By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU (AA) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed his nation Friday and congratulated Azerbaijanis and the people of Aghdam for the liberation of the region from Armenian occupation.
Aliyev, who said Aghdam was saved from occupation because of a trilateral declaration signed Nov. 10, noted his country tried peace to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for years, but because it was not possible, it resorted to a military path using legal rights.
Aliyev described the liberation of Aghdam as a "historic event" and said 143,000 Azerbaijanis lived there before the occupation, but that number has swelled to 203,000.
“A new era begins for Aghdam now. We will also restore the city of Aghdam. A master plan will be prepared, specialists will be involved, infrastructure projects will be implemented in a planned manner, office buildings, social facilities, roads and other necessary work will be carried out. The state will help citizens to return there,” said Aliyev. “The liberation of Aghdam was possible as a result of the glorious military victory. If Azerbaijan had not defeated Armenia on the battlefield, Armenia would not have left our lands of its own free will.”
Aliyev underlined that Armenia was defeated and that it admitted it.
“Armenia has not been able to become an independent country for nearly 30 years. Armenia is in fact a colony. Why couldn't they become an independent country? Because of the occupation! What did they gain from the occupation? Nothing! They were disgraced in the political sphere, in all international organizations. They were defeated on the battlefield and humiliated in front of the whole world. They will have to live with the mark of a ‘defeated country,’” he said. “As long as this occupation continues, Armenia will not be able to develop. Politically dependent, militarily dependent and economically incomplete. They have developed a very harmful ideological basis. Their ideology is based on lies, historical falsifications and the past.”
He said a country that cannot establish normal relations with its neighbors cannot develop. "They claim territory to Turkey. They have no brains. It is suicide to claim land from a large country like Turkey, " said Aliyev.
The president said the region will continue to be neighborly with Armenians.
“As President and commander-in-chief, I am interested in ending hostilities in our region, in the South Caucasus, and establishing normal and businesslike relations. At least this is what we want. I am sure that the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh today will one day realize that the only way for them is to live side by side with the people of Azerbaijan, to live in the neighborhood and to give up all these ugly deeds,” he said. “There is an internal crisis in Armenia now. This is natural. Because a military defeat, such a shameful defeat can lead to turmoil in any country. Therefore, if sober-minded forces come to power in Armenia now, after the crisis, we are ready to establish normal relations with such sound forces. But we have nothing to do with the executioners, those who shed the blood of the Azerbaijani people. Let everyone know that!”
Aliyev said there has been no reaction from Western countries to the crackdown on dissidents because of the internal crisis in Armenia.
“Every day an opposition leader gets arrested in Armenia in a completely unfounded manner. Has any Western country reacted to this? No! Did they condemn it? No!,” he said. “Where is the Council of Europe, which despises Azerbaijan and tries to discredit us? Why are you tight-lipped? Where is your democracy, where are your human rights? Why are you silent, the European Parliament? You consider yourself the center of democracy in the world. Speak up, make a statement and condemn this. When we were hit with a ballistic missile, you were silent, when we were hit with cluster munitions and phosphorus bombs, you remained tight-lipped. Great countries, why are you silent?,” he added.
*Writing by Merve Berker