BAKU (APA)—Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday, in addressing his government, unequivocally rejected granting independence to Karabakh as he outlined key points to which, he alleged, both sides have agreed.
“The issue of granting independence to Nagorno Karabakh at whatever time—even in a 100 years—is not discussed in negotiations and it never will,” said Aliyev adding, “Azeri lands must be liberated from the invaders. Citizens of Azerbaijan, internally displaced persons should return to their native lands, including to Nagorno-Karabakh. This issue is also reflected in the negotiating process.”
“Nagorno-Karabakh may be granted temporary status. But this does not mean independence, and the two parties—Armenia and Azerbaijan—will continue to discuss the future status of Nagorno Karabakh in further negotiations. Here are the basic principles around which the negotiations are continuing. I hope that the Armenian side will soon take the steps necessary to solve the problem by showing a constructive approach,” said Aliyev.
After the recent meeting in Moldova with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, Aliyev announced that talks had not yielded any results, countering Armenian and OSCE statements that proclaimed optimism about the continuing negotiations.
In his Saturday remarks, Aliyev pointed the finger at Armenia saying that his observed impasse was a result of the “unconstructive position of Armenia,” which he said was employing “delaying tactics.” He accused Armenia of bringing up issued that he claimed have been agreed to back to the negotiation table.
On several occasions during his presentation Saturday, the Azeri president reiterated his belief that Armenia must “withdraw” from the liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, adding that continuing the talks based on the principle of territorial integrity has been agreed upon by all parties.
“Most of all, Azerbaijan wants the status quo in the region to change. This status quo has kept our territories under occupation for 20 years. But this status quo should change positively. If the status quo changes at the expense of Azerbaijan’s interests, we will not allow it,” proclaimed Aliyev.
“The Azeri army is the strongest in the region with the largest military capabilities. We need to continue to expand this capacity because, as I said, we are living [in a state of] war. The war is not over yet, and the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, unfortunately, have not yielded any results yet,” declared Aliyev.