YEREVAN, BAKU—Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan on Monday once again urged the international community to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in light of comments made over the weekend by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who said that Azerbaijan will one day claim its “historic lands,” referring to Yerevan and Meghri.
“Unsubstantiated claims by Azerbaijan regarding the territories of Armenia openly prove why the international community should recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, whereas Azerbaijan should bear international responsibility for the aggression unleashed against the self-determined Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and its consequences,” Kocharyan told Armenpress in response to Aliyev’s remarks.
Speaking to an audience in the Terter region of Azerbaijan on Sunday, Aliyev said while his country will not claim any territory from Armenia through the use of military force, a strong Azerbaijan will ensure that reclaim “all our historic lands.”
“Today, we are not claiming any in the modern Republic of Armenia. We do not intend to reclaim Yerevan, Meghri, Goris through military force, but I’m sure that time will come, and we, Azerbaijanis, will return to all our historic lands,” said Aliyev.
The Azerbaijani leader said that his country will see that day through consistent policies and through peaceful means urging each Azerbaijani citizen to engage in this process.
“The main factor [for success] is strength. This is true. We live in the real world. So we have to become even stronger, to create a more powerful army. The economy should become stronger and develop faster,” said Aliyev noting the population growth of his country, which he said would be upward of 10 million people in “a few years.”
He also cited the continued depopulation of Armenia as an impetus for Azerbaijan to “return to our lands.” This approach, Aliyev added, is steeped in a “well-defined strategic policy,” which he claimed is already in place in Baku and would see its fruition through taking “take tactical steps every year.”
“First, it is a historical question. Second, a fair question. We stand for justice and the need to restore our territorial integrity. We can never allow a second Armenian state to be created on our soil. On the contrary, we must try and will try to increase the power of our country, to strengthen it, and to achieve this goal,” explained Aliyev.
The Azerbaijani president’s remarks also sparked outrage in Stepanakert where Artsakh’s president spokesperson David Babayan called the statement the work of a mad man.
“The statement shows that Azerbaijan is a fascist state with an expansionist policy that operates with a psychology of an occupant. This is a behavior characteristic of a criminal We must be strong when dealing with such a state in order to maintain peace and stability and to prevent that epidemic from spreading in the region,” said Babayan.