President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva viewed progress of restoration work at Aghdam Juma Mosque

On February 13, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva viewed the the progress of restoration work carried out by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation at Aghdam Juma Mosque.

Coordinator of projects of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation at the liberated territories Sabig Abdullayev informed the President and the First Lady of the work done.

The Aghdam Juma Mosque was built in 1868-1870 by architect Karbalayi Safikhan Garabaghi. This mosque is the only building in the city that has been less damaged by Armenians during the occupation of Aghdam.

The restoration of the Juma Mosque has been started by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. An agreement was signed with the Austrian Brugger & KO Restauratoren GmbH company to implement the project.

After viewing the work done here, the head of state made a speech.

Speech of President Ilham Aliyev

- The comprehensive measures we are taking to restore Aghdam district will allow us the opportunity to rebuild and create a new Aghdam in a short time. Very important steps have been taken for the future development of Aghdam today. Several groundbreaking ceremonies have been held. I think that the work done in a short time will lead to concrete results in the near future.

The first residents of the industrial park in Aghdam laid the foundation stone of new enterprises to be commissioned in the near future. I laid the foundation stone of the industrial park in Aghdam last time I was here, on Independence Day. Today, the foundations of the first enterprises have been laid. There are already five residents and they are starting to work. Thus, the first enterprises of the Aghdam Industrial Park, which will be built on an area of 190 hectares, are already taking their first steps in this area. This is a very important event. Our plans for the future development of Aghdam include, first of all, the construction of residential buildings and job creation. Because the people of Aghdam who will live here must be provided with jobs. Additional steps will be taken to create jobs. I am confident that dozens of enterprises will be launched in the Aghdam Industrial Park in the near future. I am also urging Azerbaijani business people from outside the Aghdam Juma Mosque to come here and invest in Aghdam and all other liberated territories. Very good conditions have been created for business and entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan today. The state supports entrepreneurs, provides both moral and political support, as well as soft loans. Of course, the implementation of infrastructure projects in the regions also creates great opportunities for entrepreneurs. Therefore, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs should come to the liberated lands and build enterprises and create jobs here. Only in this way can we revitalize the liberated lands. Of course, the state is taking and will continue to take the necessary steps. The Master Plan of Aghdam city has been prepared and work is being done on the basis of the Master Plan. Of course, representatives of the private sector must be active in this work.

Today, two substations were also opened here. Thus, the number of substations commissioned in the liberated lands has now reached nine. As a result of the operation of the “Aghdam-1” and “Aghdam-2” substations, the whole district will be provided with stable electricity. The foundation of a hotel was laid in Aghdam today. The modern hotel will start operating in about 2 years. Conditions are now being created for a large number of visitors. Of course, one of the events we celebrated today is the laying of the foundation stone of the residential complex. The residential complex comprised of six buildings will be constructed in about a year and a half to two years, perhaps sooner, and will also contribute to the comprehensive development of Aghdam.

At the same time, the foundation of the Aghdam Central City Hospital is being laid today. Of course, the 210-bed hospital will have the opportunities to provide medical services to the people of Aghdam.

Last time I was in Aghdam, I laid the foundation of school No. 1 here. About a thousand pupils will go to that school. So I want to say again that comprehensive measures are being taken – electricity supply, a project of laying gas lines to Aghdam is being developed, drinking water supply, including the repair of the Khachinchay reservoir, which is included in this year's Investment Program, residential buildings, hotels, jobs. In other words, all this means comprehensive development. In fact, we can do this large-scale work at the facilities I attended the opening and groundbreaking ceremony of today.

At the same time, the road and transport infrastructure of Aghdam is being completely reconstructed. The Barda-Aghdam highway and railway are under construction. I believe that the highway will be ready in about a year. On my instructions, the implementation of the project to build the Fuzuli-Aghdam highway has already begun. This road will connect the cities of Fuzuli and Aghdam. It will also connect Aghdam with Fuzuli International Airport, and it will be easier to come to Aghdam from other countries.

This work shows again that we have started all these activities without wasting any time, after the historic Victory. We have shown political will, we have mobilized all our financial and technical capabilities, as well as human resources. We are doing all this work ourselves, at our own expense, at the expense of our budget, without asking anyone for help and without taking any loans. This is being done by the citizens of Azerbaijan. Of course, various foreign companies are already heavily involved in this work. The number of these companies is growing. I am very glad that both local and foreign companies are interested in working in the liberated lands, and we welcome that.

We have great work ahead of us. To carry out this work with maximum efficiency and quality, of course, there must be a carefully thought-out action plan. All cities will be rebuilt on the basis of master plans. The master plans of Aghdam and Fuzuli have already been approved. The public of Aghdam and Fuzuli districts got acquainted with these master plans and gave a positive assessment. Currently, local and foreign companies are developing master plans for other cities. As soon as they are ready, we will start tangible work.

Along with all this work, of course, we are restoring our historical and religious sites. According to the information provided to me today, the restoration of the Aghdam Juma Mosque is underway. All the studies have already been completed and starting from March, the reconstruction and repair work will begin both inside and outside the mosque. At present, eight mosques are to be overhauled, restored and built in the liberated lands. Work is underway in all these directions. The Aghdam Juma Mosque, the Yukhari Govharagha, the Ashagi Govharagha and the Saatli mosques of Shusha are being overhauled. The construction of a new mosque has started in Shusha. The process of reconstruction and construction of mosques in Zangilan, Hadrut and Dashalti has begun.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is doing all this work at its own expense. This is another contribution of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation to the protection of Azerbaijan's national and moral values. This is our duty. We are doing it. We are fulfilling this duty to the homeland with dignity – just as we did in the Patriotic War. The people of Azerbaijan restored historical justice and expelled the enemy from our native lands. Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity. This is my third visit to Aghdam after the war. My heart aches every time I come here. Because there is not a single safe building in Aghdam. There is this only half-destroyed mosque with a damaged roof. This mosque was insulted by the Armenians – they kept cows and pigs here. The Armenians have insulted not only the Azerbaijani people, but also the entire Muslim world. Except for this half-destroyed mosque, there is no other sound building in the city of Aghdam, in Aghdam district. All buildings, houses in all our villages, all public buildings were destroyed by the Armenians. This is unprecedented barbarism, vandalism and savagery. This is an indication of the ugly face of Armenian fascism. The whole world should and does see it. We will continue to invite foreigners here. They will come and see what the Armenian savagery is all about.

Bus services have already been organized to Aghdam and Shusha. Natives of Aghdam, Shusha and other regions come and see with their own eyes the scourge our people were facing. For 30 years, all our cities, villages, mosques and cemeteries had been deliberately destroyed by the Armenians. Imaret was destroyed and insulted by the Armenians. Some are talking about future reconciliation now. Of course, there must be a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This peace agreement must be signed on the basis of mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of the countries, on the basis of the norms and principles of international law. I have also said that. But the Azerbaijani people must never forget this atrocity. No-one should ever forget this savagery.

I am confident that the work we are doing today, including the work in the field of army building, will further strengthen Azerbaijan and serve as a good response to the revanchist forces in Armenia. We are on our own land. We have returned to this land by shedding blood and giving martyrs. We are standing firm in this land and will live on it forever. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!