"The economic independence strengthened our political independence. A more courageous policy, an independent policy started to be pursued. It is a policy that serves the interests of the Azerbaijani people only. There are not too many countries in the world, on the world map today that would pursue an independent policy in the true sense of this word. Azerbaijan is one of them, and the Patriotic War showed this again. Despite all the challenges and pressures, we were able to achieve what we wanted. We drove the enemy out of our lands, resolved this issue militarily and then sealed our victory politically," said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his address to the nation on the occasion of the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and New Year, APA reports.
"Of course, a correct policy must be pursued to gather strength. The main goal in my activity over the last 17 years has been to build up our country, to solidify our standing in the international arena and to channel the processes in the country into a positive direction. No pressures or threats could make me deviate from this path. Because I had one goal – to build a strong Azerbaijan and to liberate our lands from occupation!
We have implemented large-scale projects over the years. These projects have allowed us the opportunity to be at the forefront of economic development in the world. Azerbaijan is ranked first in the world in terms of the pace of economic development over the last 17 years. At the same time, we had to weaken Armenia with our policies, and we made no secret of that either. I am not saying this only today. I said even 10 years ago that as long as our lands were under occupation, we would deprive Armenia of all projects and all regional initiatives. We will isolate them, and so we did. Look at the energy, transport and communication maps of Eurasia now. All the roads connecting countries, the projects that bring great benefits to the countries involved have bypassed Armenia. Who did this? We did – despite all the pressures. I said this once before but I want to say again that baseless accusations were made against us even in connection with the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. It was claimed that we were polluting the environment and disrupting the ecological equilibrium. Why? Because they wanted to stop this project or to run it through the territory of Armenia. Under such circumstances, our hands would have been tied up. All our oil and then gas exports would be in the hands of Armenia. Could I ever agree to that? Of course not! This was why I was coming under a lot of pressure. I rejected the wishes of certain countries because those wishes were against our national interests, and the 44-day war showed who is who and who is a friend. The Azerbaijani people see and know this perfectly well. I have known this for a long time. Therefore, I was prepared for all the libel, for all the pressures and for all the threats. I had one goal – to create a strong state, to liberate our lands from occupation and to restore justice!
We took different measures to weaken Armenia, and all these measures were disclosed to the public. We did not do anything in any secret format. I said that we would isolate them, and so we did – oil pipelines, gas pipelines and highways bypassed Armenia, telecommunication routes bypassed Armenia, power projects bypassed Armenia. Armenia was deprived of possible income," said the head of state.