I see this with my own eyes, and the whole world should see it too. They have destroyed our mosques, graves, historical sites and all our buildings. The contemptible enemy also destroyed this mausoleum. In this part of the mausoleum, there were patterns. Pictures of that are available. All of that has been demolished and looted, and the mausoleum is destroyed.

How hostile they must have been to commit these atrocities. The perpetrators are the Sargsyan-Kocharyan duo. It is the Sargsyan-Kocharyan duo that has brought our cities to this plight. We have crushed the thugs and Khojaly executioners -, those fake heroes. We have annihilated their army. Climbing cliffs, we recaptured Shusha from their army and showed heroism. We have crushed their military by fighting with light weapons and knives against cannons and tanks. Where were they? They fled and hid in Yerevan. One of them ventured to come here but ran away like a rabbit five days later. The other did not speak at all. There is a third one, war criminal Ohanyan, born here on our lands. He allegedly came here to defend Shusha during the war. We chased him away like a dog. He is still hanging around in Armenia. Whenever he opens his mouth, he says ugly words. Everyone saw the fate of those who were trying to annoy us. Let no-one forget this iron fist. We broke the enemy’s back. If necessary, we will break it again. Kocharyan-Sargsyan, the Azerbaijani people’s enemies, you have brought this place to this condition. I came as the Commander-in-Chief of a victorious army, and I stand here. I stand here on my land. There will be no traces of you here again.

Today, some elements calling themselves politicians in Nagorno-Karabakh are trying to raise their heads again. Let them not test our patience and not forget the 44-day war. They claim that they will build an army and take back the lands. Come on! Take it! Come here; you are close. Come and try to take it, and I will see how you do that. We have chased you away like dogs, we have thrown you out, we have sent you to hell.

Vagif Poetry Days will be reestablished. I have already issued the instruction, and they will be held this year. The Khari Bulbul festival will be held this year. We are already starting the reconstruction of Shusha. A master plan is being prepared. All buildings have been inspected. As Azerbaijan’s cultural capital, Shusha will become one of the world’s most beautiful cities as it has always been the case. The loathsome enemy has destroyed all our historical sites. But we will restore them and return their former glory. The people of Azerbaijan will live in Shusha forever. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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As part of the visit to Shusha, President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva also visited the Jidir Duzu.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– This is the Jidir Duzu plain, dear and native to all of us. One cannot imagine Azerbaijan without Shusha and the latter without the Jidir

Duzu. We have returned to Shusha, we have returned to Jidir Duzu. This historic place will exude the sound of mugham. Azerbaijani songs will be performed here. Significant events, weddings and celebrations will take place here.

Some time ago, the occupying forces committed sordid actions to insult our dignity, to insult the people of Azerbaijan in this place that is sacred to us – the whole world is already aware of this. They danced “Yalli” here. There is no trace of them here. We kicked them out of here. The Jidir Duzu, Shusha and Karabakh are free now. These lands’ real

owners have returned; with arms and flag in their hands and love for the

Motherland in their hearts. Patriotism brought us to Victory. Patriotism has become the main factor in our Victory.

I am delighted that a patriotic and strong young generation raised in the national spirit has grown up in Azerbaijan in recent years. I have been the leader of Azerbaijan for 17 years. Those who grew up over these years have liberated these lands. Our citizens of all generations have made an outstanding contribution to this Victory. However, I must also say that the younger generation performed the main task. Those who were 10 and 15 years old in 2003 are now 27-32 years old. Their patriotic upbringing and hatred of the enemy led us to Victory and restored Azerbaijan’s historical justice. The younger generation, the older generation, experienced people, all our people, all ethnic groups, all religions are united in one fist. This symbol of our Victory was not chosen by chance. I have said this before, but I want to repeat that this fist is both about strength and unity. We already had a sufficiently high level of agreement, and it will be even stronger from now on. United countries get the upper hand. Determined leaders get the upper hand – leaders who do not look up to anyone, not afraid of anyone, and defend national interests. Everyone saw this in the example of Azerbaijan.

We have won, and Armenia has lost. At the same time, we are right. Our cause was one of justice. Armenia’s cause was one of aggression. Justice has prevailed thanks to our strength and resolve, and our policies and unity! Glory to the people of Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then familiarized themselves with Gazanchi church in Shusha.

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During the occupation, the Armenians started to construct a new building to move the “parliament” of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” to Shusha. Shusha was liberated from occupation on November 8, 2020. The construction of the “parliament” building of the so-called regime was left unfinished.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– They had plans to move the parliament of the self-styled “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” to Shusha. It was yet another attempt to Armenianize the city of Shusha. They had started the construction. They had begun constructing this building as the parliament of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”. But they failed to complete it. We, the actual owners of these lands, are back. We kicked them out of here, so their ugly deeds never materialized. The parliament went to hell, and so did the status. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed the destroyed by Armenian vandals building of Shusha Real School.

https://en.president.az/articles/50184

Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited Fuzuli, Zangilan, Lachin and Jabrayil districts

As reported earlier, on February 14, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Fuzuli, Zangilan, Lachin and Jabrayil districts.

President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Fuzuli district to lay the foundation of the Horadiz-Aghband railroad.

This 100-kilometer railroad is of great strategic importance because this transport infrastructure will play an important part in enabling the travel of Azerbaijani citizens to and from the liberated lands and, most importantly, contribute to the establishment of a direct railway connection between the main part of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

The head of state laid the foundation of the Horadiz-Aghband railway.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then visited the Uchunju Aghali village of Zangilan district.

While driving to Zangilan, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– We have come to Zangilan district. We are heading for Lachin district. There are also scheduled events in Zangilan district along the way. We are in liberated lands again. The process of restoration of our lands has already begun.

This is the city of Zangilan. We have already been here and are visiting again. The city of Zangilan, as indeed other cities, has been destroyed by the enemy almost completely. Only several houses remain. These housed their military unit and police station. Armenians from abroad also lived here illegally. This is what the loathsome enemy has done to Zangilan.

Master plans of all our cities are being prepared. They will be revealed and opened to discussion. After that, restoration work will begin. I raised this flag here last time I visited Zangilan.

The first “smart village” project will be implemented in Zangilan district. The project is being launched today. Preliminary studies have already been conducted. This is the destroyed village of Aghali. This is the first village to be restored.

The President was informed about the “smart village” project to be implemented in the Uchunju Aghali village of Zangilan district.

The project will be implemented in the village has total of five components. These are housing, manufacturing, social services, “smart agriculture” and renewable energy.

President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated in his speeches that the liberated territories will become a “green energy” zone. There are plans not only to restore and reconstruct the territories liberated from Armenian occupation on the direct initiative and instructions of the President, but also to implement “smart city” and ‘smart village” concepts. At a time when the world economy is experiencing severe problems due to the pandemic, this initiative by the President of Azerbaijan once again demonstrates the strength and power of the state. The energy needs of the future village of 200 houses will be provided using renewable energy sources.

The head of state gave instructions on the work to be done.

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The head of state, the first lady and their daughter Leyla then left for Lachin district.

Speaking about the liberated villages of Gubadli district along the way, President Ilham Aliyev said:

– This is Khandak village of Gubadli dstrict. Fierce battle unfolded around here as well. Our army liberated these territories by destroying and driving out the enemy. The enemy also resettled here illegally. They lived in dire conditions. Notice that their houses are no better than kennels. This is exactly what I meant when saying that Armenians lived in extreme poverty in the occupied territories. Hunger, misery and lawlessness were pervasive. They used such dilapidated roads. We installed these light poles after we liberated the lands.

Here is Muradkhanli village of Gubadli district. The Armenians lived here and destroyed it. Restoration work is already underway. This is Hakari village. Look at its condition. The Armenians lived in this kennel. These destroyed houses are a product of Armenian fascism. Let the whole world see this. This is their tractor.

This is Bala Soltanli village. Most of the houses here are destroyed, but some houses were illegally occupied by the enemy. This is also a war crime. The enemy has already received its due for all these crimes and will also be held accountable at the international level. Our glorious army crossed into Lachin district through this road and liberated several villages of Lachin district from occupation. In particular, Gulabird village was liberated by our army from the occupiers. This is the southern part of Lachin district. Our army liberated it from the occupiers. The northern part was returned to us after Armenia’s capitulation.

This is Padar village.

Here is Yusifbayli village of Gubadli district. This village was also completely destroyed by the enemy. We are now going to Lachin district, to Gulabird village of Lachin district. We have visited Ikinji Aghali village of Zangilan district and a presentation was made on the development of the village. The reconstruction of Ikinji Aghali village will begin in a few months. This will be the first village to be restored. Ikinji Aghali village will be built based on a “smart village” concept. At the same time, our fellow citizens who will return to Birinji and Uchunju Aghali villages will use the same opportunities.

We are driving into Mardanli village. The sun rises and shines down our path. I said that all restoration work on the liberated lands would be organized at the highest level. We will restore all these destroyed villages. Notice how the despicable enemy has destroyed all our settlements. Vandals and barbarians demolished, looted and stole all the buildings during the occupation. We will restore them all.

We are already in Lachin district. This is the Hakari River. See what a beautiful river it is. Our rivers have been exploited by the enemy. Our nature has also been exploited. We have put an end to that and got rid of the enemy.

We are in Gulabird village. Gulabird village was also destroyed and looted by the enemy. The reason we came to Gulabird village is to inaugurate a hydroelectric power plant built in a short time, and this will be the first power plant project in the liberated lands. Other stations will be built as well. We will use water, solar and wind energy in all liberated lands.

President, Victorious Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev raised Azerbaijan’s flag in the village of Gulabird and delivered remarks.

Remarks by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

-Today I have come to the liberated lands again. Several events are scheduled here today and the goal is to restore the liberated lands as soon as possible so that people could return and bring back life to these lands. Electricity supply is of special importance in terms of restoration work. To this end, we began to deal with this work immediately after the war, from the very first days. First of all, concrete steps were taken to supply electricity to the city of Shusha, and the first stage of this process has already been completed. “AzerIshig” has already extended power lines to the city. To provide the city of Shusha with uninterrupted electricity and develop the city in the future, the “AzerEnerji” JSC is also building high-voltage power lines to Shusha and building an electrical substation there.

We are in the southern part of Lachin district today, in Gulabird village. A hydroelectric power plant is inaugurated here today. Less than two months after the liberation of Lachin district from occupation, a month and a half later, a hydroelectric power station is being commissioned here. The generating capacity of this hydroelectric power plant is 8 megawatts. Among small hydroelectric power plants, an 8-megawatt plant can be considered a medium-sized one. The key point is that the launch of this station will create generation capacities here and thus, we will effectively use our nature, the Hakari River.

In the Kalbajar-Lachin area, the natural environment for hydroelectric power plants is very favorable. There used to be many stations here before. The loathed enemy benefited from those stations during the occupation. But within 20 days after their capitulation, by 1 December, Armenia destroyed all these hydroelectric power plants, dismantled the equipment and demolished the premises. The enemy has also destroyed the Gulabird hydroelectric power station. Otherwise, this station would have been serving us already from 1 December. But the instructions I gave were implemented swiftly and we are celebrating the opening of the Gulabird hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 8 megawatts today. This is the first power plant being commissioned on the liberated lands. It has great significance and symbolism. We are returning to these lands. We will restore all the hydroelectric power stations in Kalbajar and Lachin districts the Armenians illegally exploited for many years, and eventually destroyed them. In Lachin district alone, the enemy destroyed five hydroelectric power plants. All of them will be restored. Another 12 hydroelectric power plants will be reconstructed in Kalbajar district. Thus, the restored generating capacity of the stations in Kalbajar and Lachin districts alone will amount to 120 megawatts. That is a substantial generating capacity. Thanks to that, we will restore these territories and provide them with uninterrupted energy. If you look at the other projects we have outlined, you can see that renewable energy has huge potential in this region. The “Khudafarin” and “Giz Galasi” hydroelectric power stations will have the largest capacity among them. We have reached an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran on the construction of these stations. These hydroelectric power plants will be built in the near future, and Azerbaijan’s share of generating capacity stands at 120 megawatts.

In other words, in a few years we will receive 120 megawatts from the Khudafarin and Giz Galasi stations and another 120 megawatts from hydroelectric power plants in Kalbajar and Lachin districts. This means 240 megawatts of generating capacity, and the advantage here is that these are hydroelectric power plants, so the energy production cost is very low. Simultaneously, I have already given instructions to start the process of determining the types of renewable energy and locations across all the liberated lands. Such an instruction has already been issued and the first “smart village” pilot project in Zangilan district will be supplied with renewable energy today.

I stated that the liberated lands would be a green energy zone. I have already invited local and foreign investors. I should also note that the government leads the way and will carry out the main work. By making investments, local and foreign investors will be able to secure their business interests and have their say in the long-term supply of Azerbaijan with sources of uninterrupted, cheap and environmentally friendly energy.

These are our plans. Kalbajar and Lachin districts have a huge potential for wind energy. In Zangilan and Jabrayil districts, there is more potential for solar energy. Initial studies have already been carried out. So by reconstructing our generating capacities and power transmission lines, we will turn Karabakh into a “green energy” zone.

Announcing this program, I had exactly this in mind, and the first project is being commissioned today – the Gulabird hydroelectric power station you see over there.

We have major plans. We have launched the restoration work. We will try to complete mine clearance as soon as possible and assess the damage caused. Simultaneously, infrastructure projects have already started. The foundation of the Horadiz-Zangilan-Aghband railway was laid in Horadiz today. This railway is of great strategic importance. It will be of great importance both for the citizens’ travel to the liberated lands and for cargo transportation. On the other hand, this railway will extend to Nakhchivan. The joint statement signed on 10 November contains a special provision on the creation of the Nakhchivan corridor. This work has already started. I am sure that this project, carried out on our initiative, will be implemented. After a long break, Azerbaijan and its inalienable part of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will be connected by rail, and thus our strategic, economic and political objectives will be met.

The overall significance of the Patriotic War lies in the fact that we have liberated our lands from occupation; expelled the enemy from our lands and also restored the territorial integrity of the country. We have demonstrated to the whole world the power of our people and the state. We have shown the unwavering spirit of the people. At the same time, having taken practical steps to achieve strategic goals related to the future of our country, we signed important documents. The joint statement signed on 10 November ensured the return of Lachin, Kalbajar and Aghdam districts, of course. We returned these lands without firing a single shot. Moreover, the very statement secures a connection between Azerbaijan and its integral part of Nakhchivan. Also, this railway infrastructure will extend to Turkey, thus creating a second railway network connecting Azerbaijan and Turkey. Three and a half years ago, we put into operation the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. This was also a historic achievement. We connected Azerbaijan and Turkey by rail for the first time in history. And now a second railway will be built and all countries of the region will be able to take advantage of it. They are very interested in the construction of this railway as well. The countries of our region view this project as a positive development.

We said that transport projects play a special role in the long-term development of the region, ensuring stability and reducing to zero the risk of war. All the countries participating in them will only benefit from that. Azerbaijan connects with Nakhchivan and Turkey. At the same time, a railway line from Russia to Armenia may be opened. This line can only pass through the territory of Azerbaijan. In addition, a railway communication will emerge between Russia and Iran through the territory of Nakhchivan. There will be a railway connection between Iran and Armenia. A railway link will be created between Turkey and Russia. In other words, all countries of the region will only benefit from this.

I must also say that thanks to the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Russia and Turkey began using it for the transportation of goods. Notice the vision and strong resolve we have shown. I the meantime, we have mobilized financial resources and will support this rail link. Our country needs this because it increases its geopolitical relevance economic prowess. As a reliable transit country, we will also receive substantial financial revenue from this. Besides, it is of great importance for securing peace and stability in the region.

This is also important because revanchist forces are attempting to raise their heads in Armenia as we speak. They are trying to threaten Azerbaijan with more provocations and another war. They must understand that we are monitoring everything, that we keep everything under control and will never allow Armenian fascism to raise its head again. We have destroyed Armenian fascism. We drove out the enemy out of our native lands, kicked them out. It is safe to say that we have annihilated Armenia’s military, it is nonexistent. It has been defeated. There is neither hardware nor manpower left. They have acknowledged that they had 10,000 deserters during the war. There was not a single deserter in the Azerbaijan’s army. This testifies to the high morale of our people and our military. This is a testimony to the present policy. We won Victory on the battlefield. We liberated these lands from the invaders in battles. Having inflicted a defeat on Armenia, we forced it to sign an act of surrender on 10 November and return Lachin, Kalbajar and Aghdam districts. They never wanted to return Lachin and Kalbajar districts to us during the negotiations. That was the primary reason for the lack of progress in the negotiations. Unfortunately, the position of Armenia and some of its foreign patrons consisted of returning five districts to Azerbaijan, so that Azerbaijan would be content with this and Nagorno-Karabakh would someday be granted independence, while Kalbajar and Lachin districts would remain under the eternal control of Armenia. I rejected that proposition.

Life has shown that by demonstrating a strong will and courage, we were able to achieve what we wanted. They didn’t even consider returning Lachin district to us. We had advanced down the path I drove along today, liberating all the districts, villages and cities, we came to these places. We liberated the southern part of Lachin district, the village of Gulabird from the occupiers. The villages of Safiyan and Turklar are located nearby. We also liberated them, creating a military foothold to control the Lachin corridor, which was already under our control. In essence, we conducted our strategic operations advancing from this direction. At the same time, advancing from the opposite side, from Khojavand district to Shusha, and passing through the mountains and gorges, we were able to conduct a successful operation. This southern part of Lachin district was liberated as a result of a military operation. We have defeated the enemy on the battlefield and restored historical justice.

Lachin district was the second to be occupied after Shusha in the 1990s. The occupation of Lachin district had created a geographical link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. There was no such link in Soviet times. Lachin district was occupied 10 days after the occupation of Shusha on 8 May 1992. It was a great tragedy. The loss of each district was tragic – people died, their property was plundered, they were expelled from their homes. At the same time, the occupation of Lachin district was a great defeat for us from a strategic point of view. Lachin district and Shusha were sold by the same people. I have already spoken about this. I want to say this to the Azerbaijani people again so that no-one forgets. The despicable PFPA-Musavat tandem sold these lands to the enemy in order to come to power. At that time, to topple the government, they organized rallies and riots in Baku. They were prepared to commit any act of betrayal and ultimately committed it to come to power. They left Shusha even though there were troops under their command. Shusha was almost abandoned when the Armenians entered it. Nobody defended it. Then Lachin district was sold less than a month after they came to power. The PFPA-Musavat tandem committed this treason, this act of betrayal, this crime. In April 1993, when Kalbajar was under occupation too, they cowardly fled and went into hiding. They deserted. The people of Azerbaijan should never forget that; never forget these traitors and enemies! They sold our lands. We returned these lands and have come back. Here I am standing here in Lachin district as the Commander-in-Chief of the Victorious Army which has liberated these lands from the enemy. I have raised the flag of Azerbaijan here and am addressing the Azerbaijani people from my native Lachin district under this flag. Our Victory is historic. We have restored historical justice. We have restored our rights, avenged our martyrs, and here we are.

Restoration work is under way now and will be continued. I have said that we will turn this region, Karabakh into a paradise. All instructions have already been issued. All work is being done and the progress is systematic. From now on, we will live on these lands forever. Nobody can prevent us from living on these lands. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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Then President Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of an 8-megawatt Gulabird hydroelectric power station on the Hakari River.

During the occupation, the Armenian invaders destroyed this station, just as they typically did everywhere else. This station, which is being commissioned on the instructions of the President in a short period of time, is of great importance in terms of creating infrastructure and other planned activities in the liberated territories.

President Ilham Aliyev launched the Gulabird hydroelectric power plant.

The commissioning of the Gulabird hydroelectric power plant is a significant event and historic milestone. This is the first infrastructure project launched in the liberated lands with President Ilham Aliyev in attendance. This station will play an important role in providing electricity to nearly 7,000 residents. The electricity generated here will be supplied to Khanlig village of Gubadli district, the southern part of Lachin district and other infrastructure projects located in the area.

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Then the President, the First Lady and their daughter Leyla arrived at the Basitchay State Nature Reserve in Zangilan district.

During the occupation, Armenian invaders committed environmental terror in the Basitchay Reserve, as indeed across all other areas. The hated enemy destroyed almost half of the forest area of the reserve and scorched the roots and firewood. The environmental balance of a natural ecosystem formed here over the years has been gravely undermined due to Armenian vandalism.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva planted plane trees in the Basitchay Reserve.

Then the President, the First Lady and their daughter released fish into the Basitchay.

President Ilham Aliyev: We have planted plane trees in the Basitchay State Nature Reserve. The Basitchay Reserve was established under the order of national leader Heydar Aliyev in 1974. Rare plane trees were protected by the state on more than 100 hectares. It was a forest of rare plane trees. After the occupation, the hated enemy cut, chopped, looted and burned most of the plane trees. This is another sign of Armenian vandalism. The restoration of the Basitchay nature reserve has started today.

We will restore this reserve. Of course, the age of the trees felled here was about 200-300 years but at least we have fulfilled our duty.

We also released fish into the Basitchay. The Basitchay is also a beautiful river. In general, this is region with abundant rivers. The Tartarchay, the Khachinchay, the Basitchay, the Bazarchay, the Hakari and other rivers will serve the people of Azerbaijan from now on. During the occupation, the hated enemy cut off the water of the Tartar River and more than a hundred thousand hectares of land in several of our districts were left without water. Environmental terror has been committed against us.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then left for Soltanli village of Jabrayil district.

President Ilham Aliyev: I have given the instruction to take measures to irrigate 100,000 hectares of land that have not been irrigated yet. Thus, the agricultural sector of six to seven districts will develop faster, productivity will increase, farmers and villagers will make more money. We will restore both homes and nature. At the same time, I have ordered to carry out autumn sowing without wasting time. We have swiftly mobilized all our resources, equipment and manpower, and sowing has been carried out on 7,000 hectares. I will inspect those fields as well. About 20,000-25,000 hectares will be sown this season. So we will revive agriculture without wasting time. Of course, the agricultural potential of the liberated lands is immense. The invaders also used our land to gain illegal income. At least 90,000 hectares of grain were planted during the occupation. That has ended. Crop production, fruit growing and animal husbandry will develop rapidly in the liberated lands.

Arriving at Soltanli village of Jabrayil district, President Ilham Aliyev was informed about the work done on planting in the liberated lands.

It was noted that the monitoring of sown areas was underway. Updated proposals are submitted as additional sown areas are being identified.

https://en.president.az/articles/50632

Ilham Aliyev visited Fuzuli and Khojavand districts

As reported earlier, on March 15, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Fuzuli and Khojavand districts.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

I am revisiting liberated territories. Today I will lay the groundwork for the Fuzuli-Hadrut highway. The construction of this road is of great importance for the restoration of the liberated areas. It is not the first project. Several road projects are already underway. The restoration of liberated lands has begun. The road from Fuzuli to Shusha is under construction – the Victory road is being built. At the same time, the construction of the Barda-Aghdam road will be completed soon. Another road will be built from Horadiz to Zangilan. In short, even though only four months have passed since the war, extensive redevelopment work has begun.

Once again, when we see these ruins in the liberated lands, we realize yet again that the loathsome enemy had destroyed all our settlements and wanted to erase our historical heritage. But they failed. We have returned to these lands. We have returned as a heroic people, as a victorious state. We drove the enemy out of our native lands.

Driving through the liberated lands today, we passed through the village of Garakhanbayli. Garakhanbayli village was liberated on the first day of the war – on September 27. It was from here, from that direction, that we commenced our glorious mission and drove the enemy out of our lands. We are now busy with redevelopment. A new period begins in our lives – a period of creation, development and restoration of our lands.

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As part of the visit, President Ilham Aliyev laid the groundwork for the Fuzuli-Hadrut highway.

This road originates from Victory highway and connects to the new Hadrut-Jabrayil-Shukurbayli highway. The 13-kilometer highway will have four lanes. Bridges will be built along the route.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva left for Khojavand district.

President Ilham Aliyev: We are in the liberated lands again. We are going from Fuzuli to the Khojavand district. We are traveling to the liberated Khojavand district. We are once again witnessing the destruction of all settlements along the road. All villages and cities are completely devastated. This destruction was caused after the war. During the war, the first Karabakh war, there was not and could not be so much destruction. It was during the occupation that the hated enemy brought our cities to this state.

This is the city of Fuzuli. But there are no traces of a city – only ruins. The Armenians have destroyed it. They came and demolished our buildings during the occupation, took away the stones and roofs of the buildings like thieves, like robbers. These are the remains of Fuzuli. Let foreign circles defending Armenia open their eyes to their savagery. Whom are they protecting?

The contemptible enemy occupied our lands for 30 years and did not leave a single stone intact. Notice what roads are like now. These roads have not seen asphalt for 30 years. All their propaganda is false, and so is their history. They called themselves a state. The so-called “Artsakh state” went to hell. If it was a “state”, then why didn’t they leave a single stone intact? Because they knew that this land was not theirs. This land belongs to the Azerbaijanis.

This is the liberated Khojavand district.

We are in Edilli village of Khojavand district. This is Aghbulag village. Azerbaijan’s heroic Army liberated our ancient lands from the occupiers. There were battles here. We fought and drove the enemy out of our native lands.

This is the village of Dudukchu in the former Hadrut district, which was liberated from occupation. Notice how beautiful the landscape is.

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President of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, raised the state flag in Hadrut settlement and delivered remarks.

Remarks by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

– Hadrut settlement was liberated on October 9. The liberation of Hadrut was a result of a very successful military operation. First, the surrounding heights were captured. After the heights around Hadrut were captured by Azerbaijan’s Army, we seized control over the town, and the liberation of Hadrut was already imminent. I should also note that the Armenian civilian population living here was evacuated due to a military operation. I can say that throughout the entire 44-day war, the losses among Armenian civilians were relatively insignificant because Azerbaijan’s Army has never waged war against the civilian population. Unlike the Armenians, we fought only against military units during the war, defeated them, and drove them out of our lands. As for the civilian population, according to Armenian statistics, about 40 civilians were killed during the war. The vast majority of them were civilians involved in military operations.

The liberation of Hadrut was a very significant operation. The liberation of Hadrut after Jabrayil district and the city of Jabrayil was a milestone having a crucial impact on the continuation of our military operations.

I should add that the city of Fuzuli was liberated after Hadrut – on October 17. The Armenian Army was expected us elsewhere. However, following the rules of war and proper strategic planning, we liberated Hadrut after Jabrayil and then came Fuzuli.

Let me also note that when Hadrut was already in our hands, the Armenian leadership, officials and, at the same time, some foreign journalists who brought grist to the Armenian mill were claiming that Hadrut was under Armenians’ control. I cannot understand to this day why the Armenian leadership was deceiving its people. We knew for sure that Hadrut was ours. We knew exactly that the Armenian army had been completely crushed here, and the surviving Armenian soldiers cowardly fled into hiding in the mountains. Hadrut was entirely under our control. However, some foreign journalists were saying that Hadrut was allegedly in the hands of Armenians.

After the liberation of Hadrut, we headed for Shusha. It was crucial to liberate Hadrut for the Shusha operation to succeed. Again, we approached Shusha from a direction the enemy was not expecting us. We liberated Shusha from the invaders by crossing mountains, valleys, cliffs, by climbing those cliffs. Therefore, the Hadrut operation will have a special place in the world’s military books.

In general, our glorious 44-day war, our Victory, is studied in the world’s leading universities these days. Military experts, specialists, and even politicians from many countries talked about our war and said that it was a war of the 21st century. Azerbaijan won the war, expelled the enemy from our ancient lands and restored historical justice. Hadrut settlement was considered the center of the Hadrut district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. After abolishing the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, Martuni and Hadrut districts of the former autonomous region were merged, and the Khojavand district was established. The ancient historical name of this place, Khojavand, was returned. During the war, more than 50 percent of the Martuni district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and 100 percent of the territory of Hadrut district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region were liberated from the occupiers. Commenting on the war’s outcome, some say that Azerbaijan has liberated seven districts, which is not the case. We have liberated seven districts, Shusha city, Sugovushan settlement of Aghdara district, Talish settlement, former Hadrut district, most of the former Martuni district, thus restoring historical justice. Therefore, Azerbaijan has made historic achievements in restoring its territorial integrity.

We have written a new history of our people, a glorious history of heroism, and great construction work is underway in the liberated lands today. Major infrastructure projects are being implemented. Today, coming from Baku and driving through the destroyed city of Fuzuli, I saw again the havoc wreaked by the Armenian savages. Let the foreign circles defending them and standing behind them today open their eyes and see what Armenian savagery has done to our cities. All our cities have been devastated, all our villages, historical sites, mosques, and cemeteries have been destroyed. Unprecedented vandalism and barbarism have been perpetrated.

We, for our part, have liberated our lands. Armenians from Armenia proper and foreign countries were illegally brought and resettled in this town. But this town is intact; not a single building was destroyed or burned down. These are the tactics of Azerbaijan’s Army, its moral code. What did the Armenians do? They destroyed all our buildings, our mosques. They kept animals in our mosques. They have desecrated our sacred shrines. The houses built by the Azerbaijanis, where the Armenians then lived there illegally – were burned and destroyed. They cut down forests from November 10 to December 1. They destroyed hydroelectric power plants. That is the difference between us. Azerbaijani soldiers have high moral qualities, and the instructions given to soldiers and all servicemen have been fulfilled. I said that we have never fought against civilians, and everyone can see that now. I stated that the Armenian leadership should give us a timetable of when it would leave our lands and that we were ready to stop the war, and we did it.

Today we have returned here as rightful owners of these lands. Azerbaijan’s flag is flying across all the liberated lands today. Today, as the Commander-in-Chief of our Victorious Army, I raised our national flag in Hadrut settlement. This flag will fly here forever. We Azerbaijanis will live in our ancestral lands forever. We will rebuild all the destroyed cities and villages, life will return here, people will return here, and we will again show the world the greatness of our people. Khojavand is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

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President Ilham Aliyev then laid the groundwork for the Hadrut-Jabrayil-Shukurbayli highway. The four-lane highway is 43 km in length.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the former Hadrut District Party Committee building.

The head of state said:

– This is the building of the former Hadrut District Party Committee. The illegal regime established an administration here. This building was constructed at the expense of Azerbaijan, and we have returned it. Hadrut is ours!

These words are written in the old script: “For the permanent benefit of collective farmlands”. It was written before 1939. In 1939, our alphabet was changed. It is a document of historical essence.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed the Albanian temple in the Hunarli village.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– This is an ancient Albanian temple, an Albanian church. It is located in the village of Hunarli. The Armenians wanted to Armenianize this church and wrote inscriptions in Armenian here, but they failed. If this were an Armenian church, would they leave it in such a state? It looks like a stable or as if it were a garbage dump. It is our ancient historical site, a temple of our Udi brothers. They will come here too. Just as the Armenians desecrated our mosques, they have also desecrated this ancient Albanian temple. But we will restore. All these inscriptions are fake – they were written later. They have created a false history for themselves in our ancient lands. But they failed because we exposed them. The fact that this church – the Albanian temple – is in this condition again shows Armenian fraud. If it were an Armenian church, they would have renovated it. Some criticize us for not taking good care of Christian sites. It is Armenians who brought it to this condition.

Let them come and see how Christian sites are protected in different parts of Azerbaijan. They will see this ancient Albanian church renovated after a while. Temples belonging to all religions in Azerbaijan are protected by the state, built by the state, and the whole world knows that. The world should know and see Armenians savagery in our mosques. There were 67 mosques in the liberated lands, only two standing in a semi-demolished state. They used them for various purposes. The Albanian church has also been brought to this condition. They may have kept animals here too, they may have kept metal scrap here, and some of that scrap is still there. Therefore, everyone should see and know this. Anyone who chooses to make any groundless accusations against us will get a befitting response, as always.

Look here, if it were an Armenian church, would they have written this? Would they have written this – Kamo, Artur, what else Marta? Would they have desecrated their churches like that? All these stones are fake. It is an Armenian forgery. Inside too, come on in here. If it were an Armenian church, would they have written this – “Igor”, “Asha”? They destroyed it, ruined it and even burned the door.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then arrived in Tugh village.

President Ilham Aliyev: We have arrived in Tugh village. Tugh is an ancient Azerbaijani village.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Is this the school building?

President Ilham Aliyev: A school in Tugh village destroyed by Armenians. Notice what condition it is in. And yet, they say that Tugh is an Armenian village. If it were an Armenian village, would they have destroyed it? It is the land of ancient Azerbaijan. Tugh village has always been and will continue to be an Azerbaijani village.

Here are the Azerbaijanis’ houses destroyed by Armenians in Tugh village. All the ruins are visible from here.

Of course, the residents of Tugh village will recognize their homes. I am sure that the residents of Tugh will return to their native village soon. Notice how beautiful Azerbaijan is. Notice how beautiful Karabakh is. We will restore all the destroyed villages and cities.

The head of state and his wife visited the Albanian temple in Tugh.

President Ilham Aliyev: This is yet another Armenian falsification. These stones were brought here later. They have nothing to do with the temple.

Here is an ancient Albanian temple. This temple will also be returned to our Udi brothers. Armenians wanted to Armenianize it as well, but they did not and will not succeed. After that, Azerbaijan as a state will protect this Albanian temple.

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President Ilham Aliyev, First lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then headed to Azykh village.

The head of state: We are leaving Tugh village and are now heading for Azykh village. Azykh is also an ancient Azerbaijani village, an ancient settlement. The nature of these places is also beautiful.

We are approaching Azykh village. What a spectacular view of Karabakh. This is the territory of Azykh village.

We are going to the Azykh Cave. There is still a long way to go.

We are at the entrance to the Azykh Cave. We climbed about 800 steps. It was a good exercise and showed our fitness. We will now enter the Azykh Cave. Azerbaijani archeologist Mammadali Huseynov discovered this cave in 1960. Exploration was conducted here after that. It is one of the ancient human settlements in the world, belongs to the history of Azerbaijan. It is our historical asset. Armenia illegally carried out work in this cave, illegally brought scientists here from abroad. They have inflicted extensive damage on this cave and our historical heritage. They will compensate us fully for all this damage. We will make them.

An Azerbaijani scientist discovered the Azykh Cave. The Azykh Cave is located in the territory of Azerbaijan. From now on, it will be Azerbaijani scientists and foreign ones invited by them who will undertake exploration here legally.

What a gorgeous view! Azykh village is over there. You can take a few good shots from here. We have reached this summit. We will conquer all the heights. There is no pinnacle beyond our reach. Let’s say together: “Azykh is Azerbaijan!”, “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”

https://en.president.az/articles/50893

Ilham Aliyev visited city of Shusha

As reported earlier, on March 16, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the city of Shusha.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

– We left Azykh and came to Shusha yesterday. The roads are still in a poor condition, almost non-existent. We came here along the Victory road. For the time being it is unpaved because the weather is cold and it is impossible to lay asphalt. It was muddy and there was a heavy fog. That is why we made it from Azykh to Shusha in 1 hour and 45 minutes. We stayed in Shusha overnight. We left at 9 a.m. and are going to attend several events. The weather is clear, but there are still clouds above the city.

We last came here in January. We returned the busts of Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli and Bulbul to Shusha. It is a great pleasure to return to Shusha today. On the left, there are snowy and foggy mountains of Shusha.

Restoration of Vagif’s mausoleum will begin soon. The former appearance of the mausoleum will be restored. Restoration work will begin today.

Relevant instructions have already been given to restore the mosques. Preliminary studies have begun and the project will be presented in the near future.

Shusha is beautiful in every season.

We will also restore the springs. For 30 years, Armenians dried up all our springs. Notice what the city is like now, what the enemy has done to Shusha.

We are approaching Vagif’s mausoleum. Work has already begun. I have viewed the project. Here are the photos. National leader Heydar Aliyev attended both the opening and Vagif Poetry Day. We are restoring history. This project will be implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation at its own expense, with the taste typical of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and under the supervision of Mehriban khanum.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the museum complex of Mollah Panah Vagif in Shusha.

Assistant to the President Anar Alakbarov briefed the President and the First Lady on the project to restore the complex. This project will be implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. During the project, special attention will be paid to the restoration of the mausoleum. When the Armenians occupied Shusha in 1992, they also violently destroyed this monument.

President Ilham Aliyev: I have found these photos in the archive. Vagif Poetry Days were held in the summer of 1982. National leader Heydar Aliyev is in front of the mausoleum in the summer of 1982. People also took part in this event here. Last time I was here, I noticed this place and asked to find pictures of what happened here in the archives, and this picture has been found. You see, Vagif’s image was on this wall. The hated enemy dismantled it and the marble. This was a tombstone. Armenian vandals demolished it too. We will restore it. I found a few more photos of the National leader visiting Shusha at the time, and I am also there. This picture was taken on Jidir Duzu. I showed it once, in front of the Natavan spring. There is another picture here and I have to show it too. There was also a bust of Vagif here. Last time I was in Shusha, I showed that the Armenians had dismantled the bust and built a shop. Here it is. The bust of Vagif and the National leader looking at it. We will restore this bust as well.

The President, the First Lady and Leyla Aliyeva then reviewed the remains of Panahali khan’s palace. This building is located in the historical center of Shusha and was the residency of Panahali khan, the founder of the Karabakh khanate. Armenian vandals also destroyed this historic building during the occupation.

President Ilham Aliyev: This was the palace of Panahali khan. Panahali khan, who built and established Shusha, built a palace for himself here. Notice what the Armenians have done to this palace. It was a historical site. The despicable enemy came here, seized our lands, expelled our people, destroyed our historical sites, demolished, vandalized and barbarized everything around them.

Let all international organizations come and see this. Let the circles defending and supporting the Armenians, those who always support them, come and see what these savages have done.

The liberated lands are a witness to Armenian atrocities. There has never been such an atrocity in the history of the world. They came here, lived on someone else’s land and then took the opportunity to drive out the locals, kill them, burn them and commit genocide. Then they also took advantage of the hospitality of the people who embraced them, accepted them, allowed them to live here. And this is how they repaid for the hospitality – brought our historical sites to this condition. Savagery! That is exactly what I mean when I say that a savage tribe had passed through these places.

Then President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at the future site of Molla Panah Vagif’s bust.

The project to restore the bust of Mollah Panah Vagif will also be implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

President Ilham Aliyev: This is the pedestal of the bust. The Armenians have destroyed it but we will restore it.

During the occupation, Armenian vandals also destroyed the 19th century Caravanserai historical and architectural complex located in the central square of Shusha.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the Caravanserai historical and architectural complex.

The head of state was informed about the work to be done here.

One of the buildings subjected to Armenian savagery is the building of the Shusha State Art Gallery.

The gallery was established in 1982 and operated until the occupation in 1992.

President Ilham Aliyev: This was an art gallery of Shusha. The Azerbaijani government organized a gallery here. During the occupation, the enemy used it for its own needs. It will now be completely rebuilt and operate as an art gallery again.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed the repairs to be carried out at the “Garabagh” Hotel. The hotel was built in the early 1980s. The building has fallen into disrepair due to neglect. Thanks to the work to be done here, the hotel will be brought up to a modern level and all amenities will be created for the comfort of visitors to Shusha.

The President and the First Lady were informed about the work done to restore historical and religious sites in Shusha.

President Ilham Aliyev: The rooms of the hotel will be like this. During the occupation, the hotel was almost destroyed and only one floor was used. It was in a deplorable state. Now it has been quickly prepared as a show room. All rooms of the hotel will be in this style.

We have got acquainted with the ongoing reconstruction work at the Karabakh Hotel. During the occupation, the hotel practically did not operate. Only one or two floors did. This hotel was also built during the Soviet era at the expense of Azerbaijan and was named Garabagh. Then the contemptible enemy changed the name of the hotel to “Shushi palace”. There is no city called Shushi, it has never been and never will be the case.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva also visited the Shusha Carpet Museum. This museum, established to study and preserve the traditions of Karabakh carpet weaving, was also severely damaged during the occupation.

The President, the First Lady and Leyla Aliyeva also viewed the building where the Park Hotel will be located in Shusha. After the reconstruction, the hotel will accommodate guests, offering modern-level service.

President Ilham Aliyev: This was a former sanatorium building. During the occupation, it was used as a small hotel, but in a very primitive way. The conditions were pretty embarrassing. It is now being restored. This is also a show room; the rooms of the hotel will be like this. The hotel will be commissioned this year.

Special Representative of the President in Shusha Aydin Karimov reported to the President on the projects to be implemented.

President Ilham Aliyev gave instructions on the work to be done in Shusha.

President Ilham Aliyev: We have also visited the Shusha sanatorium. Many buildings there were destroyed by Armenians. But it will be possible to use some buildings. There are also plans to create small hotels here. We must take into account that there will be a huge influx of tourists to Shusha, so there should be five-, four- and three-star hotels here.

This is a beautiful view of the city and the mountains around it. But we see again that the Armenians did not build a single building here. They may have built this one, an ugly looking edifice. However, they used the buildings built by Azerbaijan in Soviet times and settled in the houses of Azerbaijanis. All these houses are Soviet-era houses, Khrushchev-era houses. They have long used up their service life. We now need to pay attention to the condition of these buildings.

About 2,000 people lived in Shusha during the occupation, most of them servicemen and their families. Therefore, most of these buildings are empty. Look, is there a single decent building around?

The Armenians try to present Shusha as an Armenian city. However, it was Panahali khan who laid the foundation of Shusha and Azerbaijanis have always lived here. If it was an Armenian city, why didn’t they look after it? It is barbaric to bring a city with the landscape and nature of Shusha to this condition. They have destroyed the homes of Azerbaijanis and believed that this occupation would last forever. We have put an end to the occupation.

I have said that Shusha will become not only one of the most gorgeous cities in Azerbaijan, but also in the world, and we will achieve this – 100 percent. This is the ruined building of the Realniy School. Notice what the Armenians have done to it. According to my information, there was a boarding school on the left. It is also demolished, only a part of the facade remains.

We are departing Shusha, but we do not want to leave again. Shusha attracts people so much that those who come here do not want to leave. But we must return to Baku. We will stop on the way at Dashalti village. We will also look at the village. Then we will head for Baku.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: The weather is sunny and clear, the sky is blue.

President Ilham Aliyev: We are saying “so long” to Shusha. The Azerbaijani flag is waving at the entrance to Shusha and will fly high forever. Down below is the Lachin corridor. The weather favors us again. The sun shines down our path. This is the building of the Shusha substation. This building was constructed in a short time and will provide Shusha with sustainable energy. Last time we came to Shusha in January, the air was clear and the sun greeted us as we approached Shusha.

The rocks of Shusha look beautiful from here as well. We are on the path of truth and ours is the cause of truth. Nature also greets us because this is Azerbaijan’s nature.

This is Dashalti village. We will also get acquainted with Dashalti village.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at Dashalti village of Shusha district.

Aydin Karimov: This is the Great Kirs Mountain. One of Shusha’s water sources comes from its foothills.

First Lady: Is this considered New Dashalti?

Aydin Karimov: Yes.

First Lady: And that is Old Dashalti.

President Ilham Aliyev: Our servicemen came from there.

This is a beautiful view of Dashalti village both on the right and on the left. Dashalti village was also liberated from the occupiers. Our victorious army rose from Dashalti, crossed the steep cliffs and entered Shusha. Ahead of us is Great Kirs Mountain. The beautiful nature of Azerbaijan is right before us. Whichever way you look, there is beauty and greenery. This is the land of Azerbaijan, the land of Karabakh. From now on, the people of Azerbaijan will live here forever.

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The village of Dashalti, occupied by Armenian invaders in 1992 was also subjected to all-round terror. President Ilham Aliyev gave instructions on restoring the village.

https://en.president.az/articles/50901