As earlier reported, on February 14, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Fuzuli, Zangilan, Lachin and Jabrayil districts.
According to AZERTAC, President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Fuzuli district to lay the foundation of the Horadiz-Aghband railway.
This 100-kilometer railway is of great strategic importance because this transport infrastructure will play an important part in enabling the movement of Azerbaijani citizens to and from the liberated lands and, most importantly, contribute to the establishment of a direct railway connection between the main part of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The head of state laid the foundation of the Horadiz-Aghband railway.
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President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then visited the Uchunju Aghali village of Zangilan district.
While driving to Zangilan, President Ilham Aliyev said:
– We have come to Zangilan district. We are heading for Lachin district. There are also events in Zangilan district along the way. We are in liberated lands again. The process of restoration of our lands has already begun.
This is the city of Zangilan. We have already been here and have come again. The city of Zangilan, as indeed other cities, has been destroyed by the enemy almost completely. Only several houses remain. These housed their military unit and police station. Armenians from abroad also lived here illegally. This is what the loathsome enemy has done to Zangilan.
Master plans of all our cities are being prepared. They will be disclosed and discussed. After that, restoration work will begin. I raised this flag here last time I came to Zangilan.
The first “smart village” project will be implemented in Zangilan district. The project is being launched today. Preliminary studies have already been conducted. This is the destroyed village of Aghali. This is the first village to be restored.
The President was informed about the “smart village” project to be implemented in the Uchunju Aghali village of Zangilan district.
The project will be implemented in the village on a total of five components. These are housing, manufacturing, social services, “smart agriculture” and alternative energy.
President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated in his speeches that the liberated territories will become a “green energy” zone. There are plans not only to restore and reconstruct the territories liberated from Armenian occupation on the direct initiative and instructions of the President, but also to implement “smart city” and ‘smart village” concepts. At a time when the world economy is experiencing great problems due to the pandemic, this initiative of the President of Azerbaijan once again demonstrates the strength and power of the state. The energy needs of the future village of 200 houses will be provided using alternative energy sources.
The head of state gave instructions on the work to be done.
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The head of state, the first lady and their daughter Leyla then left for Lachin district.
Speaking about the liberated villages of Gubadli district along the way, President Ilham Aliyev said:
– This is Khandak village of Gubadli dstrict. There were fierce battles here as well. Our army liberated these territories by destroying and driving out the enemy. The enemy also settled here illegally. They lived in very difficult conditions. Notice that their houses are no better than kennels. This is exactly meant when I said that Armenians lived in abject poverty in the occupied territories. Hunger, misery and lawlessness were pervasive. They used such dilapidated roads. We installed these light poles after we liberated the lands.
Muradkhanli village of Gubadli district. The Armenians lived here and destroyed it. Restoration work is already underway. This is Hakari village. Look at its condition. The Armenians lived in this kennel. These destroyed houses are a product of Armenian fascism. Let the whole world see this. This is their tractor.
This is Bala Soltanli village. Most of the houses here are destroyed, but some houses were illegally occupied by the enemy. This is also a war crime. The enemy has already received its due for all these crimes and will also respond at the international level. Our glorious army crossed into Lachin district through this road and liberated several villages of Lachin district from occupation. In particular, Gulabird village was liberated by our army from the occupiers. This is the southern part of Lachin district. Our army liberated it from the occupiers. The northern part was returned to us after Armenia’s capitulation.
This is Padar village.
Yusifbayli village of Gubadli district. This village was also completely destroyed by the enemy. We are now going to Lachin district, to Gulabird village of Lachin district. We have visited Ikinji Aghali village of Zangilan district and a presentation was made on the development of the village. The reconstruction of Ikinji Aghali village will begin in a few months. This will be the first village to be restored. Ikinji Aghali village will be built on the basis of a “smart village” concept. At the same time, our compatriots who will return to Birinji and Uchunju Aghali villages will use the same opportunities.
We are driving into Mardanli village. The sun rises and illuminates our path. I said that all restoration work on the liberated lands would be organized at the highest level. We will restore all these destroyed villages. Notice how the despicable enemy has destroyed all our settlements. Vandals and barbarians demolished, looted and stole all the buildings during the occupation. We will restore them all.
This is already the territory of Lachin district. This is the Hakari River. See what a beautiful river it is. Our river has been exploited by the enemy. Our nature has also been exploited. We have put an end to that and got rid of the enemy.
We are already in Gulabird village. Gulabird village was also destroyed and looted by the enemy. The reason we came to Gulabird village is to open a hydroelectric power plant built in a short time, and this will be the first power plant project in the liberated lands. Other stations will be built as well. We will use water, solar and wind energy in all liberated lands.
President, Victorious Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in the village of Gulabird and made a speech.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
-Today I have come to the liberated lands again. Several events are being held on these lands today and their goal is to restore the liberated lands as soon as possible so that people could return and bring back life to these lands. A special place among the restoration work is occupied by electricity supply, of course. To this end, we began to deal with this work immediately after the war, from the very first days. First of all, concrete steps were taken to supply electricity to the city of Shusha, and the first stage of this process has already been completed. “AzerIshig” has already extended power lines to the city. To provide the city of Shusha with uninterrupted electricity and develop the city in the future, the “AzerEnerji” Joint Stock Company is also building high-voltage power lines to Shusha and building a power plant in the city.
We are in the southern part of Lachin district today, on the territory of Gulabird village. A hydroelectric power plant is opening in the village of Gulabird today. Less than two months after the liberation of Lachin district from occupation, a month and a half later, a hydroelectric power station is being commissioned here. The generating capacity of this hydroelectric power plant is 8 megawatts. Among small hydroelectric power plants, an 8-megawatt plant can be considered a medium-sized plant. The key thing is that the launch of this station will create generating capacities here and thus we will effectively use our nature, the Hakari River.
In the Kalbajar-Lachin zone, the natural conditions for hydroelectric power plants are very favorable. There used to be many stations here before. The contemptible enemy also used these stations during the occupation. But within 20 days after their capitulation, by 1 December, Armenia destroyed all these hydroelectric power plants, removed the equipment from here and demolished the buildings of the stations. The enemy has also destroyed the Gulabird hydroelectric power station. Otherwise, this station would have been serving us already from 1 December. But the instructions I gave were fulfilled in a short time and we are celebrating the opening of the Gulabird hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 8 megawatts today. This is the first power plant being commissioned on the liberated lands. It has great significance and great symbolic meaning. We are returning to these lands. We will restore all the hydroelectric power stations in Kalbajar and Lachin districts the Armenians illegally exploited for many years and destroyed them. On the territory of Lachin district alone, the enemy destroyed five hydroelectric power plants. All of them will be restored. A further 12 hydroelectric power plants will be reconstructed on the territory of Kalbajar district. Thus, the generating capacity of the stations that have been destroyed and will be rebuilt in Kalbajar and Lachin districts alone will amount to 120 megawatts. This is a very large generating capacity. Thanks to that, we will restore these territories and provide them with uninterrupted energy. If you look at the other projects we have outlined, you can see that renewable energy has huge potential in this region. The Khudafarin and Giz Galasi hydroelectric power stations will have the biggest capacity among them. We have come to an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran on the construction of these stations. These hydroelectric power plants will be built in the near future, and the Azerbaijani side will thus receive a generating capacity of 120 megawatts from these stations. In other words, in a few years we will receive 120 megawatts from the Khudafarin and Giz Galasi stations and another 120 megawatts from hydroelectric power plants in Kalbajar and Lachin districts. This means 240 megawatts of generating capacity, and the advantage here is that these are hydroelectric power plants, so the cost of energy is very low. In parallel with this, I have already given instructions to start the process of determining the types of renewable energy and places in all the other liberated lands. Such an instruction has already been issued and the first “smart village” pilot project in Zangilan district will be supplied with renewable energy today.
I stated that the liberated lands would be a green energy zone. I have already invited local and foreign investors. I should also note that the state itself carries out and will carry out the main work. By making investments, local and foreign investors will be able to secure their business interests and have their say in the long-term supply of Azerbaijan with sources of uninterrupted, cheap and environmentally friendly energy.
These are our plans. Kalbajar and Lachin districts have a huge potential for wind energy. In Zangilan and Jabrayil districts, there is more potential for solar energy. Initial studies have already been carried out. So by reconstructing our generating capacities and power transmission lines, we will turn Karabakh into a zone of “green energy”.
In announcing this program, I had exactly this in mind, and the first project is being commissioned today – the Gulabird hydroelectric power station you are seeing over there.
We have major plans. We have launched the restoration work. We will try to complete mine clearance as soon as possible and assess the damage caused. In parallel with this, infrastructure projects have already started. The foundation of the Horadiz-Zangilan-Aghband railway was laid in Horadiz today. This railway is of great strategic importance. First of all, because it will be of great importance both for the travel of citizens to the liberated lands and for cargo transportation. On the other hand, this railway will extend to Nakhchivan. The joint statement signed on 10 November contains a special provision on the creation of the Nakhchivan corridor. This work has already started. I am sure that this project, being carried out on our initiative, will be implemented. After a long break, Azerbaijan and its integral part of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will be connected with each other by rail, and thus our strategic, economic and political goals will be met.
The overall significance of the Patriotic war lies in the fact that we have liberated our lands from occupation, expelled the enemy from our lands and also restored the territorial integrity of the country. We have demonstrated to the whole world the power of our people and state, have shown the unwavering spirit of the people. At the same time, having taken practical steps to achieve strategic goals related to the future of our country, we signed important documents. The joint statement signed on 10 November ensured the return of Lachin, Kalbajar and Aghdam districts, of course. We returned these lands without a single shot being fired. At the same time, it is this statement that secures a connection of Azerbaijan with its integral part of Nakhchivan. Also, this railway infrastructure will extend to Turkey, thus creating a second railway network connecting Azerbaijan and Turkey. Three and a half years ago, we put into operation the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. This was also a historic achievement. We connected Azerbaijan and Turkey by rail for the first time in history. And now a second railway will be built and all countries of the region will be able to take advantage of it. They are very interested in the construction of this railway as well. It is possible to say that countries of our region have a positive assessment of this project.
We said that transport projects play a special role in the long-term development of the region, ensuring stability and reducing military risks to zero. All the countries participating in them will only benefit from that. Azerbaijan connects with Nakhchivan and Turkey. At the same time, a railway line from Russia to Armenia may be opened. This line can only pass through the territory of Azerbaijan. In addition, a railway communication will appear between Russia and Iran through the territory of Nakhchivan. There will be a railway connection between Iran and Armenia. A railway link will be created between Turkey and Russia. In other words, all countries of the region will only benefit from this.
I must also say that as a result of the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the transportation of goods between Russia and Turkey began using this railway. Notice the vision and strong resolve we have shown. At the same time, we have mobilized financial resources and are providing for this rail link. Our country needs this because it increases its geopolitical importance and economic power. Because, as a reliable transit country, we will receive large financial incomes from this. At the same time, it is of great importance for securing peace and stability in the region.
This is also important because revanchist forces are trying to raise their heads in Armenia even today. They are trying to threaten Azerbaijan with more provocations and another war. They must understand that we are paying attention to everything, that we keep everything under control and will never allow Armenian fascism to raise its head again. We have destroyed Armenian fascism. We drove out the enemy out of our native lands, threw it out of here. It is safe to say that we have destroyed the Armenian army. There is no Armenian army. It has been defeated. There is neither equipment nor manpower left. They have acknowledged that they had 10,000 deserters during the war. There was not a single deserter in the Azerbaijani army. This testifies to the high morale of our people and our army. This is a manifestation of the current policy. We won Victory on the battlefield. We liberated these lands from the invaders in battles. Having inflicted a defeat on Armenia, we forced it to sign an act of surrender on 10 November and return Lachin, Kalbajar and Aghdam districts to us because it never wanted to return Lachin and Kalbajar districts to us during the negotiations. This was the main reason for the lack of progress in the negotiations. Unfortunately, the position of Armenia and some of its foreign patrons consisted in returning five districts to Azerbaijan, so that Azerbaijan would be content with this and Nagorno-Karabakh would someday be given independence, while Kalbajar and Lachin districts would remain under the eternal control of Armenia. I rejected that offer.
Life has shown that by demonstrating a strong will and courage, we were able to achieve what we wanted. They didn’t even think about returning Lachin district to us. Moving along the path I came here along today, liberating all the districts, villages and cities along the way, we came to these places. We liberated the southern part of Lachin district, the village of Gulabird from the occupiers. The villages of Safiyan and Turklar are located here. We also liberated them, creating a military foothold to control the Lachin corridor, which was already under our control. In essence, we conducted our strategic operations advancing from this direction. At the same time, advancing from the opposite side, from Khojavand district to Shusha, and passing through the mountains and gorges, we were able to conduct a successful operation. This southern part of Lachin district was liberated as a result of a military operation. We have defeated the enemy on the battlefield and restored historical justice.
Lachin District was the second to be occupied after Shusha. The occupation of Lachin district has actually created a geographical link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. There was no such link in Soviet times. Lachin district was occupied 10 days after the occupation of Shusha on 8 May 1992. It was a great tragedy. The loss of each district was a great tragedy. People died, their property was plundered, they were expelled from their homes. At the same time, the occupation of Lachin district was a great defeat for us from a strategic point of view. Lachin district and Shusha were sold by the same people. I have already spoken about this. I want to say this to the Azerbaijani people again so that no-one forgets. The despicable PFPA-Musavat tandem sold these lands to the enemy in order to come to power. At that time, in order to topple the government, they organized rallies and riots in Baku, were prepared to commit any act of betrayal and committed it to come to power. They left Shusha even though there were forces under their control. Shusha was almost empty when the Armenians entered it. Nobody defended it. Then Lachin district was sold less than a month after they came to power. The PFPA-Musavat tandem committed this treason, this act of betrayal, this crime. In April 1993, when Kalbajar was under occupation too, they cowardly fled and went into hiding. They deserted. The people of Azerbaijan should never forget this, never forget these traitors and enemies! They sold our lands. We returned these lands and have come back. Here I am standing here in Lachin district as the Commander-in-Chief of the Victorious Army which has liberated these lands from the enemy. I have raised the flag of Azerbaijan here and am addressing the Azerbaijani people from my native Lachin district under this flag. Our Victory is historic. We have restored historical justice. We have restored our rights, avenged our martyrs, took revenge and returned. Restoration work is under way now and will be continued. I have said that we will turn this region, Karabakh into a paradise. All instructions have already been issued. All work is being done and will be systematically done. From now on, we will live on these lands forever. Nobody can prevent us from living on these lands. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
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Then President Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of an 8-megawatt Gulabird hydroelectric power station on the Hakari River.
During the occupation, the Armenian invaders destroyed this station, just as they typically did everywhere else. This station, which is being commissioned on the instructions of the President in a short period of time, is of great importance in terms of creating infrastructure and other planned activities in the liberated territories.
President Ilham Aliyev launched the Gulabird hydroelectric power plant.
The commissioning of the Gulabird hydroelectric power plant is a historic and significant event. This is the first infrastructure project launched in the liberated lands with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev. This station will play an important role in providing electricity to about 7,000 people. The electricity generated here will be supplied to Khanlig village of Gubadli district, the southern part of Lachin district and other infrastructure projects located in the area.
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Then the President, the first lady and their daughter Leyla arrived at the Basitchay State Nature Reserve in Zangilan district.
During the occupation, Armenian invaders committed environmental terror in the Basitchay Reserve, and indeed in all other areas. The hated enemy destroyed almost half of the forest area of the reserve and burned the roots and firewood of the trees. The environmental balance of the natural ecosystem which had formed here over the years has been seriously undermined as a result of Armenian vandalism.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva planted plane trees in the Basitchay Reserve.
Then the President, the first lady and their daughter released fish into the Basitchay.
President Ilham Aliyev: We have planted plane trees in the Basitchay State Nature Reserve. The Basitchay Reserve was established under the Order of national leader Heydar Aliyev in 1974. Rare plane trees were protected by the state on more than 100 hectares. It was a forest of rare plane trees. After the occupation, the hated enemy cut, chopped, looted and burned most of the plane trees. This is another sign of Armenian vandalism. The restoration of the Basitchay nature reserve has started today.
We will restore this reserve. Of course, the age of the trees felled here was about 200-300 years but at least we have fulfilled our duty.
At the same time, we released fish into the Basitchay. The Basitchay is also a beautiful river. In general, this region is rich in rivers. The Tartarchay, the Khachinchay, the Basitchay, the Bazarchay, the Hakari and other rivers will serve the people of Azerbaijan from now on. During the occupation, the hated enemy cut off the water of the Tartar River and more than a hundred thousand hectares of land in several of our districts were left without water. Environmental terror has been committed against us.
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President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then left for Soltanli village of Jabrayil district.
President Ilham Aliyev: I have given the instruction to take measures to irrigate 100,000 hectares of land that have not been irrigated so far. Thus, the agricultural sector of six to seven districts will develop faster, productivity will increase, farmers and villagers will earn more money. We will restore both homes and nature. At the same time, I have ordered to carry out autumn sowing without wasting any time. In a short period of time, we mobilized all our resources, equipment and manpower, and sowing has been carried out on 7,000 hectares. I will also look at those fields. About 20,000-25,000 hectares will be sown this season. So we will revive agriculture without wasting time. Of course, the agricultural potential of the liberated lands is huge. The invaders also used our land to gain illegal income. At least 90,000 hectares of grain were planted during the occupation. This has been stopped. Crop production, fruit growing and animal husbandry will develop rapidly in the liberated lands.
Arriving at Soltanli village of Jabrayil district, President Ilham Aliyev was informed about the work done on planting in the liberated lands.
It was noted that the monitoring of sown areas was underway. Updated proposals are being submitted as additional sown areas are identified.