Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev on the occasion of Novruz Holiday - March 21, 2003

Dear sisters, brothers!

I congratulate you on the occasion of one of the dear holidays- Novruz holiday, Spring holiday with my heart. I wish each of you, our people sound health, happiness, peace and welfare.

Dear friends, some month ago we have marked the 11th anniversary of the state independence of Azerbaijan. Our people live freely, and are the owner of its destiny in its native land, country for 11 years. It is being consistently carried out democratic state construction in Azerbaijan. The economy of Azerbaijan is developing and the welfare of our people is improving daily.

We have ensured the social-political stability and it reigns over every part, region of the country. Our people live quietly, freely and are engaged in their own business. Consequently, the Azerbaijan people have restored its traditions, customs, its own national-moral values and celebrates its holidays at the highest level.

Novruz holiday is one of the fruits which were given by the state independence of Azerbaijan. In the past we have always celebrated this holiday. We have celebrated it only at our homes, with our families. But now it turned into the real nation-wide holiday. These days our people, our nation celebrate Novruz holiday with great enthusiasm in all places, corners of Azerbaijan. I repeat all of them are the results yielded by the state independence of Azerbaijan to our people. Our people will always take care, protect, guard and develop its traditions as well as in the future. Since these traditions, which are the national-moral values of our people, speak about the peculiarities of our people.

As I said our people live quietly. However, in those days there are our compatriots who celebrate this holiday in tent settlements. They live in the hardest condition for many years. But they live in great hopes. They show great persistence, endurance and on this holiday day I express my special gratitude to the all refugees, internally displaced people, our compatriots living in tents for their endurance.

I especially congratulate our compatriots, citizens who live in tents with this holiday and I declare them, to all people that these days will last not long. The Azerbaijan state systematically works in the field of settlement of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict by peace way and I am hopeful that as a result of it we will get achievement in liberation of our territories. We will restore territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and our compatriots who have been driven out of their native lands will return their homes.

The cease-fire agreement proceeds more than 8 years. But the war was not terminated. Our hero soldiers, Azerbaijan Army stand on guard of Azerbaijan and are always ready to liberate Azerbaijan`s occupied lands. On this holiday day I congratulate the Azerbaijani soldiers, our sons being in the trenches with my heart and wish them successes in their honorable duties.

Dear friends, this holiday is the holiday of nation, people. I am so glad that our people highly appreciate this holiday and live in holiday spirits. Once again I congratulate you, I wish each of you good health and many successes in your works. Thank you.