"We do not need any mediation" - Ilham Aliyev
Ilham Aliyev on the peace process
“When we see some attempts to reincarnate the Minsk Group, of course we cannot support this, because they [its representatives] have done nothing to fulfill their mandate,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said. In his opinion, Azerbaijan does not need any mediation. Aliyev also talked about the future of the Armenian population of Karabakh. “We will not discuss with any of the international players how we will organize their life on our territory,” he said.
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On October 5 in the city of Agdam, which returned to the control of Azerbaijan after the the second Karabakh war, an urban planning forum under the themes “Sustainable Development Goals” and “New Urban Agenda” began work on post-conflict reconstruction, as a joint project of the United Nations Program on Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) and the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the forum.
“During occupation, the Armenians laid over a million mines”
“At present we are face to face with the huge challenge of returning refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in the shortest possible time. Along with a massive recovery program, mines are another big challeng. The war ended almost two years ago, but from the day it ended until today, 250 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in mine explosions.
Unfortunately this figure is increasing every week. Last week alone two people were killed and three injured,” Aliyev said.
According to him, “during occupation the Armenians laid over a million mines.”
“The policy of terror against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis continues. More recently, more than 1,400 mines have been discovered and defused in the Lachin region, which were laid by the armed forces of Armenia after the end of the second Karabakh war. Thus aggression and terror against Azerbaijan continue,” the President added.
About destroyed cities and villages
At the opening of the forum, in which UN representatives took part, Aliyev touched on the topic of refugees and internally displaced persons:
“We have experienced a serious humanitarian crisis. Over one million Azerbaijanis living in Karabakh, Zangezur and in the current territory of Armenia were subjected to complete ethnic cleansing as a result of aggression and occupation by Armenian forces. When this happened, the population of Azerbaijan was less than eight million people. Can you imagine what one million refugees and internally displaced persons means for such a country?
“Everyone who visits the liberated territories sees the result of aggression and occupation by Armenia. Thousands of foreign guests, journalists, politicians, representatives of civil society saw it all with their own eyes.
“The scale of Armenian vandalism and barbarism is actually so great that everyone who comes to this part of Azerbaijan feels complete moral emptiness. You can imagine how people who used to live here feel when they come to Aghdam, Fizuli and other liberated territories. They cannot even find the place of their home because everything is completely destroyed.”
About the negotiation process
Aliyev once again commented on reports on the resumption of the OSCE Minsk Group, and mentioned problems with the negotiation process before the second Karabakh war:
“The main goal of Armenia was to change the de facto situation and thus achieve an endless process of negotiations with Azerbaijan. That is why 28 years of negotiations yielded nothing. The result was actually zero.
“Despite the resolutions and decisions of the UN, the OSCE and other leading international organizations on the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, especially the four resolutions of the UN Security Council which remained on paper for thirty years, and our calls for the imposition of sanctions on Armenia, we could not achieve this.
“The international community has decided, in a sense, to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian catastrophe of the Azerbaijani people.
“The biggest regret is that the structure called the OSCE Minsk Group and its co-chairs repeatedly visited the occupied territories, witnessed the brutal destruction of all cities and villages, the illegal settlement of our lands by Armenians, but did not condemn Armenia. For 28 years of “activity”, not a single word condemning Armenia was said.
“And now when we see some attempts to reincarnate the Minsk Group, of course we cannot support this because they did nothing to fulfill their mandate. Their only actual activity was that they, in a certain sense, tried to legitimize the Armenian aggression. They tried to create a balance between the aggressor and the victim of aggression. Therefore, today Azerbaijan itself restored international law, implemented UN resolutions, restored the terms of the UN Charter, especially using its article on self-defense, and restored its national pride.”
Ilham Aliyev on the peace process
“We don’t need any mediation”
Regarding the peace process with Armenia, the President of Azerbaijan mentioned five principles that official Baku proposed to Yerevan as the basis of a peace treaty between the two countries:
“We don’t need any mediation. After the end of the second Karabakh war, we made a proposal. Despite what you see in Aghdam, we offered peace to Armenia despite the destruction of more than 10,000 square kilometers of territory by Armenia, despite the hardships that our people had to endure.
“We proposed five basic principles of international law as the basis of a peace treaty – mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of countries, refraining from future territorial claims, non-use of force and threats of use of force, determination of state borders and opening of roads.
“All this is in fact the basic principles of international law, and I believe that peace treaties or other agreements between countries trying to normalize relations should be based on these principles.”
On the fate of the Armenian population of Karabakh
“As for the Armenian population living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, they are our citizens, and we will not discuss with any of the international players how we will organize their life on our territory.
“Karabakh is Azerbaijan. The second Karabakh war confirmed this. No country in the world, including Armenia, has recognized this impostor structure. And so we never discuss our internal affairs with international organizations and other countries, regardless of their size and potential,” Aliyev said during his speech.
“We have a certain optimism about the peace process”
According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan hopes that the preparation of a peace treaty will not take much time:
“We have a certain optimism about the peace process. The other day there was a meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia. I would especially like to note that this was the first meeting related to the preparation of the agenda of the draft peace treaty. We hope this doesn’t take too long.
“The war that took place two years ago was on the territory of Azerbaijan. This once again confirms our position that despite all this, despite the hardships of a million of our citizens, we want to put an end to hostility, mutual hostility and turn a new page of peace. Let’s see if we can do it. I’m not sure, but at least we’re moving in that direction.”
On the delimitation of borders
“At the same time, we hope that the commissions of Azerbaijan and Armenia will not waste time and will actively work on defining the actually non-existent border between the two countries. For thirty years of occupation, this border was completely under the control of Armenia. After the end of the occupation, we came to those borders that we consider borders and stayed here.
“Therefore it is necessary to actively work on historical documents, historical maps, based on international experience and methodology, in order to determine this border which is more than 400 kilometers long. This process is already underway. But again, I repeat, it is difficult to say how successful it will be,” Aliyev said, on topic of delimitation of the state border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Ilham Aliyev on the peace process