Appeal to the people of Azerbaijan - October 1, 2003

Dear countrymen and citizens of Azerbaijan,

34 years have passed since my leadership in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and 10 years since my leadership as President of the independent Azerbaijan. In these years, as an Azerbaijani and a citizen of Azerbaijan, and as its leader and President, my vital purpose was to serve You, the people of Azerbaijan which I love more than myself, to the statehood, economic, political, and moral development of our country. In this way, I have derived all my strength and power only from my wise and grateful people. In the most difficult times and complicated situations, I relied on my people. It ensured my tolerance, my will and all my success.

The people of Azerbaijan hold a worthy place among the leading world nations. The world is already aware of its rich moral, particular contributions to the treasury of the world culture, its ability to assimilate the values of the civil world of Azerbaijan is by their labor and talent, are more quickly integrating into the family of the world peoples in all the spheres, and it does not surprise to anyone.

Benefiting from the advanced experience and values of the world community, our independent state develops. Respecting the respect for democratic society, legal state, supremacy of human and civil rights, principles of political pluralism, Azerbaijan today is marching side by side with the European and leading countries of the world. Our country holds a worthy place in the international arena. Now, none of the key strategic and global issues of the world and the regions around are solved without our opinion and interest. We are recognized, accepted and an views are taken into account in top issues.

Economic life of Azerbaijan is being reconstructed and it revives and develops dynamically. Internal and foreign investments to the economy of the country increase year by year, while the agrarian field, food and light industry becomes modern, the  share of the non-oil sector in the economy grows, stability of the national currency is preserved, currency reserves increase, new working places with high wages are opened. All these are the results of the new oil and economic strategy of development implemented into life since 1994. I am sure that in such stable conditions, in the coming years, there will be neither an unemployed nor a poor in Azerbaijan. Wages, pensions and profits of the citizens will considerably increase. Azerbaijan and our businessmen will have an opportunity to participate in the perspective and profitable projects, acquire chance and might to invest both in the country and abroad.

Our state gradually strengthens its defense ability and its military might. Our national army assimilates the leading experience and technology, and the youth willingly go to serve in the army.

All these were not easily achieved. In the passed years, we jointly prevented many internal and foreign aggressions, provocations and other anti-Azerbaijani actions, overcame many ordeals. You know this very well.

The adventurist nationalist separatism launched by the Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988 was not prevented in time because of disability of the Azerbaijani administration of that time. In 1990- 1993, taking the advantage of the political crisis, crisis in the administration, chaos and anarchy in the republic, the armed forces of Armenia occupied a part of the territories of Azerbaijan, and over one million of our countrymen became refugees and internally displaced persons. The citizens of the country were instigated to internal armed clashes and confrontations. There were attempts to eliminate and destroy our state and statehood. We prevented all of them, however, we could not restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, violated during the period of chaos and anarchy, and solve the problem of the return of refugees home. I am confident that we shall certainly solve this problem, too.

Despite this, during these years, we were able to solve the problems crucial for our people and country.

We first achieved socio-political stability, which is the basis of our statehood, laid the foundation of the civil society based on the national unity and supremacy of law.

Secondly, we have reconstructed the economy of the country which is the goal of every state, and we follow the path of development.

Thirdly, we could establish our democratic and strong state with all its relevant institutions, which reflects the wishes and aspirations of the people of Azerbaijan and ensure the irreversibility of its independence.

Only a state which has acquired national unity, socio-political stability, dynamic economy, strong governmental institutions, and which relying on democratic and civil society, can solve everything, including the territorial integrity and other problems. I am certain that it will be just so.

Dear citizens of Azerbaijan, my dear people!

I have lived 60 years of my sensible life with my people, with the present and future of my people. Ten years of them, I have served the independent Azerbaijan. You are aware of the work done in this field, but I have still very promising, but uncompleted plans yet. Recently I have some health problems which does not allow me accomplish to complete the works which I started, and which I see clearly their beginning and conclusions. Despite this, I was nominated as a candidate for the 15 October 2003 Presidential elections and my candidacy was registered. Hundreds of thousands of people joined the election campaign and propagate me. Taking the opportunity, I extend my deep gratitude to those people, all members of the New Azerbaijani Party, who nominated me and supported the representatives of other socio-political organizations, men of science, education and culture, and the people of Azerbaijan. I hope that I shall soon recover and return to my motherland, be again with my people. Now, I withdraw my candidacy in favor of Ilham Aliyev.

I call on you - my countrymen, in the coming Presidential elections to vote for my political successor, first deputy chairman of the New Azerbaijani Party Ilham Aliyev. He is highly intellectual, pragmatic, and well aware of the current world policy and economy, a strong and initiative personality. I assure you that both Ilham Aliyev and the New Azerbaijani Party will further closely unite worthy representatives of our people, do a lot for the development of Azerbaijan and for the welfare of our nation. I am confident that with your help and support, Ilham Aliyev will be able to complete the crucial works and plans that I launched, but could not complete. I trust him as myself and set my hopes on his future.


Heydar Aliyev,

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.