Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony held on the occasion of Mebes - the day when the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was bestowed a prophecy - Tezepir mosque, December 9, 1996

Dear compatriots!

Dear Muslims!

Today I am very pleased to be with you in this sacred holiday for us in the house of God in Tezepir mosque.

Today is the day when Mohammad (peace be upon him) entered into a prophecy. The day when he spoke directly to God, the Miraj day. Today is a great holiday for all Muslims.

I congratulate you on this holiday and I ask God for peace for our people and nation, for all Muslims of the globe. For centuries, we go through the way given to us by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), and by the holy book Koran. And today we are going this way. This is the path of peace, friendship, love and prosperity. This path brings happiness to people. I am proud that the Muslims of Azerbaijan acquired ample opportunities to serve their holy faith and to observe their rituals.

Koran teachings, preach fairness, honesty, heroism, courage and bravery to people. Muslims, while remaining faithful to their holy religion, went through difficulties, but also acquired a large fortune, and always felt the greatness of their religion.

After Azerbaijan regained its independence the spiritual values of our people became the milestone for every Azerbaijani-Muslim. This is a great historic event for us, and we should appreciate it. We must educate our people and nation, the younger generation, the whole society on the basis of these high values of Islam. I am pleased that in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, in our country, our religion - Islam unites our nation, seeks to strengthen our country and helps people get out of all difficulties.

Once again, we must realize that it is connected with dignity and respect and devotion of our people to Islam. For centuries our people, faced with a great test, passed a glorious way. However, throughout history there were casualties. These victims are also a manifestation of loyalty to our faith and spirituality.

In recent years, the people of Azerbaijan has experienced unprecedented trouble. This is the Armenian military aggression against Azerbaijan that embarked eight years ago. As a result of this aggression, because of the treachery of certain forces among us against our spiritual and national values, we had a loss; we faced with great difficulties, some of our territories occupied by Armenian armed forces. The wealth of the Azerbaijani people destroyed, looted in the occupied territories, we suffered from tremendous damage. Our national monuments, Islamic monuments, the sacred temples, tombs, and houses have been destroyed in the occupied lands. This is the great moral damage to our people. The heroic sons of Azerbaijan became martyrs, sacrificed their lives for the liberation of our land. They have gained immortality. They were killed while remaining devoted to our spiritual values and have settled in heaven.

All of this is our loss. However, all this is an example of loyalty and devotion of our people to their national values, religion, and spirituality. As you know, more than two and a half years, we observe a ceasefire. Blood is not shed, our children are not killed. We have created a peaceful environment since we are keen to achieve the resolution of the conflict through peaceful means.

And this policy is based on our national and spiritual values. Islam has always encouraged people to peace and truce. We are committed to all the laws of our religion. But at the same time, Islam is never at odds, and has no conflict with other religions. Therefore, based on these national and spiritual values we try to resolve issues peacefully.

As you know, since the armistice achieved we have consistently engaged in this work. I hope that our peaceful means will yield positive outcome, and we will liberate our occupied lands and restore the territorial integrity of independent Azerbaijan Republic, and eventually we will become complete masters of our territory. And our brothers and sisters languishing in tents will return to their homes.

Today, on this holy day I pray God for all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in defense of our homeland. I pray God for patience to their parents and relatives. On this sacred day I wish patience and endurance to our citizens, who are homeless for several years, living in difficult conditions, in tents. On this holy day, I express my gratitude, respect and appreciation to them for the patience and fortitude. They should know that they are under the constant protection of the Azerbaijani state and President. They should know that the entire Azerbaijani people and our citizens stand with them and pray God for them to get out of this vicious cycle.

The peak of all cases performed by us in recent years to address these issues was held in Portugal, on December 2-3, at Lisbon Summit of Heads of States and Government of the countries - members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.(OSCE) A meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is held every two years. Such a meeting was held two years ago in Hungarian capital, Budapest. We did there useful work aimed at ensuring the position of Azerbaijan, and achieved good results. Extensive negotiations undertaken in the name of peace and ceasefire were held just on the basis of the decision two years ago in Hungary, Budapest.
To achieve a breakthrough of the peace talks, we had a tough work in Lisbon in order to obtain the approval of the basic principles of those negotiations. I think we achieved a positive result. The result is that for the first time in the OSCE we achieved the adoption of the document confirming the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and providing a framework for peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. If you watched TV and radio programs, then you know how stressful, difficult and dramatic these negotiations were. But perhaps you noticed the fact that the delegation of Azerbaijan, President of Azerbaijan demonstrated the world the national dignity of our people, its being an independent state.

There, we put forward our demands. During the adoption of the last document of the Lisbon summit, a very tense and grave situation appeared. We posed the question in this way: our demands have to be undertaken; otherwise the delegation of Azerbaijan, using its right under the ruleof the organization, would oppose the adoption of the final document of the Summit.

Of course, this led to a very difficult situation. Meeting of Heads of 55 nations every two years, the discussion of issues, and as a result - no solution agreed. Of course, this could lead to serious consequences for each country in the international arena. However, given our national security positions for the main condition, we made a great risk. As a result of this, Lisbon summit of the OSCE adopted our desired statement. This indicates that all the states represented at the summit - with the exception of Armenia - confirmed that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is unchangeable, inviolable and must be ensured. To resolve the issue peacefully is possible provided that Nagorno-Karabakh is granted a high status of autonomy only within the Azerbaijan Republic.

This declaration is of great historical significance . This means that all member states of the OSCE, beginning with the largest - the United States, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Turkey and others, and ending with the small states, agreed that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be ensured, and occupied lands must be liberated. The solution of this issue by peaceful means is possible only on the basis of these principles. We were able to achieve this.

I think that a peaceful policy of the adoption of this document opens up a new phase and opportunities for us. We will try to make good use of these opportunities and, finally, to save the Republic of Azerbaijan from these troubles, to liberate the occupied lands, to ensure the territorial integrity of the country and restore its authority over all territories of Azerbaijan.

A day or two before the meeting with representatives of the public, I reported about all this in detail. My statement was published in the newspapers. I hope that you have become acquainted with them. I believe that each of you in your area will support us and conduct of our politics, and show solidarity with the taken measures.

In order to save our republic from this situation, our nation should unite more closely, and be supportive. There are still unworthy, dishonest forces within us. However, today, with a feeling of great satisfaction I say that most of the citizens of our republic endorses the right way of Azerbaijan, the relevant principles of statehood, independence, high national moral and spiritual ideas, and doing everything possible to ensure that all were united.

Therefore, informing you about it today, I again call on the entire Azerbaijani people, the Muslims, our people for unity and solidarity. I urge you all to unity, solidarity in the name of strengthening the independence of Azerbaijan in order to restore the territorial integrity of the republic in the name of the withdrawal of Armenian forces from our territories and the liberation of our lands.

I am sure that you and our whole nation will support me; we will overcome these challenges together and see a happy future of Azerbaijan.

I once again congratulate you on this holiday. Our achievements in Lisbon coincided with the happy days - bestowed the Prophet Muhammad the prophecy, his direct communication with God, the day Miraj. This is a great fortune. It shows that our ideas are clear, and they will lead us into a bright future.

I wish all of you, all Muslims of Azerbaijan health, happiness and prosperity. I want independent Azerbaijan Republic to strengthen and prosper day by day. Good bye.