BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 30. An international conference under the motto “South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation” has been held at ADA University, on April 29 Trend reports.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the conference.
The head of state answered a number of questions from the heads of world's leading think tanks within the conference. In particular, Strategic Relations Manager at Henry Jackson Society Aliona Hlivco asked President Ilham Aliyev about how Azerbaijan had succeeded in liberating its territories from Armenian occupation. The head of state gave a detailed answer and shared his formula for Azerbaijan's successful battle to restore its territorial integrity.
According to the President Ilham Aliyev, the most important thing is never to accept the occupation.
“Based on our experience, the most important is never agree to occupation. You know, during times of negotiations, there were different moments and different messages which I was receiving from western colleagues and one of them was that you have to take into account the reality. Azerbaijan lost the first Karabakh war and your, how to say, actions must be based on the reality. There have been attempts to advice us that we need to consider issue related to our territorial integrity. And I was always saying ‘no’. I was saying that never Azerbaijan, myself and the people of Azerbaijan will agree to create another Armenian fake state on our territory. Never. If necessary we will fight until the death. And my comments sometimes were interpreted as very hostile, aggressive, I was always criticized for rhetorics. Armenian leaders always were praised for being constructive,” the head of state said.
“Yes, they were constructive, they wanted to seal the occupation. They wanted us to agree to give independence to separatists in Nagorno Karabakh. They wanted to keep big part of our territory, particularly territory between former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomus Oblast and Armenia , under their control. And my position was no. We will never agree,” President Ilham Aliyev said.
“So first, based on our experience, is never agree on violation of territorial integrity. In any case. Second. what lesson I learned from this time of occupation - to rely on your own resources. Third, do not rely on international organizations decisions and resolutions. They don’t have any value. UN Security Council adopted four resolution demanding withdrawal of Armenian troops, complete and immediate, from our territories, which were not implemented for 27 years,” the head of state said.
President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan implemented these resolutions by itself.
“And those who adopted those resolutions, three countries-permanent members of Security Council were Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group. And I was telling also them why don’t you implement the resolutions, which you adopted and the answer was obvious: the situations with occupation was acceptable to them. It was acceptable to Armenia, it was acceptable to Minsk Group co-chairs, it was not acceptable to us. And we were minority and we had to live in a real world and understand that there will be no help from the international community,” the head of state said.
“I’m talking now not about the situation in Ukraine. It is a little bit different in this respect, but about us. And of course we needed to have strong army, but for that we needed strong economy. So everything was done consequently, one after another or sometimes in parallel. And we needed new generation - generation of those, who will go until the death to defend their homeland. And that generation was raised and those who fought and died for Karabakh, absolute majority of them, have never seen Karabakh. They are young generation, patriotic, with high motivation,” Azerbaijani president said.
“Of course, the most important is to have strong army. And we did it and that was the number one for me as president for all years. That’s why our military spendings were number one in comparison with other. Number two was education, but that was also important because without that you will not raise patriotic people, who will go and return the lands back,” the head of state said.
“And, of course, the high motivation. We were motivated, we were ready to go until the end regardless who will be on Armenian side. And we recognized that there will be a lot on Armenian side and it happened, but it did not stop us. And during the war I was saying that I am ready to stop publicly, many times, when Armenian prime minister gives me timetable for withdrawal. We did not want this war and we fought on our territory. And he always refused, but when he agreed on nine November to give us a date, that was already after we liberated Shusha, then we stopped. We did not fight any extra hour, because we did not want people to die. And we liberated the rest part based on the capitulation act. So that is how we fought, how we prepared and if you ask me what was the most important among all of them, I would say absolutely confidently, it is the spirit. This is the most important. You will never win a country, people, who have a spirit to defend themselves. It can be only temporary and we demonstrated it and now we are proud of that,” President Ilham Aliyev said.
The head of state noted that Azerbaijan supports territorial integrity of Ukraine and of all other countries.
“We do it publicly, do not hide behind the big tree. We say what we mean. Yes, we have good relations with Russia, but with Ukraine we also have good relations and the principles of international law should not be interpreted based on political preferences. We were always a subject of that, because even before the events in Ukraine, always territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova, always was articulated very openly by international community and when it came to us always there was a message - go and agree peacefully. But how to agree peacefully with aggressor, who don’t want to leave your territory,” the head of state said.
“We tried and I tried for almost 17 years, but then we saw it is not possible. And then we saw that the more we want to do it peacefully, the more aggressor becomes more arrogant and aggressive and they already started to frighten us with new war for new territories and saying things like ‘Karabakh is Armenia’. But now what they say? Now they say ‘Karabakh is Azerbaijan’. And who says that? The same people who said ‘Karabakh is Armenia’ in 2019. We created new reality with our own, how to say, hands and with our soul. So that’s what we experienced and I think it is important for every country, for dignity, for territorial integrity, and for justice,” President Ilham Aliyev concluded.