Ilham Aliyev: "All nations in Azerbaijan are equal, including Armenians"
Ilham Aliyev on the rights of Armenians in Azerbaijan
“Azerbaijan is a multinational country, and Armenians are not the largest ethnic minority”, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, speaking about ensuring the rights and security of the Armenian population of Karabakh. “If Armenia questions the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, then Azerbaijan will have no other way but to question the territorial integrity of Armenia”, he said.
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On June 16, the IX Global Baku Forum on the topic “Threats to the global world order” opened in the capital of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the forum.
On peace and stability in the South Caucasus
Aliyev stated that the solution of the Karabakh problem will be beneficial for security and peace in the region.
“Azerbaijan won the war, which was fair and inevitable. It ended with the restoration of international law.
Now we are talking about peace. I believe that this is a rare case in the world when, after such a long confrontation, a country that restored justice and defeated the aggressor offered peace within a short time.
If you look at the history of wars, in many cases such a picture is not observed. Why did we choose peace? Because we want to see stable and sustainable development in the South Caucasus. This is a rare opportunity.
The South Caucasus was divided during the years of independence of the three South Caucasian countries. It was divided due to occupation by Armenia. Now is the time for peace and cooperation, and Azerbaijan is working on this”, the President of Azerbaijan said.
On the peace agreement with Armenia
Speaking about the process of normalizing relations with Armenia, Aliyev cited five principles proposed to Yerevan by official Baku:
“We are satisfied that the Armenian government has adopted these five principles. This is a positive trend. But we now have to move into the practical phase. We need concrete steps.
Azerbaijan, for its part, has already created a commission on a peace agreement and we are waiting for the same step from Armenia. As soon as this step is taken, negotiations will begin”.
On the delimitation of borders
According to the Azerbaijani leader, the country also made its proposals to start delimiting the borders:
“Most of our border was under occupation and there was never a delimitation. This process has already begun and the first meeting of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border commission was held last month at the border. This was symbolic, and was an important message for progress on this issue.
Of course, we understand that this is a long way to go, but the process has already begun”.
On the opening of communications
“At the same time, we expect Armenia to fulfill the conditions of the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020 on opening communications”, Aliyev said.
According to him, the main goal is to open a land road between the main part of Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic:
“More than a year and a half has passed since the signing of the act of surrender by Armenia, but unfortunately, the issue has not yet been resolved. This is unacceptable.
Firstly, this is a violation by Armenia of the terms of the tripartite statement, and creates an imbalance. Because, under the same agreement, Azerbaijan assumed an obligation to freely withdraw from Armenia to the part of Karabakh, where the Armenian population of Azerbaijan lives.
So, for a year and a half they have been using the Lachin road, but the Azerbaijanis cannot use the Zangezur corridor. It’s unfair and we won’t put up with it”.
On the rights of Armenians living in Azerbaijan
President Aliyev stressed that the statement of the President of the European Council Charles Michel after the last meeting in Brussels between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia openly speaks of attention to the rights and security of the Armenian population of Karabakh:
“We wholeheartedly support this. The rights and security of the entire population of Azerbaijan are guaranteed by the country’s constitution. Azerbaijan is a multinational country, and Armenians are not the largest ethnic minority.
Representatives of all peoples in Azerbaijan are equal, including the Armenians living in the country. Yes, issues of rights and security will be provided from our side.
Unfortunately, we still hear thoughts from the Armenian government about the status of “Nagorno-Karabakh”. It is useless and dangerous for Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist. There is no such administrative unit in our territory, and therefore, any mention of the “status” will lead to a new clash”.
On the recognition of territorial integrity
“If Armenia questions the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, then Azerbaijan will have no other choice but to question the territorial integrity of Armenia. And we have the right to demand this from the point of view of history”, Ilham Aliyev said.
“If Armenia tries to demand status for Armenians in Karabakh, then why would Azerbaijan not demand status for Azerbaijanis in western Zangezur? The population of this region consists entirely of Azerbaijanis.
This approach will lead to a dead end. I believe that the Armenian government will not forget the lessons of the second Karabakh war and give up territorial claims”, he added.