President Ilham Aliyev delivered speech at Khankendi Stadium
Today marks a historic event for Azerbaijani people as FC Qarabag (Aghdam) and MOIK ( (Baku) faced off in the Azerbaijani Cup round of 16 match at the Khankendi Stadium.
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva were in attendance at the stadium to watch the match.
First, the National Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan was played.
A minute of silence was observed in memory of the sons of the Motherland who sacrificed their lives for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the audience before the start of the match.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear friends, welcome to Khankendi!
This is the first time that a football match is being played in our liberated territories. I sincerely congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.
The children and family members of our heroic martyrs are with us today. Let us greet them all together.
Organizing this football match in Khankendi holds great significance. Khankendi, an ancient region of Azerbaijan, was founded by Karabakh Khan, and subsequently developed into a major city by Azerbaijani architects and builders, funded by the Republic of Azerbaijan. Regrettably, for three decades, separatists established a stronghold in this city, turning it into a symbol of separatism. Over the course of 30 years, Armenia, through occupation, erroneously believed it could perpetually maintain control over our lands. However, the valiant army of Azerbaijan demonstrated to both Armenia and the global community that these are our historical and ancestral territories, rightfully belonging to the people of Azerbaijan. The imperative to reclaim what is rightfully ours was realized, and we successfully accomplished this mission.
Khankendi was liberated from occupation three months ago. As a result of a one-day anti-terrorist operation, Azerbaijan fully ensured its state sovereignty. Today, the Azerbaijani flag flies across the entire Karabakh region. This is an immensely historic event and this history will live forever in our hearts. The people of Azerbaijan and all Azerbaijanis of the world will forever be proud of this Victory.
We, the owners of these lands, are building and creating. We are carrying out extensive construction and improvement work in the city of Khankendi, Khojaly and other liberated territories. This stadium was almost completely rebuilt and renovated in a matter of two months. All insignia symbolizing separatism have already been discarded into the trash can of history. As is the case with all other cities, the city of Aghdam is being rebuilt today. In addition, the reconstruction of the Emirates Stadium will begin in the city of Aghdam in a few months.
Regardless of the result of today's game, the winner is obvious. The winners are the people of Azerbaijan, the state of Azerbaijan! The match between Qarabag and the Central Army Sports Club (MOIK) in today's game, of course, has a great symbolic meaning. The unity of Karabakh, Army and People is the primary source of our victory.
Dear friends, some people claimed that "Karabakh is Armenia, full stop" in this stadium four years ago. We have proved to them that Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
Most of our occupied lands were freed from the invaders three years ago – as a result of the Second Karabakh War. The Azerbaijani flag was raised in the city of Shusha, the crown jewel of Karabakh. Three months ago, on September 19-20, Khankendi, Khojaly, Asgaran, Khojavand and Aghdara districts were also liberated from the invaders. On October 15, I raised the Azerbaijani flag in all these cities. On November 8, a Victory Parade was held in the central square of Khankendi. Today, we are celebrating this wonderful sports holiday together.
From now on, the flag of Azerbaijan will forever fly above these lands. We, Azerbaijanis, will live here forever! Long live Karabakh! Long live our glorious army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!