Ilham Aliyev on Al Jazeera: "My demands are fully consistent with international law"
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev recently spoke to Al Jazeera about the ongoing fighting in and around Karabakh.
Below are some of the main messages Aliyev sounded, in addition to an explanation for the escalation in Karabakh:
• Armenia does not want peace. They want to keep [Karabakh] under occupation forever. They do not want to change the status quo, and that is the reason the conflict has lasted so long.
• As for the norms of international law and resolutions of international organizations, [Azerbaijan] has very broad support. However, there is not enough practical pressure on the aggressor.
• If you take a look at what Armenia’s actions and statements in the last two years after the “revolution”, they have always provoked [Azerbaijan] and sought a new war, aiming to completely disrupt the negotiations.
• I believe that one of the reasons [for the escalation] may also be their internal challenges. Because we know what is happening in Armenia. They are going through a very serious political crisis.
• [Azerbaijan’s] position remains unaltered. My requirements are fully consistent with international law. Because the whole world recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and no country in the world recognizes the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”.
• Negotiations have essentially stopped. Because after his [Pashinyan] expression “Karabakh is Armenia”, I said that negotiations are impossible. However, the Minsk Group co-chairs asked me to show more understanding from the Azerbaijani side, given that the Armenian authorities are fresh and, perhaps, cannot quite control their emotions and words. I said: alright, let’s try.
• After this statement, I had meetings with the Prime Minister of Armenia. However, the meetings were absolutely meaningless and formal. He told me that the territories would not be returned.
• In fact, the Prime Minister of Armenia put forward preliminary conditions for us. By the way, I think this is also another provocation. Several months ago he put forward seven preconditions to Azerbaijan. In essence, he wanted to dictate his agenda to us and the Minsk Group.
• They destroyed all the mosques in the occupied lands. They keep pigs and cows in mosques, insulting all Muslims. They renamed our cities and villages. We will return all names. We will return to our lands. This is our legal right. This is out historic duty. I am confident that we will achieve this.
• In the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, of course, self-determination does not work the way Armenians would like it to. Another argument is that the Armenian people have already determined themselves. They have an independent Armenian state. Armenians live everywhere today. They live in France, they live in America, they live in Russia, they live in the Middle East. What if they were to try and exert ‘self-determination’ in these countries?
• We are categorically against the escalation of this conflict into a regional conflict. And Armenia wants to do just that. Therefore, they invent fake news about some foreign support from Azerbaijan.