Today is the 57th birthday of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who has been leading and developing the largest economy of a key geopolitical player in the South Caucasus for 15 years.
During these years, Azerbaijan has implemented many large-scale international projects - the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. The Southern Gas Corridor is nearing completion - in June of this year, TANAP, the Turkish section of the gas pipeline, was commissioned. Work has been completed on the Azerbaijani section of the International North-South Transport Corridor. The contract of the century to develop the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil fields was extended until 2050.
Each of these projects guarantees the stability of the Azerbaijani economy and strengthens the republic's position in the macro-regional economy, not only as a reliable oil supplier, but also as an important logistics center.
Under Ilham Aliyev's presidency, Azerbaijan became a temporary member of the UN Security Council. All these years, the republic, in the continuation of national leader Heydar Aliyev's line, has pursued a multi-vector foreign policy, pragmatically respecting national interests, which allows it to preserve socio-political stability. Ilham Aliyev, as head of state, has consistently upheld Azerbaijan's sovereignty at international platforms and in bilateral contacts with foreign leaders, being the guarantor of the independence, stability and the country's development. The political and economic achievements of the republic and its president are all the more significant since the war with Armenia within the framework of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not yet been underway.
Since Armenia does not want to end the war, Azerbaijan annually increases its defense and offensive potential, and due to this work, in 2016, the status quo on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops was changed for the first time in decades of conflict, and part of Azerbaijani territories was liberated. The liberation of Jojug Marjanli was a vivid example of Ilham Aliyev’s desire to achieve a full-fledged peace and resume normal life in the occupied territories.
Ilham Aliyev’s international policy has made Azerbaijan a popular venue for holding the most difficult negotiations; the Baku meetings between the military leadership of Russia, the United States and European countries have already become a tradition. In the days of the Russian-Turkish crisis, Baku acted as a mediator between Moscow and Ankara. Ilham Aliyev’s trusting, friendly relations with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin (the presidents held five bilateral meetings this year) brought Azerbaijan to first place in Russia's cooperation with the South Caucasus in the economy, culture and humanitarian spheres.
Under Ilham Aliyev's presidency, Azerbaijan has also established itself as a brilliant organizer of international sporting events, including the First European Games, the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games, and three Formula 1 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix events.
Ilham Aliyev is a genuine national leader who has fully devoted himself to working for the benefit of Azerbaijan - ensuring citizens with a decent present and carrying out global government tasks in the future.