Speech of Heydar Aliyev, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic ofAzerbaijan, at the meeting of the Parliament - June 15, 1993

Dear parliamentaries!

Esteemed President!

Today I want to express my deep gratitude to the members of the parliament and the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan for confiding me, and I assure you that making use of all the available possibilities, I shall work hard to bear this burden, and make all efforts to fulfill this responsibility with dignity. I would like to notify that I am fully aware of the present situation in Azerbaijan, which is complicated, hard and tense. Beginning the execution of my duties, I deeply realize my responsibility and I shall do my best to fulfill them in this post. Here, I am not going to make a long speech, but I have to say a few words. As the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, one of my essential duties is to protect, strengthen and develop the our independence because it is the historical achievement of our nation. The independence of Azerbaijan should be ensured on the basis of traditions of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan founded in 1918 and provided with modern requirements and coherent to processes going on in the world. I will work hard in this direction and there should be no doubt that I will devote the rest of my life for the development of the independent Azerbaijan. Concerning the issue, I would like to point out, that, in my view, whatever happens in future, Azerbaijan will never lose its independence, be under the rule and bondage of any state any more. There are some rumors about the restoration of the post Soviet Union and Azerbaijan can enter this Union again. It is a just a utopia. I reject these ideas and invite all the citizens turn down such unreal dreams.

The republic is faced with significant and difficult tasks. First of all, Azerbaijan should liberate its territories, occupied by Armenian armed forces, in order to develop the independence and ensure the state sovereignty. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be ensured, the war must be stopped and peace must be established. Living in peace and welfare, the Azerbaijani citizens must build their state as they desire. That is why, this is one of the most important issues. The issue will be the focus of attention of the Supreme Soviet. I fully assure you.

The document declared yesterday, which was signed on the initiative of the USA, Russia and Turkey, is considered to be the first step for our gradual withdrawal from the war. Obviously, in this respect more effective measures should be taken in future in order Azerbaijan could be the owner of all its own territories and getting our people out of the war.

Thus, the state independence of Azerbaijan Republic is the most urgent issue. The democracy should be developed in the sovereign Azerbaijan. Political pluralism should be encouraged throughout in every possible way. We must avoid violation of law and the Constitution in Azerbaijan. The state construction and the society formation must be based on democratic principles. The 1iberty, human freedom, protection of human rights and free economy, market economy principles should prevail in politics and economy of the country. It means that our republic should move on along the road, it had taken a year ago. This is the right way, and our republic should resolutely follow this path. You must be confident that I will be loyal to this principle.

One of the main reasons which complicated the situation in the country is the incident which happened on June 4, in Ganja. They are terrible, because there was a blood shed and perpetrated crime. All these should be investigated and each person who broke the law and participated in the crime should be punished irrespective to what they are belong. The investigation commission of the parliament deals with this case. Our duty is to lessen the tension, as soon as possible. I have had talks with President Abulfaz Elchibey yesterday. Besides, I have held negotiations with some people together and in private in Ganja. I consider that all our efforts will reduce the tension and eliminate the confrontation in the nearest future. But I have said before and repeat: I am against the use of weapons in any case. The tension, counteraction must be settled by peaceful means, mutual consent and understanding and negotiations. I think our national wisdom, joint efforts of authoritative men, intelligentsia, elders and officials of Azerbaijan will ensure undoubtedly all the above mentioned points.

Establishing a democratic independent and secular state in Azerbaijan, we should fight for the civil society, and make use of the world experience and human values. Having gained independence after a long time, we should display the historical achievements and national traditions of Azerbaijan to the world community. I suppose that in this respect, the Azerbaijani people have both great historical and modern potentials for it. If we use all these recourses effectively, Azerbaijan will develop as an independent democratic state and our society will be built on the basis of democratic, legal and universally shared values. Our science, culture, national traditions and, at the same time, our Islamic religion, create the basis for it. To use effectively all of these is our basic mission.

The tension in Azerbaijan is not connected only with the reasons of the Karabakh conflict, which began as a result of the Armenian aggression to Azerbaijan. Recently, there happened the incidents in Ganja. Unfortunately, one of the reasons for the tension is disrupting of relations to a certain extent between the nations and ethnic groups who lived together in this land for centuries. Azerbaijan has always been the motherland of all nationalities living here for ages and it will be so in future. Irrespective of their origin, religion and political orientation, every citizen of Azerbaijan should enjoy equal rights. If we are guided by them and act in accordance with these concepts, we can ensure full consolidation of people and nations living in Azerbaijan. It is one of our major objectives and I think we will achieve it.

And at year, in fact a lot of work was done in the field of foreign policy. But there is a lot of work to be done. I think that as a democratic state, Azerbaijan must build equitable relations with all the states. We should establish normal relations with all countries, in spite of their internal policy and orientation of development. First of all, there must be established necessary cultural, economic and political links with our neighboring countries. From this point of view, the relationships with Turkey are approved by the population. The relations with the neighboring Iran must be enhanced and developed. Russia, our northern neighbor, is absolutely a vast state. Undoubtedly, the relation based on independent principles between Azerbaijan and Russia must be better, broader and more fruitful. The links with the newly formed independent countries, like, the Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, countries of the Central Asia, Kazakhstan, the Baltic states, Moldova, which were a part of the post Soviet Union, must be developed. This is very important for us. There were very strong ties of economy, culture, and in the humanitarian sphere with those countries for ages. These links must not be broken, on the contrary, must be enhanced. I do not doubt that this policy will help Azerbaijan be formed to and develop as an independent state only.

Azerbaijan is already steppen to the world arena. Warm attitudes shown by the USA to Azerbaijan make gladdens us, and to my mind, these relations must be improved. The relations with all the European countries especially, with England, France and Germany should be developed. At the same time, we must extend our links with all the Muslim countries, with Arabic and Turkic speaking countries. Just in one word, I want to clarify my position in the sphere of foreign policy. I will act in this direction as the chairman of the Supreme Soviet and do my best for the successful work of our president, the Supreme Soviet and the government.

However, above all, now it is necessary to eliminate the tension, which is a result of the Ganja incidents. Today, in the meeting of the parliament from this tribune, appealing to our brothers, sisters, sons and all the Azerbaijani citizens, I am declaring that our republic lives its difficult period and our principal goal is to liberate the occupied lands and ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Therefore, the internal unrests, bickering must be given up. Appealing to all the Azerbaijani people, Ganja population, parliament member Surat Huseynov and his comrades in arms, I invite you to wisdom and human relations. We have great need for it and each person should know that all of us must consolidate for this purpose. In this tragic period of Azerbaijan, we face a great disaster. All forces, all political parties, all political structures, all political and social organizations and entire people should be united in such a heavy situation. Everybody should put aside the malice and spite. Being a union, we will lead Azerbaijan out of the complicated condition. I suppose that the population of Ganja and neighboring regions will hear my voice and support it. Surat Huseynov will hear my voice and acting as a wise person, he will help us to put an end to the trouble. I invite all of you to be active and unite for this case. I ask you to put an end to minor gossips and rumours. We will have time for it, but not now. You will have time to settle your score with each other. It is not the right time for it now.

In this connection I would like to touch upon another point. There are talks about me in some circles that if Heydar Aliyev holds a high post in Azerbaijan again, he will take revenge on somebody. Somebody has been against him or bad terms with him and he will do the same. I am declaring publicly with all my responsibility to you and all the Azerbaijani people that I have no sense of revenge in my nature. It was artificially made up by certain persons in order not only to soil my reputation, but also not to allow our unity. I pledge that I will never be absorbed in the sense of revenge. I have forgiven all those who had been on bad terms with me for a long time. I have never been and will never be under the pressure of those feelings, because of not been entrusted and elected to this post. As an ordinary citizen, I have never wanted to feel animosity against somebody and take vengeance on somebody and I will never do it. But in the frames of duty and our position, we all should keep order, obey the law, observe the laws and ensure the rule of law. Of course, I will never renounce my point of view in this way.

I hope that together with the Supreme Soviet, President Abulfaz Elchibey we can all lead our state out of the situation. I invite all of you to unite for this goal.

Thank you!

Historical backgrounds