The Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted on 30 August 1991 at the extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Deputies of the Parliament adopted the Constitutional Act on « The State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan » on 18 October 1991. This Act proclaimed that the independent Azerbaijan was the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR, 1918-1920) — the first democratic secular republic in the East. The Republic of Azerbaijan adopted flag, anthem and emblem of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as state symbols and the date of formation of the ADR, 28 May, started to be celebrated as the Republic Day.
The people of Azerbaijan approved state independence during the nationwide referendum held on 29 December 1991. With the adoption of the constitution of the independent Azerbaijan in 1995, the necessary legal basis for the state building was formulated. The concept of national internal and foreign policy was elaborated in full accordance with the common norms and principles of international law. During the last 20 years, state building was successfully carried out in Azerbaijan and traditions of the Azerbaijani nationhood were enriched.
While celebrating the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of Azerbaijan, it is necessary to acknowledge the great merits of Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of the Azerbaijani People, for the good of his country and nation. Assuming national leadership at the insistent demand of the Azerbaijani people, and thanks to his wise policies, he was able to derive the country out of economic and political crises, as well as the threat of civil war. The stability was established in the country and the period of development began.
Over the last 20 years, the significant achievements of Azerbaijan have made it the leading country in the region. Currently, Azerbaijan has overtaken many countries in its rate of economic development. The oil and gas industries of the country are developing successfully, allowing the accumulation of financial resources to be invested in the non-oil sectors of the economy. Large infrastructural projects that are being implemented in Azerbaijan have a great significance not only for the country, but also ensure the energy security of Europe. It is worth mentioning projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, as well as the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will turn Azerbaijan into an important transport hub. A range of other infra- structural projects is being successfully implemented. Political and economic reforms carried out in the country are complementing each other.
However, the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, leading to the occupation of 20% of the territories of Azerbaijan, the existence of more than 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the country forcefully expelled from their native lands, the aspirations of Armenia, in contradiction with the norms and principles of the international law, aimed at tearing away at any cost Azerbaijan’s ancestral territory – the Nagorno Karabakh region, drained a lot of strength and resources of Azerbaijan.
The United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations have adopted appropriate resolutions and decisions supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demanding the unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, the unconstructive position of Armenia has not permitted this matter yet to be resolved. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan would like to solve this protracted conflict peacefully, by means of negotiations. The settlement of the conflict responds to the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as other countries of the region, Europe and the whole world.