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Azerbaijan, Turkey boost media relations
Istanbul, September 7, AZERTAC A delegation led by Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev is visiting Istanbul. The visit aims to establish a joint media platform between Azerbaijan and Turkey, exchange news, specialists and opinions, as well as ensure the wider promotion of both countries worldwide through social media. As part of the visit, the Azerbaijani delegation will hold meetings with Communications Director for Turkish Presidency Fahrettin Altun and heads of a number of state and media organizations. The delegation includes head of the information support sector of First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Farhad Amirbayov, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) Aslan Aslanov, Chairman of the National Television and Radio Council Ismat Sattarov, Executive Director of the Fund of State Support for Development of Mass Media under the President of Azerbaijan Ahmad Ismayilov, Chairman of Azerbaijan Television and Radio Broadcasting Closed Joint-Stock Company Rovshan Mammadov, Director General of the Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (ITV) Balakishi Gasimov. The delegation is accompanied by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey Khazar Ibrahim and Consul General in Istanbul Narmina Mustafayeva. Gunel Malikova Special Correspondent
 
President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated in a video format another modular hospital for treatment of coronavirus patients
Baku, August 31, AZERTAC President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has inaugurated in a video format another modular hospital of the Health Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Meeting with the hospital staff via videoconferencing, the head of state made a speech at the event. Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev - A new large hospital is opening in our country today. I congratulate you on this occasion. In early July, we celebrated the opening of the first hospital in this area. I participated in its opening. That hospital has over 800 beds. It is one of the largest hospitals in our country. These hospitals are already providing treatment for COVID patients. On that day, I ordered to build another hospital on this territory by the end of August. Today, on 31 August, we have been able to achieve this. The hospital opening today has more than 820 beds but we can increase their number to 1,500 in a short time. What makes this hospital special is that there are 130 intensive care units here. I am confident that the hospital opening today will play a very important role in our fight against COVID-19. I should note that during the pandemic, the construction of new hospitals in our country has gained momentum. Major funds have been allocated for this purpose and all our resources have been mobilized. The available bed capacity was insufficient to successfully fight this terrible pandemic. In a matter of six months, the bed capacity of our country has expanded significantly. The most beautiful and modern hospital of our country, “Yeni klinika”, has been opened. There are about 600 beds in it. Currently, there are about 400 beds on stand by. Along with this, 11 modular hospitals have been built. These hospitals have 4,100 beds. Let me also mention that there are plans to build seven modular hospitals. It is not necessary for the time being because the number of patients in our country is decreasing and, if necessary, it will be possible to quickly build additional hospitals with 1,400 beds. As a backup option, we have also converted two Olympic centers of our country into hospitals, where 300 to 500 patients can also receive treatment. All this demonstrates that Azerbaijan has been very successful in the fight against COVID. The decisions made are implemented in a timely manner and with high quality. These and other factors allowed us the opportunity to keep the situation under control. I should note that there are currently 46 hospitals for COVID patients in the country. Of these, 41 hospitals were built in the last 17 years. As a result of the implementation of state programs on the socioeconomic development of the regions, modern medical centers have been established in all our districts and cities. It is not too difficult to imagine what problems we could have faced today if we hadn’t taken this step in good time. I can say with full responsibility that if these hospitals had not been built on time, we would be in a very difficult situation today. The hospitals were not only built, they were fitted with the latest equipment, and this process continues today. The material and technical infrastructure of our healthcare system plays a special role in the fight against COVID. In addition to that, we have greatly increased the number of laboratories – by several times. When the pandemic started, we had only six laboratories and we have increased the number of such laboratories to 45. More than 900,000 tests have been implemented in our country. According to the number of tests per capita, Azerbaijan is in one of the leading places in the world. Naturally, the more tests you do, the more cases of infection are detected. Our main goal and task is to ensure that all the infected people are examined and receive timely medical care. I should add that special attention is being paid to Azerbaijani doctors in connection with the pandemic. In principle, people working in the healthcare system are always taken care of by the state. The hospitals built are doctors' workplaces, and the modernization of doctors' workplaces, as well as the improvement of their financial situation, have always been in the focus of our attention. During the pandemic, this focus was even greater. Suffice it to say that the salaries of doctors dealing with COVID patients have been increased three to five times. But the main problem is associated with the number of doctors because no country was ready for the pandemic. No-one would have thought that the world would face such a misfortune. In our country, and indeed in all other countries, the number of doctors is intended for a normal life. Therefore, one of the issues on the agenda was to invite an additional number of doctors to Azerbaijan. I believe that as a result of prompt and effective actions, we have resolved this issue as well. Teams of doctors came to Azerbaijan from five countries – Turkey, Russia, China, Italy and Cuba – to help us. In other words, all the work done is bearing fruit. It is no coincidence that the situation in the fight against COVID has become more positive in recent weeks. We see positive dynamics, and I hope that this dynamic will be maintained in the future. We have been in close contact with the World Health Organization since early days. These contacts continue to this day. As you know, the World Health Organization has praised the work done in Azerbaijan in this area and described Azerbaijan as an exemplary country. This is indeed the case. In other words, the work done, the state funds allocated to this area, the mobilization work, the construction of hospitals, the laboratories, the implementation of social programs – all this, I am sure, has played a key role in our struggle. Therefore, these contacts continue to this day, and I am confident that through joint effort we will keep the COVID issue under control. I should also note that Azerbaijan, as a responsible country that enjoys great authority in the international arena, has provided humanitarian assistance to other countries. Azerbaijan has already provided humanitarian assistance to more than 30 countries, which is our great contribution to the common struggle. Of course, the pandemic has had a negative impact on both the country's economy and the social situation of the people. Tangible steps are being taken to reduce the consequences of this impact. About five million people are covered by a large social package. Both the public and private sectors, as well as the unemployed, including those working informally, vulnerable people – all categories of people are provided with financial support by the state. This shows once again that the well-being of our people, their social status and, of course, their health is a key issue for us. From the first days of the pandemic, I said that human health is a priority for us, and we have made every effort to address this issue. Of course, under such circumstances, economic difficulties were inevitable. But I think that the economic situation in Azerbaijan is better than in other countries. We are well aware that in some developed countries, the economic downturn during the pandemic is at the level of 10, 15, 20, 25 percent. It is also at a high level in developed European countries. As a result of the measures taken in our country, the economy fell by only 2.8 percent in seven months. Given the global landscape, I think this is a good indicator. But, of course, we must be prepared for the post-pandemic period, and appropriate instructions have been given. For the time being, no-one can say when the post-pandemic period will begin. However, the research carried out in the world and work on a vaccine are producing encouraging signals. I should also note that we are currently actively working with several companies to bring the COVID vaccine to our country. I hope that Azerbaijan will be among the first countries to receive the vaccine in this area as well because we have been working on this issue for some time. But the main condition here is that the vaccine should go through all the stages of testing. Doctors are well aware that any new vaccine goes through several stages and only then is released to the market and used to vaccinate people. Therefore, we will bring this vaccine to our country after all the stages of research have been conducted by companies and after international certification has been completed. After that, I do hope it will be possible to say that this terrible situation is over with. I do hope that in this case it will be possible to say that the horrific situation has been left in the past. I believe that until that we must act in accordance with the situation. We have been doing this since the early days. Over these six months, steps were taken to tighten and then ease the restrictions, and starting from about mid-July, positive dynamics began to be observed. Under such circumstances, of course, we introduced mitigating actions, as mitigating steps were taken three times in August alone. If the positive dynamics continues and the number of patients does not increase, then, I am sure, mitigating measures will be taken further because there are currently 100 to 200 people getting infected in our country every day. This is certainly a better result than in previous months. However, daily monitoring is and will be carried out to keep the situation under control. At the same time, mitigation steps should be taken in such a way that the number of patients does not increase sharply. This is the key issue, and we will certainly take our steps very carefully. Along with this, we will track the experience of countries that have gone for active reopening. At present, several countries have already opened their borders and many of their sites have begun to receive tourists. But what do we see in these countries? We see that the number of patients there has increased dramatically. In particular, if we look at the experience of developed European countries, we will see that in August the number of patients reached a peak, rising to the level of April even though, in general, there was a decrease in the number of patients in the world, including Europe, from April to the summer months. So what does this mean? It shows that the disease has not disappeared at all. This disease is still there, and this being the case, the state must take all the necessary steps. At the same time, citizens must use the basic methods of protection – keep their distance, wear a mask, use disinfectants. Of course, the sharp rise in the number of patients in some European countries makes us think and urges us to take more cautious steps. I want to say again that the primary issue for us is people's health. I believe that if our citizens continue to act responsibly – I should say that we do see and feel this responsibility recently and this is reflected in real results – then I think that we will be able to return to normality, to normal life in a short time. But, of course, people’s responsibility is a priority now in order to achieve this. The state has done everything in its power – the actions I have mentioned and the allocated funds. Even though the oil price is still at a low level and there is a decline in the economic sphere, we have increased our budget. Additions were made to the budget, budget adjustments were made, and the main goal of this is to take more effective measures to combat the pandemic and provide social protection to citizens. I can unequivocally say that the rules introduced in Azerbaijan, the steps being taken in accordance with the situation are bearing fruit. The quarantine regime is paying off, and as a result, all quarantine restrictions have been lifted in many cities. It remains in big cities, and it is up to all of us to take additional mitigating steps with more confidence and in a short time. Unfortunately, there are still people who do not understand the situation today, who have lost a sense of responsibility. There are cases of flagrant violation of the rules. When such cases are discovered, of course, punitive measures should be taken and applied. Punitive measures apply to all categories of people. There shouldn’t be and there is no discrimination. Everyone is equal before law regardless of their social status. Equality, justice and the rule of law are the main principles in Azerbaijan, and I call on all our citizens to act responsibly. First, they must act responsibly in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. On the other hand, those breaking the rules, organizing large-scale events and thus not reckoning with the laws and existing rules of the country in a demonstrative manner will be and are being punished. The public is also being informed about this issue. I believe that the people of Azerbaijan are well aware that law is law for everyone. No-one can be above law, no-one can have any privileges and no-one can and will be given any concessions. I want to reiterate that all the work done is aimed at overcoming this situation with few losses, and I think we are achieving this. Everything is measured in comparison. If we look at the global statistics on COVID, we will see that the results obtained in our country are very effective and valuable. I think that it is thanks to these measures that we have saved the lives of thousands of people. We did not allow the widespread spread of the disease, did not allow it to get out of control, and we will continue to do so. We will do as much as necessary. I am confident that as a result of joint efforts, the decisive, thought-out and fair steps of the state, as well as the responsibility of our citizens, will allow us the opportunity to come out of this difficult situation with few losses and return to normal life as soon as possible. Once again, let me congratulate you on the opening of this hospital. I wish the doctors continued success and good health. Thank you!
 
President Ilham Aliyev attended opening of medical masks manufacturing enterprise in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park
Baku, April 6, AZERTAC President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the inauguration of medical masks manufacturing enterprise established by Baku Textile Factory LLC in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park. Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov and director of Baku Textile Factory LLC Sakina Babayeva informed the head of state and first lady about the enterprise. Established by Baku Textile Factory LLC, the medical masks manufacturing enterprise was allocated an appropriate venue in Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park and gained Industrial Park resident status. The enterprise creates more than 30 new jobs which will employ people in three shifts. At the initial stage, the enterprise will produce 120,000 medical masks a day. Another production line will be set up in the coming days and at the second stage, the enterprise will double its production and manufacture 200,000-250,000 medical masks per day. The head of state and first lady then was informed of medical alcohol, disinfectants and protective equipment produced in Azerbaijan. Currently, six companies produce disinfectants. President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva was also informed of the STEAM-Azerbaijan project. After viewing the enterprise, President Ilham Aliyev appealed to the people of Azerbaijan. Appeal of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev - The production of medical masks begins in our country today. This is a very significant event because many countries of the world, including Azerbaijan, are currently experiencing a shortage of medical masks. We always relied on imports in this area. However, in the current circumstances, local production was organized in a short time, in a matter of two weeks. Entrepreneurs have played a major role in this and the Azerbaijani state also provided financial support. Thus, a new modern production facility was created in a short period of time, and this will allow us the opportunity to substantially provide ourselves with medical masks. As you know, the use of masks in the fight against coronavirus is of particular importance. As I already noted, many countries of the world are experiencing problems in this area these days. A deficit has also arisen in Azerbaijan. In some cases, there are no medical masks in pharmacies. Therefore, this production will enable us to provide ourselves and Azerbaijan will no longer depend on imports even after the fight against coronavirus is completed. At the same time, the production of disinfectants has been organized in Azerbaijan as well. This issue was also resolved in a short time. Our advantage was that there are several distilleries in the country where disinfectant production has begun. These disinfectants are already on sale. It has been repeatedly noted that in order to wage a more effective fight against the infection, people should be more responsible and pay attention to personal hygiene. But to do that, we need resources – medical masks and disinfectants, which are already on the market today. At present, one of the key issues is that pharmacies and other retail outlets should not artificially inflate prices. The lack of masks has already led to an artificial overpricing, and sometimes masks were sold from under the counter. This should not be allowed under any circumstances and relevant state bodies need to exercise strict control. In the event of an artificial inflation of prices, those involved will be severely punished because in the current pandemic such actions will be perceived as treason. The production of medical masks and disinfectants once again shows that the infrastructure available in Azerbaijan allows us the opportunity to succeed in organizing the necessary production in a short time. It is no coincidence that this production enterprise was set up on the territory of the Chemical Industry Park in Sumgayit. This park was established on my initiative and many enterprises are already in operation here. They are making a great contribution to our non-oil economy. At the same time, the available personnel potential, the development of the class of entrepreneurs, the partnership between the public and private sectors, the continuous state support for the private sector, both political and financial, the provision of low-interest loans –all these factors have brought about a new situation when we can organize the production and supply of the necessary resources in a short period of time. I want to note again that there is a shortage of masks even in developed countries these days. The new equipment we have purchased –there are plans to supply a second line of this equipment as well – allows us the opportunity to produce a large volume, a large number of masks in an automated mode. Therefore, today's event is of particular importance. I have taken part in the opening of hundreds, perhaps even more than a thousand industrial enterprises in recent years, but this enterprise is of particular importance because the medical masks and disinfectants produced in Azerbaijan today will protect our citizens. Our main goal is to avoid infecting people, protect people’s health, and all measures are being taken to do this. As a result of the adoption of preventive measures, the spread of coronavirus in Azerbaijan has not gained large proportions now. Hundreds of people die in developed countries every day. The health system of no country can fully organize the treatment of an ever increasing number of patients. This should serve as a lesson for us. Therefore, the adoption of preventive measures in Azerbaijan and the implementation of these actions in accordance with the situation pursue one goal: to protect the life and health of our people and prevent the spread of the disease in Azerbaijan. All measures taken so far have produced the desired effect. Suffice it to say that 45,000 tests have been carried out in Azerbaijan to date. Currently, various Internet resources indicate the number of patients, the number of deaths, as well as the tests performed. Everyone can visit these sites and see. Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the world where so many tests have been performed. This has helped us to identify the disease, provide patients with prompt medical assistance and protect ourselves from even greater troubles. So far we have succeeded. At the same time, the adoption of operational measures and the implementation of actions in accordance with the situation have produced effect. The new quarantine rules which entered into force on 5 April pursue one goal: to prevent the spread of the disease in Azerbaijan. This goal was also pursued by the decisions that were made prior to 5 April and the new rules. I have repeatedly said that we have demonstrated national unity, national accord, and we must also demonstrate responsibility. But in the current conditions, taking into account the rules that entered into force on 5 April, people should demonstrate discipline, because strict measures are envisaged in relation to those violating these rules. And these measures are already in place. I am sure that our citizens will fully comply with these rules, the disease will not be widespread and we will be able to overcome this situation with minimum losses. I should also note that coronavirus patients undergo treatment in more than 20 hospitals today, including our most modern hospital, the “Yeni klinika”. This clinic was opened relatively recently, at the end of March, and is designed for 575 patients. If we take into account that the clinic was commissioned ahead of schedule, its capacity to receive patients will gradually increase –100 patients at the initial stage, then 300 and then it will begin to operate at full capacity. Also, the hospitals I attended the opening of in the regions in early March of this year were also made available to the patients infected with coronavirus. The most modern hospitals located in the cities of Gazakh, Goranboy and Shamkir are treating patients with coronavirus. The number of beds in these three hospitals is around 500. So more than a thousand hospital beds meeting the most modern standards were put into operation in a matter of just one month, and patients infected with coronavirus are being treated there. Taking into consideration the prompt actions of the Azerbaijani state and entrepreneurs, I also want to inform that there are plans to set up modern hospitals in Baku and a number of regions in the near future. They will be built on the basis of new technologies. These technologies make it possible to completely reconstruct a hospital in a short time, possibly within three weeks or one month. They will be built using the principle of assembly technology and fitted with the necessary equipment. The number of beds in each hospital is 200. The establishment of such hospitals in our country in a short time will, of course, provide us with additional opportunities in this fight. One of the key issues in this struggle is time. The more time we gain, the more quickly we do the work, the more success we can achieve in the fight against this disease. Therefore, the time factor and, of course, the professionalism of doctors, our capabilities, a combination of all these factors are allowing Azerbaijan the opportunity to overcome this situation with minimum losses today. However, of course, the subsequent development of events will show what our next steps will be. In any case, a strict quarantine regime will remain in effect until 20 April day. After that, we will take steps in accordance with the current situation. I should also note that a great success was achieved as a result of operational steps taken to return the citizens of our country living and staying abroad. To date, about 15,000 Azerbaijani citizens have been evacuated from foreign countries and the vast majority of them are now in quarantine. Currently, 4500 citizens are in quarantine. The most suitable places have been allocated for that. Most of the quarantined people are in the Athletes Village. About 1,300 people are accommodated there now. At the same time, quarantined people are accommodated in Baku and in the regions in 4-5-star hotels, recreation areas and recreation centers of some government agencies. They are provided with daily meals and undergo medical examination. The vast majority of them are very pleased with the conditions created and have expressed their gratitude to the state and doctors. In a word, faced with a serious situation, the Azerbaijani state demonstrated its strength again. It showed that our main goal is to protect the people and the state. Any steps can be taken to achieve this, and we are doing that. As a result of operational measures, we did not allow this disaster to assume large proportions in the country. But our further success will largely depend on the actions of our people. The state has done everything possible. Tight restrictive measures have been applied. People should be responsible, take care of themselves, their loved ones, family members. As we demonstrate unity and solidarity, we must also show responsibility and be disciplined. I must also note that coronavirus has created big problems for the global economy. This is already being acknowledged by leaders of the world's senior financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund has already stated that the crisis caused by the coronavirus will be even more severe than the crisis of 2008-2009. As far as Azerbaijan is concerned – it is possible to say that the oil price has dropped by more than in half – the coronavirus has adversely affected many sectors of the economy and the service sector. However, despite this, the problems of those working in these areas have been taken into account. The four working groups set up on my instruction have largely completed their work. I have received an update. Based on the instructions, the Cabinet of Ministers has already approved an Action Plan. The initial plan was to allocate about 1 billion manats for this purpose. However, subsequent additional calculations showed that this was not enough and at least 2.5 billion manats will be allocated so that economic stability in Azerbaijan is maintained, employment problems are resolved and our macroeconomic and financial situation remains stable. If we take into account the areas that were most affected by the coronavirus, as well as the people engaged in private entrepreneurship, 600,000 people suffer from this situation the most because their jobs have been closed. Everyone already knows about my appeal, my unequivocal demand to entrepreneurs: no staff cuts should be made in this period. However, we must create opportunities for entrepreneurs so that they are not affected. A total of 600,000 workers, including private entrepreneurs, will be financed at the expense of the state in Azerbaijan. The state has taken on a significant part of their wages and these payments are already beginning. The problems of students and the amount of unemployment benefits – all this is being taken into account. It is for this that 2.5 billion manats are provided. This is a huge figure. I want to say again that our oil revenues have declined, but the health, safety, comfort and well-being of our people are above everything for us. We are demonstrating this again. Turning to all the people of Azerbaijan, I want to say again: be responsible, do not violate discipline and rules, take care of yourself, your children, relatives, so that we can overcome this difficult situation with small losses! Together we are strong! Thank you!
 
Foreign Ministry: Azerbaijan attaches great importance to its regular political dialogue with NATO
Baku, May 4, AZERTAC The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan has issued a statement on the 25th anniversary of the country`s joining to the Partnership for Peace Program of NATO on May 4, 1994. The statement reads: “Twenty-five years ago today, the Republic of Azerbaijan joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On May 4, 1994, late President Heydar Aliyev visited NATO Headquarters and signed the Partnership for Peace Framework Document. Azerbaijan has ever since developed a strong and mutually beneficial partnership with the Alliance. Cooperation with NATO is one of the important directions of Azerbaijan’s foreign and security policy. Azerbaijan views its partnership with NATO as a means for contributing to security, stability and prosperity in the whole Euro-Atlantic area. The PfP program can definitely be as one of the most successful programs of the Alliance and Azerbaijan commends its positive role in enhancing the Euro-Atlantic security. 25 years of cooperation with NATO have been driven by common values and principles of the PfP Framework Document and the UN Charter, most notably by the commitment to respect political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. Azerbaijan welcomes the continuous support expressed by the NATO Allies for the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the resolution of the conflict based on these principles, as reiterated in its summit declarations since the beginning of our partnership. Azerbaijan attaches great importance to its regular political dialogue with NATO on a wide range of issues of common interest and highly values its practical cooperation with the Alliance on various fields, most notably on peace operations and defense reforms. Azerbaijan and NATO has strong partnership in the field of peace operations. Azerbaijan is an early contributor to NATO-led peace operations, which are mandated by the UN Security Council. Currently, Azerbaijan contributes by troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and enables use of its air and ground lines of communications in support of the mission. Azerbaijan also provides important financial support to the training of Afghan security forces. Azerbaijan is determined to continue to work with NATO by building on the success it achieved within the PfP, in line with its principles and purposes, with the aim to foster peace and security within the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.”
 
5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue wraps up in Baku
Baku, May 3, AZERTAC The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue under the motto "Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict” has ended in Baku. Addressing the closing ceremony, Executive Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, UK, Professor Michael Hardy thanked the Government of Azerbaijan for the excellent organization of the Forum. He highlighted the importance of the event. Michael Hardy said that three main plenary sessions on the themes of “Managing diversity: multi-level and multi-sectoral collaboration”, “Youth4Peace: Building a CounterNarrative to Violent Extremism” and “Migration, displacement and human security” were held on the sidelines of the Forum. Azerbaijan`s Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev thanked all participants and partners. He noted that important topics were discussed during the 2-day Forum. Then High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO Nada Al-Nashif, ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler Halter commended the Government of Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev for the excellent organization of the event.
 
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