By Aisha Jabbarova
President Ilham Aliyev has said that Armenia destroyed Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar city and many other cities and villages and plundered natural resources there during three decades of occupation.
He also said that Azerbaijan’s main task at this point is to consolidate the results of the war, to reinforce its positions in the liberated lands and to further strengthen its positions on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.
Aliyev made the remarks on August 16 during his visit to Kalbajar and Lachin districts where he laid a foundation stone for a tunnel to be built on Kalbajar-Lachin highway, as well as the Lachin International Airport.
The president reminded that while retreating from Kalbajar in line with November statement last year, Armenians destroyed all the buildings, hydroelectric power stations. “These destructions are further evidence of Armenian savagery.”
The president also said that Armenians sought to blow up the tunnel connecting Kalbajar with Lachin while retreating, but they failed, as they were in a hurry.
Armenia's ecological terror
Aliyev said legal proceedings have been launched against foreign companies that illegal exploitated Azerbaijan’s gold deposits Soyudlu in Kalbajar, Vejnali in Zangilan and elsewhere during the Armenian occupation. He said that this companies must reimburse the damages and pay compensation to Azerbaijan.
The president furthermore spoke about destruction of forests and contamination of rivers in Azerbaijan’s formerly-occupied territories.
“Our forests have been destroyed by the Armenians. We have photos of ‘Azercosmos’ – how much forests we had before the occupation and how much we have now. Armenians have destroyed about 60,000 hectares of trees and forests. They cut down and took away the trees. From what I heard, the parquet business was developing fast there. This is also looting. They will be held accountable for this looting too.
"They poisoned our rivers. Look at the condition of the Okhchuchay river? The Okhchuchay is a natural disaster, and it is a foreign company that did that. That company must and will be held accountable. The entire damage is being calculated. Monitoring is now being conducted on all liberated lands, towns and villages, certification is underway, certificates of all houses are being prepared, the damage is being evaluated, and we will demand compensation for all the damage in international courts.”
Speaking about post-war rehabilitation, Aliyev said that Baku has started large-scale restoration work, including Kalbajar and Lachin districts and the East Zangazur region, adding that some of the work has already been completed such as the construction of a hydroelectric power plant.
“A groundbreaking ceremony of an international airport has been held in Lachin. We have laid the foundation of two tunnels. Other infrastructure projects are underway. At the same time, as a pilot project, we have sent residents of Kalbajar and Lachin districts engaged in beekeeping and animal husbandry here, created conditions for them to start work, and this work has already begun.”
Strengthening of state border
Furthermore, the president said Azerbaijan is strengthening its state border in the direction of Kalbajar and Lachin that was in Armenian hands for about 30 years.
He stressed that the entire border infrastructure and military units are being established by the Ministry of Defense and the Border Troops along the border – from Mount Murov all the way to the Araz River.
“After the snow melted in May, we approached these borders, took our positions, settled in Zangazur and reinforced our positions there. This is our land. The opinions expressed in Armenia are completely unfounded. We are on our own land. Lake Garagol and other places are ours. We are here now. This area was in the Armenian hands for 30 years.”
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was accompanying the president during the visit.
During the visit, The President and the First Lady laid a foundation stone for a tunnel to be constructed on Toghanali-Kalbajar highway in Murovdag, and viewed the work done at the Kalbajar Small Hydroelectric Power Station. They then inaugurated the 110/35/10 kV “Kalbajar” substation.
Aliyev then raised the state flag in the city of Kalbajar and made a speech here.
Furthermore, he viewed conditions created at a military unit in the city of Kalbajar. During his trip to Kalbajar, the head of state also visited the “Istisu” sanatorium and inspected the construction work of the Minkand road of Kalbajar-Lachin districts.
Azerbaijan liberated 300 city centers, settlements, villages and the historic Shusha city in the war that lasted from September 27 to November 10. The Russian-brokered peace deal also stipulated the return of Kalbajar, Lachin and Aghdam regions occupied by the Armenian forces in the war in the early 1990s.
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