This year a significant historical event - tenth anniversary of restoration of the state independence of Azerbaijan will take place in the life of the people of Azerbaijan. By adopting the Constitutional Act «on the State Independence of Azerbaijan» on October 18, 1991 a new era started in the history of Azerbaijan - a period of the independent development. The independence gained by the Republic of Azerbaijan was an inevitable result of the continued socio -political processes, since the middle of 80s in the former USSR and all over the world. The objective historical reality brought to the collapse of USSR, retiring of the Communist Party from the historical scene, and as a result, each union republic established its independent state. Following that, the recognition of all the new independent states, including the Republic of Azerbaijan, by the countries of the world, different international organizations and as well as the United Nations was a legitimate manifestation of the norms of international law.

History by itself repeatedly demonstrated that the defense of independence as an indispensable national heritage of the people is much more difficult and complicated task than to gain it. At its new historical period of development, before the Republic of Azerbaijan, making first steps on the way to the independence there were such essential historical tasks as strengthening its state independence, building of democratic, secular and rule of law state, restoring the country's territorial integrity, resolving the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh within the national interests, ensuring security and prosperity of all the population. All this required to conduct consistent, expedient and well-thought - internal and external policy and for this purpose to make a better use of intellectual and socio - economical potential and the socio - political forces of the country.

Unfortunately, nothing was done in this direction in 1991-1993. At the new period of the independence of Azerbaijan its internal and external policy not corresponding with economic and political interests, security and territorial integrity of the country, inflicted serious damage to the independent state-hood and its further destiny. Side by side with the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the internal social stability had been breached, different illegal armed groups had been formed, and fierce fight for power had started in the country.

The basic feature characterizing government's internal and external policy in this period was conducting unclear, inconsistent and non-principal course. The administration of the state was based not upon the common concept and system, but upon the fortuitous statements, expressing the cliquish interests of the executive officials and in many cases upon the discrepant and emotional statements disclaiming each other. Powerful economic potential, created with the strenuous labor of our people in the XX century was ruthlessly destroyed, national heritage was robbed. Confusion, muddle, chaos and «state gangster» reigned in the socio - political life and economy. Such unconsidered and incompetent policy aggravated the national and civil stability and inflicted damage to prestige of the government inside the country. Therefore, in summer of 1993, the Azerbaijani statehood faced danger of crisis and destruction, country was on the verge of civil war and breaking up. In 1991, our independent state established because of the opportunities provided by the favorable historical condition and destiny of our people faced danger of collapse because of such an incapable policy. So in the history of independence of Azerbaijan years of 1991-1993 can be described not only as a period of lost years, but also as a period jeopardizing our independence.

In June 1993 under insisting demands of the people, a change of power took place a power in the country. This power vacuum had been eliminated, different separate forces, which revolted at that time and the criminal elements attempting at the state-hood, independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan were neutralized and unity between the state and the people was ensured. In order to defend independence, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, to achieve socio-political stability in the country one of the most urgent tasks as drastic measures was to undertake resolute steps toward the continuing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Because of implementation of wide-scale measures serving for our national army establishment, raising its fighting capability and for protection of our lands a balance in military confrontation was reached. A new situation in the front zones forced the Armenian side to think seriously about cease-fire. In May 1994 a cease-fire agreement was concluded, the military operations that continued for over five years stopped, preliminary conditions for peaceful solution to the conflict were created.

Suspension of war, putting in order the situation inside the country, establishment of socio-political stability, elimination of tension with neighboring states in the region and normalization of relations were the basic factors that ensured further existence and development of Azerbaijan as an independent state.

Azerbaijan making a better use of relative stability and increased trust and interest in it managed to sign the first oil contract - «Contract of the Century» with the world's biggest oil companies in September 1994. Expedient measures for solution of a great number of social and economic problems of the country began to be undertaken.

All these works undertaken in Azerbaijan faced serious internal and external resistance of forces that were against our statehood. In October 1994 and in March 1995 there were armed attempts to overthrow the power. Resoluteness of the Azerbaijani State and heart-felt support of all the people helped to suppress these dangerous attempts. Because of undertaken measures, an end was put to the tradition of coming to power by force using different armed groups in Azerbaijan. Qualitatively Azerbaijan entered a new period; it became a country with socio-political stability and lawfulness served for implementation of great works in statehood building, in economic, social and cultural life. Although a number of positive changes were made in some spheres before 1995, consistent realization of wide scale reforms in all sectors of the country became possible namely after ensuring complete socio-political stability.

On November 12, 1995, the first Constitution of our independent Republic was adopted and the first parliamentary elections in the history of our independence were held. The Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan created legal base for new institutional building, for future model of state activity and development of society. In order to strengthen Azerbaijan's independence, to make it eternal, irrevocable a foundation of the most fruitful period of our history was laid.

A course of democratic reforms was defined in the country and consistent work began to be implemented in this direction. In order to develop a democratic state in Azerbaijan the necessity of forming a new economic system, carrying out democratic reforms in the sphere of economy was put in the first place. A big work was conducted towards creating an appropriate legal basis for forming market economy. The important legislative acts on land and land reforms, privatization, development of entrepreneurship, restructuring of tax, credit and banking system, liberalization of trade, elimination of monopoly and development of competition, as well as law on ensuring social protection of the population were adopted. The privatization process playing a decisive role in deepening economic reforms was hastened. Owing to the consistent work in this area, small privatization was completed, trade, public catering and all service rendering enterprises, can be said are in the hands of entrepreneurism. Privatization of medium and big industrial enterprises has already started.

Because of expedient measures taken toward transition into market economy, negative cases in production were prevented, a macro-economic stability was ensured in the country. Increase in industrial production took place due to measures taken. Almost in all fields of industry, including oil and gas and oil chemistry, metallurgy, engineering industry, and construction materials, light and food industry and as well as in non-governmental sectors of industry serious achievements were made.

Carrying out the land reform, giving land to private ownership, the privatization of properties of collective and state farms created opportunities for more hastening the implementation of reforms in agriculture compared to other fields. Special laws and decrees were adopted in order to support the positive changes reached in this sphere and to solve the encountered problems. In agrarian sector exemption from other taxes (except tax on land) for five years and clearing off outstanding tax debts to the budget, sales of fuel on reduced prices and other measures gave an important impetus to agricultural production.

A young independent state, especially a country as Azerbaijan subjected to foreign aggression and consequently suffered from big losses and destruction would not be able to timely develop its economy on the account of its own internal potential after gaining its independence. In this context, it was one of the main purposes to attract foreign investments to Azerbaijan. In the field of investment considered the main precondition of economic development important achievements have been reached. Foreign capital flow to our country plays a decisive role in investment increase. A big amount of foreign investments was directed to the economy of the country. «Contract of the Century» and the following signed oil contracts play an important role in foreign investments. Not only in the oil sector, but also in the other fields of economy foreign investments have increased to a considerable extent. Now amount of foreign investments per capita in Azerbaijan is considered the highest in the area of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Preparation and consistent implementation of oil strategy by the Azerbaijani State is the main gain among the achieve­ments reached by our country. Many fruitful agreements have been signed in this field. By carrying out independent oil strategy Azerbaijan managed to attract attention and interest of many countries of the world. The oil strategy of Azerbaijan has created favorable conditions for economic development in the country and has provided opportunities to establish mutually beneficial relations with number of countries of the world. In general, oil strategy of Azerbaijan and expedient measures carried out in this field are not only of a socio-economic importance, but also of a great political significance. In addition, this serves for increasing of international influence of Azerbaijan and strengthening of state independence.

The social direction of the reforms and measures for the social protection of the population occupy an important place in the economic policy of the state. Because of the measures carried out in the field of salary rise, the average nominal salary of employees has increased a lot. Improvement of social protection of population always has been in the center of attention of the state. As the socio-economic means of the country improve and budget revenues increase, accordingly measures in this field will be carried out.

Today a foundation of a new stage in the socio-economic development of Azerbaijan has been laid and a solid base for a high economic progress has been created. This will be an important stage on the way to ensuring higher pace of economic development, decreasing unemployment rate in the country, improving welfare of the population and integration of Azerbaijan into the world economy.

The Republic of Azerbaijan faithfully moves forward in the way of democratic development. Necessary institutions and legal base for this purpose have already been formed in our country. Carried out reforms in the field of statehood and institutional building ensured the formation of the state power on the principles of division of powers. Independent activity of political parties with different trends and social institutions, free publications of a big number of newspapers, broadcasting of private TV and radio channels etc. are the concrete obvious results of existence of political pluralism, freedom of opinion, atmosphere of democracy in Azerbaijan. Freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, immunity of persons, insurance of fundamental human and civic rights and freedoms, establishment of an atmosphere of tolerance are the important steps on the way to forming real civic soci­ety. Reforms carried out with the purpose of reorganization of judicial-legal system according to international standards, including requirements of European Convention on Human Rights are of a great importance for successful implementation of rule of law state building, for ensuring and protecting human rights in our country.

Side by side with the successes reached in socio-economic spheres, in institutional building and as well as in ensuring the human rights and freedoms important achievements gained in other fields as a result of the expedient policy of Azerbaijan also serve for strengthening the independence of our country. Armed forces of Azerbaijan have become a mighty army, and developed and strengthened to a considerable extent capable to protect our country from military aggression.

Accession of our independent Republic as a fully-fledge member to the influential international organizations, including the Council of Europe created favorable conditions for our country to strengthen its international status, to occupy trustworthy position among the countries of the world. Foreign policy serving for strengthening the state independence of Azerbaijan is continually conducted in the direction to establish and develop fruitful relationships with all the states of the world based on equality. Statehood of Azerbaijan is strengthening day by day.

A ten-year time is not a big period from historical point of view. However, during this short period a democratic, secular and rule of law state has been developed and its institutions have been created. By carrying out economic reforms, Azerbaijan is developing market-oriented economy. Nowadays our country is in its intensive development period. Considering that, the tenth anniversary of state independence of Azerbaijan is a great significant event in a socio­political life of our country and as well as with the purpose of intensifying study and propaganda of achievements obtained by the Republic of Azerbaijan during ten years of its independent development I decide:

  1. To widely celebrate the tenth anniversary of the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
  2. To approve events schedule in relation with the tenth anniversary of the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan (enclosed).
  3. The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan is responsible to ensure financing of the sched­uled events and carry out other issues arising from this Decree.