"The life of Armenians in Karabakh will be much better than during the occupation" - Ilham Aliyev
Aliyev on Armenians in Karabakh
“It is important that disputes between countries be resolved on the basis of international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty cannot be changed by force,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, speaking at the opening of the Global Baku Forum. “The life of Armenians in Karabakh will be much better than during the occupation,” he added.
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Today, the 10th Global Baku Forum on the topic “The World Today: Challenges and Hopes”, organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, began in the capital of Azerbaijan.
The forum is being attended by four presidents, two prime ministers, six speakers and ministers, heads of five UN structures, 25 former presidents, 21 former prime ministers, deputy foreign ministers of 23 countries — a total of 360 representatives from 61 countries.
President Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the forum.
“Conflicts can be resolved in two ways”
“Conflicts can be resolved in two ways: peaceful and non-peaceful. We tried very hard to resolve the conflict with Armenia peacefully, despite the fact that as a result of the Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan, a humanitarian crisis arose, more than one million Azerbaijanis were left homeless, became refugees and internally displaced persons,” Aliyev said.
According to him, Armenia “pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis, expelled them from Karabakh, subjected a million Azerbaijanis to suffering.”
“Despite our attempts to resolve the problem peacefully and convince Armenia to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions that demanded the immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories, Armenia simply ignored these resolutions, demonstrating disrespect for international law and the community,” the President asserted.
“We did what we felt was right”
Aliyev talked briefly about the reasons for the second Karabakh war in the fall of 2020:
“In 1992, immediately after the start of the conflict, the OSCE created the Minsk Group. But, unfortunately, for 28 years the Minsk Group has not achieved any results. And at the end of the negotiation process, it seemed to us that they just want to freeze the situation. They wanted this conflict to be frozen forever.
But we did not agree with this. We did what we saw fit to do, using our right to self-defense, the UN Charter, in particular Article 51. We liberated our territory by force. It was our legal right.
That is, we tried to achieve this peacefully. But we did not succeed, because the Armenian side did not demonstrate a constructive approach. Then we liberated our territory by force.”
“The people of Azerbaijan have the moral right to demand revenge”
“For almost two and a half years we have been restoring a vast territory of 10,000 square kilometers, which was completely devastated.
By the way, representatives of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center visited Shusha and I also held a panel discussion there. They saw the destruction in Fizuli, in Shusha. This is indeed a sign of barbarism. It is an “culturcide” and ecocide. And all this was done by our neighbor.
The people of Azerbaijan have the moral right to demand revenge. But the essence of my words is that we took revenge on the battlefield. We did not commit war crimes, unlike the Armenians. We did not commit genocide, unlike the Armenians. And we took revenge on the battlefield,” Aliyev said in his speech.
“It’s time for peace”
According to Aliyev, the time has come for peace:
“Therefore, immediately after the end of the war in November 2020, we took the initiative to start peace negotiations and presented the famous five principles that could form the basis for a peace agreement with Armenia.
We hope that the international actors who are trying to assist in this matter will convince Armenia not to miss this chance. They have lost the chance to become an independent country. They have become completely dependent, a kind of colony of another country, and now, perhaps, of other countries. Because of the aggression against us, they missed their chance to become truly independent and build their future.
Now they have a chance to start behaving like a neighbor to their neighbors. We want peace. We don’t want another war. And we think peace is achievable. What was agreed between Azerbaijan and Armenia in October last year, in particular regarding respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other, actually demonstrates that there are no obstacles to achieving peace.”
“The life of Armenians in Karabakh will be much better than during the occupation”
Aliyev also raised the issue of the Armenian community of Karabakh:
“As for the Armenian minority in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan is a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic country. The rights of minorities in Azerbaijan are protected by our constitution. Everyone who is familiar with the real situation in Azerbaijan can confirm that Azerbaijan is a country with a high level of religious and ethnic tolerance, where various ethnic groups, various confessions live in peace and with dignity.
So I believe that the life of the Armenians living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan will be much better than during the occupation.
Each conflict has its own history, its own dynamics and its own end. But the important thing is that disputes between countries are resolved on the basis of international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty cannot be changed by force. This is the position of Azerbaijan. And this position applies not only to our case, but to all conflicts in the world. We are publicly voicing this position.”