President Aliyev: Azerbaijan brings peace to region
CHRONICLE 06 December 2023 - 14:49
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that his country has brought peace to the region.
Aliyev made the remarks while addressing the Forum titled "Karabakh: Back Home After 30 Years. Accomplishments and Challenges" co-organized by ADA University and the Center of Analysis of International Relations on December 6, Azertag reports.
“With respect to peace, I think we brought peace. We brought peace by war. I think this is something, which should also be evaluated broader than just a local situation in the Caucasus. How to achieve peace? By military means,” said President Aliyev.
“For many years during the times of negotiations and occupation, I heard from the Minsk Group co-chairs – three of them in one voice saying that there is no military solution to the conflict. It happens that they were wrong, all the three.
Despite history of statehood, great international experience, being permanent members of the UN Security Council, they were wrong. I think that either they just were wrong because of the wrong assessment or it was a kind of a message to Azerbaijan that you will not succeed, if you resort to non-peaceful scenario. We proved that there is a military solution to the conflict. So, conflict is resolved. Actually, conflict was resolved three years ago, when we liberated a big part of the occupied territories,” the Azerbaijani president noted.
“When we restored our sovereignty, two and a half years ago, we once again saw what we anticipated – a large number of Armenian military servicemen in Karabakh was positioned there without any respect to international law,” said the president.
“We hoped that finally, it would be possible to find the solution to the situation. We realized that the situation is not normal. Our proposals from the very beginning of the time - when the Second Karabakh War ended - were very clear. People who live in Karabakh have two options: either to become Azerbaijani citizens – we provided all the necessary legal and also security framework for that – or to find another place to live. There can be no other option,” the head of state emphasized.
“One day, in even less than one day, the anti-terror operation totally allowed us to restore our sovereignty. The operation was held without any damage to civilian infrastructure, any casualty among civilians,” Aliyev stressed.
“We announced that if the army laid down its weapons, we would stop and allow them to leave. So, it lasted less than 24 hours. After they announced that they surrender, all their actions on the ground had stopped. I think, the most important events that happened since our last meeting in May,” he noted.
“Now we are in the face of addressing several international challenges. Unfortunately, we face some misunderstanding from the countries, which we considered to be our partners,” Aliyev said.
“And we are trying to explain our position and also trying to explain that international law norms are obligatory for all. They should not be selective. And what has Azerbaijan done? It has done the right for self-defense based on UN Charter, Article 51. It was done based on international law and the sovereign right of Azerbaijan to control fully its territory as any other country should do,” the head of state underscored.
“So, the anti-terror operation was not planned by us in November 2020. That's what I can say very openly,” Aliyev said.
“Another thing is with respect to the formal peace, and I think that you mentioned particularly that peace agreement. I would say that, it's also, I think, must be analyzed by international experts that a country, which suffered the thirty years of occupation, devastation, total destruction of its territory, ethnic cleansing and genocide, right after the liberation by itself, not by international mediators, offered peace. So, it was us, who offered peace to Armenia. So, we decided to elaborate the principles for a peace agreement. We elaborated them and sent them to Armenia. And then again, there was silence and then we made it public. So, we made public those famous five principles, which Armenia seems now more ready to accept. If they accepted them or basically accepted them three years ago, there'll be no need for anti-terror operation,” President Ilham Aliyev added.
“We need firm, verified guarantees that there'll be no attempt of revanchism in Armenia. Why we need it? Because we know what is happening in Armenia, and also we know that Armenia have very bad advisors in some European capitals,” said President Aliyev.
“We must have a guarantee that there'll be no more war between the two countries,” the head of state noted.
“We really try to do maximum in order to create most comfortable conditions for former refugees. They deserve it, because they lived in difficult conditions for 30 years. It was not only physical conditions, but also psychological situation of people who were deprived from their homes for 30 years,” the president said.
“Now, when we liberated the territories, we do everything in order to speed up the process with full understanding about the dangers, as you mentioned, the mines are a major danger. At the same time, we want to do everything properly. We want the process to be as fast as possible, but with understanding that it must be done using the best architectural experience, the best technology, including green technology, and the best conditions for living,” the head of state noted.
“For us, of course, the most important was to provide former refugees with decent conditions, with jobs. By the way, I'd like to tell you that employment is also one of the important areas, which we concentrate while planning the return process. So, most of the people who have been returned already have jobs and this once again demonstrates that the approach is absolutely comprehensive,” said President Aliyev.
“I'd like to say that during these three years - after the end of the Second Karabakh War - on several occasions, I publicly stated that we consider Armenians living in Karabakh as our citizens. We think that they have been the subject of manipulation by the leaders of separatists. We offered them conditions under which they can stay and continue to live on that area. And that was totally in line with international law, as I already said. The only thing they had to do was that they had to apply for the Azerbaijani citizenship. The issues related to their security and rights have also been addressed. On many occasions, we said that their security will be provided in line with the Azerbaijani constitution, and the Azerbaijani commitment in front of international organizations,” the head of state added.
“When the representatives of Armenian community agreed to meet – only after 20 September. After September 20, when we already had to use force in order to restore our sovereignty, the representatives came to Yevlakh. They came twice, not once. The question is why didn't they come before? If they came before, there would have been no need for anti-terror operation. So, this is history, the recent history,” Aliyev said.
“Our electronic portal is functioning. We had already several appeals from the Karabakh Armenians. Some of them prefer to stay there and they live there. We assigned our representatives from the State Migration Agency and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population to take care of those who cannot provide their own comfort. Because, now it's the area, where you have to be protected by social agency, because you have to eat, you have to have heating, you have to have other means of living. Not many of them, I would say remained. But those who remain, they have been taken care of and those who want to come back, they can use a mechanism, which I already informed you about,” the head of state mentioned.
“At the meeting with people who returned to Lachin - former refuges - I expressed my position on the situation and said that there is an opportunity to find a normal solution to this issue. I also said that the leaders of separatists have a chance for amnesty if they surrender. That was a public statement. But unfortunately, again, my words were not properly assessed. So now, the leaders of separatists are in Azerbaijan. They wanted to come here and threatened us that they would come on tanks. But now, they are waiting for the Azerbaijani justice to say its word,” said President Aliyev.
“We still hoped that we can establish contacts with the representatives of Karabakh Armenians. Unfortunately, those people there who monopolized the so-called power did not allow that to happen. Moreover, in September, there were two events, which actually were considered by us as crossing over the last red lines. First, the congratulation from the Armenian Prime Minister to the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with respect to its so-called independence, which was totally in contradiction with what the Armenian Prime Minister said and signed. Because October last year was the time when the Armenian Prime Minister officially recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. After that, after many statements in the same direction, sending a congratulation letter to separatists is absolutely unacceptable, and is very contradictory,” the head of state underlined.
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