Speech of Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the National Guard of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Headquarters of the Azerbaijani National Guard, December 25, 1996

National guards!

I congratulate you on the fifth anniversary of the National Guard of the Republic of Azerbaijan!

National guards!

The establishment of the armed forces is one of the factors displaying the independence and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Every independent nation has and must have its armed forces to protect its statehood. Today we are proud to state that the Republic of Azerbaijan has its National Army and armed forces to protect our national security, peace and safety of our population, borders and territorial integrity of the country. The National Guard of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan plays a special role as part of the armed forces. It has great, honorable and responsible tasks to fulfill.

The National Guard, which fulfills its tasks for the protection of our state is, first of all, a military unit subordinate to the President of Azerbaijan. This military unit assumes special authorities and important duties for the protection of our state and President.

The National Guard of the Republic of Azerbaijan has had a great and praiseworthy way for five years, having faced a lot of hardships and obstacles. This period has been full of difficulties. The National Guard has had a lot of martyrs and losses and displayed heroism by defending our lands. The National Guard has also admirably protected the Azerbaijani statehood.

Nevertheless, there have been mistakes in the organization and administration of the National Guard. Sometimes some anti-Azerbaijani elements penetrate into it. Of course, such factors harmed the activity of the National Guard, but in general, it has been an excellent military unit.

The National Guard consists of the guards with strong creed and patriotic feelings. The reforms carried out for the organization and improvement of the National Guard in the recent years have led it to an appropriate level.

This is the 5-year history and recent achievements of the National Guard. I congratulate you on these achievements. I am sure that you will further do your best for developing the National Guard, keep it morally fit, improve its military abilities and professionalism.

As President of Azerbaijan, I consider the National Guard a special stronghold of our statehood and president. I hope that each member of the National Guard will meet the highest requirements.

The National Guard has now great power and opportunities to operate effectively, to serve loyally our statehood, to prevent possible provocations, terror and offensive actions against our state. But it is not enough. I appreciate the achievements. At the same time, on the fifth anniversary of the National Guard I demand you increase your training, physical conditions and professionalism.

All the attention is and will further be paid to the effective operation of the National Guard. Your duty is to appreciate and deserve this care and attention, to justify our confidence. You must be ready to carry out your service every minute. You must be capable to prevent any crimes, provocations, terrors against the Azerbaijani state and its President. I am sure that you possess these opportunities and personal qualities for it.Therefore I rely on you and wish you successes.

I am sure that each member of the National Guard is ready to fight and display heroism for Azerbaijan and its President if necessary. I congratulate you once more with this feeling and trust. I wish you health. I hope that you will enhance your trainings, be more vigilant and ready to fulfill your tasks with dignity.

I congratulate you and wish you the best. Thank you.

"Heydar Aliyev: Our Independence is Eternal" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, appeals, decrees) - Azerneshr, Baku - 1998, p198-200.