President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Araz Ahmadov on his appointment as head of Masalli District Executive Authority, Akbar Abbasov on his appointment as head of Lerik District Executive Authority and Elvin Pashayev on his appointment as head of Goygol District Executive Authority.
The head of state addressed the meeting.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- You are being appointed as heads of executive authority of Goygol, Lerik and Masalli districts. Great confidence is being placed in you. I am sure that you will live up to this confidence with your work.
First of all, the situation in the regions should be carefully analyzed, and the existing drawbacks should be identified and eliminated.
In recent years, as a result of the implementation of the State Program on the socioeconomic development of the regions, extensive improvement and construction work has been carried out in all our districts, major infrastructure projects have been implemented, and most of the problems that had disturbed our people for many years have been resolved. Electricity supply, gas supply, road infrastructure, irrigation, drinking water and social infrastructure projects have been implemented, modern hospitals, medical centers and many schools have been built in every district. Of course, all these have made a tremendous contribution to the socioeconomic development of the districts. After all, there can be no development without infrastructure. We have implemented infrastructure projects that weren’t implemented even in Soviet times. In particular, there was no gas supply in Lerik district during the Soviet era. On my order, Lerik now has gas supply. Since these three districts are located in the mountains, problems related to arranging gas supply there are a little more serious than in other districts, of course. However, by doing all these things we have improved people's well-being as much as possible.
Of course, these infrastructure projects have served to create jobs. Entrepreneurs are also heavily involved in all construction work in the regions. Job creation is of particular importance. Because the population of the country is increasing. When Azerbaijan gained independence, our population was a little more than 7 million, but today it is more than 10 million. This naturally requires the process of job creation to become permanent. At the same time, we are taking serious steps in the fight against unemployment, and the creation of paid social jobs has also gained momentum. There is a quota for each district. Unfortunately, in some districts, those who were supposed to be involved in this work were not. On the contrary, the funds payable to them were embezzled by the heads of district executive authority and other officials.
As you know, several former heads of executive authority have been brought to criminal accountability, some have already been sentenced, the cases of others are still in court. This shows that no-one can be above the law. When I appoint all heads of executive authority, one of my instructions is that we should relentlessly fight against corruption and bribery, and the heads of executive authority should be an example in that. Unfortunately, some have gone astray and are suffering today. This should be a lesson for every civil servant.
You have to be in constant touch with the people. You should visit all the villages, you should share in the villagers’ concerns, you should get firsthand information about the issues of concern to them and resolve these problems if possible. Whenever possible, you should try to resolve these problems within the district. There are issues that should be resolved by state bodies. You should contact relevant state bodies about this – the Presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers, relevant government agencies, so that problems can be solved. If the problems of every village are resolved, it is possible to say that there will be no serious problems worrying the people of the country.
Of course, you should follow the principle of social justice in your activities. Social justice and the principles of justice as a whole are is one of the fundamental principles of society. Justice always prevails in a healthy society. We are building a healthy society and it is possible to say that we have been successful in that. Today, Azerbaijani society shows solidarity. Azerbaijani society supports the processes taking place in the country, supports our foreign and domestic policy. Because our policy is aimed at improving the well-being of the Azerbaijani people. Our policy enhances the international reputation of our country. As a result of our policy, Azerbaijan has put an end to Armenia’s occupation policy by military and then political means. We have liberated our ancestral lands, we have restored historical justice and national pride.
Special attention should be paid to the families of martyrs. The state always keeps them in the spotlight. Before the second Karabakh war and after the second Karabakh war, the families of martyrs have always been in the spotlight. As you know, I have had many meetings with families of martyrs and those disabled in the war. Their household problems are being resolved by the state. More than 12,500 families of martyrs have been provided with apartments and houses by the state, thousands of cars have been handed out. This process is ongoing. In Baku, Sumgayit and districts of Absheron, the allocation of housing to the families of the martyrs is about to be finalized. This work will be carried out by the state in other districts as well. In other words, the state is fulfilling its duty. In addition, a number of measures have been taken to provide employment to the families of martyrs and disabled war veterans. The main thing is to pay attention to people from this category. Representatives of the district executive authority should not remain indifferent to them. On the contrary, they should always take interest in their living conditions and employment.
We owe this Victory to them – to our martyrs, to disabled war veterans and veterans. Of course, the state showed resolve, we showed our determination and, without looking at anything or fearing anyone, we liberated our lands by saying “we would rather die than retreat”. This is state policy and the strength of the state. This is the solidarity of our citizens. But no-one should forget that it was our heroic soldiers and officers who raised our flag on liberated lands. They sacrificed their lives, they lost their health, they saved our Motherland from the invaders by facing death and without fearing anything. Therefore, it is the duty of every civil servant – in fact, not only civil servant but also everyone – to support them. Let me say again – the state and myself as President are always interested in their problems. I resolve these problems. I am always stand with them. Every civil servant should do the same.
You should take the initiative in the development of the districts. In some cases, local executive bodies are a bit lazy. They either wait for some projects to be implemented by the state or for an entrepreneur to come and knock on their door. In some cases, various illegal and unreasonable demands are put forward to entrepreneurs. You should attract entrepreneurs to your districts yourself – both local and foreign entrepreneurs, especially since the tourism potential of Goygol, Masalli and Lerik districts is very rich. The fascinating nature of these districts is our great asset – forests, mountains, springs, rivers, waterfalls. In other words, I believe that one of the main priorities is to turn these districts into tourism centers.
A lot has been done in recent years. When I was in Goygol, Lerik and Masalli districts a number of times, I also enquired about this issue and gave my recommendations. I know that modern recreation areas and hotel complexes have been built in these districts, and of course this process should be stepped up. A few years ago, even before the Patriotic War, we opened Lake Goygol to the public. In previous years, in the years before the war, I wondered why it was impossible for people to come close to our Lake Goygol, to our natural wealth. This was explained by the fact that the area is close to the line of contact. After that, we started exploring and found that Lake Goygol could be opened as a travel destination on the condition of protecting the ecological condition and ecosystem of this lake. And we did that. Thousands of people come to Lake Goygol every day now, especially in spring and summer, to admire this beautiful view and especially after the Patriotic War, as we have already expelled the enemy from our lands. Of course, this beautiful place has tremendous importance for the development of tourism. At the same time, if we take into account the fact that a road is being built from Goygol district to Kalbajar district, a tunnel is under construction, this district has to make a special contribution to the development of the Kalbajar-Lachin zone.
Tourism potential is very rich in other districts as well. Since the Lankaran-Lerik road was in a dilapidated state, there was almost no tourist flow to Lerik district. On my orders, the road was overhauled and reconstructed. The flow of tourism to Lerik district has now started. This district also has a great history and great natural wealth. The same applies to Masalli district as well. Masalli district has mountainous and lowland areas. I want to say again that the tourism potential of these districts is quite rich.
At the same time, there are great opportunities for the development of agriculture in all three districts. Agriculture should be created in accordance with modern requirements there. Animal husbandry and plant breeding should be aligned with the characteristics of the districts provided that modern agro-technical measures are taken and applied. A very serious matter related to this is the efficient use of land. Unfortunately, in previous years, some government officials and entrepreneurs had fenced off large areas of land, thus occupying them illegally. Houses were built on the land intended for agriculture or this land was fenced off and made someone's property. We have recently begun to seriously investigate this issue and found out that huge violations had been committed in this area. Senior officials were ordering representatives of the local executive authority to give them this or that land plot. Thus, the land fund was shrinking and, unfortunately, the process of illegal occupation of land became pervasive. This wasn’t observed only in the regions. There are similar cases in Baku city and Absheron peninsula. You are probably aware that a group of public figures addressed me recently over the occupation by some people of Buzovna rocks, which have a great history. I immediately instructed the head of the Baku City Executive Authority to investigate this issue and report the findings to me. Very large violations have been detected – very large. Who committed these illegal acts? Government officials and some “entrepreneurs” did! We have their list. This is a crime against history and against our nature. These rocks are a symbol of Baku. These rocks have reflected the beauty of our coast for centuries. People used to approach these rocks. Films were shot there, but then someone invades the place, breaks them and builds a villa for themselves.
Unfortunately, there are many such situations. I want to say again today that these phenomena are being rigorously fought against. Very serious reforms are being carried out in the area of governance. Extensive cleaning work is under way. Those who brought about these situations and incited civil servants and local executive bodies to engage in these illegal cases have been dismissed. The government is being cleaned and people can see that. This is why you, as public officials, should pay very serious attention to this. This is my message to you and to representatives of all government agencies. At the same time, this is my message to those who want to engage in illegal activities. Stop it! You will be punished. You are already being punished. We cannot dwarf the successful development of our country because of someone's greed or someone's personal interests. Therefore, the process of illegal occupation of land should be investigated. In the districts you will be leading, throughout the country, on the Absheron peninsula, in the coastal areas and in all our districts, illegal acts must be stopped.
Azerbaijan is not a very big country in terms of territory. For us, every inch of land is precious, valuable, and people should be able to use this land. Farmers and villagers should be able to use it to grow crops. We must protect the ecological system of our country, and this is one of my recommendations to you. All the work being done and to be done should not undermine the environmental situation. In particular, Goygol, Lerik and Masalli are districts with beautiful nature. Therefore, ecological balance and ecological norms should be protected. Be sure to keep this in mind.
I am sure that if modern governance rules are applied to every district and indeed everywhere else, many problems will be eliminated. This is the policy of the state. I have always defined the policy of the Azerbaijani state unambiguously and presented it to the public. Many of my speeches actually represent our reports to the public. At the same time, I think that the words I say should serve as a basis for all public officials, including entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is developing. I support that, and many steps are being taken in this direction. However, all rules must be complied with, especially in construction, agriculture and tourism. It is necessary to see to what extent a facility being established meets the architectural style of this or that region, to what extent it meets modern standards, whether or not its construction coefficient is in line with the standards. Unfortunately, many high-rise buildings that were once built in Baku do not comply with any urban planning norms. Why? Because illegal things were committed. Heads of the district executive authority issued illegal permits and, as a result, the principles of urban planning suffered a huge blow. Therefore, it is very difficult to fix them now. At this stage, however, we cannot allow urban planning norms to be violated. For example, all urban planning and environmental standards are being fully complied with in the territories freed from occupation – in fact, the standards of the most developed countries of the world. You should pay serious attention to these issues and exercise control over them in your activities.
Of course, in order for things to go better in the districts you will be leading, there must be public oversight. You should not shy away from public scrutiny. Public control, public activity and drawing your attention to existing problems should actually help you in your work. This is why you have to be together with the people, you have to be together with the public, and we can only develop our country in this way.
I want to say again that great confidence is being placed in you. I believe that the multifaceted reforms that taking place in our country, including the reforms in the field of governance, as well as personnel reforms, show our policy and our intentions to the entire Azerbaijani public.
Azerbaijan has great prospects and great potential, especially after our historic Victory in the second Karabakh war when we put an end to this injustice and restored historical justice with our own hands. We are living as a successful nation. We live with dignity, and things in our country should be done in such a way that there are no problems and no injustice. We have all the opportunities – natural resources, geographical location, international reputation and infrastructure. Everything is obvious. Notice how rapidly Azerbaijan is developing, especially in the current conditions when the world is gripped by an economic recession and other disturbing issues. Under such circumstances, if a public official does not perform his duties honorably, they will certainly be punished. We cannot allow anyone to dwarf our successful development, build a nest of bribery and undermine the foundations of our state.
These are my instructions to you. I expect you to work hard and I expect results. I am sure that you will realize this high confidence and work as I say.
The newly-appointed heads of district executive authority expressed their gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for the great confidence being placed in them. They stated that they would work with full responsibility to live up to this trust and to make every effort to properly execute the tasks delegated to them by the head of state.