"Over the years, Azerbaijan has become a space-faring nation. We have three satellites. Sixteen years ago, we couldn't even dream about it perhaps. But today it is a reality. We have not only three satellites. In two years, Baku will host a top global event – the International Congress of Astronautics, almost 50 years on, because the only congress in the Soviet Union was held in Baku in 1973. And now, 49 years later, this event will be held in Baku again, this time Baku as the capital of an independent state of Azerbaijan," President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in his opening speech at the conference dedicated to the results of first-year implementation of "The State Program on socio-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2019-2023" held on February 2020, ONA reports.
Speaking about the transport sector the Head of State said seven airports have been built, six of them are international: "According to the Davos report, Azerbaijan ranks 11th in terms of air services. Heydar Aliyev International Airport is already known as a five-star. There are about 10 such airports in the world. One of them is Heydar Aliyev Airport.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has been built. This is our historic victory. Not only because Armenia remains in an eternal impasse, although this is important, but because this road brings a lot of income today and, at the same time, expands our international cooperation. Currently, this railway transports goods from locations that were not provided for at the beginning of its construction. So the railway has become a very important infrastructure project for international cooperation, and Azerbaijan is the leading country here. We have played a special role in creating the East-West and North-South transport corridors. We are a country involved in both projects. The Alat international seaport is the largest port in the Caspian. A shipbuilding plant can produce tankers, cargo and any other vessels for us. Today, our money stays in Azerbaijan and does not go abroad. Currently, we produce tankers and cargo ships ourselves. I have mentioned only the main highlights of the work done over 16 years.
In the field of energy, in the oil and gas industry, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline was commissioned in 2006 and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline in 2007. If they hadn't been built, who would have ever invested in the oil industry of Azerbaijan, especially in offshore oil production? No-one! Investments would be nil. What would we be doing? We would be buying oil abroad. We built these pipelines in a difficult geopolitical environment, with minimum risks. Then the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was built. Because if those pipelines had not been built and that corridor had not been opened, there would never have been a railway corridor. And we would not have had money to build this railway. We could not have provided Georgia with a loan of about $800 million. Then the Southern Gas Corridor. It is also one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe worth about $40 billion. It connects several countries. It is a giant project with a length of 3,500 kilometers and consisting of four segments. Political skill, diplomatic steps, our economic power, our relations with international banks and fruitful cooperation with countries along this path have all played a role here. There were so many difficulties in the implementation of this project. We would need to have a separate event just to talk about this. But we brought it to the end. And Azerbaijan initiated it. For several years now, meetings of the Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor have been traditionally held in Azerbaijan. The next meeting of the Council will be held at the end of this month.
So everyone agrees that we, Azerbaijan, are the leading force, the initiator, the organizer of these projects, the country that has taken up the main financial burden, and we have done this. Each of these projects has historic significance. All these projects and the work done in general represent a great contribution to the Azerbaijani people. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, it is our policy and the steps taken that determine successful development and stability and form a positive mood in society. We did everything we promised. There is not a single unfulfilled promise. No-one can find anything of the kind. In 2003 and the following years, I did everything I promised. Therefore, people have great confidence in both our words and our deeds. I have always said that our words must be underpinned by our deeds, and it is the case today."