Top official: Time is on Azerbaijan's side in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 24 / Trend E. Mehdiyev /
Time is on Azerbaijan's side in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Social and Political Department Ali Hasanov said.
Hasanov made the remarks at a workshop on "Role of youth in country's social and political life", organized by the Youth Association of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party and the public association for assistance in the intellectual development of young people.
The official noted that Azerbaijan is becoming stronger, while Armenia from day to day is getting weaker, and people are leaving the country.
"If the situation does not change, only one million people will remain there," he said. "People remaining in Armenia are elderly, sick, and those who can't leave the country. In fact, all the resources of this country have been exhausted. A separatist group has established its business around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
Hasanov underlined that the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is used for drug cultivation and trafficking, and other illegal activities.
"Sooner or later Azerbaijan will liberate Nagorno-Karabakh from separatists," he said. "Of course, we will drive out the separatists, and those, who were born and live there, will remain as they were. But we will suppress the Armenian separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia's support for the regime. This will surely happen. Azerbaijani territory, occupied by Armenia, did not increase the Armenians' resources. Instead, it has become a problem to find an Armenian supporting the current regime. It will be impossible to maintain old Russian tanks and equipment."
Hasanov said that if Armenia benefited from Azerbaijan's projects, millions of dollars would be transferred to its annual budget.
"Therefore, we are optimistic," he said. "If the status quo exasperates our patience, we have the opportunity to move to other means, which we will."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.