President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has chaired a meeting of the Security Council.
The head of state made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- As you know, early this morning, Armenian armed forces committed yet another military provocation against Azerbaijan. We have losses as a result of this provocation, both among the civilian population and servicemen. This once again shows that Armenia's policy of aggression against Azerbaijan continues, and this policy shows the fascist essence of Armenia to the whole world.
As soon as I received the information in the morning, I contacted the Minister of Defense and the heads of other relevant agencies, gave relevant instructions, and on the basis of these instructions, the Azerbaijani Army launched a large-scale counter-offensive.
I must say that Armenia's military provocation was pre-planned. They have been preparing for this provocation for a long time, and the intelligence we have shows that Armenia intends to start a new war against us. I have repeatedly talked about this issue in the last week – both in my TV interview and from the UN platform. I said that the aggressive state must be stopped. They are preparing for a new war.
I addressed the people of Azerbaijan today. In my address, I gave detailed information about the reasons for this provocation and the ugly steps Armenia has been taking in recent times. I have shared my views, so I do not want to repeat them. I simply want to reiterate that the military attack on us early this morning was a pre-planned military provocation. Because our positions were fired on from various directions using different weaponry, including heavy artillery. At the same time, our settlements and villages were fired on. As I said, we have losses among the civilian population. This once again shows the ugly face of Armenian fascism. Because such atrocities against the civilian population can only be attributed to fascist states, and this is not the first time – the events in Tovuz and others. The Khojaly genocide was committed by Armenian savages against the civilian population. This time too, Armenia’s main target is our settlements. By opening fire, they want to create panic among the Azerbaijani public, among the citizens of Azerbaijan, in the villages and towns along the frontline. This morning, I received information from all frontline regions. I can say with full confidence that the citizens of Azerbaijan are showing courage. Everyone is in their place and are ready to support our army and state at any time, and they are doing that.
The Azerbaijani Army is currently conducting a counter-offensive in response to military provocation. I can say that the operation has been successful. The Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Defense have been instructed to keep the population informed about the events on a regular basis. I can say that as a result of the successful counter-offensive, the enemy's manpower and military equipment were severely damaged. Several occupied Azerbaijani settlements have been liberated. I congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion!
I am confident that our successful counter-offensive will end the occupation! It will end injustice! It will end the occupation that has lasted for nearly 30 years! Because the people of Azerbaijan want to live on their lands. Azerbaijani citizen live longing for his homeland. People who were forcibly driven out of their ancestral lands by Armenians, by the Armenian leadership want to return to their native lands even though their homes have already been destroyed by savages. Look at the ruins of Aghdam. Look at the ruins of Fuzuli. Look at the state of our mosques in the occupied territories, the state of our cemeteries. All this was committed by Armenian executioners, and we are absolutely right. Our struggle is a struggle for justice, and the citizens of Azerbaijan fully support the state today. We always feel this support. A citizen of Azerbaijan is with the Azerbaijani Army, and I turn to our compatriots who have not been able to return to their native lands for almost 30 years and say that we will do our best to return you to your native lands.
I warned Armenia. After the events in Tovuz, I warned them several times that they would regret it if they did not give up their ugly deeds. We taught them a lesson in 2016, in 2018, in July of this year. But it did not seem to be a lesson for them. This time we are teaching them another lesson and will continue to do that. Today, the glorious Azerbaijani Army is conducting a counter-offensive with great success, and this operation continues.
I must also say that there is high morale in all our military units and formations. At the same time, the number of volunteers enlisted in our army has reached tens of thousands. This shows the commitment of our people to their state.
The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is our historical task. I have said this many times and I want to reiterate today that we must resolve this issue in a way that would satisfy the people of Azerbaijan. We must resolve this so that historical justice can be restored. We must do so in order to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
I have said in different countries many times that we do not need an incomplete solution to this issue, to this conflict. We are on our own lands, we have no claims to the lands of other countries. But we will not give our lands to anyone either. We will never allow for the creation of a second so-called Armenian state on Azerbaijani soil. We will never allow that, and today's events are showing that again.
Nagorno-Karabakh is our ancient and historical land. I have repeatedly spoken at various international events on the history and past of Nagorno-Karabakh. I have shared the historical truth with the world community. As a result of our focused and tireless efforts, the world has a broad picture of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today. But in the first years of the conflict, this was not the case. In the first years of the conflict, Armenians of the world portrayed Azerbaijan as an aggressor. Unfortunately, those who were in the leadership of Azerbaijan at that time could not speak out against this propaganda. Azerbaijan was in such a difficult situation: our lands were being lost but the world thought that Azerbaijan was an aggressor. The cause of the loss of Karabakh lands is the Popular Front Party, the Musavat Party of Azerbaijan. It was during their time that our lands were occupied. As a result of their treacherous and incompetent activities, we lost these lands. I always said that we lost them temporarily and that we must return to these lands. The sale of Shusha took place only as a result of struggle for power at that time. The occupation of Kalbajar and Lachin is the direct responsibility of the Popular Front government of Azerbaijan. It was after this occupation that the next occupation was almost inevitable. Because the occupation of Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha created a geographical link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. This being the case, of course, the supply of weapons to those regions, to Nagorno-Karabakh, and then the supply of other material resources became easier.
Today, we are wiping out the incompetent actions of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan and the Musavat Party, this stain on Azerbaijan. Today we are restoring our lands. In 2016, part of Aghdara, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts were liberated from the occupiers. Today, in 2020, I want to emphasize once again that several of our settlements were liberated from the occupiers, several strategic heights came under the control of Azerbaijan. A strong Azerbaijani Army is based on a strong political will.
Army building is always the top priority of my activity. Both the military and the Azerbaijani people know this. I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary for our army. We have created a powerful and strong-willed army. All our armed forces meet modern standards and carry out combat missions with dignity, conscience and courage. Today, our various armed units are involved in the counter-offensive, and the counter-offensive is going well under the leadership of a single team. There is full coordination between all armed forces. I am confident that this counter-offensive will continue to be successful.
By giving this information to the people of Azerbaijan, I want to say once again that we are on the right path. We are defending ourselves. We do not lay claim to anyone else's lands, Azerbaijani armed forces have no targets on anyone else's lands, in the territory of Armenia. But we will defend ourselves on our own land and liberate our occupied lands from occupiers.
Now the floor is given to Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov.
Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said:
- Dear President, Mr. Commander-in-Chief. Let me report that a few minutes to 6, Armenian armed forces shelled the villages of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Tartar and Aghdam districts. There were casualties and wounded among the population. The frontline of the military units was also fired upon. At the same time, a concentration of the enemy's armed forces from the direction of Aghdam, Fuzuli and Jabrayil was in evidence and it was observed that they were preparing for an attack. First of all, it was reported to you and, taking into account the operational situation, the Azerbaijani Army conducted a counter-offensive. As a result of the counter-offensive, the enemy's frontline was broken. I have now been given additional information that seven villages have been liberated. Is it advisable to mention their names here?
President Ilham Aliyev: Do mention.
Minister Zakir Hasanov: Garakhanbayli, Nuzgar, Yukhari Abdurrahmanli, Boyuk Marjanli, Kand Horadiz and Garvand villages have been liberated. The Azerbaijani Army is conducting a successful counter-offensive in other directions and the enemy is retreating with heavy losses. I want to emphasize that the strikes of the Azerbaijani Army are carried out both on the frontline and deep within the enemy. As you mentioned, the most modern weapons are being used and we do not see much resistance from the enemy. The enemy is fully retreating. Reported by Minister of Defense, Colonel-General Hasanov.
President Ilham Aliyev: Clear! We will hold the rest of the Security Council behind closed doors. I am confident that the citizens of Azerbaijan will understand this decision. Many of the issues to be discussed are military secrets. But I want to say again that the population of Azerbaijan is regularly informed by both the Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Defense. Operational information will be shared with the citizens of Azerbaijan.
I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani Army on their first successes. Long live the Azerbaijani Army! Long live Azerbaijan!
Other members of the Security Council took part in the discussion.
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