Christian Poncelet

Former President of the French Senate

During my first visit to Azerbaijan, I was delighted and honored to meet President Heydar Aliyev. He invited me and my colleagues for lunch. It was an unforgettable event and I was very excited and touched by such a special attention. I have unforgettable memories of this meeting.

President Heydar Aliyev is a courageous and strong-willed person. This is a person who is connected to his country with his whole being, breathes with his country, lives with all its difficulties, works with all his power to improve the life of the people, and acts pragmatically taking into account reality. Of course, he gives the people not empty promises, but concrete hopes.

Speaking of his will and strength, I remember very well how President Heydar Aliyev received me right after the medical operation and spoke for a long time. When I advised him to take some rest, he replied: “No, this conversation is very important. Since I attach great importance to the relations between France and Azerbaijan, I must talk to you” and the conversation had very positive results.

President Heydar Aliyev managed to restore stability in the country and unity among its all forces. He restored the necessary confidence and order to ensure economic development, which is the basis of the country’s social development. He created the necessary circumstances for obtaining maximum profit from the natural resources of the country.

Today Azerbaijan is taking bold steps towards a market economy. The country has chosen the path of democracy so that everyone can freely express their opinions and express their feelings. This is how the state revives. President Heydar Aliyev managed to mobilize the country’s forces for the sole purpose – in the name of Azerbaijan’s progress. I will especially emphasize that President Heydar Aliyev implemented in his country the main principle of Western democracies – the principle of secularism. Everyone in the country is free in their beliefs and to practice their religion. At the same time, religion should not interfere in the governance of the country. This is a very important principle.

I must say that thanks to the activities of President Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan has gained great fame far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus. Today, Heydar Aliyev’s services are invaluable in the development of good relations between France and Azerbaijan. There are very sincere feelings of friendship between the Azerbaijani and French peoples. I am very pleased that President Heydar Aliyev always pays special attention to the anniversary of the French Revolution – July 14th. The day when the French people gained freedom and democracy coincides with the day when Heydar Aliyev, who brought progress, freedom, and hope to his country, was appointed to the highest position.