Speech by Mr.Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Azerbaijan Republic at the official meeting organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan`s state independence - October 18, 2001

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Dear Ambassadors!

Dear guests!

I cordially congratulate all of you on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan`s independence, I wish health, long life, happiness and success in our common activities to each of you, every citizen of Azerbaijan.

There is not anything sweeter and more desirable than liberty, independence for each people, each nation. There are many people who have achieved their liberty and independence in XX century. The first and the second World Wars have totally changed the world map. Tens of peoples who lived in colonial conditions, achieved their.

In time of establishment of the Organization of United Nations after World War II there were about 50 members. Now the number of UN members is about 200. Look, how many people and nation have achieved national independence, created independent states in the course of such a historically brief period and now they are represented at the international organizations, they are members of UN.

By the end of XX century we, probably later than others, have finally achieved our state independence. In fact, the pages of the history prove that the Azerbaijani nation having declared its independence in 1918 built its state and commenced to live independently. But the independence was lost afterwards. In 1991 in the result of the collapse of USSR all of the 15 allied republics constituting the Union of the Soviet Socialistic Republics declared their independence and entered to the world community as independent states.

Having adopted the Constitutional Act on the independence of our country in October 18, 1991 we declared all over the world that Azerbaijan is an independent state. Hence there are 10 years that we are independent. In the course of these years we have passed a hard but glorious way. We are full member of UNO. We are member of all international organizations of the world. And finally, at the beginning of this year we have entered to one of the most respectable international organizations of the world – the Council of Europe. We are proud of it and our people are rightful to be proud. But the feeling of the proud is given to our nation also by the fact that it is free, it is master of its destiny, the signature of the Azerbaijani nation is among those of the nations of the world. While living as an independent state in the course of these years Azerbaijan has passed this examination over.

We celebrate these 10 years solemnly. There are several days, perhaps months, that Azerbaijani people celebrate with great joy the 10th anniversary of the independence of Azerbaijan in towns, districts, urban settlings, villages, enterprises, universities and other organizations. Thus, this became a great joy for every Azerbaijani citizen, all Azerbaijani nation. This is joy of not only a man, a family but the happiness and the most beloved holiday of all Azerbaijani nation, all Azerbaijani citizens.

I am completely confident that if having passed this long and difficult way in the course of 10 years we managed to defend and keep our independence, strengthen it, construct an independent, democratic, civil state in Azerbaijan, create all institutions of this state, then we have lied a strong, thorough foundation for future Azerbaijan. We have accomplished the first, the most complicated part of our mission.

But we have still another duty before our people. This duty is that Azerbaijan must develop further as an independent state, get stronger so that the independence of Azerbaijan brings happiness to each of its citizens, we have difficult tasks to accomplish. It is very gratifying that the majority of our citizens are conscious of these tasks, accept them as theirs and try to fulfill them. And we, state bodies, institutions of power of Azerbaijan feel this responsibility to a greater extent than every citizen. We can assure you that we will honestly accomplish our duties for future happiness of our people, for eternity of its independence.

It is for the first time that we have gathered in this evening meeting on the occasion of this ceremony. Such a desire occurred previously, but taking into consideration many things I decided that it is too early. But today these 10 years are elapsed.

Congratulating you, I recall with great feeling of gratitude those, who sacrificed their life for territorial integrity and independence of Azerbaijan. I congratulate the families of these braves. Today they must feel proud also that their children, brothers, sisters, husbands sacrificed their life for Motherland, nation, for their lands. They gave their life in the name of the independence of Azerbaijan and we will keep their memory in our hearts and their names will be kept in the centuries.

I cordially congratulate those who displayed heroism, wounded and became disabled fighting over the territories of Azerbaijan. We try to make their life normal. To skin over their wounds. I think that these wounds are those of our people. I am completely sure that the wounds of our people and wounds of those who were wounded while defending our Motherland will get skinned over and our nation will get rid of these calamities.

I congratulate the respected people of our country, deserved men of the science, culture, arts and all those who are working honestly at the state service, strengthen our statehood. I congratulate the Azerbaijani soldiers, the army of Azerbaijan who stays on the guard of the territories of Azerbaijan, all of our sons who are in the trenches. Their service will always be appreciated.

I am sure that every young man of Azerbaijan considers it a great honor for himself to be on the guard of his Motherland. I congratulate all of you, I congratulate the Azerbaijani people.

Happy Holiday!

I wish you health!

May your ways in the life be easy to pass over! Your health!

Yesterday we held a solemn ceremony, said good words. I want everybody feel himself free here.