'Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh are Azerbaijani citizens' – Aliyev during update address
“It is with a feeling of great joy that I inform you that the Lachin region has been liberated from occupation,” this is how Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev began his address to the public on December 1.
“Three of our districts – Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin – have been returned to us. We returned these areas without firing a single shot,” he said.
About the first projects in the territories
The head of the Azerbaijani state said that “the picture on the lands liberated from occupation foreshadows great difficulties. Because everything was destroyed – the infrastructure was destroyed, buildings were demolished, administrative buildings were demolished”.
Aliyev said the territories are practically uninhabitable at this point.
“But we will restore these regions, all areas, we will employ all measures to give a normal life to our citizens. As you know, the first projects have already begun to be implemented … The construction of the Fizuli-Shusha highway and the Barda-Agdam railway has already begun,” Aliyev said.
On the issue of the ‘Lachin corridor’
The President of Azerbaijan spoke about the Lachin corridor, connecting Armenia with Karabakh.
“The original version of the joint Statement signed on November 10 contained a provision on the preservation of this corridor under the control of the Armenian armed forces. I opposed this, and as a result, this corridor was transferred under the control of the Russian peacekeeping forces. <…> In the original version of the statement, we were proposed that the width of the Lachin corridor be 30 kilometers. I was categorically against this and said that these claims of the Armenian side are absolutely unfounded. There is no need for such a wide corridor to ensure security measures within the corridor”.
About the fate of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh
Aliyev also touched upon the issue of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh in his address: “Now the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is no longer there. If someone thinks that this conflict is still ongoing, then they are mistaken. People living in Nagorno-Karabakh today are citizens of Azerbaijan. I want to say again that they will see that their life within the framework of the united Azerbaijani state will be good. They will emerge from poverty.”
“The day will come when the Armenians and Azerbaijanis living in Nagorno-Karabakh today, who will definitely return there, will again live in good-neighborliness,” he said.
On solving the problem of the regional center of the Lachin region
“Now everyone is well aware that the Lachin corridor passes through the city of Lachin. Thus, the city of Lachin remains in the middle of this corridor. During my conversations with the President of Russia, I said that the city of Lachin should also be returned to us. Therefore, we propose to build a new corridor. Design and build a route for a new corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. The time is also indicated here – within three years. But I believe we can do it sooner. After defining the parameters of the new corridor, the city of Lachin will also be returned to us,” Aliyev said in his statement.