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President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan can be considered the country with clear future

“Our independence is relatively young. Although we gained independence only 22 years ago, we have managed to resolve various issues in such a short period of history. In the beginning, we were faced with many problems, political and economic difficulties. Now, at a time when Azerbaijan is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, these changes are beyond doubt. And we are glad to have been part of this process and to actively participate in the transformation of Azerbaijan into a modern state. Our people have beautiful historical customs, traditions and culture, but our independence is still quite young. We were independent in the early 20th century, but it happened after the collapse of the Russian Empire and the Bolshevik Revolution and did not last long, only two years. At that time, the revolution had slogans such as “factories to workers”, “land to farmers”, “freedom to all the peoples of the Russian Empire”.

But none of these promises become a reality.

So two years later we lost our independence. Azerbaijan became a part of another country. Of course, it was part of our life and history. Therefore, I think that the people who lived in the former Soviet Union value their independence more highly. They appreciate their independent choice, the right to be free and to have a state of their own. And they are proud of their states. Azerbaijan's experience shows that when our future and our destiny are in our own hands, we can do much more than in previous times. The short period of our independence shows that despite all the difficulties, economic and political crises and civil war in the early 1990s, we have been able to cope with these difficulties,” President Ilham Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of the Baku second global shared societies forum.

“Today, our state rests on a solid foundation. We carried out broad political and economic reforms which have modernized our country. We have achieved democratic development, provided the fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of assembly, the freedom of the media, the freedom of the Internet, which are an integral part of our present life.

Twenty-two years ago we could only dream about that. At the same time, we clearly understand that without strong economic fundamentals there can’t be complete independence. Therefore, political reforms are carried out in parallel with economic reforms.”

“We have managed to attract foreign investment. We have channeled this investment into the industries we wanted to develop which were also attractive to investors. We have created a favorable investment environment and worked very hard to create numerous jobs even with the limited resources we had 15 years ago. Today we are moving forward in the right direction. We are well aware that the way forward lies through the strengthening of our independence, making it eternal and irreversible. It consists in the fact that we need to be economically free, independent and strong. And now I can say that after years of reforms, which are still under way, Azerbaijan can be viewed as a country that has a very bright future,” the President said.