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President Aliyev’s Inaugural Address: Azerbaijan’s Strategic Vision and Achievements Unveiled

By Ilham Karimli February 15, 2024

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President Ilham Aliyev at his inauguration ceremony, Baku, Azerbaijan, February 14, 2024 / President.Az

In his Wednesday inauguration speech as President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev outlined a comprehensive strategy with detailed action plans aimed at key areas of the nation’s internal and foreign policy agenda. His address highlighted a steadfast commitment to transformative initiatives geared towards strengthening Azerbaijan’s domestic governance and amplifying its influence in crucial global domains such as energy and transportation.

Here are the key takeaways from President Aliyev’s speech:

  • We have initiated the signing of a peace agreement with Armenia. Azerbaijan was the author of the five well-known principles. We also wrote the text of the peace agreement and sent it to the Armenian side. Now, if Armenia wants to comply with the norms of international law, this agreement will be signed. If it doesn’t and if groundless claims continue to be made against us, this agreement will not be signed. Yet, nothing will change for Azerbaijan.
  • I think that the process of normalization of Azerbaijan-Armenia relations should be dropped from the international agenda. Because apparently every other party wants to deal with this issue. Mind your own business! This is why I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this topic because it’s not worth it. We have resolved our problem. 
  • The solidarity of the Azerbaijani people is one of our biggest achievements. The brilliant Victory in the Second Karabakh War once again shows that the people of Azerbaijan are a great nation. All ethnic groups and peoples living in Azerbaijan are united under the flag of Azerbaijan. In this Victory, in this historic Victory, every nation living in our country has made its own valuable contribution.
  • The process of returning the former IDPs to their ancestral lands is going on successfully. To date, approximately 5,400 IDPs have already been returned and settled in five settlements. IDPs will return to at least 20 settlements this year. We plan to settle 20,000 former IDPs in five cities and 15 villages by the end of the year. 
  • The results of January of this year are quite encouraging. Gross domestic product [of Azerbaijan] has increased by 5 percent and in the non-oil sector by more than 12 percent. This is an encouraging indicator. It shows that we are steadily regaining our economic pace.
  • Poverty is at the level of 5 percent in Azerbaijan. In 2003, it was about 50 percent. Efforts to address unemployment should be consistent to maintain it at a low level. 
  • Today, in the field of industrial development, in the military and industrial complex, and, in general, in the military field, technological development and superiority are of great importance. Everyone saw this during the Second Karabakh War and the anti-terrorist operation.
  • Another important goal is related to renewable energy. We are at the forefront here as well and work has already been started. According to our plans, about 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy, new energy types, should be created in Azerbaijan by the end of 2030 – mainly solar, wind, and hydropower plants. The figure I have cited is completely realistic, it will be based on the contracts already signed. 
  • Work will be continued in the field of conventional fuel – oil and gas. Work is underway on stabilizing oil production; I think there will be results in the near future. We need sustainable oil production, and we have set this task before the investors. There have been certain points of concern and these issues are due to be addressed through business contacts.
  • We are already exporting natural gas to eight countries. The demand is greater, first of all, of course, from the European Union. More and more people are asking us for help. These are the requests being made to us. And we, as a reliable partner, are always ready to help those in need. 
  • Today, Azerbaijan is recognized as a global transport hub. We receive applications from the West, the East, the North, and the South. The entire transport infrastructure in the territory of Azerbaijan is in operable condition. Some railways simply need to be modernized, and we are doing that. It is probably impossible for the geopolitical situation in the world to change shortly. Under such circumstances, the need for our transport infrastructure will further increase.
  • We will also contribute to the climate change agenda, especially considering that this year Azerbaijan will host COP29 – the largest international conference in the world. Therefore, our goals regarding renewable energy are clear. I must also state that all these projects are being implemented and will be implemented by foreign investors. We are now observing a process of competition among foreign investors.
  • We will be more active in solving problems of concern in the world, including climate change. Considering that we will be the host and chair of COP29, we must be at the forefront of the fight against Islamophobia in the world. We should be with the countries fighting against neo-colonialism. We are showing and will continue to show support in the fight for the complete eradication of neo-colonialism and the remnants of that ugly history from the face of the Earth.