BAKU, Azerbaijan: As part of the 10th Global Baku Forum, a Panel Meeting “Global leaders tribute to the legacy of Heydar Aliyev” dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the National Leader was held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.
The event opened with a video featuring the opinions of high-level participants of the 10th Global Baku Forum, former heads of state and government, and other senior guests about Great Leader Heydar Aliyev.
The moderator of the event, the co-chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Ismail Serageldin, spoke about the unparalleled services of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, the founder of the modern independent state of Azerbaijan, and said that his dear memory was deeply revered.
President of the Republic of Albania Bajram Begaj said in his remarks that leaders could be important for society, country or region, but Heydar Aliyev was a global leader.
Noting that Albania and Azerbaijan had a similar history, President Bajram Begaj said that the two countries had suffered from totalitarian regimes during the Soviet era. Indicating that the two countries had been faced with ethnic conflicts and economic difficulties, had successfully overcome those difficulties and were developing rapidly now, the President of Albania said: “As a result of the visionary policy and strategy laid out by Great Leader Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan has successfully overcome all the difficulties and laid the foundation for a happy future.”
Emphasizing that Albania was attaching great importance to the development of cooperation with Azerbaijan, the high-ranking guest said: “We want peace and stability in the Caspian region to be maintained. We also intend to further strengthen our cooperation with Azerbaijan. Our countries are contributing to regional and global peace with significant projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor. Both Azerbaijan and Albania are known for their religious tolerance. Our countries actively promote religious and cultural diversity,” he said.
Former President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko said that after the collapse of the USSR, the future of the former allied republics turned out to be completely different. “Governing countries in the first years of independence required great responsibility. When Heydar Aliyev was asked what was the most difficult thing in governing the country, he said that it was laying the foundation of a sovereign state, and he succeeded in doing that. It is a great happiness for the people of Azerbaijan to have had such a leader. Heydar Aliyev was a very cultured and fair person. When I visited Nakhchivan, I saw that Heydar Aliyev was working tirelessly for his country.”
In his remarks, former President of Bulgaria Petar Stoyanov recalled visiting Azerbaijan for the first time as President in 1999. He said that this was the first official visit of the President of Bulgaria to Azerbaijan after the restoration of the independence by the two countries. He spoke about the role of President Heydar Aliyev in fighting the difficulties the country was facing on the eve of the restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence and about the successes achieved as a result of his visionary policy.
Recalling the Great Leader’s words about the development of the country being closely associated with international economic cooperation, Petar Stoyanov drew attention to the fact that Heydar Aliyev had rendered unparalleled services not only in solving the difficulties Azerbaijan was facing, but also in securing the economic development of his country for decades to come. “Heydar Aliyev’s role in the strengthening of relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria is irreplaceable. It is because of Heydar Aliyev’s political wisdom, strong leadership and loyalty to the people that the people of Azerbaijan have called him the National Leader.”
Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs Wu Hongbo noted that Heydar Aliyev was always remembered and loved by the people of Azerbaijan. “Heydar Aliyev was a good friend of the Chinese people. During his visit to our country in 1994, he held important meetings with Chinese leaders. During his leadership, Azerbaijan-China relations developed rapidly, important steps were taken to expand cooperation in a number of fields. Currently, China is interested in the further development of relations with Azerbaijan.”
The former Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, expressed his gratitude to the Nizami Ganjavi International Center for organizing the event at such a high level, spoke about his meetings with Great Leader Heydar Aliyev, and shared his memories of the genius. “Heydar Aliyev was a brilliant and a wise leader. After becoming the President of independent Azerbaijan, he worked tirelessly and selflessly to further increase the power of the country. Heydar Aliyev succeeded in strengthening the economic well-being of Azerbaijan through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.”
In his remarks, former President of Romania Emil Constantinescu spoke about the invaluable services of National Leader Heydar Aliyev in preserving the independence of Azerbaijan and developing the country. He said that Great Leader Heydar Aliyev had invited the leading companies operating in the oil and gas sector to the country for cooperation and succeeded in strengthening the economic power of Azerbaijan. The former President emphasized the contributions of Heydar Aliyev to the development and strengthening of bilateral relations between Romania and Azerbaijan.
The former Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Amr Moussa, spoke about the political wisdom and leadership qualities of the Heydar Aliyev genius. He pointed to the important contributions of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev to Azerbaijan’s progress, the expansion of its international relations, including the development of cooperation with the Arab world. He said that the development strategy laid out by Heydar Aliyev was currently being successfully continued by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
The former Foreign Minister of Türkiye, Hikmet Cetin, spoke about the historical services and extensive activities of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev towards the development and strengthening of independent Azerbaijan. Talking about his meetings with the National Leader, Hikmet Cetin shared his memories of the genius. “Heydar Aliyev was a far-sighted and wise head of state who had dreams for his country. He wanted Azerbaijan to occupy an important place in the world community and establish peace in the region.”
The former Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Nino Burjanadze, said that Heydar Aliyev had made an important contribution to the development of relations with Georgia during the USSR and in the years of independence: “Heydar Aliyev contributed to Georgia’s participation in regional projects and to the improvement of people’s well-being through these projects.”
Former President of Latvia, co-chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center Vaira Vike-Freiberga said: “Even though Heydar Aliyev was born in the Soviet era, he knew that this regime had its flaws. When I met him, he told me that Victory in World War Two had been won thanks to the Baku oil. Unfortunately, during the Soviet period, the development of Baku did not receive due attention. This republic was the beating heart of the entire Soviet empire. Heydar Aliyev stated that Baku’s contributions were not properly appreciated during the Soviet regime.”
Emphasizing that Great Leader Heydar Aliyev had transformed Azerbaijan from a country that was in danger of disintegration at the beginning of its independence into a state that is advancing steadily along the path of progress, Vaira Vike-Freiberga said: “If it was not for him, I cannot imagine what would have happened to this country. Because the relations of energy-rich countries with other states and neighbors are very important. The modern state of Azerbaijan was created under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev,” she said.
The Assistant to the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, David Chikvaidze, said that Azerbaijan was rapidly developing as a result of the successful implementation of the policy laid out by Great Leader Heydar Aliyev. “I have been coming to Azerbaijan since the 1990s. During these years, I have witnessed dynamic development of the country. Heydar Aliyev’s wise policy is being successfully continued today. It is very important to have neighbors with a strong, constructive and balanced policy.”
“Heydar Aliyev was an outstanding personality, a wise statesman, a genius with tremendous leadership qualities,” Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, the Former Director General of ICESCO, said. Emphasizing the activities of the National Leader in the direction of Azerbaijan’s membership in ICESCO, he said: “Heydar Aliyev made great contributions to the establishment of close cooperation relations between Azerbaijan and ICESCO. Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, who is successfully continuing Heydar Aliyev’s development strategy, Azerbaijan’s cooperation with ICESCO has been further strengthened. As a result of President Ilham Aliyev’s policy, Azerbaijan is confidently developing today,” he said.
The session continued with discussions.