For status quo to change Armenia should start withdrawing troops from Azerbaijani lands

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 28

By Seymur Aliyev, Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

For over 20 years Azerbaijan has been suffering from Armenian aggression and occupation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on June 28, at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Baku.

"Nagorno-Karabakh is a historic part of Azerbaijan, it is an ancient land of Azerbaijan that has been occupied by Armenia for more than 20 years," President Aliyev said.

He added that 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized land is under occupation, one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and displaced persons on their own land.

"We became the subject of ethnic cleansing. Armenians committed genocide against Azerbaijani city of Khojaly - the genocide that is already recognized by 10 countries of the world," Azerbaijani president stressed. "International law norms are violated. The UN Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories. These resolutions remain on paper, and are not implemented."

President Aliyev went on to add that the OSCE decisions, in particular, the decision of the Lisbon summit, which clearly identify what steps should be taken in order to resolve the conflict, also remain on paper.

"European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Islamic Cooperation Organization and others, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), have adopted decisions and resolutions but Armenia simply ignores it," Ilham Aliyev underscored.

He added that Armenians do not want to liberate the territory that does not belong to them.

"Armenia wants to keep everything unchanged. It ignores even the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries presidents' statements. Presidents of U.S., France, and Russia made it very clear that the status-quo is not acceptable, and it means that the status quo must be changed. In order for it to change, Armenia has to start the withdrawal of its troops from our land, but Armenia ignores it," President Aliyev said.

Azerbaijani president said the implementation of the resolutions of the international organizations, restoration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the resolution of the conflict, based on the principle of territorial integrity of the countries is the main prerequisite for successful resolution of the conflict.

"As far as the principle of self-determination is concerned, if we look carefully at the Helsinki Final Act, we will see that self-determination should not undermine the territorial integrity of countries. Armenians already have their independent state. There are no reasons why they should have another Armenian state on historic Azerbaijani territories, taking into account that the first Armenian existing state was created on Azerbaijani lands," President Aliyev stressed.

He went on to add that the OSCE sent two missions to the occupied territories, a fact-finding mission and a field-assessment mission.

"Both of these missions reported total devastation of the occupied territories. It is a dead zone. Our cities are levelled to the ground, our historic buildings, mosques and cemeteries are destroyed. This is the evidence of the missions," Azerbaijani president said.

"We are grateful to OSCE for these initiatives, but these reports play no role in the resolution of the conflict. We need resolution of the conflict that is what our refugees, our people and country need. Our region needs that, because Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is a major source of threat to the region," Azerbaijani president said.

Ilham Aliyev underscored that the best way to reduce tensions and to establish confidence-building mechanisms will begin with withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani lands.

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