Congratulatory speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the International Women`s Day - Azerbaijani State Musical Theatre after Rashid Behbudov, March 8, 1995

Dear women! Dear sisters!

I congratulate all of you on the Women`s Day, wish you good health and happiness, After a long break I am participating at the ceremony dedicated to the Women`s Day. This date has been celebrated in Azerbaijan for a long time. As you know, I lived outside Azerbaijan for many years. While working in Moscow, I used to take part in celebrations of the Women`s Day. After a long period, we are celebrating this holiday in our country. I am very satisfied. Yesterday I was invited to this ceremony. But I did not expect that the ceremony would be held on such a high level.

I am very excited today. Because here I see the prominent women of Azerbaijan. With some of them I used to work for many years. Now I am very happy to see our women in high spirits in such a hard period for our people.

Today there was a good concert. The whole world knows how rich our art is. However, sometimes we do not know what we are able to do. Most of the musicians and singers at the concert are young. At the same, we see the masters and stars of the Azerbaijani culture here. The speakers only praised the Azerbaijani women. Perhaps I shall not add anything. In general, woman is the most respected member of the society. Women must be respected by all. I do it and invite others to do the same.

The Azerbaijani women have successfully represented the customs, culture, science and intellectual potential of our people. We should thank all our women! I am very happy to be here. I congratulate you, and wish you good health and happiness! An old woman called Elmira made a speech here. I did not know that we have such mothers on frontline. The Azerbaijani women have always been brave. I thank you. I know that it will be a very sudden decision. However, as President I have a right to award you, Elmira khanum with the order "Banner of Azerbaijan", which is the highest award of Azerbaijan. We remember the stars of Azerbaijan. Leyla khanum, Sara khanum, Tukezban khanum, Firangiz khanum, Gulkhar khanum, Shafiga khanum are here. I have always been your fan. I have watched you on the stage, met you personally. I have always been proud of you. It is very good that you are here. I congratulate all our women, especially our stars. I thank Leyla khanum for her kind wishes. I am glad to meet you personally. Because we always see you on screen. Perhaps you also see me on screen sometimes.

From the audience: We miss you.

Heydar Aliyev: I miss you, too. Do you remember that I was in Nakhichevan during your anniversary. I had sent you a congratulation. Even though Nakhichevan was in a blockade, I phoned you. Now I am very satisfied to see you all here. Foreign ambassadors are taking part at the ceremony with their wives. I am not sure whether this date is celebrated in the USA, Turkey or the UK. But it is very good that their ambassadors are celebrating the Women`s Day with us. I congratulate also the foreign ambassadresses and thank the foreign ambassadors for their participation. Our people are suffering a lot during such a hard period. I know this, because I feel responsible for this. But when seeing you happy, I believe that our people will overcome all these difficulties. The pillar of our victory is our women. Women are in our souls!

Thank you. I congratulate you.