“The settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is our priority”, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the socio-economic development in the first half of 2016 and the objectives for future, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the press service of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
“Our key objective is to settle the conflict as soon as possible on the basis of norms and principles of the international law and with observance of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. There is no any other way to settle the conflict. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored, the status quo should be changed, and the occupation must end. Our position is supported by not only the UN, but all other organizations. The final document adopted at the NATO Summit also reflected the very serious moments related to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan are recognized, and the conflict should be settled on the basis of these principles”, the head of state said.
As far as the settlement of the conflict is concerned, Ilham Aliyev also highlighted that this year, especially in the last 3-4 months, the negotiation process has featured perhaps unprecedented in the history activity. “After the April developments Vienna hosted a meeting in May on the initiative of the United States. However, the Armenian side put forward several conditions for hosting the meeting. By putting forward these conditions, they once again put themselves in a ridiculous position, because they knew well that Azerbaijan would not agree to any of the conditions. The negotiation process is necessary for both us and them. The April events have shown that once again. If the negotiation process is broken and Armenia again continues its provocative activities, the situation may change. Therefore, Azerbaijan took part in the meeting held in May without accepting any conditions and set out its position. At the May meeting Azerbaijan did not sign or adopt any documents or statements. The co-chair countries issued the statement, but it is their internal affair. In June the meeting was held in St. Petersburg at the initiative of the Russian side and at the invitation of President Putin. This meeting was also held in a very positive way and inspired some hope. That is the reason why the joint statement was made after the meeting. It was published in press. I believe that the position of Azerbaijan is widely reflected in this statement”, he continued.
“I met with President of France Francois Hollande. France as a co-chair is also making efforts to settle the conflict. In fact, we observe the activity of the Minsk Group. Both America and Russia, and now the French President are very seriously engaged in this issue. Now the talks should go to the active phase, and Armenia should demonstrate its constructive position. That is, a gradual solution to the problem is already shared by all co-chair states and OSCE. We have always said and continue to say that there is no alternative to that. The issue should be solved in stages. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be secured. Establishing of the second Armenian state is excluded. The Nagorno-Karabakh can never be given independence. The international community already shares this stance. In the old days we used to hear other opinions.
Unfortunately, before the international law and the UN resolutions in some cases stayed on the sidelines and put forward suggestions on Nagorno-Karabakh not corresponding to reality and the historical truth. All this has remained in the past. The gradual solution to the problem is the only possible option. If implemented, this option will enable to liberate our lands from the occupiers. At the same time the Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh area and the Azerbaijanis, who will definitely return there, are going to live in peace and security. There is no any other solution to the issue”, Ilham Aliyev said.
“The following provocation of Armenia in 2016 led to very serious consequences in settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia’s intentions are known. They are trying to break negotiations by different ways and apply to provocation when they face a growth of international intermediaries’ pressure on them. One of them was an armed provocation committed early in April. Our positions underwent armed attack. But the Azerbaijani army withstood the attack and freed part of the occupied lands, 2000 hectares, by perfuming a counterattack operation. Now we are fully controlling a little larger area. This conflict should soon be solved. Otherwise, no one can guarantee that no provocation will happen again. Armenia’s intention is to keep the conflict in a frozen condition. They thought that their provocation would end up with a victory. But Azerbaijan gained a big military victory. April fights once again indicate the necessity of sooner change of status-quo. Intermediaries, engaged in this issue, have repeatedly stated it. Change of status-quo means liberation of occupied lands. I am sure that the results of the April combats will be a lesson for Armenia. It will make due conclusions and start negotiations in a constructive manner. There is such hope because very high proactiveness has been observed in negotiations for the last few months”, he said.
“I must note that a very high activity in negotiations have been observed for the last 3-4 months. Armenia will certainly now try to break the negotiation process and play for time. It is not ruled out that they will commit the following provocation on the frontline to break the negotiations. Just like in 2014, less than a week after the very positive negotiations, held in Paris by the initiative of President Hollande, has passed when they started conducting broad-scale military training in Aghdam. It was a clear provocation. Everybody knows now, so does the international community. They know it, even though they don’t say it. During that provocation they attacked our positions on purpose so that we hit a helicopter, whereafter they accused us of aggression, and the negotiations were broken again. 2015 was a year lost for holding negotiations. Minsk Group simply held a formal meeting in Switzerland for appearance. After that meeting the Armenian side has probably seen that this process can be activated and committed another provocation in April. Therefore, big states, which are engaged in this issue, must be informed of all these realities. In reality, they know everything. I clarified Azerbaijan’s position, real history of problem and reasons of the conflict in the bilateral format. Therefore, I think good opportunities showed up at this stage. I hope this process will yield positive results”, President of Azerbaijan stated.