Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting in Baku Higher All-Arms Command School. June 20, 2001

Dear soldiers of Azerbaijan!

Dear soldiers, officers, generals!

I welcome all of you with my heart and I feel great pleasure for today`s meeting with you.

This year Azerbaijan will celebrate tenth anniversary of the state independence. It is important and, it is possible to tell, unprecedented event in centuries-old history of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan people has achieved the state independence, freedom, constructed the independent state, and the Azerbaijan state, having established close relations with the advanced states of the world, carries out the process of the state construction according to requirements of the present period.

The policy of Azerbaijan in the state construction is a construction of the democratic, legal, secular state in our country. We have made much in this area. Now there is already such state, such society in Azerbaijan. But, at the same time as our independence is young, the state, all spheres of the state are young. Carrying out the process of the state construction in Azerbaijan, we have implemented and we will implement many reforms for development of economy of Azerbaijan, providing of free development of Azerbaijan people on a way of democracy, construction of free economy. One thing is already known to the world. Both our soldiers and our army should know that Azerbaijan goes on a way of democracy, freedom, free economy. We will go consistently on this way henceforth and we consider this way the only way for strengthening, development of independent Azerbaijan.

As you know, during while the state independence Azerbaijan has met extremely big difficulties. Because at that time attacks of Armenia to Azerbaijan had been proceeding for some years. The aggression started by Armenia with the purpose of capture Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh), being territory of Azerbaijan, has created huge difficulties, big problems for Azerbaijan people during gaining the state independence. Therefore, the process of army construction in Azerbaijan went slowly. In spite of the fact that after finding of the state independence by Azerbaijan some statements were sounded for army construction, it should have been done still much for creation of the true army agreeable to the independence of Azerbaijan. This work was complicated because, on the one hand, it was necessary to prevent aggression of armed forces of Armenia against Azerbaijan, and on the other hand it was necessary to build the state and to form National army of Azerbaijan.

We have gone through such difficult years. If in those years in Azerbaijan there was organized, highly professional military staff, then, naturally, we could provide better protection of our lands and give worthy repulse to the aggression by the armed forces of Armenia. But, unfortunately, all this did not happen. If we take into consideration that during gaining of the state independence by Azerbaijan political stability inside Azerbaijan has been broken, various political forces, conducting here struggle for authority, have pulled the military staff being at that time few to their sides, rendered influence on them, wanted to take advantage of them for their purposes, then you can imagine army construction in Azerbaijan has passed how the difficult period. However, thank to God, in the past, in days of the Soviet authority - in 70 and the next years - we, thinking about the future of Azerbaijan, very seriously were engaged in preparation of the national officer staff of our country. And it is known to all. Creation in 1970 of Military High School named after Nakhchivanskiy - now we name its military Lyceum - and next years annually increasing numbers of the Azerbaijan youth in two Higher Military Schools of the Soviet army taking place in Azerbaijan, sending of the Azerbaijan youth to more than 140 military schools in territory of the USSR - all this has put in pawn a basis of preparation of the officer staff among Azerbaijanis since 70 years.

You can imagine in what heavy condition Azerbaijan would be, if all this did not happen when our country was attacked by Armenia which took advantage of military formations of the various countries and conducted the certain preparation to start aggression against Azerbaijan. At that time the basis of army construction in Azerbaijan was made by the military staff prepared by us in last years. However, it is completely not enough for today and the future of independent Azerbaijan. Military schools corresponding to modern requirements, and preparation of the national officer staff in these schools were necessary for us to construct powerful army, to raise the Azerbaijan army up to a level of the world standards in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, we could not start this work in due time for the reasons mentioned by me. But after 1995-1996, first, after achievement of the agreement on a cease-fire regime between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and second, after stabilization of political conditions in Azerbaijan we began to be engaged seriously in the organization of our military schools, aspiring to raise them to the high level. We are engaged in it today and we will be engaged in the future as well.

Yes, establishment of National Higher Military School of Azerbaijan on the location of the advanced Higher Naval School in former Soviet Union, in this large complex, the beginning of its work in 1997 and present graduates of the officers who have received fine education within four years, will affect strengthening of the Azerbaijan army and become the important event in our army construction.

But it is just the beginning. The Military Academy has been founded in our country. Graduates, who finished this school, receiving education within a year, will possess the deepest military knowledge, a military profession in Military Academy. All this in our country will make construction even more powerful, more professional and more adequate to world standards of army.

I accept your invitation. I will participate at the event of graduation to be held in August. I will present diplomas to those who will be graduated this military school with high marks. Be sure, as the President, as Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I will take all measures as well as in the future for construction of the Azerbaijan army, development, expansion of military schools, providing all needs of army, increase of their level in our country.

Today I have familiarized with some divisions of your school. I have visited some classes. I have listened to officers-teachers, young cadets. These have pleased me. These have pleased because here military education at a high level has already been organized. And certainly it cannot be organized for one, two years. The first youth which has begun the higher military education four years ago, will finish training this year and will go to serve in army. This is very significant event.

Here in your classes, laboratories, practical cabinets I saw the devices corresponding to modern requirements, and have felt what knowledge teachers possess, it is natural, those whom I saw, and I came to a conclusion that the Higher Military School has already been founded in our country. The first graduates will be in this Higher Military School, annually there will be new and new graduation, and for short term - it is possible to tell, that within 4-5 years, the officers of a high level graduated this school will achieve to serve in our army.

Military construction - army construction is difficult process. I have noted that it could not be carried out for one, two years. The Armed forces created by us had been generated on the basis of the personnel prepared in the past. However, now the officers who have got education in the Higher Military Schools created by the independent state which is corresponding to a level of modern requirements will annually join our Armed forces, our army. It is one of the main conditions for realization of further state strategy in the field of army construction in Azerbaijan. We carry out it and we will carry out henceforth as well.

To raise this school to a necessary level and as a whole to raise military education to a desirable level in Azerbaijan, it is necessary to conduct still many works. I positively estimate your work, at the same time I know the lacks of the Ministry of Defense concerning the organization of military schools and their activity at a desirable level and I note them. And in your school alongside with achievements there are mistakes, lacks as well. And consequently it is impossible to stop on achievements. We cannot be content with it. Achievements are first steps of our big work, creation further stronger army of our independent state. However, the subsequent steps should be more powerful, more significant. It is necessary to use effectively possessed experience, so that the level of graduates to be even higher from graduation to graduation. The officers going to our army after each graduation should be the officers suitable to higher standards.

Here you study many subjects. All of them are necessary. Naturally, first of all the basic condition is development of a military trade. Though the person is strong, heroic, if he didn’t master a military trade and achievements in the military area, he will not be capable to use them in this case, certainly, it is impossible to reach desirable result. And consequently this field is the basic. I think that you - both officer-teaching stuff and cadets - will give even more attention to this. And our Ministry of Defense will strengthen the work in this field.

Here there is a training in foreign languages. They are necessary for studying seriously because now our army cooperates with armies of many countries of the world. We take part in the NATO program "Partnership for Peace" and other programs. Therefore knowledge of foreign languages is extremely important. It is necessary to know not only one language, and, probably, even some languages.

You are young people. Your activity in a life just begins. You are 18-19-20-21 years old. Know, as the person, lived the great life, I want to tell you that it is the happiest period in human life and this period should be used effectively. You should not waste time. Loss of the slightest opportunity during this period, at this age, turns then to the big difficulties in human life. Therefore, I recommend you and as Supreme Commander-in- Chief I order you to try to learn all subjects at the highest level in educational process. For this purpose I, naturally, demand from officer-teacher stuff to increase the level and improve educational process. It is necessary they to have their heart in this work, try to teach various subjects to our young cadets. Because the duty of each honest citizen of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani is our future generation to possess even more profound knowledge, be sound, have better world experience. I hope you will engage in elimination of mistakes and raise your efforts.

The military trade demands good physical preparation. Each young man at desire can be strong enough physically. If he really uses effectively physical opportunities of the body, conducts a correct, healthy way of life, does not display interest to negative things, he will always be healthy and physically strong.

It is necessary for the person. However it is necessary also for our army, each officer and the state as well. Therefore, speaking about it, firstly, I express care of the state to our youth, our citizens, and secondly, I want to express our care to all officers, the staff of our army. However alongside with physical preparation moral purity is extremely important, moral health attaches great importance. I think it should take the basic place in your teaching and educational work, activity of all officer-teacher stuff.

Each young man who has devoted himself to military trade should realize: why he has devoted himself to this trade. Because the military trade is not easier at all, and more difficult than other trades. Why he devotes himself to it? Because to protect the native land, protect the state, the nation! I think that it is an overall goal of the young man who has received military education to serve in army. If all of you taking into account this purpose, want to devote yourself to military trade, and to enter military school to get the higher military education, to serve in our army, in Armed forces, it means, you should possess healthy morality. And the healthy morality should consist of fidelity of independence of Azerbaijan, fidelity to the Azerbaijan state, fidelity to today and the future of Azerbaijan people, fidelity of our nation. Those who does not possess these qualities, let they do not trouble themselves, enter military schools and serve in army.

Unfortunately, in our army there are still people who do not meet these requirements. I think that all these are indications of transitional period. We will eliminate them. I repeatedly put this problem before the Ministry of Defense, before military units. The person who is not loyal to the Azerbaijan state, its independence, does not consider honor to serve people, cannot serve in Armed forces. Therefore the officer-teacher stuff should provide this duty during teaching process. Each of you should know that without possession these moral values, moral qualities, you cannot become worthy officers, worthy fighters of army of independent Azerbaijan despite all your other knowledge.

I think the Ministry of Defense should mainly be engaged in this work. It should provide officer-teacher stuff to meet moral requirements, values in the higher schools, including in this higher school. People, simply employees here, receiving the salary for this service, using privileges of this school, however remaining indifferent to the state, the nation, our independence, the state construction, cannot work in such schools, cannot be engaged in education, training. Therefore I demand from the command of this school, I demand from the Ministry of Defense, you should seriously be engaged in this issue, and it is possible, even to take the certain, concrete measures to raise this issue to a high level.

Today our army cooperates with armies of many countries of the world. Therefore the international relations of our army develop and should develop. But the representatives of brotherly Turkish Republic and its glorious army has constantly helped to us and help today too in construction of our army, in particular creation of the higher military schools and all military schools, perfection of knowledge, a military trade of officers of our army. Therefore, today taking this opportunity, I express my gratitude, thanks to Turkish Republic, Armed Forces of Turkey and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, our brothers - Turkish officers and the generals serving in Azerbaijan. I want to express hope that this cooperation will become stronger and extend even more as well as in the future.

Using both the educational centers and experience of other countries is one of the major questions for us, that is, for you. Therefore the Ministry of Defense should improve, expand even more the work done in this area till today, and to take necessary measures so that the Azerbaijan army, the Azerbaijan officers could reach a level of armies, officers of the advanced countries of the world.

Putting these duties before you, I want to express hope that process of the organization of military schools will develop henceforth and our military schools will achieve higher level in the future.

Here, in this complex where your military school is located, there are fine opportunities. In the past very good buildings had been constructed here, your territory is large. It is possible to tell, in Azerbaijan this is the only higher educational institution which has such big territory, so many buildings among military schools, and in general the higher schools and the universities. At that time all this belonged to the Soviet army. And the Soviet army, constantly increasing the force, annually carried out the big work on development of material-technical conditions of these schools, however the certain stagnation happened in our transition period.

Now I see that you have carried out good repair in some parts, have done work on material-technical provision. However it does not cover all corps, all territory. I approve the done work, however henceforth all corps taking place in this territory should be raised to a modern level so that cadets training here, officer-teaching stuff could use them more effectively.

In the world there are a lot of trades. In each country including in independent Azerbaijan, however the most important, the most valuable to people, the nation, for each citizen, for the state is the trade to protect the nation, people and the ground from all trades, that is the military trade. You have decided to devote yourselves to this business. I support your decision and I call the Azerbaijan youth to select this way because it is the most honorable way, the most honorable trade. I am glad that interest of youth of Azerbaijan in this trade grows year after year. And we - the state, I, Supreme Commander-in-Chief, will do the utmost for development of this trade in Azerbaijan, in the field of education. I am confident that you will never regret for choosing this trade in the future. I am confident you will be proud even more that you have chosen this trade in the future. At the same time I believe each citizen of Azerbaijan, the public of our independent state will have great respect to those people who have selected this trade, engaged in this trade, going on this way. Each soldier, each fighter, each officer is the more dear for me than other citizens of Azerbaijan.

I wish you successes on this elected way. You will go to army after graduation. I want to express hope you will provide higher professional level, create even more healthy atmosphere, even more healthy climate in army, in each part because you are people trained here within four years, devoted yourself to military trade due to opportunities of the independent Azerbaijan state. We want to see results of this four-year education in your service in military units. There it will receive more fair estimation: as far as your education will provide fighting capacity, fighting qualities, discipline and moral purity of our military units. I hope we will become witnesses of it.

I wish all of you strong health. I wish you great successes on this honorable way elected by you. Thanks.