President Ilham Aliyev held a meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers on January 10 to review the main events of 2016 in Azerbaijan.
At the meeting Aliyev asserted that Azerbaijan had consistently developed its economy throughout 2016, and that national security had been reinforced, despite a rocky year. He added that the source of the country’s stability is the will and choice of the people.
“All our tasks for the previous year were completed. The crisis appeared as a result of a decline in oil prices, and that was solved. Taking into consideration the numerous dangerous tendencies and developments in the world, we can see that Azerbaijan has remained devoted to its own path, marching on a route of independence and development. We have in the past and will continue to work for the protection of our nation from all possible risks, and to secure the continuation of our independent way. History and current events are proof that the way we have chosen is correct. This is the way of independence, stability and development”.
The Azerbaijani head of state also touched on increased construction activities as a means of increasing the population’s quality of life and providing for the beautification of Baku. Aliyev also announced plans to build 2,000 apartments that will be allocated on an as-needed basis and the creation of a fund to replace old buildings with more modern constructions. The president praised work on Baku’s “White City” project.
Running through other achievements, the president mentioned continued work on the Southern Gas Corrdior project and “Shahdeniz-2”, which will enable Azerbaijan to project its gas distribution capacity further into Turkey and Europe.
Sporting events, including Azerbaijan’s performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games were also mentioned.
Aliyev described the recent constitutional referendum, which has extended the presidential term to 6 years and lowered the minimum age for presidential candidates to 25, as a “referendum that projected the will of [the] nation”.
Touching on the April 4, the president claimed that “as a result of counter-attack operations, our army strongly hit the enemy and liberated thousands of hectares of land from the enemy. The April fights once again demonstrated the brilliant fighting power of Azerbaijan.”
Despite recent statements of the country’s leading economic experts, Aliyev said that 2016 will go down in history as a year of far-reaching economic reforms, which has seen the promotion of the non-oil sector to the center of the country’s economic attention.
Summing up the meeting, the head of state announced that 2017 will be known as the year “Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan”. 2016 was the year of multiculturalism.