Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the third anniversary of the Khojali massacre held in the Tazapir Mosque - Tazapir Mosque, February 26, 1995

Distinguished compatriots!

Distinguished Muslims!

We have assembled here in the Tazapir Mosque in connection with the third anniversary of the Khojali genocide.

With its multi-centennial history, the Azerbaijani people contributed a lot to the world culture. The Muslim world contributed to the world culture with its Holy Koran. Throughout its history the Azerbaijani people faced a lot of tragedies. One of them is the Armenian aggression lasting for six years, which caused a lot of losses, including victims and occupation of our territories. But the Khojali massacre is the most tragic of all.

There have been a lot of tragedies and genocides in history. The Khojali genocide committed by the Armenian aggressors is one of the most brutal events.

The war was initiated by the Armenian aggressors. The Azerbaijani people are defending its country. A lot of blood is being shed, many people perish in the war. We suffered a lot. However, the murder of the innocent people, including women, children, the old and the sick was the most tragic event of the six-year war.

The Khojali tragedy demonstrated the real ambitions of the Armenian aggressors. The Azerbaijani people was stabbed in the heart in that horrific night. It still hurts us. The murder of the civilian people, including women, children, the old and the sick proves how brutal our enemies are.

The Khojali massacre is one of the most cruel tragedies in the history of the mankind. All the people murdered that night are martyrs. They are examples of heroism and bravery of the Azerbaijani people.

We gave a lot of sacrifices during the six-year war. Our citizens killed in Khojali were martyrs for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Now we commemorate all of them. I express my condolence to the Azerbaijani people on the anniversary of the Khojali tragedy. May them rest in peace! I wish patience to our people. We need patience to struggle for the independence and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

The Khojali tragedy is a source of sorrow for us. But it is an example of heroism at the same time. We have always had difficulties. However, nothing can break the will of the Azerbaijani people. Now we have to be more courageous. We have to defend our independence.

Remembering all our martyrs, we have to be proud. With all this sorrow, we must be optimistic about the future. I am sure that the Azerbaijani people will overcome these hardships, too. These hardships are not connected only with the occupation of our territories and hard living conditions of our refugees. It is a transitional period for us. We suffer from socio-economic crisis. Our citizens face a lot of problems. However, our people have passed through such hardships throughout centuries, so it will in future.

We should not lose our confidence. We must pursue our roads, the road of independence of Azerbaijan. Our road is our loyalty to our moral values, traditions, religion, language and history. With our solidarity we can win the Armenian aggressors, liberate our occupied territories and overcome the crisis.

I am sure that our road is the best for the interests of the Azerbaijani people. We shall pursue it. Azerbaijan relies on the solidarity, will and tolerance of the Azerbaijani people.

May the martyrs of Khojali rest in peace! May all our martyrs rest in peace! Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity and overcome all difficulties.

"Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is perpetual" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, addresses, decrees), Volume 3, Baku - 1998, page 215-217