quotes Azerbaijan celebrates 106th anniversary of Independence Day

27 May 2024
Short Url
Updated 27 May 2024

Azerbaijan celebrates 106th anniversary of Independence Day

Every year on May 28, the Azerbaijani people celebrate the establishment of the first parliamentary Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the Islamic world with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1918 as Independence Day.

The establishment of the ADR, the predecessor of the modern Republic of Azerbaijan, was in many ways a historic event for Azerbaijan: It was the first democratic republic of the Muslim East. Azerbaijan also gave women the right to vote for the first time in the Islamic world.

As stated in the Declaration of Independence, establishment of friendly relations with all nations, especially with neighboring states, was determined as one of the foreign policy priorities of the republic. The first major breakthrough in diplomatic relations came when an Azerbaijan parliamentary delegation visited Paris, with the main goal to gain international recognition for the republic. As the result of the strenuous efforts by the Azerbaijan representatives, unanimous de-facto recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan was attained on Jan. 11, 1920, and the delegation received an invitation to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference.

The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan operated in a tense and complicated sociopolitical situation for only 23 months. The Bolshevik invasion of April 1920 put an end to independence. However, the idea of independence was not defeated, and in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet empire, Azerbaijan again declared its independence.

As the successor to the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Republic of Azerbaijan restored its independence in 1991. For our nation, this year’s Independence Day is especially remarkable, as we will celebrate it with restored territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders. In 2020, Azerbaijan put an end to the nearly 30 years of occupation by Armenia of almost 20 percent of its territories. All Azerbaijani cities and villages were razed by Armenia during the occupation. Cultural and religious sites were also vandalized, desecrated and pillaged. More than 60 mosques were destroyed by Armenia. Mosques were turned into cowsheds and pigsties.

Now there is a huge task before us — reconstruction of completely destroyed cities and villages, and all cultural and religious heritage sites in the liberated territories. Smart city, smart village and green energy concepts will be applied in the process of reconstruction. We invite companies from friendly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman to join the large-scale reconstruction. Today, the Republic of Azerbaijan, as an independent, sovereign and democratic country, brings into reality the aspirations and ideals of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, with its effective management, socioeconomic and human capital development, as well as its growing role and prestige in the international arena.

The current Republic of Azerbaijan is a reliable international partner and initiator of large-scale infrastructure, transport and energy projects in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan has become a key investment destination in the region in recent years due to several factors, including abundant resources, favorable location, competitive cost of production and, of course, the welcoming laws and hospitality of the Azerbaijani people. Due to its geographical position, Azerbaijan has become a principal transport hub between East-West and North-South. Azerbaijan has built one of the biggest ports on the Caspian Sea, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route has been realized. These two projects serve to connect the Caspian Sea region with Black Sea. Azerbaijan also continues to be the strong partner of the EU, contributing to the energy security of the region, in particular.

Based on the reality of being part of the Islamic world, the Republic of Azerbaijan from the first days of its sovereignty sought to consolidate fraternal relations with brotherly Muslim countries and, thus, relations between Azerbaijan and member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference began expanding. It should be noted that, according to the decision taken with the support of the member states of the organization at the 15th Islamic Summit held in Gambia in May 2024, the next 16th Organization of Islamic Cooperation Islamic Summit will be held in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2026.

Azerbaijan now is a country that pursues a policy of establishing mutually beneficial cooperation with all states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and bases its relationships on the principles of international law.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recognized Azerbaijan’s independence on Dec. 30, 1991. Relations with both countries have developed gradually over the past 33 years.

The first visit of the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, to Saudi Arabia in 1994 opened new opportunities for the development of bilateral relations, and the two countries signed the first general agreement on the economy, trade, investment, technology, culture, youth and sports. Both countries maintain the Azerbaijan-Saudi Joint Commission on Cooperation, which meets to allow officials to target expansion in the economy, investments, technology, trade, culture, sports and youth. The first meeting was held in 2001 in Baku and has been hosted reciprocally in subsequent years. The seventh meeting was convened in Baku in December 2022, resulting in agreements aimed at developing economic partnerships, and increasing trade and the growth of business in various sectors.

As a result of the targeted policy carried out by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, the country has achieved high socioeconomic development and solid sociopolitical stability. The glorious victory won in the Patriotic War gained recognition for our country as the strongest in the Caucasus. As a result of successful foreign policies, Azerbaijan’s reputation at the international level is growing day by day.

During the past four years, Azerbaijan has successfully chaired the Non-Aligned Movement, the largest international institution after the UN, and has left a successful legacy to the next chairpersons.

Our country has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to organize prestigious events of a global nature at a high level. It is known to the world community that Azerbaijan, which has achieved high development indicators, has a modern infrastructure to organize such huge events, and is a stable country in terms of security.

The selection of Azerbaijan to host one of the world’s largest and most important interstate events, COP29, in 2024 is another solemn victory for the republic. This is the biggest success of our foreign policy after our chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement and our membership in the Security Council.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan has joined the fight against global climate change by being a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Our country aims to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses by 35 percent by 2030 compared with 1990. After 2030, a more ambitious target has been set, which consists of reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses by 40 percent by 2050.

The president of the Republic of Azerbaijan has declared the freed lands of our country as a “Green Energy” zone. It is planned to turn these areas into “net zero emission” zones by 2050.

Under President Ilham Aliyev’s far-sighted and wise policy, Azerbaijan has liberated territory occupied for almost 30 years, and begun the process of restoration and reconstruction of these areas. At present, huge reconstruction works are being carried out, including the restoration of our historical, cultural and religious heritage, which was destroyed over the decades. Azerbaijan has provided opportunities for companies from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to take part in the restoration and reconstruction process in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.

Shahin Abdullayev is Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.