President Aliyev: Concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” does not exist
Concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” does not exist, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the plenary session of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club held in the city of Sochi, the Russian Federation, October 3.
“One of the topics of ongoing discussion is the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Russia is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has a mediation mandate. I should note that Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other districts of Azerbaijan have been under Armenian occupation for over 25 years. Nagorno-Karabakh is the original Azerbaijani land. In Soviet times, the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region was set up. I must say that in connection with the conflict there is a fairly wide range of opinions often not reflecting realities. Therefore, in order to clarify, I must say that in 1921 the decision of the Caucasian Bureau was literally “to leave Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan”, not transfer it, as the Armenian side often interprets it. Before the conflict began, the Azerbaijani and Armenian populations in the proportion of 25 to 75 percent lived in the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region of the Azerbaijan SSR. As a result of the conflict, the entire Azerbaijani population was expelled from Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as from seven other districts of Azerbaijan. In other words, ethnic cleansing was carried out.
Today there is no Azerbaijani population in the occupied territories, while most of the occupied territories are scorched and destroyed lands – destroyed houses, schools, public buildings,” said the head of state.
President Aliyev noted that as a result of the conflict, Azerbaijan has been faced with a humanitarian catastrophe.
“More than 700,000 IDPs from Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, plus 250,000 Azerbaijanis were driven out of their historical lands in the territory of modern Armenia.
The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions, including resolutions requiring immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories. For more than 25 years they have not been fulfilled. And here we come to the important issue of implementing the decisions made. The UN Security Council is the highest international body, and if the decisions adopted by the Security Council have not been implemented for more than 25 years, this raises a lot of questions about the effectiveness of this organization. We in Azerbaijan are concerned about the selective nature of the implementation of resolutions. Sometimes they are carried out in a matter of days, sometimes they are not required at all for certain military operations, in our case, the resolutions remain on paper,” said Azerbaijan’s president.
He pointed out that the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the UN Charter adopted by the whole world, resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Helsinki Final Act.
“I have to say that the Prime Minister of Armenia has often said recently that a solution to the conflict should be acceptable to the people of Azerbaijan, the people of Armenia and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. I must say that the concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” does not exist. There is population of Nagorno-Karabakh, which consisted of the Azerbaijani and Armenian people before the conflict, and they have equal rights. As for a solution acceptable for Azerbaijan, it consists in restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan recognized by the whole world and returning refugees and internally displaced persons to their original lands, including Nagorno-Karabakh. This is consistent with Security Council resolutions and the Helsinki Final Act.
I must say that the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan continues to this day. Yesterday, a civilian, a resident of Gazakh District which is located far from the conflict zone, on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, was killed by an Armenian sniper. I must also say that during the military provocation in April 2016, six civilians, including a child, a girl, were killed in Azerbaijan. I would also like to touch upon the statement of the Prime Minister of Armenia that has caused surprise not only in Azerbaijan. A corresponding reaction was also given to it by the Russian Federation within the framework of the Valdai Forum. The statement is as follows: "Karabakh is a part of Armenia, and full stop." Well, first of all, it is a lie, to put it mildly. Karabakh – both upper and lower – is recognized by the whole world as an integral part of Azerbaijan. Armenia itself does not recognize this illegal entity. Karabakh is a historical and ancestral Azerbaijani land. Therefore, Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and exclamation mark!” said President Aliyev.
“Despite the occupation and the humanitarian catastrophe of the early 1990s, when an eighth of our country’s population were refugees, Azerbaijan has come a long way in development and creation. With the exception of the first years of independence when a puppet, anti-national and corrupt regime of the Popular Front ruled in the country, Azerbaijan has been living in a stable environment for 26 years. The key contribution to that was made by President Heydar Aliyev who managed to prevent civil war, stop the occupation, overcome chaos and ruin, and put Azerbaijan on a path of development. Thus, for 26 years, the Azerbaijani people have been living in the conditions of stability and development.
The international standing of our country is strengthening. One indicator of this is the election of our country as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council several years ago. A total of 155 states voted for us. It was not easy, it took us three days and 16 rounds but justice triumphed. I would also like to note that the Russian Federation and all other 154 countries provided us with great support,” said the head of state.
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