By Amina Nazarli
The 4th Islamic Solidarity Games are very important for Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev made the remark on January 10 during a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, dedicated to the social and economic development of Azerbaijan in 2016 and the tasks ahead, where he declared 2017 the Year of Islamic Solidarity in the country.
"By holding these Games we once again will show our strength and opportunities, and will demonstrate commitment to our religious values and will try to unite the Islamic world," he said.
This spring Baku will host a multinational and multi-sport event involving the elite athletes of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and welcoming over 5,000 athletes to compete in 20 sports disciplines during the 12 days of competition.
The 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, to be held on May 12 to 22 will feature a record number of the participants. As many as 57 countries have confirmed their participation in the sports festival.
The head of state stressed that Azerbaijan enjoys great respect in the Islamic world, adding that leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation highly value Azerbaijan.
"This is our policy. Our policy is sincere, loyal, fair, principled and courageous. Given all this, I declare the year of 2017 in Azerbaijan as a "Year of Islamic Solidarity"," President Aliyev said.
The head of state further emphasized that the way chosen by Azerbaijan is the only right way.
"Drawing attention to the dangerous processes taken place in the world and the region, we see once again that Azerbaijan is faithful to its way, and follows the path of independence and development. We have tried and will try to continue protecting our country and our people from possible risks, and to ensure our independent path," he said.
The head of state said Azerbaijan was able to adequately get out of this difficult and critical situation. The work done so far, as well as the work to be carried out this year will further strengthen this trend, President Aliyev underlined.
"The economy will grow steadily, non-oil sector will develop, creation of new jobs will be provided, and I am confident that we will achieve all of these goals," he said.
The president went on saying that the April battles are a brilliant victory, which once again demonstrated the power of the Azerbaijani state and showed once again that Azerbaijan will never reconcile with the occupation of its lands.
One of the most tragic conflicts in the history of the 20th century, that affected the destiny of millions, aggravated on April 2 after the Armenian military units in the occupied lands started shelling Azerbaijan’s positions.
To protect civilian population, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched counter attacks and as a result, the Azerbaijani troops retook hills around the village of Talysh, as well as Seysulan settlement, and also took over Leletepe hill located in the direction of Fizuli region.
“We will give an adequate response to all the provocations," said the president.
At the same time, the myth created by Armenia over the years has been destroyed, the president added. "Armenians admit that they can’t stand against Azerbaijan for a week without assistance from abroad," President Aliyev underscored.
Azerbaijan’s State Counselor on Multiculturalism, Interethnic and Religious Affairs Kamal Abdullayev, Chief of the State Migration Service Firudin Nabiyev and Chairman of the State Agency for Public Services and Social Innovations under the President of Azerbaijan Inam Karimov also delivered speeches during the meeting.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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