‘Go, look at yourselves in the mirror’ – President Aliyev on controversy around Baku war trophy park
In an interview with Azerbaijani state channel AzTV, President Ilham Aliyev expressed his thoughts on the opening of the Zangezur corridor, the calls of the Canadian Foreign Ministry for the release of Armenian citizens held in Azerbaijan, the situation in the region following the second Karabakh war, and the controversy around the trophy park in Baku.
“Zangezur corridor should be opened and will be opened”
When asked about the Zangezur corridor which should Azerbaijan with its exclave Nakhichevan, in accordance with the terms of the trilateral peace agreement signed on November 10, 2020, Ilham Aliyev stated the following:
“The Zangilan region is separated from Nakhichevan by the Zangezur corridor. With a length of only 40 kilometers, it should be open and will be open. As you know, this is confirmed by the joint statement of November 10th.
After that, serious steps have already been taken on this issue within the framework of the meetings of the working group at the level of deputy heads of government of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia. I can say with confidence that this railway corridor will open”.
“There is no territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh”
Commenting on the situation in the region after the end of the second Karabakh war, the President of Azerbaijan said that the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has been resolved:
“Azerbaijan resolved this conflict alone, both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Victory on the battlefield forced the enemy to raise the white flag and surrender, to sign the act of surrender. The document signed on November 10 is the act of Armenia’s surrender”, Aliyev stressed.
President Aliyev added that there is no territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh on the territory of Azerbaijan.
“The conflict has been resolved, and I believe that it is pointless to return to this issue. Anyway. we have demonstrated this in the post-war period. Firstly, if anyone believes that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is still not resolved, that’s their problem. Secondly, this is a very dangerous position. If the conflict is not resolved, what should be the solution? Does this mean that the November 10 agreement is no longer valid? This is how I understand it. In fact, on November 10, a document was signed to resolve the problem.
This is not only a ceasefire agreement, as some want to present it. Let them open their eyes and see how many points there are. There is only one point in the ceasefire agreement – a ceasefire and that’s it. There are many points here, various clauses covering many topics, including opening communications in the region.
If the conflict is not resolved, how can we talk about the opening of communications? If the conflict is not resolved, why do the deputy prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia meet and agree?” President Aliyev asked.
“Who does Canada think it is?”
Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada called on Azerbaijan to release the detained citizens of Armenia.
In December 2020, after the end of hostilities in Karabakh, 62 servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces were detained in the Khojavend region of Karabakh. Azerbaijan considers them to be saboteurs and terrorists, and the Armenian side considers them prisoners of war. In early May 2021, three of these detainees were released.
Commenting on the call, President Ilham Aliyev said:
“Recently I was informed that the Canadian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the internal affairs of Azerbaijan. What right does it have to do that? Who gave it this right? Who does Canada think it is? Maybe it is a superpower, but we did not know? Maybe the second Luxembourg, the second superpower has been created, however, we were not notified. Let them sit and mind their own business”.
About the war booty park
Ilham Aliyev also expressed his opinion about the international community’s ambiguous assessment of the opening of a war trophy park in Baku.
“There must be an end to the dirty campaign against Azerbaijan over this war booty park. The French museum displays the skulls of the slain leaders of the national resistance movement of Algeria. Go and look, look at yourselves in the mirror, how many times should I repeat this? Journalists, foreign journalists, foreign politicians. I will speak, I will not be silenced. But let them also go about their business, they are mired in their own problems. They have thousands of problems”, President Aliyev said.
On the status of Nagorno-Karabakh
“As for what some politicians say about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh – a non-existent entity. I spoke about this too, if someone wants to give status to the Armenians living in our territory, I do not mind, let them choose a good place for them in their country.
Those places have long been captured by the Armenian diaspora, so they should give them autonomy or independence there. But not in Azerbaijan. This will not happen in Azerbaijan, regardless of what anyone says.
Therefore, I advise, in order not to anger us and not strain our relationship, not to make any statements either about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh or about the conflict. If they carry on making them, they will receive an answer”, said Ilham Aliyev.
“They should not play with fire”
When asked about revanchist sentiments in Armenia, the President of Azerbaijan noted that at present all political forces in Armenia – both the opposition and those in power make statements about the return of Shusha and Hadrut.
“We are showing endurance so far. But they should not play with fire. They saw our fist and it is still clenched. No one can stand before us. If we notice the slightest danger, even the slightest, we will immediately destroy it. Directly and locally. They know it. We have both strength, will, and determination. The fist is in its place”, Aliyev summed up.