Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the opening ceremony of the residential houses built for the employees of Azerneftyag” refinery and lubricants company of Azerbaijan. June 6, 2000

Dear sisters and brothers,

Dear oilmen and friends,

I cordially greet you and express my pleasure to meet you here today.

The oil industry of Azerbaijan has a long history, as the commercial production and refining of oil have a history of 150 years. Azerbaijan is a country of oil. Several generations have established, developed and brought the oil industry to its present state. The oilmen had always the leading role in Azerbaijan. The industry of oil, refining of crude oil occupied a remarkable place in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan gained great reputation for its oil, oilmen and professional experts in the world.

In the Soviet Union, where we lived, new oil regions were discovered. And it is not accidental that they were called the “Second Baku”, the “Third Baku” and the “Fourth Baku’’.  As in the former Soviet Union and Russia, Azerbaijan was the first to produce and refine oil. That is why, in Azerbaijan there are qualified and experienced engineers, technicians, geologists and scientists. They were engaged in the exploration of oil deposits, extraction of oil and production of oil products after the World War II, in different regions of the Soviet Union, even in the far Siberia in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Most of them became the residents of those regions. This fact gladdens ud, because the Azerbaijani people, our experts are so professional that they could apply their experience in various regions of Russia and could teach this profession to other people.

The road of the Azerbaijani oilmen was hard in the past 150 years. The standards of extraction and production of oil then and now are obvious to the whole world.

When the attention of the world community, world business and economy was focused on Azerbaijan, there were foreign companies which extracted and produced the Azerbaijani oil and exported it to foreign countries. Of course, then oil was extracted, primarily in Balakhani, Surakhani and other deposits, that is in the Apsheron Peninsula. The oil refining enterprises chose this part of Baku for oil extraction then. Why exactly this place? First of all, there were no hesitations there then. These places were empty and no one lived here. Secondly, this place was located on the shore of the sea, therefore favorable for the transportation of the extracted and produced oil to other countries by sea. This place was closer to the railway at the same time.

Therefore, the oil refineries were founded there. It is not accidental that the heads of foreign company engaged in the extraction and production of oil in Azerbaijan, the Nobel brothers built here estates, cottages and lived there. I suppose, it is still called Nobel Garden.

I remember when I was young this place was called “Rote Fane”. Then its name was changed to “Nizami Park”. Now it has changed again. I remember all this.

Naturally, oil is a valuable product for people and the world. But at the same time, it is a product, the extraction of which, creates different problems for the people. It is obvious that the extraction of oil depends on technology. It causes great problems.

The refineries founded here refined oil, produced oil products and got their incomes. But because of low-level technology, which was used then, the environment was polluted. That is why, the residents of Baku called this place “Dark city”.

There were not only refineries but also many other plants here. I repeated it more than once, in my youth when I was first in Baku, I came to Nizami Park by a tram and had a walk. I could not breathe here, because the oil residue, sulfur and other chemical matters had polluted the air. After several years the situation became better, but it has not changed so much.

I can tell that the history of the Azerbaijani industry can be divided into several stages. The first one is the period from the beginning of 1870s up to 20th years of this century. The second one is from the beginning of the 1920s up to the end of the 1960s. The third one is from the end of the 1960s up to the 1970s and 1980s.

Why do I divide the development of the oil industry into these stages? I do it, because, in the 1920s the oil extraction in Azerbaijan was growing, the oil was refining in the refineries built by the Nobel and Mantashov bothers, and they were not updated.

We started to implement the program of oil extraction and production first in the 1970s. We developed a big program then. According to this program the plants were equipped with new, modern technology old plants and factories were destroyed. Then we founded the “ELOU-AVT-6” installation, now it is called “Azerneftyanacag”, in Keshla, which refines oil and produces lubricants. Then we created a fuel producing reforming construction there.

I remember we created a program on the development of the Azerbaijani economy, especially the Azerbaijani industry in 1975. Naturally, it was impossible to implement it without the consent of Moscow, the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union made a decision and then we adopted it the Soviet Union allocated the resources for this project. In this program the complete cleansing of the “Dark Town” and construction of “ELOU-AVT-6” occupied a special place. In the past, this plant was named after Stalin. It was called “Stalin Plant”. After his death and he was criticized and it was renamed to “the Plant of the XXII Party Congress.

I repeat that the plant used old technology. Those years I came here several times and got acquainted with these plants. I walked from the place to “ELOU-AVT-6” on the seaside. The sea and earth were covered by black soot. Not only that place, but the whole “Dark Town” was covered by soot.  It happened at the beginning of the 1970s.

Yes, those years our main goal was to develop the oil sector and oil industry. On the one hand, it had the purpose of improving the quality of oil and oil products and the income of our republic, on the other hand, to purify and liberate the environment of Baku, Azerbaijan from soot and the chemicals.

Thereby, we started to implement this program. According to this program we intended to create here “ELOU-ABT-6”. Those years I used to come here very frequently. While speaking veteran Cahangir Quliyev noted that he remembered it. We founded this construction together. I remember it as it is today. It was in the 1977s-1978s.

Within a short time we constructed and put it into operation in 1981. I came here once more. Much people had gathered here then, as you did now. We held a big ceremony. I congratulated everyone involved in the building of this construction. Then the work on the purification of this place began.

The head of the production association recalled correctly in his speech. It is very gladdening to hear these words here. Imagine that 25 years ago after the adoption of that program I make a speech at our high-level meeting. I said there that we should implement this program, and as a result of it “Dark Town” would be purified from the soot, rust and other poisonous matters and here we shall plant trees, flowers and build new residences.

I am very happy to see the yield of my work after 25 years. It is naturally that I saw this yield either here 10 years ago, or when I worked in Moscow. But now 25 years have passed since then. There is not any sign of that darkened town. Many residences have been built, trees and flowers have been plant and people live in peace. At last many beautiful residences have been built. These buildings not only beautify the town –now few people remember that “Black city”- the architecture of Baku was enriched. These buildings are very beautiful indeed and they enriched and changed the architecture, the sight of Baku.

It is a very joyous event. That is why, I am happy to meet you here. When I came and saw these buildings, I understood that all this are the harvest of my work. This is the biggest happiness for every person.

The head of production association Mirzayev gave a lot of information about the activity of this unity. I have nothing to add. But I can tell that I am very pleased of the performed work and achieved successes. I congratulate all of you on these achievements.

Here we founded this “ELOU-ABT-6” with a kind intention. We founded this construction because, first of all, we wanted our people to benefit from it, secondly to develop the Azerbaijani economy and to improve the standards of technology in our republic. The main point is to develop the economy of Azerbaijan by means of refined oil products and to improve the life standards of our people.

The delegation of your unity speaking here stated that this unity, plant and construction were a poor sight and this production association was seized by different persons and used for their own interests in the period of disorder in Azerbaijan and this place was polluted. Of course, all this was against of our goals. But fortunately, the Azerbaijani people have left such things behind. According to your information, you have cleaned this place from trash and turned it into a beautiful unity and achieved successes.

These are the results of your work. It is the result of your devotion to our national values and purity. It is the result of your impatience to base actions and immorality. That is why, I thank you.

What are the indicators of your achievements? In our hard times when we change our economic system from one into another one, the Armenian armed forces occupied twenty percent of our territory and we have over one million internally displaced persons who live in critical conditions. It shows the development of our economy.

The Azerbaijani economy is in progress since 1996. It shows that the production and other spheres are developing and the life standards of people are improving. For example, your unity achieved successes in rationalization, improvement, growth of quality of your work and in prevention of crime. That is why, your salaries and incomes have increased, new buildings have been built and life standards have improved. Such a well-wishing work of every enterprise helps to develop the economy of Azerbaijan in hard times.

Dear friends, that is why, you are the participants of the development of the Azerbaijani economy and your collective has a valuable role in this activity.

Azerbaijan is developing and will develop as an independent and democratic country. There is freedom in Azerbaijan. There are entrepreneurship and private sector and privatization in Azerbaijan. That is, the market economy has been established and is developing in Azerbaijan. As a result of it the Azerbaijani economy will develop more.

We enjoy freedom in Azerbaijan. The thieves, bribe-takers, those who betray his people are not welcomed in Azerbaijan. That is why, together we must struggle against these negative cases, purify our community and our morality. We must struggle against all bribe-takers, thieves, violators of the rights of people and destroyers of the property of people. You should know that this is one of the priorities of the policy of Heydar Aliyev and in the implementation of this policy I rely on you, hope for your support and go ahead with you.

Azerbaijan is strengthening as an independent country. It is already the ninth year that we live as an independent country and Azerbaijan is on the peculiar position in the world unity. Many great countries are interested in Azerbaijan. It is said that many agreements have been signed for the joint oil developments since 1994,  19 agreements have been signed and are being implemented into life. Production of oil is increasing day-by-day and it will continue hence. It will enrich and develop Azerbaijan.

“ELOU-AVT-6”, two other constructions that were founded later and the construction that is in the “Azerneftyatag” association production all together have the capacity to refine 22 million tons of oil. But you know that today we refine totally 9 million tons of oil per year. Half of it we export as crude oil and the rest part is refined. But in future we shall be able to use all these constructions completely, because oil refining is increasing. Besides exporting oil we have to produce more qualitative oil products in accordance with international standards. That is why, we shall use these constructions with all their power in future. At the same time, the technology of these constructions must be developed in accordance with international standards constantly; oil products which we refine and produce must have the best quality and find its position in the world market.

It is gladdening to hear the information by the director of Azeroil lubricant Mirzayev that your products rank highest places in world competitions and exhibitions. But they take their first steps. Much work must be done to have more qualitative oil products in accordance with high standards.

As I said, Azerbaijan is being strengthened day-by-day as an independent country. Independence is our historical achievement, our independence is eternal and irreversible. You have to be sure of it.

While speaking here someone spoke about some hearings in the American Congress and expressed their displeasure of that some people have spoken against the interests of Azerbaijan there. Indeed, it is annoying. But at the same time it doesn’t bother us and never will. Not any congress or state of the world can interfere in the interior affairs of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is an independent country. All the affairs of Azerbaijan are solved with the will of the Azerbaijani people within Azerbaijan. They are not solved in any other country. We establish friendly and kind relations with all the countries in the world.

But we shall never allow anyone damage our independence. We cannot afford it. That is why, those hearings and people who want to win the respect of the people in this way are doing nothing worth. If you want to achieve something in Azerbaijan, you have to do it in Azerbaijan. The affairs of Azerbaijan cannot be solved in any other place. Let them know it as well as you do and do not bother about anything.

Here we heard the speech of a woman who is the member of a martyr’s family and is an internally displaced person from Fuzuli. The liberation of the occupied territories and restoration of the territorial integrity are the main problems not only for them, but also for all of us. As you know, we work on this problem and shall do our best. I am very pleased with the speech of that woman. First of all, she stated that people, who have met not see the war, now call for it. They do not know what the war is. But her husband was martyred. Secondly, she said that she was ready to send her both sons to war for the defense of our lands if it is needed. These people are the ones who raise the reputation of the Azerbaijani people and have high morality.

I consider as well that it is important to return the occupied territories by means of peace. War can broke any time. Our people have felt the pain of war. It is natural, that Azerbaijan is not the same as before. Now Azerbaijan has a powerful army. Azerbaijan now has a united and strong-willed people. Despite everything we must solve the problem by means of peace. We continue our activity on this issue and we shall continue.

I repeated it all the time, and repeat it to you once more. The main goal of my life is to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, to restore the territorial integrity, to return the internally displaced persons home and establish peace. Let us establish peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Southern Caucasus and in the Caucasus, and I wish that our children and grandchildren not witness any war and live in peace. I believe if we follow this road we shall solve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict by peace, the occupied territories will be liberated and the internally displaced persons will return home.

I am very excited here today. As I said this place is very familiar to me and I have founded this complex. I worked a lot on it. It was not easy, because we needed many resources for it. We had to obtain these resources from Moscow. In the Soviet Union there was no need for such constructions, because the oil refining was 20 million tons per year. The productive capacity of each of these constructions was 6 million tons or 8 million tons. But in spite of it we brought and founded both this and another one in Keshla with difficulty and they now serve the independent Azerbaijan.

I wonder if we did not found all this then, how would we have lived now without them now?

Labour veteran of this complex, my friend Jahangir Guliyev smoke warmly here. Look at him, he is working here for 40 years and is attached to this place. He have seen hard times of this place and lived in those years here. He breathed its air with poisonous matters, but it is obvious that he is a very healthy and cheerful man. While shaking his hand I felt his strength.  Maybe there is no one who is happy like me and him, because he is working here for 40 years. That is why, I said that I founded this. Thus, I am very glad to meet you here.

These residences have been built. They said most of the employees of this complex will get flats from these buildings. Then new buildings will be built and they will get new ones. These facts are very gladdening. The flat is a priority for everyone. I passed this way as well. I had no flat when I was young.  I lived in a hostel when I was studying at the Institute of Industry in Baku, now it is called The Oil Academy. Then when I came to Baku again, I lived as a tenant in different places. I lived in a single room and had difficulties.

I remember when first I was given a small flat in 1952. It was just like a present to me. Then I, my mother and sisters gathered in that two-room flat and we were happy. I have passed through this period. I imagine the feelings of those people who are given these flats. That is why, I cordially congratulate not only them, but also their friends, colleagues and all of you. I wish them to build more new buildings and you have new flats.

The builders from the Republic of China also participated in this project. The ambassador of the Republic of China made a valuable speech here today.

China is a very big country; it is one of the biggest countries of the world. After the World War II China is in the progress, it is developing and it has passed many stages. Its economy is developing with a strong rhythm. Its population is more than one billion and its economy is in the competing with the countries with great economic potentials. Thus, the relations between Azerbaijan and China are characterized as the friendly ones and this cooperation will continue in future.

As the ambassador of the Republic of China said, I remember with pleasure my visit to China, Beijing in 1994. Exactly in that year, during my visit after meeting the chairman of the Republic of China Mr. Tszyan Tsszemin and the head of this republic, now he is the chairman of the parliament, Mr. Lee Pen, we signed several agreements. The following period was the period of development of relations between Azerbaijan and the Republic of China.

On the 22nd of this month we are expecting the official visit of the delegation headed by the chairman of the parliament of the Republic of China, then he was the head of the government, and he is a very respectable figure. We shall hold negotiations. I invited him to Azerbaijan in 1994 and now I am very pleased that he is coming to Azerbaijan and we shall develop our relations. The development of our relations find their reflection here as well. The participation of the builders of the Republic of China in this project is the contribution to the development of the friendship and cooperation between Azerbaijan and China. That is why, I express my gratitude to you.

I would like to thank the builders of the Republic of China for the work they have done here. Be sure that afterwards using this example the economic relations between Azerbaijan and China will develop more and our relations and cooperation will reach the highest level in all the spheres.

I congratulate you on this event. I wish you all, people and citizens of Azerbaijan health, happiness and peace. Thank you.