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Azeri President Ilham Aliyev (epa)
31 December 2005 -- Azerbaijan is today marking the sixteenth anniversary of the day that residents of the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan tore down part of its border with Iran and crossed the Araks River to visit relatives in Iran.
After Azerbaijan became independent in 1991, the government declared a national holiday to commemorate the events of 31 December 1989 and 1 January 1990.
In a statement to mark the holiday, known as the Day of Solidarity, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the people of his country and Azerbaijanis living abroad to "strengthen unity and solidarity with your kin."
Aliyev called on ethnic Azerbaijanis living abroad to work to improve the image of Azerbaijan in the countries where they now live.