The opening and final speech of Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, at the ceremony of awarding parents, family members of soldiers, deceased National Heroes and distinguished people participated at the defense of Khojaly from the enemy with medals of “Gyzyl Ulduz” (Golden Star) and “Azerbaijan Bayragy” (Flag of Azerbaijan) orders - February 26, 1999

"Dear sisters and brothers!

Armenians have repeatedly committed aggressions and genocides against people of Azerbaijan in XX century. The Khojaly tragedy and genocide is the most terrible one.

Seven years ago, in that terrifying February night, the Armenian armed forces, supported by 366th regiment of the Soviet Union, have committed a terrible genocide against inhabitants of one of the magnificent parts of Azerbaijan – Khojaly. This genocide committed with an unprecedented atrocity is one of the most terrible tragedies of the XX century. Peaceful and unarmed Khojaly inhabitants experienced big blows in a night. As a result of the genocide, hundreds of women, men, the old, the young and the children of Khojaly were killed. Hundreds of Khojaly inhabitants were wounded and handicapped. Hundreds of people were taken hostage.

This tragedy is the hardest blow delivered to Azerbaijan in the course of Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Khojaly people faced this tragedy steadfastly and with fortitude. Those defending their home and family with heroism were killed and became martyrs. As the result of the fire opened by brutal Armenians the territory of Khojaly became stained with blood.

This tragedy shocked all Azerbaijani people and was a hard moral blow for the inhabitants of Khojaly. However, the will-power of the Khojaly people was not broken down; they became martyrs with heroism and courage. Khojaly people went through this tragedy with fortitude. Today, when seven years pass since that tragedy, the proud people of Khojaly still live a heroic life..."