On November 10, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation.
Address by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
– My fellow countrymen.
It is a historic day for our country today. An end is being put to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today. I think that the trilateral statement that has just been signed will put a full stop in resolving the issue. The statement has been signed by the President of Azerbaijan, President of Russia and Prime Minister of Armenia. I want to familiarize you with the text of the statement:
We, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I. H. Aliyev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N. V. Pashinyan and President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin, declare the following:
A complete ceasefire and a cessation of all hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shall be introduced at 00:00 hours Moscow time on November 10, 2020. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, shall stop at their current positions.
Aghdam district shall be returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan by November 20, 2020.
Along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in the amount of 1,960 military personnel with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, and 380 units of an automobile and special equipment.
The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in parallel with the Armenian armed forces’ withdrawal. The period of stay of the Russian Federation’s peacekeeping contingent is five years and shall be automatically extended by a further five-year period if none of the Parties declares six months prior to the expiration of the period of its intention to terminate the application of this provision.
In order to increase the effectiveness of control over the implementation of the agreements by the Parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center shall be deployed to exercise control over the ceasefire.
The Republic of Armenia shall return Kalbajar district to the Republic of Azerbaijan by November 15, 2020, and Lachin district by December 1, 2020, while retaining the Lachin corridor (5km wide), which shall provide a connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and shall not affect the city of Shusha.
By agreement of the Parties, a plan for the construction of a new route along the Lachin corridor shall be determined in the next three years, providing communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, with the subsequent redeployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to protect this route. The Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the safety of citizens, vehicles and goods traveling along the Lachin corridor in both directions.
Internally displaced persons and refugees shall return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts under the control of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees and bodies of the dead shall be carried out.
All economic and transport links in the region shall be restored. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the safety of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organize an unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. Control over transport shall be exercised by the bodies of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia.
By agreement of the Parties, the construction of new transport communications linking the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan shall be ensured.
November 10, 2020
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
President of the Russian Federation
X X X
Dear fellow countrymen, dear sisters and brothers.
This statement has historic significance. I must say that this statement has been signed in a videoconference format. Initially, the heads of the three states were supposed to sign the statement in this videoconference format. However, at the very last moment, the Armenian prime minister refused. This is somewhat understandable because this statement is actually tantamount to Armenia’s military capitulation. Therefore, this statement was signed by the President of Russia and me in a videoconference format. This statement has been prepared in Russian. I have put my signature here. This document was submitted to the Russian Ambassador, and the heads of state and government of Russia and Armenia will sign this document afterward.
I want to say again that this conduct by the Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan is understandable. However, I think that everyone should be held accountable for what they do. Everyone must respect themselves, even in the most challenging and critical situations. Respect themselves and their country. Pashinyan will sign it one way or another. We have forced him to do that. But he will sign it in a confined place, in a locked-up room, far from the cameras, in a cowardly and treacherous manner. He is not signing it of his own free will. He is signing it under pressure by the iron fist!
This statement is our glorious victory. I am glad to be sharing this good news with the people of Azerbaijan today. One of the reasons this statement has been signed is our brilliant victory, our historic victory, the liberation of Shusha from occupation. Shusha is Karabakh’s crown jewel! The liberation of Shusha has great political and strategic significance, as well as great moral importance. We have returned to Shusha, we have returned Shusha, we will live in Shusha, and people will live in all other lands liberated from occupation. People will return to those lands, live there, our people’s 30-year longing will come to an end.
I think that the reason for this statement being signed was yet another glorious military victory on November 9 – National Flag Day. On November 9, Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces liberated 72 settlements from the occupiers. By liberating Shusha, by liberating 72 settlements on November 9, by liberating about 300 settlements since September 27, we broke the Armenian army’s back. Pashinyan was forced to sign the statement – in a very pathetic and miserable state. I have signed this statement with great pride and joy because it puts an end to the long-standing occupation. This statement allows us the opportunity to return our other occupied regions – Aghdam, Lachin, Kalbajar – without bloodshed. There is a very short deadline; those districts will be returned to us by the end of this month. This is great happiness. I seize this opportunity to congratulate the residents of Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts, all the people of Azerbaijan, on this occasion. Every time an occupied district or city was liberated, I congratulated the residents of those cities and districts. I can imagine what it means for them. Some, perhaps many, have lost hope because the issue had not been resolved for many years. Over the past 17 years, I have been in numerous meetings with the IDPs, attended ceremonies to present them new homes, and I saw that their hopes were diminishing with every passing year. I saw it. I saw it with a sore heart. I noticed that some of them had already lost hope. Yes, they expressed their gratitude; of course, we have created the right conditions and resolved their problems.
As you know, the efforts for the IDPs in Azerbaijan are unique to our country. IDPs are in many countries around the world, but the situation of our IDPs is incomparably better than in other countries. But their main desire has been to return to their native lands, and they asked me, “Mr. President, please return us there”. Every time I met with them, I saw a firm resolve, invincibility, loyalty to the state, but at the same time, I saw sorrow and longing in their eyes. It is over, my fellow compatriots, may your eyes be clear now, you are going back, we are going back, Azerbaijan is going back! Azerbaijan is restoring its territorial integrity. Could there be greater happiness?
The IDPs are well aware that we will do our best to help them return to their ancestral lands. We will rebuild these liberated lands. The whole world can see now what the despised enemy has done to these lands. All our buildings have been destroyed. All our historical sites have been destroyed, our museums looted, nature gravely damaged, and our mosques destroyed and desecrated. In the half-destroyed mosques in the liberated lands, the savage enemy kept pigs to insult us and hurt our pride. But we took revenge on them with a vengeance. We have avenged the victims of Khojaly. We have avenged our martyrs.
While announcing Shusha’s liberation to my people on November 8, I said that I bow to the memory of our martyrs. The martyrs of the First and Second Karabakh Wars will forever live in our hearts. May Allah rest all our martyrs in peace. Thanks to their heroism and self-sacrifice, we will return to our lands. May Allah heal all our wounded soldiers, may they recover soon and return to everyday life, and we will do our best for their recovery. Even our severely wounded soldiers and officers in the most challenging condition should know that we will do our best to bring them back to normality. We all owe this victory to them. They liberated our lands from the occupiers inch by inch. They raised our flag in the occupied and liberated lands. They hoisted our flag there. It is a victory for all of us, for all the people of Azerbaijan. The people of Azerbaijan have once again shown what a great nation, what a patriotic country, what a people with an iron will we are. Thirty years of suffering, 30 years of despair, 30 years of longing did not break our people, did not affect our resolves.
On the contrary, we have become even more united, even more robust, we said ‘enough is enough’, we will not tolerate this occupation any longer. We said that we would drive the enemy out of our lands! We are not interested in any negotiations. You know very well that over the past year, I did not talk about negotiations at all. I did not want to deceive my people; I never have and never will. The Azerbaijani people know this. When I said before the war that I knew what to do and when, I am sure that the vast majority of our people understood what I meant and patiently waited for this day, believed in me as President and Commander-in-Chief, believed and waited, and this day has arrived. Enough, this occupation shall end! How much longer will our cities remain under occupation? How much longer will the despised enemy pollute our nature, walk, eat, drink, dance and insult us in our lands? We said that we would show the enemy its place, drive the enemy out of our lands, and we drove them away!
Historians will tell what happened on September 27. I think many people know how it all started. The Azerbaijani people’s patience had already run out, and I told the Armenian prime minister in recent meetings that he should not play with fire. He should not abuse the patience of the Azerbaijani people. You don’t know the people of Azerbaijan well enough, you will find out what we are about, but it would be too late. Come round, get out of these lands. These lands do not belong to you. But what did they do? To conduct illegal resettlement, they brought Armenians from abroad to Shusha in a demonstrative manner, in gross violation of international law, international conventions, including the Geneva Conventions, to insult us. In Shusha, the gang leader who is now looking for a hole to hide, the leader of the junta was sworn-in, and the prime minister of Armenia attended. Wasn’t that intended to infuriate us? Did they think that no-one would hold them to account for that? We did, we brought them to their knees, and they are on their knees now! There is hardly anyone he didn’t call over the past 40 days, begging for help and humiliating himself. We have disgraced him, and we were absolutely right in doing so. When he danced drunk on Jidir Duzu in the sacred city of Shusha, he should have thought that this day would come. He would receive his punishment. Now he hides like a mouse as he takes this document and signs it in tears. We showed him his place. We taught him a lesson. We chased them out of our lands like dogs. I said that we would chase them, that we would chase them like dogs, and we chased them, we chased them like dogs. He is now signing this document out of fear, knowing that we will come to Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin. No-one can stop us. Everyone sees our strength; everyone understands what our iron fist is like. That is why we have driven them out and are perfectly right in doing that.
We have destroyed almost all of their military hardware. We have breached the fortifications they had built for 30 years. Our soldiers have broken through them like lions. They have crushed the enemy and were right to do so because they are on their land. We abide by international law. We respect international law. We did not take revenge on civilians, and we never will. This is why there are very few civilian casualties on the enemy side. What did they do? They could not confront us on the battlefield, fled and then fired on civilians with ballistic missiles. This is a war crime. They will be held accountable for that war crime. To strike the city of Gandja with ballistic missiles from Armenia is a disgrace, a despicable act, a crime. It is a war crime to hit Barda with cluster munitions. I said earlier that the city of Tartar is similar to Stalingrad, which was destroyed during World War II. Every day, hundreds of shells landed there. Even though it is not a big city, not a single person has left. But the Armenians fled. Their “invincible” army was destroyed, desertion began, and the junta head in Nagorno-Karabakh ordered that whoever ran away would be held accountable. Did any of us run away? It didn’t happen! Not a single person! This is who the people of Azerbaijan are! Civilians lost their homes, property, and loved ones but kept saying, “Long live the Motherland”. Go ahead, go forward! The letters to me say, Commander-in-Chief, go on! We support you, go forward, don’t stop, and so I did. I did not stop.
I gave about 30 interviews during this war. I have probably never given so many interviews in my entire life. Some were wondering why Ilham Aliyev did not give interviews. I thought that I had ample opportunity to express my position and often expressed my views on all matters. All my activities are transparent, and all my meetings are reported on to the public. I didn’t think it necessary. But when it became necessary, I gave about 30 interviews. In those interviews, I said that we respect international law, defend international law, defend justice, and implement UN Security Council resolutions. I said that all our steps were based on international law’s norms and principles, were based on morality, and all our efforts were taken to that end. We took our revenge on the enemy; we took it on the occupier. We have not dealt with and will never deal with civilians. There is no significant destruction in the cities where the enemy lives and hides because we did not open fire on civilian facilities. That is what makes us different.
After the war started, I said that many, almost all politicians involved in this issue, kept saying that there was no military solution to this conflict. What was I saying? I said there was! I was often criticized. People were questioning what Ilham Aliyev was saying. They insisted that there was no military solution. I said, in that case, solve it peacefully. You have available means. You are a superpower, you have an excellent reputation, and you have tremendous capabilities.
What is Armenia compared to you? Can’t you influence it? Or perhaps you don’t want to put pressure? No, they said it is impossible to wage war, and the issue must be resolved peacefully. Fine, a peaceful solution may be sought for one year, for two years, but 30 years? How much longer will you try to fool us? However, we have proved that there was a military solution. And I said what I wanted. I said to Pashinyan, make a statement, make a commitment, provide a timetable. I have been saying this since the first day of the war. Everyone can see it. In my interviews and my addresses to the nation, I spoke openly – provide a timetable, give me a schedule, get out, leave, and I will stop. They were asking us from here and there to stop. But why didn’t you tell them to stop when they occupied our lands? Why didn’t anyone say to Armenia, which has been occupying our land for 30 years, “get out of there!” What is this?
Well, we are now relying on our strength to liberate these lands by giving martyrs and shedding blood. Why are you telling us to stop and not telling them to get out? No-one says that. They told us to stop. I said I would not stop. No-one can stop me. I said I demand from you, Pashinyan, you personally, not your foreign minister or anyone else – you must make a personal commitment, you must provide a date by which you will get out of our lands. There is that commitment in this statement. We forced him, we compelled him, and we made him commit by beating him up for all his evil deeds, for keeping those pigs in our mosques. He who keeps pigs in our mosques is a pig himself. Now there is an obligation in this document. He will get out of the rest of the occupied lands by December 1. Therefore, there is a military option. But as I said, I want this military phase to stop to move on to the political stage. What happened – exactly what I was saying? All that I was saying is coming true today. The military phase is over, and we are moving on to the political stage. We have signed a document that favors our interests the most. Pashinyan has signed it. There was no other option. In essence, this is an admission of defeat. This is a military capitulation. In principle, I could ask him to come and sit there, down below, and sign it there. But I am no such person. Why humiliate anyone? He has already humiliated himself. He put himself in this disgraceful situation. He should have thought of today when he put his stomach forward and danced in a drunken state in Jidir Duzu. This is it. No-one can joke with us. No-one can test Azerbaijani people’s patience. No-one can insult us. If you do, you will learn a lesson. And we have taught him a lesson.
Therefore, the issue has already been resolved – of course, if Armenia adheres to the ceasefire. I have already given all of my orders. I have given my orders to command centers, and we will stop. We respect our signature. The other side must also stop because if it doesn’t stop, we won’t stop either.
International observers know who violated the ceasefire. Who violated it the first time by bombing Ganja with a ballistic missile, who violated the truce the second time less than five minutes after it was declared, and the third time by hitting Barda with cluster missiles. If they break it again, I think they will regret it even more. Therefore, we were able to achieve what we wanted. We were able to force the enemy. I gave them an ultimatum. I said – you must leave, if you don’t, I will go to the end. Until the end! On November 8, I said in the Alley of Martyrs that I would go to the end, and no force could stop me.
We won this victory on the battlefield. About 300 settlements, including Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Shusha, Hadrut, Sugovushan and other settlements, were liberated on the battlefield.
These victories forced the enemy to return Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts to us through political means. But it would be wrong to look for any good intentions of the Armenian side here. They have no idea what good intentions are. They were simply forced. Because he knew that if he did not sign this document, we would get these lands ourselves anyway. Everyone knew that. I said that I do not want to shed blood. We must stop the war, so get out of our lands! And this is precisely what happened.
I would like to mention one more issue. I have just acquainted my dear people with the text of the document. A new control mechanism is being applied here. The fifth paragraph of the statement reads: “In order to increase the effectiveness of control over the implementation of the agreements reached by the Parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center shall be deployed.” I can say that Russian and Turkish servicemen will work in this center. Thus, Turkey will officially play a role in the conflict’s future settlement and monitoring the ceasefire.
In my remarks at the signing ceremony in the videoconference format, I praised the efforts of both the President of Turkey, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. They made truly great efforts during these 44-45 days to resolve the issue peacefully. At the same time, I am delighted that these two leaders have already played a positive role in ending the conflict. I think that it also largely determines the format of future cooperation in the region. If we look at the history of relations between Turkey and Russia today, I think they are at the highest level. Both countries are friendly and neighboring countries for us. So I think that this format of cooperation can be even more diverse in the future.
Another important issue I would like to emphasize is that a link is being established between the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the rest of Azerbaijan. The opening of all communications and roads also shows that new transport and communication infrastructure can and should be created. We have, of course, been very supportive. I can say that this paragraph was included in this statement upon my insistence. It has no bearing to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but I am glad that my request was accepted. Thus, a historic step was taken to connect the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with Azerbaijan, with Azerbaijan proper by land. The despised enemy besieged Nakhchivan in the early 1990s and shortly before. All communication lines were cut off. At that time, energy resources were supplied from the central part of Azerbaijan. The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was in a tough situation. At the same time, there were attacks from the territory of Armenia. I have said many times that it was thanks to the courage and endeavors of the great leader Heydar Aliyev that Nakhchivan was not occupied. Armenian vandals did have such plans.
Therefore, I would like to emphasize this and congratulate the people of Nakhchivan on this occasion. I must say that Nakhchivan’s people, as indeed residents from all other regions, took an active part in the second Karabakh war. Now the war is over, some issues that have not been disclosed will be revealed. Everyone will know that the people of Nakhchivan, along with servicemen from all other regions, have shown extraordinary heroism, selflessness and became martyrs for the liberation of our lands.
I would like to touch upon one more issue. These days we saw the unity of the Azerbaijani people. Our army received support from all our regions. People across all our regions lived these days with great excitement, watched the news in front of the TV, radio, on the Internet every day, rejoiced at our successes. We saw this in all our regions. We were further convinced of how wonderful our country and our people are. Representatives of all nationalities and all religious denominations living in our country showed courage fighting the enemy and restored Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. This is our great asset, a great value. I have said this many times. Armenia is deprived of such happiness because it is a mono-ethnic state; no-one lives there except for the Armenians. In Eurasia, there is no other country like this in our region because no-one can live there. They are expelled, subjected to ethnic cleansing like the Azerbaijanis, or representatives of different nationalities cannot live there. They are being squeezed out, out, and out. But our advantage lies precisely in this. A multinational and multi-confessional Azerbaijan has asserted itself in this war; representatives of all peoples have displayed true unity and heroism. I want to say again that this war clarified many issues yet again.
I would like to mention one more issue. You probably noticed that this statement contains not a single word about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh! Where are the demands of the Armenian side that Nagorno-Karabakh should be granted independence? When I offered them autonomy, they disagreed. They said no, it was an “independent state”. For many years, they have been living as an “independent state” and must gain independence from Azerbaijan.
Not a word, Pashinyan! What happened? What is it, Pashinyan? This phrase will probably remain the talk of the town for many years – what happened, Pashinyan? You were going to pave a road to Jabrayil. You danced. But where is the status? The status went to hell. It failed; it was shattered to smithereens. It is not and will not be there. As long as I am President, there will be no status. Therefore, this document is of great importance. I am sure that the Azerbaijani people, having shown great attention to this document, will read it in detail, with great attention, and they will see what a tremendous political victory we have achieved. Our military victory plays a unique role in achieving this political victory. Of course, the work carried out in our country in recent years, the excellent atmosphere that has developed, the unity of the people and the government, the achievement of a positive environment in political relations, our international relevance, our performance in the international arena – all this and, of course, the army building have made our victory possible. These days, I also noticed the following. Even people with different political views, those who are critical of our work and often express unfounded criticism, showed a model of high consciousness during this period. I have always said that there are and should be different views on the political plane. This is normal. There must be opposition. We, as in any democratic country, of course, have all these freedoms. Only one thing should not be there – it is impossible to be in opposition to the state and statehood. You can’t live with the idea – “the worse it is for the government, the state, the better off I am”. I can say: these days, I saw that we could all unite in national causes. It is also essential for our future because we all want Azerbaijan to develop and become an even more powerful country. We have demonstrated our strength on the battlefield, in the political sphere, in any format. We showed our independence. The day will come, and some issues will probably be revealed that could not be announced during the war. Perhaps I can also clarify some points. Then everyone will see what ordeals we had to overcome, how much pressure we came under. We can say that they repeatedly told us to stop, stop, and stop! But we went forward because I felt the support of the people. I saw their confidence in me. Nothing could stop me because I knew we were right. We are restoring our territorial integrity, returning our lands. This war showed the whole world how great the Azerbaijani people are – the unconquered people, the people with iron resolve, the victorious people, and our victorious army! We are proud of our people, our military!
I am sure that all Azerbaijani citizens believe that these days and minutes are the happiest in their lives. I am also excited to convey good news and these messages to the Azerbaijani people. I am pleased to have signed this historic document. I am happy that we are returning to our homeland, to our native Karabakh, Shusha – Karabakh’s crown jewel, and we will always live in these lands! From now on, no-one can move us from these lands!
The expression “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” has already become a symbol of our victory. I said it a year ago. I am proud that my statement has already become a national slogan. Today we can say with great pride that Fuzuli is ours, Jabrayil is ours, Zangilan is ours, Gubadli is ours, Aghdam is ours, Lachin is ours, Kalbajar is ours, Shusha is ours, Karabakh is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Glory to the Azerbaijani people! Long live Azerbaijan!