Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen - March 12, 1995

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Mister Chairman!

Distinguished Heads of State and Government!

Participants of the World Summit!

I wish to extend my gratitude to the Government of Denmark for the excellent arrangements made to ensure the success of the World Summit for Social Development. I also thank the Preparatory Committee, and personally, the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization for their tremendous effort in preparing this Summit.

This Copenhagen Summit has been convened on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Organization. It is an important landmark in the history of the world community. It is a starting point for addressing the strategic objectives facing mankind in the coming millennium.

This is the first time in world history that heads of state and government are assembled in a forum aimed at pursuing a coordinated policy to achieve social welfare for all the peoples of the world. This very fact bears fitness that mankind is entering a new and higher of development after the end of the cold war which was a global military and ideological confrontation.

It is the first time that the world community has so clearly demonstrated an appreciation of the collective responsibility for the social conditions of human beings, irrespective of nationality, race or religion.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Azerbaijan Republic has restored its indepen­dent statehood and is advancing on the path toward the establishment of a democratic state, governed by law state building, and is carrying out deep economic reforms.

This period of transition in our republic entails great and unavoid­able difficulties. But the military aggression of Armenia against our country, and die grave consequences of that war which has been continuing for more than six years, has been a further complication.

More than twenty per cent of Azerbaijan's territory has been occupied, and all the economic potential and social infrastructure existing in the occupied territories have been destroyed. More than one million Azerbaijanis have been ousted from the occupied terri­tories and now live in tent-camps in conditions of seri­ous hunger, with a lack of medicines and other ele­mentary first aid.

The problems related to victims of war have acquired particular sharpness. Hundreds of hostages, the majority of whom are women, children and old people, are detained in Armenian custody. Thousands of wounded and maimed are in need of special medical treatment and services.

We are using all available measures for the social protection of people in these difficult conditions. The necessary legislative acts, including those "On Social Protection of Invalids", and "On Ensuring Pension for Citizens", have been adopted and rehabilitation and recovery centers have been created. Financial compen­sation is being paid to the less affluent on a regular basis.

However, great economic damage resulting from the aggression has deeply affected all the population of Azerbaijan, critically affecting the living standards of the majority of people, and has put them on the verge of poverty.

All that again bears witness that there are critical links between the challenges for social development and the questions of political stability in the world, and strong observance of the international law norms and the Charter of the United Nations. The international experience shows that the infringement of such prin­ciples as sovereignty and territorial integrity of states; the inviolability of borders; and growth of aggressive nationalism, inevitably results in grave social consequences and become the source of social cataclysms.

Therefore, the state guarantee for social protection of its citizens should be supplemented by international security guarantees against the outside threat to the sov­ereignty and territorial integrity of the states themselves.

They should also be supplemented by international efforts to prevent interstate conflicts.

The international guarantees have to be worked out for the social protection of people as well as their polit­ical, economic and humanitarian welfare.

In this respect, I would like once more to call on the international community from this high rostrum of the United Nations to redouble its efforts for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict. We remain com­mitted to peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of the OSCE. We support the activities of the Minsk Group and the principal resolution of the Budapest Summit of the OSCE. Although the cease-fire has been violated on some occasions, we intend to fur­ther consolidate the cease-fire. However, the Republic of Armenia still continues to ignore the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations which demand unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupa­tion forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It remains as the main barrier on the way to a final set­tlement of the conflict and the international community should bring about a breakthrough in the difficult pro­cess of peace negotiations and achieve positive results by using its high prestige.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Under severe conditions of this transition period and the foreign aggression Azerbaijan is in need of the effective support of the world community. We are grateful to the United Nations Organization, to various international organizations and separate countries for the humanitarian assistance which has been rendered to the victims of war. However, the social situation in Azerbaijan continues to remain extremely complicated and requires an increase in this aid. The national report presented to the Summit reflects the urgent problems of social development in Azerbaijan, and creates a clear picture of our difficulties as well as potentialities.

We have started to implement large-scale programs for privatization of state-owned property, reforms in the agriculture sector, and structural changes in the econo­my.

We are opening great opportunities for foreign investments. The stage of practical implementation o the "Contract of the Century", which was signed with the consortium of major world oil companies for join exploitation of oil and gas deposits on the Azerbaijan shelf of the Caspian Sea, has started.

The first free democratic parliamentary elections based on a multi-party system will be held in Azerbaijan this year.

I hope, implementation of the above plans will play decisive role in laying down a foundation for the estab­lishment of a democratic, politically stable and eco­nomically prosperous Azerbaijan state. It would help to settle not only the social problems of the Azerbaijan community, but also contribute to the international endeavors for social development, and to render aid to the countries in need.

Our country is rich with many natural resources and industrial potential. But our main wealth is the people of Azerbaijan. Our belief, that we will overcome all our current difficulties, and will hold a deserved place in the world community of nations, is the first and foremost, a belief in the potentialities of the people of Azerbaijan. Today we are in need of help to become strong, so that we can render assistance to other peoples. After all we are one big family.

I wish fruitful activities to the participants at this Summit and express my confidence that the decisions we take will justify the hopes of millions of poor people in the world, and will become one of the leading basis for international stability, progress and prosperity in 21st century.

Thank you for your attention.

The document was taken from the edition "Heydar Aliyev New Political Course"