Baku, Azerbaijan, May 2
The Armenian side is hindering the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement using all sorts of ways, said Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev in an interview with the Russia 24 TV channel.
"All the attempts of the Armenian side are directed to ensure that the status quo does not change," he said. "The co-chairs of the Minsk Group countries - Russia, France and the US - have repeatedly said the status quo is unacceptable and it must be changed."
"So, what does it mean? It means that a process of de-occupation should start," said the president. "But the Armenian side doesn't want to accept it, therefore prevents the negotiation process using all sorts of ways."
"That is, since November last year, there has been no contact between us. And we can't say when there will be any," he added.
The president went on to add that no contacts are planned to take place with the Armenian side in Moscow on May 9.
"We had meetings last year, in the summer in Sochi on the initiative of the Russian president, then in the autumn, the US Secretary of State Kerry and then the French President Hollande organized meetings, where it seemed to us that we can move forward," said the president.
"But then again, just less than two weeks after the meeting in Paris, where we agreed to reduce the tension on the line of fire, Armenia organized large-scale drills in the occupied Aghdam district, with the involvement, according to their data, of 47,000 soldiers," he added.
"There was no need in this, it was a clear provocation aimed to disrupt the negotiating process," the president further said.
"We exercised restraint for a few days, didn't respond to it, because we thought we should reduce the tension, but the enemy attempted to attack our positions using Mi-24 combat helicopters, and as a result of the response actions of our side, one of the helicopters was destroyed," President Aliyev added.
He noted that this gave an opportunity to the Armenian side to blame Azerbaijan for provocations, and thus since November when this happened, up to date, there have been no contacts.
"It was not us who held military exercises," said the president, pointing out that the said exercises were held not on the territory of Armenia, but in Azerbaijan's Aghdam district.
Touching upon the relations between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, the president said "unlike our Armenian counterparts, we can't be enemies forever."
"We lived together in one state, we fought together against fascism," he said. "Therefore, I believe there will be an understanding in the Armenian leadership, as well, that it is necessary to put an end to hostility, to put an end to the occupation."
The president went on to add that the main obstacle for the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia is the continued occupation of Azerbaijan's territory by Armenia, which has no reasons - historical, legal, or political.
"As it is known, the highest international authority, the UN Security Council, adopted four resolutions, which demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from Azerbaijan's territory," said President Aliyev. Over 20 years have passed and those resolutions have remained on paper. That is, the international law has been grossly violated."
The president went on to note that the right of over one million people, expelled from their land, among whom were a lot of veterans, has been violated as well.
He said it is worrisome that despite the Armenian people also suffered from the fascism and many of the representatives of Armenian people also honorably fought in the Great Patriotic War, today there are the tendencies in Armenia that are very difficult to understand.
"A heroization of the fascists, those persons who served Hitler is taking place. Their names are known," said the president.
"Recently, the Azerbaijani public, our veterans have sent letters to the heads of friendly states, including the Russian president, expressing concern by that the streets, houses and squares in Armenia are named in honor of those who fought on Hitler's side, and it is of great concern," he added.
President Aliyev said he believes the sense of nationalism should not prevail over the sense of justice.
"Therefore, at this stage, if there would be an opportunity for the veterans from Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet, perhaps they would have sat behind the table of friendship and remember those glorious pages of our common history," he said.
"But unfortunately, the Armenian side in every way prevents public contacts," said the president, adding that there have been attempts a few years ago to organize the mutual meetings of the public, the MPs, and there even was a thought to expand this format.
"But as soon as Armenia saw that this will lead to a rapprochement, and to some feelings of friendship, it was immediately discontinued. The main problem is that the occupation continues, and, unfortunately, Armenia wants to prolong this process to the maximum extent possible," said Ilham Aliyev.
"Although, they have to understand that this cannot last forever," he said. "An end will come to this. And the sooner the better."