Details added (first version posted on 16:34)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 2
Army building is the priority of Azerbaijan's policy and it is natural, as the country is in a state of war, the war hasn't ended yet, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said.
He made the remarks during the meeting with the personnel of a military unit in Azerbaijan's Terter district.
"The ceasefire regime was established in 1994. Nevertheless, Armenia constantly grossly violates the ceasefire," said the president.
President Aliyev noted that when the international pressure on Armenia over the conflict increases, it even more violates the ceasefire and stages armed provocations.
"The international community has already been fully informed about the conflict," Azerbaijan's president added. "Over these years, we managed to prove to the whole world that we are the aggrieved party."
"Armenia - the aggressor, has committed genocide against the Azerbaijani people, occupied our lands and continues this occupation," said President Aliyev. "The [OSCE] Minsk Group co-chairs, who are engaged in this issue, have repeatedly said in recent times that the status quo is unacceptable and should be changed."
It means that the occupation should be ended, said President Aliyev.
"It is a signal directly addressed to Armenia," said the president. "Therefore, and also when Armenians see that Azerbaijan gains more support worldwide, they periodically stage armed provocations in order to disrupt the negotiations and continue the policy of occupation. We witnessed this in the recent past. They attacked our positions in the summer of 2014. Our army gave an adequate response that time as well."
In November of the same year, after certain hopes emerged in the negotiations, Armenia, as it said, held large-scale exercises in Aghdam district with participation of the personnel consisting of 47,000 people, said the president, adding that it was a purely provocative move.
"The Azerbaijani side showed high restraint for several days. But afterwards, two military helicopters of Armenia attacked our positions," said Ilham Aliyev. "Azerbaijani army destroyed one of them. Taking the advantage of this, Armenia accused us and the negotiation process came to the deadlock again."
Using this as a reason, they began to accuse Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire, said Ilham Aliyev, adding that the goal was clear: to disrupt the talks again and to continue the occupation policy.
President Aliyev noted that since early 2016, some progress has been observed in the negotiation process.
"A lot of pressure is exerted on Armenia on the part of the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs, according to the information we have," Azerbaijani president said. "However, they don't openly say it. They always try to maintain a balanced position. But the reality is that nowadays Armenia is the side that prevents peaceful resolution of the conflict."
President Aliyev further said that considering the current situation, the Armenian armed forces decided to resort to regular provocations, and this happened in early April.
"They again committed an armed provocation and attacked our positions," he said. "Azerbaijani army with great skill and professionalism held a counter-attack, stopped the enemy, and our positions on the contact line were strengthened even more. At the request of the Armenian side, we agreed so that the ceasefire be restored April 5. We don't want a war."
Azerbaijan wants the issue to be resolved peacefully, but it should be settled, President Aliyev said.
"Holding negotiations just for the sake of negotiations, makes no sense," he said. "Thus, on April 5, it was agreed that a ceasefire be restored. We adhered to the ceasefire, and continue to do so today as well. But, unfortunately, Armenia once again shows an insincere approach," Aliyev said, adding that not a single day has passed without the ceasefire violations by Armenia since April 5.
In the first days after the April 5 ceasefire agreement, Armenia tried to attack Azerbaijan's positions and take back the lost territories, the president said. He went on to add that after the Armenian troops realized it wasn't working, that Azerbaijani soldier stands his ground, they started armed provocations against civilian population.
"Our villages were fired at, civilians got wounded and killed, over 500 of our houses got damaged, over 100 houses were either completely destroyed or burned down," said Ilham Aliyev.
"This is the ugly face of Armenian fascism. They did the same during the first Karabakh war, they committed the Khodjaly genocide. And today, realizing lack of forces on the battlefield, they target civilian population."