President Ilham Aliyev reviewed a new settlement of 15 five-storey apartment buildings for 866 IDP families in Barda

President Ilham Aliyev reviewed a new settlement of 15 five-storey apartment buildings for 866 IDP families in Barda

The ongoing work to improve the living conditions of the IDPs is evidence that our compatriots belonging to this category are surrounded by constant care and attention of President Ilham Aliyev.

The resettlement of the IDPs from temporary places of residence and tent camps to modern settlements is a testament to the attention being paid to them by the state. As a result of the measures taken to improve the living conditions of the internally displaced persons, all tent camps in the country have been eliminated and their inhabitants moved to modern settlements. State programs have been carried out to improve the well-being of the displaced persons and important measures taken to increase their social benefits.

The state care about the people of this category is confirmed by the fact that 61 modern settlements covering a total area of 1.5 million square meters and the entire social and technical infrastructure have been built over the last 10 years. The living conditions of 25,500 families or more 129,000 IDPs have been improved. This amounts to 81 per cent of the people moved to new settlements so far. A total of 1 billion 547 million manats was allocated for the construction of new settlements from the State Oil Fund and other sources, which constitutes 97.6 per cent of the total amount allocated for this purpose. A total of 120 schools, six music schools, 33 kindergartens, 37 health facilities, 34 community and 28 communication centers have been built in the new settlements. Thousands of kilometers of water, power and gas lines have been laid. In general, the funds allocated from the State Oil Fund and other sources financed the construction of 82 modern settlements, improved the living conditions of 33,000 families or 159,000 people in 2001-2013. In 1993-2013, a total of 4.3 billion manats was spent on resolving the social problems of refugees and internally displaced persons, of which 2 billion manats from the state budget, 1.5 billion manats from the State Oil Fund and 800 million manats by international organizations operating in the country. 83 per cent of these funds, or 3.6 billion manats, were spent in the last 10 years. The poverty rate among the internally displaced persons in the last 10 years has decreased from 75 to 15 per cent. In 2013, the amount of money spent per IDP is almost 1,100 manats, which is nine times higher than in 2003. It is the highest indicator in comparison with other conflict zones of the world.

The President reviewed a kindergarten for 280 kids built in the settlement. Informing President Ilham Aliyev, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov said that the kindergarten is fitted with the necessary equipment and has all the conditions for the training and education of children.

The President of Azerbaijan reviewed the work done in the kindergarten and its rooms.

While reviewing the kindergarten, the head of state was informed that construction work in the building was completed at a high level. It was noted that the kindergarten has all the conditions for the recreation of kids. The area has been landscaped, special areas for children set up and a modern lighting system installed.

Then, President Ilham Aliyev examined Agdam District secondary school No. 1 for 540 IDPs children.

In the lobby of the school, there are photo stands reflecting the care of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev about education and their meetings with the displaced persons from Agdam. Separate photo stands are dedicated to the new IDP settlements built earlier.

The President reviewed the master plan of the settlement.

It was noted that this settlement was built according to the relevant amendments to the "State program on improving the living conditions and employment opportunities for refugees and internally displaced persons" approved by an Order of the President of Azerbaijan from 2007. The program proper had been approved by an Order of the President from 2004.

The settlement will accommodate 866 families or 3,900 IDPs, including 700 families from Agdam and the rest from other districts. The settlement covers an area of 16 hectares. It has 70 one-room, 430 two-room, 325 three-room and 25 four-room apartments. There is a community club, a medical center and a telephone exchange here. Water, electricity and gas lines are connected to the Barda District network. The construction of the new settlement has been ordered by the Fund on the Social Development of the IDPs. The construction of the settlement began in February 2012 and was completed in September of this year.

During familiarization with the school, the President was informed that this institution has all the conditions for the education of children. The attention paid by President Ilham Aliyev to the development of education is evidence that this area is among top priorities of public policy. This process is not limited to the capital alone and covers the regions as well. Special support for this program of activities at state level is provided by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Then the President visited the apartment of IDP from Agdam District, the widow of a martyr, Safura Huseynova.
Safura Huseynova’s five-people family has a three-room. It is well suited for a comfortable family life. President Ilham Aliyev spoke to the family members at a tea table.

Hostess Safura Huseynova: Welcome, Mr. President! We are very grateful to you. You have given us a new life.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. Congratulations! There are excellent conditions here. A whole new settlement has been built. Four thousand IDPs will live here in such beautiful conditions. The plight of 4,000 IDPs is improving. A state policy is conducted. The government resettles IDPs at its own expense, builds new apartments and schools. I have just reviewed it – it is a great school. There is a kindergarten, wonderful homes – so there are all the conditions.

As you know, 20,000 IDPs are moved into new homes and apartments in Azerbaijan every year. In other words, every year we build a settlement the size of an average town for the IDPs. Of course, this is a project that requires a lot of resources. But the Azerbaijani government is doing that. Every year, the State Oil Fund allocates 300 million manats exclusively for construction. At the same time, certain funds are allocated during the year also from the Contingency Fund of the President, so that we could provide the IDPs with even better conditions. I am confident that this process will be continued in the coming years. Many more IDPs are in the line, including those in Barda. This settlement will be home to 4,000 IDPs. But the number of IDPs living in poor conditions exceeds 30,000 people in Barda alone. Their conditions will also be improved. We are doing our best to provide the IDPs with excellent conditions – both in Baku and the regions. A total of 180,000 people have been moved to houses and apartments. But still there are those living in schools. The people living here used to live in schools. All schools of Barda District are being vacated now and the IDPs moved out of there, but there are still people living in schools in other districts. There are people living in kindergartens in Baku and Sumgayit. Gradually, these issues will also be resolved, and your housing problems will be resolved, albeit temporarily.

But the main issue for us is to return our IDPs to the lands of their fathers and grandfathers. I am sure that we will do that too because it can’t be otherwise. Azerbaijan must and will restore its territorial integrity. This is the most important issue for our country and our people. This injustice must stop. The territorial integrity of our country must be restored. Justice must be restored. I am confident that we will achieve this. Today, our growing economic and military power will ensure that. I have no doubt that Azerbaijan will fully restore its territorial integrity and our IDPs will return to Nagorno-Karabakh and other lands. After that, we will build even more beautiful buildings in Nagorno-Karabakh, Khankandi, Shusha, Agdam and other cities.

Safura Huseynova: Only thanks to you can we fulfill our dreams, Mr. President. Thank you very much. I am very grateful to you. May God repose the soul of great leader Heydar Aliyev. You are doing people a lot of good. Once you have visited this house, I am sure we will be fine. Taking this opportunity, I congratulate you on your son Heydar’s admission to university. He is our son too. I hope that he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and yours. We love you very much.

You wanted your son to receive education in Azerbaijan. We are grateful to you for this austerity and sincerity.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, this is an important issue. I want the Azerbaijani youth to receive education in Azerbaijan. My son went to secondary school in Baku and will receive higher education in Azerbaijan. Also, on my initiative launched a few years ago, we are sending young people to study abroad and allocating funds. The State Oil Fund, which has allocated funds for the construction of these buildings, allocates about 30 million manats for education abroad every year.

Young people study abroad. I welcome this. But I said back then, want to say it again now and confirm by my own example that we need to create conditions for children to study in Azerbaijan. The level of education in Azerbaijan should be high enough for no-one to want to travel abroad to receive education. We are gradually achieving these goals. Of course, as President I am glad to be showing the way in this area. Education abroad has both positive and negative sides. Children live far from their homeland and families and in a different environment. We should try to raise the level of education so that children could study in Azerbaijan without being separated from their national roots, could grow up and be educated in the national spirit. Your kids will now study at this wonderful school. If they do well, they will go to universities. We need patriotic youth.

Safura Huseynova: Little Heydar has proved to all the young people that it is necessary to study in Azerbaijan. Sometimes young people go to Baku, and I wonder why. Our President has improved all the districts, transformed a little Agdam village into a big city. May Allah repose the soul of your father. I wish you a long life and good health. I always pray to Allah to protect our President!

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. I have been to Agdam District many times. Creative and landscaping work is under way there too. The Guzanli village has now become a city. Infrastructure projects have been implemented there, social facilities, hospitals, sports sites, roads, gas lines have been laid and settlements built on liberated territories of Agdam District.

Almost half of the residents of Agdam District, perhaps even more, now live in new settlements. After the liberation of Agdam we will rebuild it because the savages, our despicable enemies have wiped Agdam off the face of the earth.

There are photos and videos reflecting the current appearance of Agdam. The destruction of a city is unprecedented barbarism. Our historical monuments, mosques and historical places have been destroyed and looted. Who has done that? Armenian savages.

Of course, this barbarism will not remain unanswered. We will restore the territorial integrity of our country because there are different factors. First of all, Azerbaijan is developing and Armenia is in decline. This is already a reality. Azerbaijan is gradually strengthening, while Armenia is weakening. The economic and military power of Azerbaijan is growing, while Armenia has admitted that it can’t provide for his own security on its own and the latest developments are a clear proof of that. The world media also note that since Armenia can’t ensure its own security, it has resorted to a variety of steps. We live completely at our own expense and provide for our own development and security ourselves. There are also demographic issues. I have repeatedly stressed this issue. Look at how our population has increased in the period after war! Azerbaijan's population is over 9.4 million people. Armenia’s population is decreasing. It is less than 2 million now.

The longer the current leadership of Armenia and Sargsyan remain in power, the sooner our lands will be liberated because this man and his entourage are leading Armenia to a precipice. In fact, they are already in a precipice. The economy has collapsed and the population is fleeing. According to their own official statistics, 80,000 Armenians are leaving the country every year forever. If it goes on like this, there will be less than 1 million people there in five to six years. Our positions on the contact line are protected, but this is done by soldiers. There is no manpower to guard the Armenian side of the contact line. There are gaps. Gradually, this process will go even faster because our power is growing. At the same time, we are keeping Armenia in isolation to some extent. It is not a complete isolation, because their borders with other neighbors are open.

But since the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed, this in a sense represents a major economic blow to them. Of course, as long as our lands remain under occupation and the status quo remains, this should be the case.

Safura Huseynova: We have a President like you. You are the best of the best Presidents.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. I try to live up to people’s confidence and work for them.

Safura Huseynova: Mr. President, your whole family works in the name of Azerbaijan. We are proud of Leyla Aliyeva and Mehriban Aliyeva. All members of your family are working for the people of Azerbaijan and for the development of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has already overtaken European countries.

President Ilham Aliyev: The World Economic Forum has recently released a new report on the competitiveness of countries. Azerbaijan is in 39th place in the world, ahead of many highly developed countries. We are first in the CIS and 39th globally. This is the present-day reality. Every citizen and every member of the family, as I have repeatedly said, should serve one goal: to strengthen and our independence, to develop the economy and to put an end to the occupation as soon as possible. I am very happy and proud that my family members are actively involved in this. You have mentioned Leyla. What are the results of the "Justice for Khojaly" campaign she has initiated?

Five countries have officially recognized the Khojaly genocide as an act of genocide. This is the result of the "Justice for Khojaly" campaign. It was a public movement. I must say quite frankly that this public movement was subsequently joined by government agencies – ministries, Diaspora organizations, etc., and a large movement eventually emerged.
Letters and presentations were sent to different countries. This process is already under way now. The number of countries that recognize the Khojaly massacre as an act of genocide will gradually increase. We need to put pressure on the enemy from all sides and conduct our policy from economic, political, military and social directions – from all directions. Because we have one primary goal: the restoration of our territorial integrity, the return of our displaced persons to their homes and the restoration of historical justice.

Every official regardless of position should show the way by their own behavior and actions. If the state confides in him or the President decides to appoint him to a certain position, he should serve as an example for society. In other words, senior officials should be an example. In every area they should show the way by their work, skill and attitude to people.

This must be the case. If this is not the case, then they should not occupy these places.

I want to say again that I put forward the initiative to implement a program on education abroad myself, as the head of state. But at this stage, I think there must be a new approach. I am confident that officials will draw a lesson from this.

Safura Huseynova: Mr. President, we always listen to your speeches. We are proud of you. When we see on TV, it seems to us that you have given us the whole world. We are all glad that you mark your birthdays among the people. Let everyone learn from this. Sometimes they arrange lush weddings. You have talked about that too. We like these steps very much!

President Ilham Aliyev: It must be the case. Some officials used to conduct tumultuous anniversaries and celebrate birthdays for several days. They invited singers from abroad. This is unacceptable. It is arrogance. There is no other definition of that. This is intolerable. So I said my harsh word: I will dismiss them. I think that this lesson has also been learned. There must be rules of normal behavior in society. There must be law, of course. The rule of law is paramount.

But our society has its foundations, traditions and national values. There is respect for the elderly, an attitude to the younger and rules of conduct. We can’t break them. We as a nation have survived through the centuries thanks to our national values.

The relationships between the older and the younger, the rules of normal conduct – these are the factors affirming and showing our national characteristics. So there should be no undue actions or lush events. Officials need to be humble, serve the people and show loyalty to the state and statehood.

I want to thank you too. You have shown true heroism. You have raised the children alone. I am grateful to you for that.

Live here quietly, and I am sure that one day we will meet with you in Agdam.

Safura Huseynova: Inshallah. This is our only dream. God bless you!

Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.

The hostess thanked the President for the excellent conditions created for the IDPs. 

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