"The language of threats and terror does not work with Azerbaijan" - Ilham Aliyev
Aliyev’s speech in Shusha
“Armenia coul use the negotiation format not to reach an agreement, but to drag out the process indefinitely, waiting for a miracle,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a conference in Shusha on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev.
- Armenian-Azerbaijani talks in Washington, but what comes next?
- Child beaten to death in sports training; coach responsible
- Georgian population support for NATO accession remains high – NDI study
On May 3, Shusha (Armenian: Shushi) hosted the fourth international conference on the theme “Formation of the geopolitics of Greater Eurasia: from past to present and future”, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the former president, father of the current president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.
Aliyev delivered a speech at the conference and raised many issues to do the country’s foreign policy, relations with neighboring countries, and the Karabakh resolution.
“Armenia did not want a peaceful resolution”
Talking about the resolution of the Karabakh issue, Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is determined to conclude a peace treaty, but he “strongly doubts about the similar intention of Armenia”:
“I said that if Armenia does not want peace, then there will be no peace. There are countries that have not signed a peace agreement. We know this from history, but it will not be good either for Armenia, or for the region, and of course not for Azerbaijan.
Therefore we still hope that they will show prudence and not resort to the same tactics that they used during the occupation, during the former Minsk Group, which by the way has not done anything fruitful in 28 years. And the main reason for this was that Armenia did not want to liberate the territories.
Yes, the Minsk Group was not very popular in Azerbaijan during the years of occupation. And now that it’s effectively retired, we won’t talk too much about it. But the main reason why a peaceful resolution of the conflict was never achieved was that Armenia did not want it,” Aliyev said.
“Armenia is trying to drag the process out indefinitely”
According to the Aliyev, Armenia is trying delay a Karabakh resolution at every stage:
“The same thing could happen. They can drag out the process, use the negotiation format that has been launched, not in order to reach an agreement, but to drag out the process indefinitely, waiting for something, waiting for a miracle, waiting for changes.
I think that they will miss the opportunity, because almost thirty years of occupation did not give them any advantages. On the contrary, they were cut off from regional development. They have lost the chance to become a truly independent country, not just formally, but actually independent.
And now they are looking for a new owner or owners. But recent history should teach them a lesson. And we hope that they will understand this,” he said.
“An attempt to include the so-called “NKR” in the text of the peace agreement is counterproductive”
President Aliyev also mentioned that it was Azerbaijan that initiated the peace talks after the conclusion of the tripartite agreement of November 10, 2020, while Armenia “behaved unconstructively every time.”
“After the end of the Second Karabakh War, few of the actors knew what would happen next. Since the tripartite declaration is not a ceasefire agreement, it is not a peace agreement either. So the initiative came from us. We presented the well-known five principles that fully comply with the norms and principles of international law, and Armenia had to officially either reject them or accept them. Refusal would once again demonstrate their lack of constructiveness.
It was probably difficult for them to accept them from a psychological point of view. Then we had a long break, so to speak, due to Armenia’s unwillingness to conduct serious negotiations. We sent them four new versions of the draft peace agreement. We’ve been waiting for more than 40 days for the final comments that we received just a week ago, right before the meeting in Washington, because they understand that without this, the Washington meeting will be absolutely useless. But in these comments, we again saw territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
For Armenia, for international players, it was absolutely clear that there should not be a two-vector approach. The first is the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the second is the ties between the Azerbaijani government and the Armenian community of Karabakh. Therefore, any attempt to include the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, which does not exist, in the text of the peace agreement is counterproductive,” Aliyev stated.
“The language of threats and terror does not work with Azerbaijan”
President Aliyev also talked about tense relations with Iran and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is not interested in complicating relations with any country, especially neighbors, as it “faces such a huge challenge as the revival of Karabakh”:
“We have always made efforts to develop these relations and, as a president, for almost 20 years I have repeatedly visited Iran on official visits, and the previous presidents of Iran have also visited Azerbaijan many times. That is, we have maintained very active trade relations. We have been actively working on transportation issues, in particular on the North-South transport corridor. And we saw that this relationship has great potential.”
Aliyev listed the chronology of all the events that led to extremely tense relations between the two countries, from the transportation of goods from Iran to Armenia and back through Karabakh without the knowledge of Azerbaijan, to the terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran, and the Iranian spy network exposed inside Azerbaijan.
“Thus we demand, first, the extradition of terrorists from Azerbaijan who have taken refuge in Iran. And we demand a transparent investigation into the terrorist attack on our embassy. So you can imagine that relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are at their lowest point right now, and it is very difficult to predict whether they will stay at this level. This is very difficult to predict.
Again, this was not our choice. But everyone in Iran must finally understand that the language of threats and terror does not work with Azerbaijan. The sooner they understand this, the sooner we will see signs of normalization,” Aliyev said.