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Armen Mirzoyan

Ilham Aliyev: "War Was Inevitable; Minsk Group Dead"

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, at the opening of the IX Global Baku Forum on "Threats to the Global Order", made several statements regarding the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, the future of the OSCE Minsk Group, and current opportunities for cooperation in the South Caucasus.  Aliyev’s remarks were disseminated by the APA news agency.

Minsk Group

Aliyev said the Minsk Group didn’t achieve any results in 28 years and that Azerbaijan resolved the Karabakh conflict during the 2020 war. He stated there is no need for another Minsk Group.

"We have already been informed that the Minsk Group co-chairs will not function anymore. It is time for them to retire. Thus, I want to express our position that any speculation related to the Minsk Group or any other country in Armenia only causes anger in Azerbaijan. We have settled the conflict. The Madrid Principles developed by the Minsk Group have been resolved. Now, we must think of ways to normalize relations with Armenia, sign a peace treaty," Aliyev said.

He said that given the Russian-Ukrainian war, everyone understands that it is impossible to hold a meeting with the participation of all the Minsk Group co-chair countries.

Normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani Relations

Aliyev said Baku initiated the process of normalization of relations with Armenia and that it continues to propose steps on a peace agreement.

"As for the process of normalization of relations with Armenia, it was our proposal to start working on a peace agreement. Armenia did not respond. Then, we took another step and put forward five basic principles of international law, including mutual respect and recognition of the territorial integrity of the two countries, mutual refraining from making any territorial claims, both now and in the future. We are very glad to see that the Armenian government has accepted those five principles. It is a positive dynamic, but we need practical application now, because we know from the discussions during the occupation that sometimes even what was said by the Armenian leadership at the highest level did not make sense. We need a step to be taken. Azerbaijan has already set up a peace treaty commission. We expect the same step to be taken by Armenia." If this is done, negotiations will begin.”

Status of Nagorno Karabakh

Speaking about any possible status for Nagorno Karabakh, Aliyev said the Azerbaijan’s constitution provides for equal rights for all ethnic groups living in the country, including Armenians.

"Unfortunately, we hear the statements of the Armenian government about the so-called status of Nagorno Karabakh, which is absolutely counterproductive and dangerous, even for Armenia. The Armenian government must stop trying to rewrite history. History has already been written.”

Aliyev said that Armenia is putting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in question, forcing the Azerbaijani side to think about the issue. If Armenia will demand a status for the Armenians of Karabakh, why shouldn't we demand a status for Azeris in western Zangezur? This area was completely inhabited by Azeris.”

Cooperation in the South Caucasus

Aliyev said Azerbaijan has chosen peace for the sake of sustainable development of the South Caucasus.

"We have chosen peace because we want sustainable development in the South Caucasus. This is a unique opportunity. During the years of independence of all three countries, the South Caucasus was divided. For thirty years it was divided due to the occupation by Armenia. Now is the time to establish peace, to lay the foundations for cooperation. Azerbaijan is working on it.”

Inevitability of War

Aliyev said the war in Nagorno Karabakh was inevitable and that it resulted in the "restoration of international law and justice."

"The war was inevitable and led to the restoration of justice, international law, the national dignity of the Azerbaijani people. Now, we are talking about peace. I think this is one of the unique cases in the world when a country that has quickly restored justice after such a long confrontation and defeats the aggressor offers peace. In the history of war, you can find very few such cases.”

"Zangezur Corridor"

Aliyev said it is necessary to launch the so-called "Zangezur corridor". He is convinced that its launch will be a cornerstone of peace, will contribute to peace in the region. Aliyev also believes the Armenian people “weren’t happy during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.”

“A speedy decision to open the Zangezur corridor is one of the basic elements of future peace in the region. If we are not allowed to enter and leave, it will be very difficult to talk about peace and all the efforts of Azerbaijan aimed at normal coexistence with Armenia, normal neighborly relations, will be in vain. This is an important issue. Azerbaijan has the right to demand it. The Armenian government has signed a corresponding statement. Second, Azerbaijan, as a country that won the war and suffered from the occupation, has a moral right to demand it.”

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