"I handed over my business to family members" - Ilham Aliyev commenting on Pandora Papers
Azerbaijani President Aliyev commented on Pandora Papers
“What has been published is only 5% true”, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, commenting on facts revealed in the Pandora Papers. In his interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he expressed his attitude towards the Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh, and spoke about the aggravation of relations with Iran.
Peacekeepers in Karabakh
“About a year after the war ended Russian peacekeepers were deployed on our territory – in Karabakh. Except for some minor incidents, the situation is stable and in general we are happy with it.
Of course, there are issues pending. In particular, the issue of foreigners visiting the zone of responsibility of peacekeepers who must enter our country with our permission. They are visiting this region illegally. We brought this to the attention of the responsible bodies of Russia, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation that this must be done with”, Aliyev said in his interview.
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Relations with Iran
According to the President of Azerbaijan, the reason for what is happening in relations with Iran “does not lie in relations with some other states, because our foreign policy is very open, transparent, stable and independent. No country can influence the decisions of Azerbaijan, and should not try to do so”.
“The reason is very simple: Azerbaijan wants a respectful attitude towards its borders. After the liberation of Karabakh, we reached our borders with Armenia. Placed there. The road between some cities of Armenia passes through the territory of Azerbaijan. We saw that goods were illegally imported to Karabakh, our territory, through this road. It is unacceptable. We do not illegally violate the borders of any country. So our message was very simple – stop it! We asked it in a friendly manner, not publically. But, unfortunately, we did not receive an adequate answer.
Then we were forced to take the second step. Prepared a diplomatic note, summoned the ambassador and revealed it to the public. But in fact, it took an even worse shape. The number of trucks heading from Iran to Karabakh has increased. We considered it disrespectful.
Then we took completely legal measures and this led to an unnecessary reaction in the neighboring country. There were inappropriate statements, threats, exercises were held near our border. No one can dictate their will to us.
We refute all accusations of Israel’s presence in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan. This is fiction. Everyone can come and see that there is no life there. Everything is destroyed. And we demand the same respect for us as we treat others”, he added.
About Pandora Papers
Answering a question from an Italian journalist on facts published in the acclaimed Pandora’s Dossier, Aliyev said:
“These questions have accompanied me for many years. Depending on the political situation, some forces in the West are trying to use such slanderous materials to weaken the position of Azerbaijan and discredit it. It is clear that this is not a journalistic investigation. It is clear who is behind this. It is clear why Azerbaijan appears there. I don’t know about others. We knew that such campaigns were planned against Azerbaijan after the victory in the war.
As for the topic itself, I have been president for 18 years. Before that, I was a businessman, engaged in business. My biography is well known. Moreover, I was a successful businessman. When I was elected president, I was not a poor man.
After that, I suspended my direct involvement in the business and transferred it to family members. Maybe you will understand me, unlike other people in the West who bequeathed all their inheritance to cats and dogs, in Italy and Azerbaijan they prefer family values. Therefore, I transferred my entire business to my children. They try and develop it.
Their investments are mainly in Azerbaijan. But there are also outside Azerbaijan. All their activities are transparent and audited at the international level, and no one can argue that something is wrong there.
To be honest, I have not read everything that is written there in the documents. I was told about it and maybe 5% of what is published there is true. Everything else is a lie.
But I have a legal right to say this openly again. It is not a secret in Azerbaijan that my relatives and family members are involved in business, charity and in many works carried out now in Karabakh”.