December 24 is the birthday of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Aliyev was born in Baku on December 24, 1961. He entered the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) in 1977 and graduated it in 1982. Upon his graduation, Ilham Aliyev continued his education as a postgraduate student at MGIMO and received a Ph.D. degree in history in 1985.
He taught at the Moscow State University of International Relations between 1985-1990. From 1991 to 1994 Ilham Aliyev was involved in the private business sector, heading a number of industrial-commercial enterprises.
He was vice president, and later the first vice president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) from 1994 to 2003. He was actively involved in the implementation of Heydar Aliyev`s oil strategy.
Ilham Aliyev was twice elected to the Milli Majlis (parliament) of Azerbaijan in 1995 and 2000, and resigned from his post in 2003 due to his appointment to the post of prime minister.
In addition to his existing responsibilities, Ilham Aliyev has been presiding over the National Olympic Committee since 1997. Ilham Aliyev was re-elected to this post in 2016.
He has been elected deputy chairman of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party in 1999, first deputy chairman in 2001, and party chairman in 2005.
He headed the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 2001 to 2003.
Ilham Aliyev was elected deputy chairman of PACE and member of the PACE bureau in January 2003.
Ilham Aliyev was appointed Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan after his candidacy was approved by the country`s parliament August 4, 2003.
Ilham Aliyev was elected president of Azerbaijan on October 15, 2003, gaining over 76 percent of total votes. He assumed his post on October 31, 2003. He was re-elected as president for the second term, gaining 88 percent of votes in the elections, held on October 15, 2008. He assumed the duties of the presidency on October 24, 2008.
On October 9, 2013, Ilham Aliyev was elected for a third term by an overwhelming majority of voters (84.54 percent) for the next five years. He assumed the post on October 19, 2013.
The Azerbaijani people made their choice, voting for political stability, prosperity and sustainable social and economic development.
The unity of the Azerbaijani people and the country`s president was once again demonstrated in 2016. Thanks to the care and attention given to the army building by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Ilham Aliyev, today Azerbaijan has the strongest army in the region.
The valiant Azerbaijani army under the leadership of the Supreme Commander of the country`s Armed Forces, President Ilham Aliyev gave a rebuff to Armenian aggressors in April 2016.
The Azerbaijani army liberated a large area occupied by Armenia, thus opening another glorious page in the country`s history. That demonstrated the world the power and aspiration of Azerbaijan for returning the occupied territories at any cost.
These events once and forever changed the recent situation and proved the unacceptability of the status quo in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
By having voted in a referendum on amendments to the country`s constitution in September 2016, the Azerbaijani people supported President Aliyev`s initiative, which became a guarantee of the country`s political and economic stability.
The act of referendum signed by the Azerbaijani president envisaged amendments to 29 items of the constitution. Results of the referendum reflected the Azerbaijani people`s will. The Azerbaijani people voted for each of 29 items, which became the beginning of a new stage of Azerbaijan`s development.
The year of 2017 marked a new stage in the development of the Azerbaijani economy, particularly, the non-oil sector. The 12 Strategic Road Maps adopted by President Ilham Aliyev in late 2016 laid the foundation for a new strategy of the country`s economic development until 2025 and beyond, which are designed to ensure the economy`s competitiveness and social welfare on the basis of sustainable economic development in Azerbaijan.
The year of 2017 saw such significant events as the beginning of negotiations on a comprehensive cooperation agreement with the European Union, the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is the shortest and most reliable way for cargo transportation between Europe and Asia the extension of the "Contract of the Century" until 2050, the successful continuation of construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, including the TANAP and TAP pipelines that will ensure energy security of Europe,. All these were the result of the far-sighted policy of President Ilham Aliyev.
As part of the announcement of 2017 as the "Year of Islamic Solidarity" by President Aliyev, a number of major international events were held in the country, including the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games.
The bright success of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy was the recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty of member countries in the statement adopted on the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit of the European Union. The latest report on the "EU common foreign and security policy" by the European Parliament, dated December 13, has become a logical continuation of the process fixed in the joint statement of the Eastern Partnership Summit, held in Brussels on November 24 and which President Aliyev called as the diplomatic success of Azerbaijan.
The European Parliament confirmed for the first time its commitment to the EU`s commitments to support the territorial integrity of all the Eastern Partnership countries within their internationally recognized borders.