AZERI PRESS AGENCY
17 April 2010
Baku - APA. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received the participants of an international conference "2010 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan: more democratic, more transparent", APA reports quoting "AzerTac" news agency.
The Head of State expressed confidence that talks and meetings held during the visit of European parliament's members would contribute to developing relations between Azerbaijan and European structures.
The President said Azerbaijan closely cooperates with European institutions in a variety of fields. He also touched on the country's ties with the Council of Europe.
President Aliyev pointed out that all fields of Azerbaijan's economy are rapidly developing with international projects being implemented in the country, as well. He highlighted the sustainable development in the country despite ongoing global financial crisis.
The Head of State noted modernization, development of infrastructure and investment opportunities allowed building a strong and diversified economy.
"Our country suffered the least from the international financial crisis. Our economy grew by 9% last year. The inflation rate was only 1.5%. We are a self-sufficient country and, of course, we are implementing a number of projects boosting our economy," said the President.
President Ilham Aliyev noted world's authoritative financial organizations praise Azerbaijan's economic potential. According to him, Azerbaijan ranked first among CIS countries and 51st in the world on the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index.
The Head of State expressed assurance that Azerbaijan would contribute to European Union's Eastern Partnership policy.
The Head of State said Azerbaijan is a secular state where many peoples live in peace and harmony. He said Azerbaijan, which has a strong political system, is an attractive destination for investments.
On the Azerbaijan's successful energy policy, President Ilham Aliyev said UN's awarding the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan for improving transparency in public service is a manifestation of high assessment of international organizations.
President Ilham Aliyev also touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh conflict, saying "almost 20 percent of our territories are under occupation."
"Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent 7 regions are under Armenian occupation. People were driven out from there and this was a policy of ethnic cleansing."
The Head of State said Armenians had committed war crimes against Azerbaijanis. He added Armenians perpetrated genocide in Khojaly in 1992 killing more than 600 civilians.
"Azerbaijanis, including children and women were tortured by Armenians."
All these were documented, and this is one of the gravest crimes committed at the end of the 20th century.
"The occupation continues today in spite of four resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council on unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani leader also briefed the meeting participants on the OSCE Minsk Group-mediated talks to settle the conflict.
The Head of State noted all-round cooperation in the region is impossible unless the conflict is resolved.
Speaking at the meeting, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Vice President, Wolfgang Grossruck praised the development process in Azerbaijan.
He underlined the importance of the international conference, saying it will contribute to deepening relationship between Azerbaijan and the Organization.
Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on regional development, member of the delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Evgeni Kirilov said the European Union was ready to contribute to settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also spoke of Azerbaijan's election experience.
Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, head of Belgian delegation to PACE, president of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development Paul Wille expressed confidence that Azerbaijani voters are going to be very active in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
President Ilham Aliyev once again stressed the importance of the international conference, saying it will contribute to expanding relations between Azerbaijan and European structures.
The Head of State said the Azerbaijan government would create every condition to conduct the elections in a free, transparent and democratic manner.
President Ilham Aliyev also underlined the necessity to consider opportunities for cooperation between Azerbaijan and European structures in various spheres.
The President stressed his country was ready for long-term mutually beneficial cooperation with European structures.