By Sabina Idayatova
On May 28 Azerbaijan celebrates Republic Day, the 95th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which is an historic date marking the establishment of the first secular democratic state of the Islamic world.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid tribute to the monument to the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the center of the capital Baku on May 27.
A guard of honor was lined up around the monument. President Aliyev laid a wreath at the monument as a military orchestra performed the anthem of the Azerbaijan Republic.
President Aliyev also attended an official reception to mark the Republic Day at the Buta Palace.The President delivered a speech at the event.
President Aliyev said that the establishment of the first democratic republic in the East 95 years ago was a great historical event.
During the 23-month-long activity, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic managed to achieve great success and even during the 70-year Soviet period the Azerbaijani nation was able to preserve its national and spiritual values.
Aliyev said that during the initial years after regaining independence, Azerbaijan faced chaos and an economic recession and during those hard times the Azerbaijani people united around National Leader Heydar Aliyev.
"The factor of Heydar Aliyev has always proven itself at critical moments for our country and the policy of Heydar Aliyev was continued in Azerbaijan in the past 10 years," the President said, adding that during this time the Azerbaijani state has experienced a period of rapid development.
According to President Aliyev, during this period, Azerbaijan has positioned itself as a reliable partner in the world and increased the number of friendly states; the country was elected to the UN Security Council; economic growth was achieved and the implementation of social programs was launched.
"Our goals are aimed at the future," the President said, stressing that the experience gained over the last 20 years allows to take more substantial measures targeting the country's further development.
The reception was followed by a concert.
On Tuesday evening, a concert featuring performances and fireworks will take place on the occasion of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic anniversary at the National Park (seaside boulevard).
Meanwhile, a number of world leaders and statesmen congratulated the Azerbaijani President and the nation on the Republic Day.
US President Barack Obama conveyed the best wishes of the American people to President Aliyev and the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the national holiday.
In a letter, Obama said there is a strong partnership, particularly in energy and regional security, between Azerbaijan and the United States.
Obama noted that the U.S. is committed to supporting Azerbaijan's efforts to build a prosperous and democratic society and resolve its Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia peacefully. He added that the U.S. appreciates Azerbaijan's contribution in supporting the collective efforts in Afghanistan.
Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II also congratulated President Aliyev on the Republic Day.
"It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency my warmest greetings on the celebration of your national day together with my best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of Azerbaijan in the coming year," the letter said.
German President Joachim Gauck says in his letter that for more than 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, German-Azerbaijani relations have expanded and evolved in many areas on the basis of mutual interest and respect. Azerbaijan is the most important partner for Germany and Europe within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership program, the message said.
Also, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee extended their congratulations to the Azerbaijani President and wished peace and prosperity to the Azerbaijani government and people.
Also extending their congratulations were Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon, President of Ireland Michael Higgins, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, the King of Sweden Carl Gustaf, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro Ruz, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, King of the Belgians Albert II, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, and Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
The Republic Day was celebrated solemly both in the country and abroad.
On the occassion of the 95th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), the Embassy of Azerbaijan in the U.S. hosted a solemn reception at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, one of the most major historical buildings in Washington. The event was attended by senior US officials, congressmen, diplomats, as well as representatives of the Azerbaijani, Turkish and Jewish communities.
Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov stressed the role of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the restoration of the country`s statehood traditions. He said that Azerbaijan, which regained its independence in 1991, became a regional leader both in terms of politics and economy.
US State Department special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Carlos Pascual, praised Azerbaijan`s contribution to Europe's energy security, as well as its role as a logistics point for NATO forces in Afghanistan, and expressed confidence that the US-Azerbaijan cooperation would further develop.
Furthermore, over the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the ADR and 90th birthday anniversary of Azerbaijan's National Leader Heydar Aliyev, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles hosted a reception in the Californian city. The reception was joined by representatives from California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and other West Coast states of the United States, representatives of the U.S. State Department, other diplomats, and others.
In his remarks, Consul General Nasimi Aghayev spoke of the significance of the Republic Day, noting that this important event played a crucial role in strengthening the national statehood traditions of the Azerbaijani people.
Azerbaijan's Republic Day was celebrated solemnly in numerous world countries such as Germany, Australia, Moldova, Slovenia, South Africa, Iran, etc.