President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by ICESCO Director-General Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik. AZERTAC has released the information.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
-Welcome Director General, welcome dear guests, I am very glad to see you. I am very grateful for your visit, and very grateful that you found time to visit liberated territories. I was informed that yesterday you visited the cities which Azerbaijan liberated during the war. And you yourself witnessed the situation. It is total destruction. We knew about that because we had some video about the situation on the occupied territories. But we frankly speaking could not even imagine that the destructions are so wide. It demonstrates that the country which kept these lands under occupation wanted to destroy the traces of Azerbaijani culture, destroy the heritage of Azerbaijani people. And actually, we now clearly understand that these destructions were made after the 1st Karabakh war. It was not during the war because during the war these kind of destructions are not possible. It was after occupation in order to destroy everything which belonged to the people of Azerbaijan and not to allow any time in the future Azerbaijanis to go back. That once again demonstrated that during all these almost 30 years of negotiations Armenia had only one objective to make these negotiations endless and useless. And it happened. Because during these almost 30 years of negotiations process there were no results. Only talks, only visits, only statements, but no results and that gave the aggressor opportunity to try to change the historical cultural and religious origin of the occupied territories. Their policy of illegal settlement is a war crime. And they did not even hide this policy in the last period of occupation. They were bringing people of Armenian origin from different parts of the world, settling them in the historical Azerbaijani territories, including historical city of Shusha, changing the names of our cities and villages, changing even the origin of Christian religious monuments. They were changing the origin of ancient Christian nation of Udins’ religious heritage. They were converting ancient Caucasian Albanian churches into Armenian churches. So, they did a lot of things which are subject to criminal investigation. And as you probably heard Azerbaijan already started the process of evaluation of the damage, material, cultural, moral, ecological, comprehensive damage will be evaluated with the assistance of well-known international companies. So that will allow us to sue the aggressor state Armenia in international courts. 44 days of war changed the situation in the region. As I said, the war is over, we need to turn the page. We will never forget the pain, we will never forget the wounds. The wounds will never be healed. We will never forget our heroes. But at the same time, we need to look to the future, and to rebuild the territories, rebuild the area of total devastation. And we will do it. It has already started. Infrastructure projects, city planning, and many other important elements of reconstructions are already in the process of implementation. This year we have allocated the substantial funds for that. So, we did by force what international community could not or did not want to do by peaceful means. And the liberation of historical lands of Azerbaijan is not only a historical event in our history, but also a remarkable event in the history of wars. Because we did almost what seemed to be impossible by the courage and bravery of our soldiers and officers, and by proper planning and commitment and unity of all the people. I would like to express gratitude to you Mr Director General personally and to ICESCO for continuous support to Azerbaijan during all the years of our close cooperation. Especially I would like to express gratitude for decisions made during the war. In the beginning of October, just several days after the war started ICESCO issued a very supportive statement, decisions to support Azerbaijan’s just cause. Also I would like to express gratitude for your letter of congratulations with respect to the victory which you kindly sent me after our glorious victory. All this demonstrates our unity, demonstrates the unity of our people. As you know, Azerbaijan always was a strong advocate for issues related to Islamic solidarity and there were numerous events of ICESCO in Azerbaijan. I hope this will continue and we always called for unity among Muslim countries. What you have seen in Aghdam and in other parts also shows how Armenian leadership treated the religious feelings and history of Muslims. They destroyed all our mosques except one, the one in Aghdam they did not completely destroy only because they needed to have some landmark to plan their artillery attacks, if or when Azerbaijani army moves forward. They needed to measure the distance. That was the reason. But there have been numerous pictures and videos how they keep pigs and cows in our mosque. And this is insult not only to Azerbaijanis, but to all the Muslims. During my visit to the liberated territories in Zangilan, I went to completely destroyed mosque in Zangilan. In Shusha they destroyed all the mosques completely except one, which was also half destroyed but they in order to demonstrate that they protect Islamic cultural and religious sites, they tried to make some repair works. Unfortunately, one foreign company joined this provocative initiative and without our permission came to Shusha, violating our legislation, violating our borders. Without permission of Azerbaijani government that foreign company under the patronage of illegal regime which existed in Nagorno-Karabakh at that time, made some repairments. And thus, they became the partner to criminals because Armenians destroyed almost 70 mosques on the occupied territories and trying to make repairments in one of them was just an attempt to demonstrate that they are tolerant, that they respect the Muslim culture, the feelings of the Muslims. If they did so, why they did destroy the others, and why they did not repair the others? And that foreign company which came to Shusha, didn’t they see that other mosques are destroyed? All the religious and cultural heritage was destroyed. They behaved even worse than separatists who destroyed it. But we will restore everything. We will bring everything to its initial origin and rebuild the territories. I am sure that next time you visit us you will have also an opportunity to visit Shusha which was announced by me as the capital of Azerbaijani culture. Also, one of the issues I wanted to discuss with you, is the issue related to the regional center of ICESCO in Azerbaijan. You know that this issue was in discussion during the last 3-4 years, and we want to revive the discussions. If there is a positive movement I think we can do it very soon and that will be very important for us and for all the people who contribute to the strengthening of Islamic solidarity and protection of Islamic cultural heritage. So, once again, Director General, I welcome you. I pay special importance to your visit now, after war is over, as a sign of friendship and brotherhood. Welcome.