Speech by Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the ceremony of commissioning of social units in Nakhchivan - 10 october 1999

Dear people of Nakhchivan!

Dear friends!

Dear sisters, brothers!

In these days we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan. The establishment of Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan 75 years ago is a historical event and people of Nakhchivan, inhabitants of Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan stood difficult tests, passed over many difficulties in the course of these 75 years. There have been living, working and developing in the conditions of separation from the main territory of Azerbaijan by the territory of Armenia. During 75 years Nakhchivan passed a remarkable way of development in the field of economy, culture, science and education, as well as improvement of well-being of its people.

Nakhchivan is an ancient territory. According to the archeological finds one can say that Nakhchivan is one of the most ancient corners of Azerbaijan. This is a territory aged back as far as three or for thousand years. Nakhchivan has a great and rich historical past. Nakhchivan was destroyed several times but people rose and reconstructed it again.

It is true that Nakhchivan faced a lot of difficulties in construction issues in the course of 75 years. There were those who hindered. An insufficient interest was shown to Nakhchivan by leadership of Azerbaijan during many years. However, despite all these Nakhchivan was living, Nakhchivan was developing. The construction works, facilities, buildings, settlements and change of image of cities not only in a city but all over Nakhchivan after 1969 are evident prove of it.

However, starting from 1988 when Armenia commenced occupation against Azerbaijan, the hard times of Nakhchivan commenced too. Especially, after all communication of Nakhchivan with capital and other regions of Azerbaijan were broken off, Nakhchivan got in a hard condition.

I have been with you during these hard times. We have overcome these hard days. Hard as they may be but they are dear for me. Because I have been struggling for protection of Nakhchivan in my native land with my compatriots and we won in this struggle.

You are aware that in general, beginning from 1987, not construction by destruction processes were underway in Azerbaijan. The economy of Azerbaijan was undermined, construction works were stopped, chaos, anarchy and lawlessness established in the country and the results of it are felt in Azerbaijan until now. By the time when I came to power in Azerbaijan in 1993 upon the call of the people Azerbaijan was in a very difficult situation. The situation in Nakhchivan was even worse. Because Nakhchivan was completely separated from Azerbaijan.

Actually, the construction works, development of economy, reforms underway in Azerbaijan change the image of our country. But the same processes underway in Nakhchivan are even more remarkable. Because Nakhchivan in separated from Azerbaijan till now as it was in the past. The transport and provision issues are hard to provide. In these hard conditions the construction works in Nakhchivan are being carried out – the schools, hospitals, houses are constructed. The trading centers are constructed, too. It shows that even in hard times people of Nakhchivan are not discouraged, the go ahead, continue to create and build. This trading center, this beautiful building is a great evidence for this.

I am very pleased that Ministry of Labor and Social Security of Azerbaijan together with leadership of Nakhchivan raised such an initiative and implemented it is short period. I congratulate both the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of Azerbaijan and leadership of Nakhchivan and I thank all people who contributed to construction of this building. These two congratulations and thanks are addressed to the Head of Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Vasif Talibov and Minster of Labor and Social security of Azerbaijan Ali Naghiyev.

The construction of this building in such a short period proves that Nakhchivan has a great construction potential and it will make use of this potential rationally in future.

A cold attitude was in respect of Nakhchivan formerly, the people of Nakhchivan was suppressed. But now Nakhchivan enjoys the same attention as all other regions of Azerbaijan do. No difference is made in respect of any region, including Nakhchivan. Nakhcivan is not favored, but it is not suppressed too, as it was formerly.

I am president of Azerbaijan. Every corner of Azerbaijan is dear for me. But in which city or region of Azerbaijan an initiative is put forward and construction works are carried out, this initiative receives more success and I support it.

Nakhchivan will achieve more successes furthermore. I wish your initiative would develop and you achieved more successes.

I congratulate you on the occasion of construction of this building. I wish successes to people working here. I wish you, people of Nakhchivan, health and happiness.

Thank you.