Opening and closing speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the conference dedicated to the condition on implementation of land reform in the republic - January 16, 1998

I have invited you to this meeting, as I am interested in the work the on realization of land reform. As a whole, the land reform is being carried out, the information on it is reported periodically. However, implementation of land reform in the regions, which are engaged in cotton-growing, and its present condition creates special interest.

I consider that we have very large fertile lands in cotton-growing regions. Their sharing, fruitful using is a complex process. How the process is carried out? How is the condition of works? I want to know about it.

I would like the Minister of Agriculture to give information about it. Then, if someone from regions wants to speak, I will listen to them.

Closing speech

I consider that today we have held a very useful meeting. Today, as a whole, we were engaged with very significant questions. The meeting, held in first half of the day, was also very important. But recently, I am mainly interested in the condition of realization of economic reforms and in particular, in the land reform. In fact, I receive necessary data from the administration, the Cabinet of Ministers and the ministries. But it is in my character to want to know everything myself. And consequently, today, having taken advantage of this, I invited to this meeting chief executives of cotton-growing regions and also people, who have privatized cotton cleaning plants and are engaged in this business.

To tell the truth, the information given today, is very pleasing. I did imagine it so as well. But I have had also some anxiety. The information given by you has calmed me a little. First, because the reforms are conducted consistently, the lands have been shared, privatized and people working on lands are happy with it. As a result of realization of reforms, the financial condition and well-being of people has considerably improved.

Now you have informed here on the increase in livestock field. The increase in a livestock means not only improvement of a material condition of its owners, but also as a whole, increase in livestock products in Azerbaijan. It is for all our people, population, citizens. One other thing you informed here on more effective utilization of lands in comparison with previous years. You see, ginneries have just been privatized. After privatization, the work in this sphere has not been carried out on a high level. But, despite of it , it was informed that from the cotton collected in 1997, - we know that there were heavy weather conditions, for a long time there were rains and when it is raining, the quality of a cotton falls, - the output of a seedless raw cotton made 35 percent, which is unprecedented parameter in Azerbaijan till now.

All of these are results of our work in the field of realization of agrarian reforms and they prove that this work serves the economy of Azerbaijan, improvement of a social welfare and material conditions of people. These are delighted events.

But I understood here that there are also problems concerning the cotton-harvesting. First of all, I charge the heads of regional executive authority - you should not be away from these questions, you should help both to owners of lands and owners of the ginneries to provide execution of the given promises, doing ploughing, carrying out cotton sowing in time, preparation of seeds for sowing and taking agrotechnical measures in time.

Anyway, the given information raises great hopes in my breast. But I consider that the heads of regional executive authority should continue the activity for finishing this work up to the end. The Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Executive Administration of the President should consider the questions raised at the meeting and render the proper assistance. The special attention should be given to provision of rural population with fuel, electric energy, to supply with the necessary goods. I am completely confident that in 1998 the high crop of cotton will be received in Azerbaijan.

Today we at the same time became witnesses that privatization and the land reforms are consistently implemented. I hope that we will become witnesses of higher results in 1998. The Land Committee should provide the land owners with the state certificates. I know that you are engaged in it. But let the chairman of the Land Committee come to me if not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, I have some idea connected with it, I will tell you about them. Anyway, this work should be accelerated. I know that preparation and distribution of documents is a big process. But this work should be expedited.

Information delivered on a social welfare of the population in your regions, in general in agricultural regions also gladdens me. That is, I do not have any doubt that the condition is so. Every day I supervise the situation in all the parts of Azerbaijan, and I get information. I know at what level is the social and economic condition of the population is in Azerbaijan. But, undoubtedly, it is not at a desirable level of which we dream.

I am sure that the work carried out by us in the field of economy, including economic reforms, will considerably improve the social, economic, and a financial condition not only of agricultural population, but also all citizens of the republic in 1998.

People working in the organizations financed from the budget, receive their wages. But this year we will increase salaries. As a result of economic reforms and privatization, people, making use of their private property, undoubtedly, will improve the financial condition. All of these will happen. But present condition is, undoubtedly, normal. Attempts of some slanderers, the people, wishing to disseminating lie, and rumours about the condition in Azerbaijan, are useless, and in vain. I would recommend them to be able to understand the reality. And the reality is the information presented today here. Yes, the reality is a situation in the regions. He who wants to see it, they are welcome. But, sitting in a room and having a hot dinner at the table somewhere abroad, and telling such a lie about people, just causes detriment to people.

Undoubtedly, these are idle talks. Perhaps, I would not pay attention to it. But in the case they speak about it, and oppositional newspapers write on it, I wanted therefore to ask you once again a question on it and to receive answer from you. I think you have already answered me objectively. The answers given by you, just coincide with data that I have.

I consider that it is necessary to continue the work carried out in this direction. It is necessary to pay special attention not only to crop of cotton, - I talked about it at the meeting held in the first half of day, - but also to works in all the fields of agriculture. Thank you.