President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has chaired a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers to discuss results of the country`s socio-economic development in 2013 and outline tasks for 2014.
President Ilham Aliyev said the year 2013 saw a continuation of Azerbaijan`s socio-economic development and the strengthening of the country`s international image. The Head of State touched upon Azerbaijan`s two-year tenure as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, saying the country demonstrated principled position based on international law and justice. The President added this contributed to considerably increasing the country`s international influence.
President Ilham Aliyev said an anti-Azerbaijan campaign at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe ended in failure in early 2013.
The Head of State noted the country hosted a lot of high-level international events, adding large-scaled work was carried out to expand bilateral relations with foreign countries.
President Ilham Aliyev highlighted the negotiations to solve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying Armenia`s non-constructive position had prevented progress in the talks.
The President said Azerbaijan holds the balance of power in all areas in comparison with Armenia, saying Azerbaijan`s state budget is eight times bigger than Armenia`s, while population is six times bigger.
The President praised Azerbaijan`s economic development, saying the Gross Domestic Product saw a six percent growth in 2013. He sad the non-oil sector increased 9.8 percent, while the population`s incomes grew 8 percent, and inflation stood at 2.4 percent.
President Ilham Aliyev said last year saw a record volume of investment made in the country`s economy – 28 billion US dollars. He said the strategic currency reserves made 50 billion dollars.
The Head of State said a total of 110,000 jobs, of them 80,000 permanent ones, were created in 2013, adding the unemployment level fell to five percent. President Ilham Aliyev said the poverty level in the country stood at 5.3 percent last year.
The President said Davos Forum placed Azerbaijan 39th in its latest competitiveness report, adding the country would continue its socio-economic development.
The Head of State praised the launch of Azerbaijan`s first communications satellite, saying 2013 was the Year of Information and Communication Technologies.
President Ilham Aliyev expressed confidence the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would be commissioned in 2015. He also touched upon successes achieved under TAP and Shahdeniz-2 projects in 2013.
The Head of State also thanked the people of Azerbaijan for re-electing him the president of the country, saying all authoritative international organizations hailed the elections as free, transparent and fair.
Speakers at the meeting included Finance Minister Samir Sharifov, Communications and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov, and Healthcare Minister Ogtay Shiraliyev.
President Ilham Aliyev made closing remarks at the meeting. He emphasized the importance of expanding investment programs, maintaining macroeconomic stability, and continuing government support of economic reforms and entrepreneurship.
The President said anti-corruption measures would be continued in 2014, adding “ASAN xidmet” network would be enhanced.
President Ilham Aliyev said this year would play a decisive role in preparation for the 2015 Baku European Games.
The Head of State declared 2014 the Year of Industry.