Your Excellences,

Dear ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening!

I would like to thank you all for accepting our invitation and attending our event this evening. I am pleased to welcome you all to this party held on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan - 28 May.

Today, we celebrate the 106th year of our independence, which is engraved in golden letters in our glorious history and is a source of pride for every Azerbaijani citizen.

Our people have established states in different periods of history and have kept the power of these states alive for hundreds of years. At the same time, the people of Azerbaijan, who have ancient and rich traditions of statehood history, faced with the force to be a part of the large empires at certain stages of the past. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created in the period of reconstruction of the political world order, as a logical result of the stage of bright cultural progress that Azerbaijan experienced at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

On May 28, 1918, the people of Azerbaijan, with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence declaring the independence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, it created its first democratic and secular state in the Muslim world with a parliamentary form of government.

Although the life of the ADR was not long, it could do great things in a span of twenty-three months. In a short period, the newly established Azerbaijan Democratic Republic did its utmost to honorably fulfill the historic mission that it undertook. The republic made great strides in building an independent, democratic state, creating the first parliament and government, state apparatus and governing institutions, defining the country`s borders, adopting the national flag, anthem and emblem, declaring the mother tongue as a state language. Established military units with high combat capability, ensured territorial integrity and national security, and together with the Caucasus Islamic Army, Baku was liberated from the invaders and the capital was moved from Ganja to Baku.

The laws adopted during that period activity of the parliament contributed to the strengthening of the national independence, political, economic, cultural and educational development, focused attention on education and culture, was established the first university of Azerbaijan, and took other purposeful steps in order to ensure comprehensive development of the nation and national statehood in the years to come.

Guided by the principles of democracy and equality from the very first days of its existence, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic eliminated racial, ethnic, religious and class inequalities by granting all citizens of the country the same rights. For the first time in the East and long before some European countries, women were granted the right to vote in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan Democratic Republic pursued a peaceful policy trying to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with all states and build relationships based on the principles of respect for each other’s rights.

Although the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was invaded on April 28, 1920, which failed to fully achieve its goals, but the idea of independence that it instilled in the minds of the people was not forgotten.

On October 18, 1991, after approximately 70 years, Azerbaijan gained its independence it declared itself the political and legal successor of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

At that time, the Republic of Azerbaijan operated in an extremely difficult condition, which newly declared its independence and our people faced with the danger of losing it again in the first years of independence. Thus, as a result of Armenian occupation, 20 percent territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan were lost, more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons and were displaced from their native lands.

With the return to power of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, who had great political experience, this threat was eliminated and the state independence of Azerbaijan was secured, and the state of Azerbaijan regained the security of its independence. National leader Heydar Aliyev ensured the perpetuity and irreversibility of Azerbaijan's state independence, and our republic began a new period of development.

During the past short historical period after the restoration of state independence, as a result of the far-sighted policy and intense activity of the national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev, great achievements were made in the field of social and economic development and integration into the world system despite the difficult initial conditions.

All this proved once again that maintaining independence is more difficult than gaining it.

In order to turn independent Azerbaijan into a modern, strong, sustainable economic development state, National Leader Heydar Aliyev defined the oil strategy, which is the basis of the transformation of the political and economic reforms for the future, and played the role of a locomotive in the development of other areas of this economy.

Azerbaijan has become stronger, gained a high politically, economically, and militarily reputation in the world and achieved great development and stability as a result of the socio-economic policy which successfully continued and enriched with innovations by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. 

In accordance with the "New Energy Strategy", a number of successful projects have been signed in the direction of the transfer of Azerbaijan's energy resources to world markets. The Republic of Azerbaijan, which has become a potential gas exporter in the world in recent years, has enriched the energy map of the region and Europe, and as a country that implements an independent economic policy, acts as an initiator and active participant in a number of global energy and transport projects. It has already ensured energy security due to its rich hydrocarbon reserves and for many years has been making important contributions to the energy security of Europe.

The region's largest renewable energy plant was put into operation in Azerbaijan this year and based on the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed, 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy will be created in Azerbaijan in the next few years.

In recent years, our country has turned into an international transport corridor and a transport center as a result of the implementation of international transnational projects initiated and participated by Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has practically completed all major transport and logistical projects on its territory and is now ready to receive large volumes of cargo from different directions: from East to West and vice versa, and also from North to South and vice versa.

Very important projects have been carried out in the direction of ensuring the development of the non-oil sector, diversifying various sectors of the economy, increasing the export potential of our country, attracting foreign investment, and further improving the business and investment environment in Azerbaijan. The establishment of Alat Free Economic Zone is a clear example of this. The implementation of this project will not only bring great economic dividends to Azerbaijan, but will further strengthen the position of our country in the region, and will further increase the strategic importance of the republic, which has an important role in the East-West and North-South transit-transport corridors.

Efficient cooperation with the participants of the corridor is carried out for the timely and safe delivery of goods of Chinese origin to Europe and vice versa by transiting through the territory of Azerbaijan. So, the first block train left China on December 30, 2023, arrived in 11 days in Azerbaijan on January 11, 2024, which once again show the importance and competitiveness of the mentioned corridor.

Today's Azerbaijan is among the strongest countries of the world in the truest sense of the word, and we can serve as an example for many countries both in the world and in the region in terms of the correct choice of domestic policy priorities.

Azerbaijan was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2012-2013 and chaired it, shortly after, in 2019-2023, and chaired to the Non-Aligned Movement, which is the second largest international organization after the UN General Assembly. These are a bright example of the increase in the international reputation of our country, as well as the support of Azerbaijan's global efforts by the international community.

Additionaly, unanimous decision of all countries of the world to hold COP29, an international conference on climate change, in Azerbaijan is another sign of tremendous respect and reverence from the international community, as well as a high assessment of our transition to green energy.

During our COP29 Presidency addressing the challenges posed by climate change to SIDS will be among our priorities. We are planning to hold SIDS Summit during the Baku COP.

The slogan we have chosen for the Baku COP – “In solidarity for a Green World” reflects the spirit of our COP29 mission. As we are all facing this situation together, we call on all countries to act in solidarity to save our planet.

In addition to the mentioned successes, in 2020 Azerbaijan defeated Armenia on the battlefield and put an end to 30 years of Armenian occupation. After the glorious victory over the enemy in the 44-day Patriotic War Armenia, as occupying country, was obliged to sign a capitulation act. Thus, Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity and historical justice, and itself enforced four UN Security Council resolutions of 1993. This victory of Azerbaijan is the triumph of international law and justice.

Our sovereignty was fully ensured as a result of the 23-hours anti-terror operations in Karabakh in September, 2023. Full restoration of our sovereignty and territorial integrity is the most glorious page of our history. The flag of Azerbaijan, which was raised for the first time in 1918, flying proudly today in all the lands of our country liberated from occupation. Today, we are entering 2024 as a nation that has fully restored its sovereignty.

Currently, large-scale measures are being taken to restore the liberated territories, ensure their further development, create the necessary infrastructure and return the population to their native lands.

The process of reconstruction of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur has been divided into stages. The Great Return program has been adopted. Financial resources have been mobilized for the implementation of the program. In dollar equivalent to date, projected spending on infrastructure and urban development purposes till now have been somewhere around $7 billion. So, this is just the beginning. At the first stage, our main task is to rebuild eight cities and about 100 villages. Refugees and IDPs have already been settled in several places. The first pilot smart village project was implemented in Zangilan, in the village of Aghali and now a beautiful village of 200 houses a "smart village” has been built.

After the liberation of our territories from occupation, a school with 960 student capacity were built and put into use by Uzbekistan Republic in Fuzuli city, and a Children's Creativity Center built and was opened by Kazakhstan Republic. Also, the foundation of a secondary school to be built by Kyrgyzstan Republic was laid in Aghdam district, and a residential area for 420 families was planned to be built in that district by Belarus Republic.

The conflict has also made Azerbaijan one of the most heavily mine-contaminated countries in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million mines and an unknown number of unexploded ordnances posing serious risks to civilians in the region. Despite the end of the conflict, Armenia refuses to share complete and accurate information about the location of the mines it placed on the territory of Azerbaijan. In the post-conflict period, the number of people affected by mines reached 360, of them 68 were killed and 292 were seriously injured.

The issue of missing persons is one of the most topical problems facing Azerbaijan. During the first Karabakh war, a total of 3,890 of our fellow citizens went missing as a result of Armenian occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan. The missing persons were tortured, murdered by Armenia and buried in mass graves in the previously occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Immediately after the Patriotic War, determine the places of mass graves in the territories freed from occupation, and necessary excavation and exhumation work was started. In the last three years, 18 mass graves were discovered as a result of excavations in the liberated territories. As a result of the urgent measures taken, it has been possible to identify 55 missing persons.

The process of delimitation was carried out between Azerbaijan and Armenia without any mediation and 12.7 kilometer long border line was determined.

Dear friends!

The Republic of Azerbaijan is one of the first countries has established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Tajikistan. Diplomatic relations were established between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Tajikistan 32 years ago, on May 29, 1992, on this day of back history.

An important stage in the history of bilateral relations was the opening of diplomatic missions of Azerbaijan in Dushanbe (September 22, 2007) and Tajikistan in Baku (March 23, 2008).

Between Azerbaijan and Tajikistan interaction rests on the determination of peoples, who have been cooperating for centuries, have been friends, and have created together. Today, our interstate relations have reached the highest level.

The special and trustworthy friendly relations of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon play an important role in the development of relations between our countries.

Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the development of comprehensive relations with Tajikistan based on mutual trust and respect, mutual interest in deepening and developing bilateral relations, common positions on many global and regional problems.

In April and September 2023, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid a state visit to the Republic of Tajikistan and a working visit to attend the Summit of Central Asian Heads of State as a guest of honor, and working visit the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to participate in the Summit of the UN Special Program for Central Asian Economies (SPECA) last year, and the state visit to Azerbaijan on May 22-23, 2024, which has opened a new page in our interstate relations. At the same time, meetings held within the framework of international events and other high-level visits are the most important factor of our mutually beneficial cooperation.

Last days, within the framework of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to our country, signing the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, reflects the nature and spirit of our relations, as well as the will of our peoples which reflects the high level of strong friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.

The strategic partnership will serve to bring the two peoples closer to each other, to further strengthen friendship and brotherhood which established between our countries.

In addition to the high-level political relations between the two countries, the existing relations in the fields of economy, trade, tourism and culture are continuously developing.

In addition, I would like to express my confidence that signing 85 agreements and contracts between our countries so far will add an important contribution to the further development of mutually beneficial relations in all fields.

I am sure that, new achievements await us for the sake of welfare of the ancient friendship and brotherhood between our countries and peoples with our joint efforts.

Thank you for your attention.