Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the opening ceremony of the Azerbaijani - Turkish joint-stock venture - tea-packing factory - Baku, Bakikhanov settlement, December 28, 1996

Dear sisters, brothers!

Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen!

Dear guests!

Today`s ceremony has special value. Its kernel, meaning should be estimated as the step made by Azerbaijan for last years on a way of perfection of economy, creation and development of market economy.

Production potentialities, natural resources of our republic, including production, which is taken from the nature of Azerbaijan, are very rich and wide. It is necessary to use them rationally. For this purpose development of business, providing development of free economy and creation of market economy are our strategic way. We are going on this way confidently, step by step.

As you know, ample opportunities have been created and necessary laws have been adopted in Azerbaijan. In our republic economic reforms are carried out and the business initiative, business steps of persons are approved by the state and the government and necessary opportunities for their implementation are provided. As a result of economic policy conducted in Azerbaijan, last years private enterprises are founded, foreign investors, businessmen show more interest in establishment of business ties with the various organizations of Azerbaijan, the industrial enterprises, separate businessmen, and it yields the positive results. One of the graphic evidences to that is creation today joint venture - the new tea factory, jointly established by Azerbaijan and the Turkish company "Intersun".

Tea in Azerbaijan is widespread plant. The Azerbaijan grounds are favorable for cultivation and tea production. Since ancient days, Azerbaijan is the country producing tea. And in the last years, there were greater opportunities in Azerbaijan for tea production. In its southern regions - Lankaran, Astara, Masalli regions, there were large tea plantations. In due time, it was annually gathered 25-26 thousand tons of a green tea leaf in Azerbaijan.

I want to note that in those times, in southern region of our republic our economy, engaged in tea-growing, had greater benefit from cultivation of tea, however, to raise quality of tea production could not be possible in Azerbaijan. But despite it, we had larger tea plantations, our tea manufacturers had taken profit, and they have formed their life by means of tea cultivation, tea manufacture.

Unfortunately, during the subsequent period these tea plantations have been destroyed because of oversight, as a result of destructive actions by separate groups. Today Minister of Agriculture has informed me that only one thousand tons of a tea leaf have been manufactured this year in the republic. But I remember, in 1980, 26 thousand tons were collected in our republic. It means, the figure has decreased in 26 times. I ask why is it so? He answers that there is the smallest part out of those plantations which you saw. You know, to destroy is easy, but to create very difficult.

Our people have always been creator, builder people. Using this talent, selflessness of our people, we created greater opportunities in agriculture of Azerbaijan, including remarkable tea plantations, gardens in Lankaran, Astara, Masalli regions in 1970-80 years. People admired looking at them. And when we saw these tea plantations and young girls - tea-growers of Azerbaijan working there on TV, in our films, it pleased us very much. Unfortunately, those destructive forces have ruined riches, which have been created by people during many years, tens of years. Now it is necessary to adjust, to construct it again. We are engaged in it. Today with full determination, I declare that tea plantations of Azerbaijan, its gardens will be restored, created and constructed in short term again. And all these will bring to our people, working people, to Azerbaijanis more profit, advantage again and will promote improvement of a standard of our people`s life.

In our republic new steps are taken and in this connection foreign investments are widely used now. The corresponding organizations of Azerbaijan carry out teamwork with foreign investors. I support, I approve carrying out of such works. Necessary conditions have been provided; appropriate decisions have been accepted and will be accepted as well as in the future for carrying out of them in our republic. Therefore, I address to our tea growers and to workers of tea-growing regions and also to foreign investors that it is possible to conduct joint fruitful work and to receive good profits in this field. Let be united, work in common, you will profit for yourself and the standard of people`s life will be improved, the economy of Azerbaijan will be developed. For this purpose, I give all of you a necessary guarantee.

I am pleased with new tea factory for which opening we have gathered today, the factory equipped with the modern equipment, possessing great production potentialities, modern technology. I consider that it is significant event in an economic life of our republic. I am sure that such beginning will have continuation, the tea factory will reach the stipulated volume of manufacture, will make high-quality production and will meet need of the population of the Azerbaijan Republic for tea.

Today I examined all shops of the factory, familiarized with technological processes, with the equipment and saw productions. And you saw it. The company "Intersun" recently carried out very interesting work, they regularly advertise this tea on Azerbaijan TV, introduce it to the people. And consequently, I have got acquainted with these grades of tea by means of TV before my arrival here, but now I saw them visually, that is, both tea and its packing. All these really corresponds the world standards. I believe, and heads of company "Intersun" have also told me that this tea will be sold, distributed not only in Azerbaijan, but in other countries.

Here it was informed that this tea has already been exported to Iraq, Turkey. Certainly, it will be widely distributed in the future as well. Thus, the tea, manufactured in Azerbaijan, will be used in other countries too. And it will make a profit and it will be also a glory for Azerbaijan, as the country making tea. I highly appreciate it and I want to express confidence that the factory will work at a worthy level, provide its production capacity, bring necessary benefit to economy of the republic, workers will be able to satisfy their material needs and in such a way, the general, fruitful work will be carried out.

Feature of creation of this tea enterprise and its putting into operation today consist that tea is a remarkable product. There is no finer and widely used product than tea for Azerbaijanis, our people, among all products necessary for the person. It can be compared only to bread. Each Azerbaijani after meal necessarily drinks tea. It is our tradition, which passed from century to century. It is impossible to find such an Azerbaijani who live without some tea. And consequently creation of such an enterprise is the event corresponding national traditions of Azerbaijan, needs of our people. Manufacturing of this production by the company "Intersun" in our republic shows that they have well studied a life of Azerbaijan, defined basic production demanded by our people and started its manufacture. I especially appreciate it.

It is known that tea is very useful product and drink. Among all drinks, used by people, tea is on a par with water. Therefore, I address to the enterprises producing alcoholic drinks, or to the people inclined to the use of alcoholic drinks: our ancestors constantly had drunk tea. They had considered tea as the most important drink, this tradition has reached our fathers and grandfathers, become a habit. Therefore, it is necessary to use tea effectively. That is, there is no need to propagandize it. In any family, in any house each person should drink tea. Certainly, everyone wants this tea to be qualitative. And even we have songs about tea and there are many words glorifying tea.

There is a remarkable tradition in Azerbaijan - tea-houses have been opened in everywhere. It is the tradition reflecting national feature of Azerbaijan. In foreign countries there are places, where alcoholic drinks are taken, there are also others. I do not object to it, it is necessary too. But tea-houses in Azerbaijan are the most necessary, most widespread object. People in tea-houses have a rest, talk. Our people always loved tea samovars, samples of tea. I repeat, the use of tea is a habit of our people, its feature. I consider that all these are positive features, characteristic to our nation. I want our people to drink only tea, not to have a propensity to the use of spirits, of all drinks harming to their health. And from this view point producing of high-quality tea promotes the further strengthening, expansion, development of our traditions.

Therefore, I positively estimate the tea production, new tea factory from the view point of meeting people`s economic needs, development of our national traditions and preparation of high-quality tea in each house, tea-houses. I express my gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Turkish company "Intersun" for this initiative.

I congratulate you on opening the new enterprise. I am very glad that steps on a way of market economy are undertaken, the practical work is carried out and it yields its results. Today I declare once again that the Azerbaijan state, the government will take necessary measures in the future for development of market economy. Ample opportunities will be given to the foreign companies, investors, businessmen going on a way of healthy, pure market economy in Azerbaijan. I invite all of you to be engaged in similar issues practically. Once again I invite the foreign companies to Azerbaijan for teamwork in our republic.

The enterprise, which is opened today, is at the same time the sample of Azerbaijani-Turkish cooperation. I have repeatedly said that in the field of our cooperation with foreign countries, Turkish Republic, its companies, businessmen take special place, and we attach special significance to it. From this view point, this enterprise is practical result of Azerbaijani-Turkish cooperation. I wish to express confidence that this cooperation will intensively develop in the future as well.

Once again I congratulate you. I invite all to try "Maryam", "Final", "Marjan", "Azerchay" teas. Drink these grades of tea more. The more you will drink tea of these grades, the more you will be healthy. You will also work well.

I congratulate all of you on forthcoming significant days. On December 31 is Day of Solidarity and unity of the world Azerbaijanis. It is dear day for us. Because Azerbaijanis live in all countries of the world. Azerbaijanis should be united, approach more and more every day to each other, strengthen communications. That day - December 31, the Day of Solidarity of the world Azerbaijanis pursues these purposes. I congratulate you from bottom of my heart on this holiday. I wish the world Azerbaijanis happiness, invite them to be closer to each other. I wish the solidarity of the world Azerbaijanis.

We are on the New Year `s eve. After some days it will start 1997. There are great duties before us. I am hopeful that the works carried out by us will be expedited. Azerbaijan will meet new achievements. I am sure to that.

I heartily congratulate you and all citizens of Azerbaijan on the forthcoming New Year. I wish all of you health, happiness and successes in your activities.
Thank you.