Details added (first version posted at 18:52)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 8Trend: On April 8, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yusef bin Ahmed al-Usaymin.
As Trend reports, welcoming the Secretary General, the President Ilham Aliyev said:
– Thank you for coming. You visit us regularly. This is a very good demonstration of our cooperation and your relationship to our country. Before starting the conversation, I want to award you with the state order of Azerbaijan – the Dostlug order for your exceptional contribution to the development of cooperation between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Azerbaijan.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev awarded Yusef bin Ahmed al-Usaymin the Dostlug order.
The president Ilham Aliyev: I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you for the constant support of Azerbaijan in connection with the settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
As you know, the conflict was resolved by us unilaterally. The 44-day war put an end to the 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani lands, which inflicted suffering on over a million Azerbaijanis and led to the complete destruction of our cities and villages. Foreign journalists and diplomats, visiting the now liberated territories, see that the Armenians have destroyed everything. All cities, villages, historical and religious sites, mosques, cemeteries have been destroyed. This is a manifestation of Islamophobia, Azerbaijanophobia, vandalism, because, as I have repeatedly said, our cities were destroyed not during the first Karabakh war, but later, during the occupation. It was a policy deliberately pursued to erase the Azerbaijani and Islamic heritage in these historical lands of Azerbaijan and change their origins. I know that the ambassadors, members of the contact group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict recently visited the territories liberated from the occupation and saw it with their own eyes. They made open statements and we are very grateful for that. We want the whole world to see this and understand that the steps we have taken were the right thing to do, based on international law, the UN Charter, our right to self-defense. We have restored justice. The aggressor has been driven from our lands, and now it is time for recovery. However, this will take time, because, of course, the biggest problem is mines. After the end of the war, we had dozens of casualties, including those killed by mines. Armenia did not provide us with mining maps. This is another war crime because they had to do it. However, although months have passed since the end of the war, they continue this policy against the Azerbaijanis. But we will do whatever is necessary. The demining process is in progress. We are already planning reconstruction works. Currently, the process of preparing master plans for cities and villages is underway, and, of course, we want our brothers from the Islamic world to come and see what they have done with our historical heritage, as well as the process of reconstruction. Of course, I would be glad to see you in the future, after we have started the reconstruction process.
Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmed al-Usaymin: Mr. President, first of all I would like to express my gratitude to you for inviting me and the delegations from the countries of the contact group for the opportunity to see how events developed. I appreciate our personal relationship with you, it has always been and will continue.
Mr. President, I want to congratulate you, because every time I come to Baku, I witness renewal and development everywhere, the city is different from the last time I saw it. I am sure that you are behind all this development, progress and hard work, and this is the desire of all Azerbaijanis.
Mr. President, I congratulate you on your great Victory. This is not only yours, but also our victory, and we are very happy. I commend your leadership and patience. For 30 years, you have shown restraint in the issue of the occupation of lands, I do not believe that this could have happened in another country. Your question was the right thing – the lands were yours, international law was on your side, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was by your side, and its resolutions supported you. We are talking here about 20 percent of the territory of your country, a significant part of Azerbaijan. Glory to Allah that your wisdom and restraint have borne fruit, and the question has found a positive solution.