Azerbaijani President points to possible ways of resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (PHOTO)
The Azerbaijani President said there are two ways to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: the way of negotiations and the military way.
"There is no third way," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers devoted to the socio-economic development in 2011 and the challenges in 2012. "This conflict is not "frozen" and will not be so. If anyone thinks that the main issue in the negotiations is to prevent the war, I do not agree. We do not want war either. Who wants war? Moreover, Azerbaijan has achieved great success. But this does not mean that the negotiation process will remain aside and all efforts will be directed for the war not to begin. This will not happen! Why am I talking about this? I am talking because we mainly saw the co-chairmen's actions and initiatives aimed at strengthening confidence-building measures, non-infringement of the ceasefire regime, rather than attention to the essence of negotiations in 2011, especially in the second half of the year. We do not want a war either. But it also has its way. Everybody knows this way."
He said that unfortunately, there were no results in the conflict settlement in 2011. "The only and main reason is Armenia's unconstructive position, its insincere behavior in the negotiations," he said. "In fact, the Armenian side is trying very hard to break or "freeze" the negotiations. Of course, the negotiations require the participation of both sides. If one side tries to somehow evade the negotiations, other side's possibilities are limited."
The Azerbaijani president stressed positive facts in the negotiation process regarding the international forces to the issue. "We can not deny it," he said. "I can say that the most important thing is that three co-chairing countries said about the unacceptability of the status quo. This is the first such statement, that is, such statements were not made in previous years. This is a fair statement. Of course, the status quo must be changed. This is an encouraging statement. If, after this statement the co-chairing countries have concrete proposals, steps, actions, the conflict will be resolved soon. If it remains as a statement, then the prospects of the negotiations will not be encouraging."
President Aliyev said a number of principles must be observed to resolve the conflict. "Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is not under question, the Azerbaijani citizens return to the occupied lands and the proposals on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh will be put forward in the future in an uncertain period and in the indefinite form," he said. "The main question is that no status can be given to Nagorno-Karabakh without Azerbaijan's consent. Naturally, Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people will never give and will not be able to give consent to any status of Nagorno-Karabakh outside Azerbaijan.
He said that Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations on the basis of these principles. If another party also takes similar steps, the issue can be resolved soon.
"This is not a secret that we accelerate and will accelerate our military strength," he said. "I remember exactly the figures in 2010. I also remember other figures. But I keep especially these figures in mind. About $3.413 billion were spent on military sphere in 2011. In 2012 about $3.474 billion will be spent in 2012. That is roughly the same figures. Look how much money we spend on the army for two years. If we add the money spent in the previous period, we and all will see that today the Azerbaijani army has great potential. We have the strongest army in the region. Maintenance supply is high. The most modern weapons, equipment, combat aircrafts and helicopters, missiles, artillery pieces are being purchased. It is hard to list them all. The geography of the countries cooperating with us in the military sphere is being expanded. The number and range of military products made in Azerbaijan are being increased. We produce about 600 kinds of military products. That is today the Azerbaijani army is a great force. We can use and will use it when required."
Azerbaijan's military potential must more increase, he said.