We have destroyed that line of contact today. There is no line of contact. Now they are saying there will be a new line of contact. It will not happen! We will take back our lands. Ilham Aliyev
Fierce battles continued along the entire length of the front over last night with the superiority of the Azerbaijan Army
In the afternoon of October 8 and until the morning of October 9, fierce fighting continued along the entire frontline.
The Azerbaijan Army Units, inflicting fire strikes on the enemy in important directions, limited his freedom of movement and decisively suppressed the combat activity of the enemy. As a result of the measures taken, command and control, and the mutual coordination of actions between the enemy troops were disrupted, riots and disorder occurred among his units, the discipline of the personnel declined, and the abandonment of their positions took on a massive character.
During yesterday’s military operation, as a result of the fire strike of the Azerbaijan Army, the headquarters building of the 5th Mountain Rifle Regiment of the Armenian armed forces was destroyed. As a result of the shelling, the Chief of Staff of the 10th Mountain Rifle Division, Colonel Samvel Grigoryan, who was in the building, was seriously wounded, the chief of the regiment’s artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Arman Dermeyan, and a large number of servicemen were killed.
The personnel of the military units of the armed forces of Armenia who suffered heavy losses from the Azerbaijan Army’s fire strike on the Khankendi was evacuated. A large number of military personnel were killed and wounded as a result of artillery shelling of a shelter of one of the military units in Khankendi.
During the day and last night, a total of thirteen T-72 tanks, two infantry fighting vehicles, four BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket systems, two 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled gun, three D-30 howitzers, two radar systems and, a large number of enemy vehicles were destroyed by precise fire.
As a result of a combat operation carried out in one of the directions of the front, six T-72 tanks in full operating order belonging to the 49th tank brigade of the Armenian armed forces were captured.
Today, Azerbaijan’s victorious Army liberated several settlements. I cordially congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion.
I would like to bring to your attention the names of the liberated settlements: the town of Hadrut, and Chayli, Yukhari Guzlak, Gorazilli, Gishlag, Garajalli, Afandilar, Suleymanli and Sur villages.
The liberation of these villages and the town of Hadrut is our historic victory. Azerbaijan is liberating the occupied territories. Good news comes from the frontline almost every day. Every day, our soldiers and officers perform their combat missions with dignity. At the same time, they are capturing more and more commanding positions. They are taking over strategic heights. Thus, the operational plan is being fully implemented. The operational plan is based on modern combat principles. Today, Azerbaijan’s Army has a complete advantage on the battlefield – both in terms of logistics and combat readiness.
Many pieces of the enemy’s military equipment have been destroyed and seized in today’s battles. I can say that the Armenian army has suffered a major blow since 27 September. I would simply like to bring to your attention the list of Armenia’s destroyed and seized military equipment and hardware – 16 command posts, 196 tanks, 38 BM-21, one “Hurricane”, 10 self-propelled artillery units, including eight “Acacia”, two “Qvozdika”, 36 infantry fighting vehicles, 24 artillery batteries, 2 RM or air defense installations, two launch facilities of the “S-300” complex, 25 OSA anti-aircraft missile systems, two “Cube” anti-aircraft missile systems, four “Repellent” radio-technical barrier installation, 136 cannons, 56 mortars, one TOS-1A flame thrower, two radar stations, one “Kalchuga” antenna. In addition, 18 tanks, four artillery pieces, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 12 mortars, four UAZ trucks, one excavator, 27 “Igla” complexes, one ZIL truck and nine GAZ trucks have been seized.
I should also say that not a single piece of military equipment belonging to Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces is in the hands of the enemy. The enemy tells tales and lies to his people. They falsify facts, want to deceive their own people, want to deceive the international community saying that they are allegedly attacking us, that they have retaken some of our positions. This is a lie. There is an objective observation of the battles, and any military expert can see that Azerbaijan’s Army today has defeated Armenia on the battlefield. Our army is showing its superiority. Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are showing high moral and psychological qualities, showing high spirits. Because we are fighting on our own land, we are liberating our own lands. Armenian soldiers are occupiers. The land where the battles are ongoing does not belong to them. They are abandoning their positions and running away. However, several layers of a deeply echeloned defense system were established along the line of contact over the past 30 years. Engineering and fortification facilities were built. It is very difficult to break them, to cross them. In some cases, we needed a few days to break through some fortifications. In the meantime, we are doing everything to minimize losses. Therefore, in some cases, we strengthened our positions in various directions and then prepared for a new operation so that there is a maximum result and minimum loss.
Today, the Azerbaijani flag flies in the liberated lands. Today, Azerbaijani soldiers are guarding the trenches dug by Armenians in our occupied lands – we are in their trenches, not them in ours, we are in their posts, we are in their tanks. We are now using the military equipment taken as bounty – 18 tanks. Their tanks have turned against them on the battlefield. This is the advantage of Azerbaijan’s Army, this is our advantage. Today, we show in open media, on the Internet how accurately and precisely the enemy’s equipment is being destroyed.
The enemy is in panic, the enemy is hysterical. The leadership of the enemy country is completely at a loss. He regularly calls different countries, heads of state and government of different countries, repeatedly asks for help, begs for help, implores several times a day. He is at their feet. He humiliates himself – come and rescue us. The only way to save them is to leave our lands. We have said this many times – leave our lands of your own accord. Implement UN Security Council resolutions or you will regret it. Do you think that Azerbaijan will put up with this situation? It will not! I have said this many times. Did you think that the Azerbaijani people would put up with these insults? They won’t! I have said this many times. But if you sit on our lands, poison our sacred land and then put forward claims against us – look at this impudence! We showed them their place. We showed them where they belong. We are chasing them so badly that they will never forget this sprint.
Today, battles are taking place along the entire frontline. Azerbaijan is strengthening its positions in all directions and we are forcing the aggressor to make peace. This is the main purpose of this operation. We have shown them that we are winning on the battlefield, internationally and politically. They saw our strength and they saw our determination. They saw that no force in the world can turn us away from the right path. No country in the world can influence our will. Whoever else you beg, whoever else you kneel before, whoever else you implore – no-one can influence us! We are on the right path, we are winning, we are getting the upper hand and we will take back our lands! We will restore our territorial integrity!
But we are giving the occupier probably the last chance to leave our lands. Get out, make a commitment, go back to the negotiations, and return to the format of the negotiations. Who does the prime minister of Armenia think he is? How dare he speak to us in such manner? Now he knows his place. By saying that “Karabakh is Armenia” Karabakh will never become Armenia. Let him say that “Karabakh is Armenia” now. He can’t even utter a word now.
Their foreign minister has had to go to Moscow for talks now. Let him say “Karabakh is Armenia” there. If he says such a thing, there can be no talks. I said that no-one can force us. He said we should negotiate with the bandit leader of the criminal “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”. We can never agree to this and this will never happen. Therefore, the events that took place in the political sphere yesterday and the day before yesterday show that the Armenian leadership has finally begun to realize, after receiving a major blow to the head, that it will only do what we tell them to do. Whatever we say will happen. We are giving him a chance to leave our land through negotiations and peace. We will return these lands anyway. We will restore our territorial integrity. The whole world saw that, including Armenia. We don’t want bloodshed. We don’t want martyrs. We want our lands back. Get out of our land! Go and live in your own country. We will get our lands back! Therefore, they should not miss this historic opportunity.
I think that today’s meeting in Moscow will clarify many things. They must accept the basic principles. However, Pashinyan said he did not accept them. He said that he would not give back an inch of land to Azerbaijan. What happened?! Why can’t you hold on to these lands? Why can’t you? What happened? Why did you run away? Now you are kneeling before others, humiliating yourself and humiliating your people. You have brought your country to level zero. He said he would not give back these lands. Who is even going to ask you whether you will give it back or not?! We came and took it, and that is all. We will take as much as we need, if we want, we will take more; just as we could have done in July. I have talked about that. In July, we could easily move into the territory of Armenia and occupy lands. No-one could have stopped us. These battles are proving that. We didn’t do that. I didn’t! However, our army was ready for that. I did not let them because there is a political will. We act within the law. We don’t set our sights on the lands of other countries but we will not give our land to anyone either. So what happened, Pashinyan? You said that the ‘Nagorno-Karabakh republic” covers all the occupied territories. So come and defend them now. Why are you running to Moscow? Why do you keep calling and annoying world leaders? Who did you not call? Who did you not annoy? I would advise him to call shamans. Let them help him. Or call a tribe chief on some remote island and he will save your life. As they say, he has become a joke character. Go and scroll through social networks. People are making fun of you and circulating jokes. There has never been anyone in the world who would humiliate his country so much. Why? Because he cannot just come and sit on someone else’s land and keep them.
That is why I turn to the people of Azerbaijan and say that we will take our lands back. I remember the leader of the gang illegally living in Nagorno-Karabakh and soon to be kicked out of there conducting a “swearing-in” ceremony in Shusha. At that time, this reverberated a lot in Azerbaijani society. It had a major impact. We took it as an insult – all of us without exception. I remember also receiving calls that we should not allow this to happen, that we should bomb and destroy it. Of course, I could not go for that because our war is not against civilians. Unlike Armenia, we do not fire on civilians. But we have not forgotten that. Now let him go and look at the venue where he was sworn in. See what shape it is in now.
We know what to do and when. Therefore, our successful operation today has led to great results. I know what to do, how and when. The Azerbaijani people believe in me. Relying on this trust, I also take all necessary measures; run our country with confidence in all areas, including army building.
I want to touch upon another issue. The people of Azerbaijan have repeatedly heard from mediators and leaders of some international organizations that there is no military solution to this conflict. I said that I do not agree with this thesis, and I was right. I was! Negotiations have been going on for about 30 years. Has the issue moved off the ground? Has a centimeter of land been given to us through negotiations? Did they force the aggressor to leave our land and implement the UN Security Council resolutions? No! How is this problem being resolved now? Isn’t this a military way? This issue is being resolved by military means. Military and then political. If this operation had not taken place, if we had not inflicted the necessary blows on the aggressor, if we had not taught them a lesson, would they have fled to Moscow to negotiate?! He would be satisfied and keep saying that we will not give back the land. We have forced them. We have brought them to such a state that they are looking for a place to hide but cannot find it. They are sitting tight-lipped like mice, keeping silence. So where is your persistence? Where is your arrogance? Where is your “heroism”? You said that “Karabakh is Armenia”. Karabakh is Azerbaijan. Everyone should know this, including those in charge of Armenia today. I tell them again that if they cheat again after the Moscow talks, they will regret it. We will take back our lands – peacefully or through war. There is no question about that! We want to organize it peacefully. We want to do it peacefully. We give Armenia one last chance, one last chance! They shouldn’t rely on anyone. No-one will help them. Armenia is helpless before us. Armenia is on its knees before us. We have brought them to their knees for the souls of our martyrs. Shedding our martyrs’ blood did not go unpunished. I have repeatedly said in meetings with representatives of the families of martyrs and parents of martyrs that we will take revenge. The blood of our martyrs will not remain on the ground. We do not want blood. We want our lands to be given back to us. Let them not delay this issue any longer.
There is no such thing as status-quo. It is over. We heard that status quo is status quo is that. I have changed the status quo, I have changed it! There, on the battlefield. There is no status quo. There is no line of contact. We smashed it. They had been building this line of contact for 30 years. The terrain in that region is a natural fortification. We are going from the bottom up. In fact, they were building concrete fortifications there for 30 years. We broke through. No-one can stop an Azerbaijani soldier. We have destroyed that line of contact today. There is no line of contact. Now they are saying there will be a new line of contact. It will not happen! We will take back our lands. What line of contact can we talk about now? None, we have destroyed it, we have done that, we have shown determination, we have shown strength, we have relied on our people’s will and today we are winning. We are winning a historic victory! This victory is the brightest victory among the victories of the Azerbaijani people. These victories will be continued in the future. We will liberate our lands and restore our territorial integrity! We will drive the enemy away. I know that the people of Azerbaijan liked my previous remarks. We will drive them away to the very end. Our flag will be raised in all occupied territories and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored. Long live Azerbaijan’s Army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
Today Azerbaijan’s Army has liberated the town of Hadrut, and Chayli, Yukhari Guzlek, Gorazilli, Gishlag, Garajali, Efendiler, Suleymanli and Sur villages. Long live Azerbaijan’s Army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
CNN International TV channel’s “The Connect World” program broadcast interview with President Ilham Aliyev
“The Connect World” program of CNN International TV channel has broadcast an interview with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
-Sir, I spoke to the President of Armenia, and he told me that this conflict is dramatically different from the previous clashes, because of the open support that Turkey is providing Azerbaijan. Specifically, he told me this. Turkey with its military officials, generals, mercenaries, terroristic jihadists brought in thousands to Azerbaijan to fight Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey with his military might pretending they are there in order to protect some international logistic structures. Are there any Turkish forces or Turkish equipment in Azerbaijan right now sir?
-Turkish equipment yes, Turkish forces no. And frankly speaking, I regret that Armenian president is using this opportunity to address the world through CNN to spread rumors. I cannot call it otherwise, because what he said as you presented to me I didn’t see his presentation but what I heard from you is absolutely wrong. It is false information. Turkey is supporting us, but this is a political support. This is a diplomatic support, and if not for this support if not for very open position of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that Azerbaijan is not alone, Turkey is with Azerbaijan, probably today Armenia would have achieved its goal, which is actually to spread the geography of this conflict and to involve as many countries as possible so these countries help them on the battlefield. And I would also like to remind Armenian president who was behind Armenia when Armenia in the beginning of 90s was occupying our territories. We have enough evidences who was helping them to occupy our territories. Therefore, from Armenian side to say that somebody is helping Azerbaijan is absolutely wrong, is false information and we reject it.
-You have said that there is Turkish equipment in Azerbaijan. What Turkish equipment sir?
-Weapons, Turkish weapons, not only Turkish weapons, Russian weapons, Israeli weapons, Belarusian weapons, Ukrainian weapons, you name it. Because today the geography of our purchases of military equipment is getting broader and broader, and we pay for that. If you look how Armenia gets their weapons and from where, you will see that they could not afford to pay for those weapons which they have, because that’s billions of dollars. For a poor country it’s impossible. They get weapons free of charge from their ally, we get weapons paying for them.
-Okay, let me put this to you sir. We have seen satellite imagery that would suggest Turkish F-16s are on at least one of your bases. You haven’t bought F-16s. So, is that correct? Are there F-16s on the ground that would suggest significant support for Azerbaijan?
-I agree with you when you say on the ground. F-16s came to Azerbaijan for military exercise. Last year Azerbaijan and Turkey had ten joint military exercises. Turkey is our ally and it is common here to have military exercises, including air force. By the way this year due to the pandemic we had only two military exercises. One of them was just before the Armenian attack on Azerbaijan happened. So F-16s are on the ground, they are not flying. They are not in any way participating in any kind of battle. And by the way…
-You are categorical about that. That F-16s are not in use.
-I am categorical and even more I want to tell you about one Armenian fake in the first days of the clashes they said that Turkish F-16 shot down Armenian SU-25. This is fake and those who are accusing us of this now should apologize. Because everybody knows that this is a fake. F-16s are here, but they are on the ground as you correctly mentioned.
-OSCE’s Minsk Group which has sought a solution to this long-standing dispute since the 1990s is co-chaired by France, by the US and by Russia. The French foreign minister has specifically warned that Turkey’s backing of Azerbaijan risks fueling the internationalization of this conflict. You say you are supported by Turkey. But what do you say to the French when they say this support risks this conflict getting worse?
-I do not agree with that. As I said, Turkey plays a stabilizing role in the region and in particular in the situation with respect to Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Every country can afford to have a partner, and an ally. And Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani people are happy to have such a partner, such an ally and such a brother like Turkey. We do not object when Armenia considers France their ally and France is a country which at this moment supports most of all Armenia. At the same time we see that it’s up to countries themselves to choose allies. For instance, French foreign minister is not concerned about Russia supporting Armenia with weapons free of charge and he doesn’t think that it is internationalization of the conflict. But when Turkey expresses legitimate, political support it becomes a concern and I, frankly speaking, cannot understand that how one NATO country can act in such a way against another NATO country? NATO members are supposed to be allies. But we don’t see it.
-Can you explicitly lay out the goals of your campaign at present?
Our goal is to defend our people, to defend our country and to defend our right to live on our land. It was Armenia who on September 27th launched an artillery attack on Azerbaijani military position and on our villages and cities. During these days of clashes we have 31 victims among civilians, almost 200 wounded, and more than 1,000 houses demolished, or seriously damaged by Armenian army. We had to respond, had to defend ourselves. Our respond was very sensitive to Armenia, was very painful. They suffer very serious defeat, they run away from us, we liberate part of our territory, we install our national flag on the occupied territories, we restore our territorial integrity and we are right. We are fighting on our soil, Armenia is fighting on the soil of another country.
-How many military casualties have you sustained sir?
-With respect to military casualties I already referred to that, we will disclose this information after the active phase of the clashes is over.
Do you intend to retake all of Nagorno-Karabakh, all disputed lands?
-We are talking about Nagorno-Karabakh and seven districts which surround former Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous district. Because Armenia not only occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and expelled all Azerbaijanis who were about 25 percent of the population of autonomous district but also occupied seven districts of Azerbaijan with the population of 700,000 people. So, our main objective is to liberate those territories and to allow Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons to go back. As far as Nagorno-Karabakh is concerned we think and that was officially declared many times that after the war is over, after occupational forces are withdrawn, Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh will live side-by-side as in any other country with a multi-ethnic population, and one day, I am sure, they will again become good neighbors to each other.
-The Armenian president told me that your demand that Armenia set a time-table for withdrawing troops should be put to the “Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh” because your dispute is with them. He added though that in Nagorno-Karabakh 95 percent of the population were Armenians, because they are living there for thousands of years. You say that Karabakh is Azerbaijan. But how would you address the fears of ethnic-Armenians there?
-First of all…
-Hold on sir, that they might be ethnically cleansed if the government of Azerbaijan retakes the territory.
-I understand, today in Azerbaijan thousands of Armenians live in different cities of our country primarily in the capital city of Baku. One of the Armenian long-range destructive missile, ‘Smerch’, which they use to attack our second largest city of Ganja hit the house of native Armenian woman. So, today in Azerbaijan there are thousands of Armenians who live in peace, and dignity. But in Armenia, all Azerbaijanis have been expelled. Armenia’s population is 99 percent Armenians. They committed ethnic cleansing against us. What Armenian president said, he is lying again. Today it is not 95 percent, today it is 100 percent Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, because 25 percent of Azerbaijanis who lived there were ethnically cleansed by the Armenian regime. I regret that such a person with such an important position is spreading lies. Look in the internet, look at Kurekchay Peace Agreement, which was signed in the beginning of the 19th century, between Azerbaijani khan of Karabakh and Russian general. Nothing is said about Armenian population. Armenian population was resettled to our land by Russian Empire in order to change the religious composition of the region after the Russo-Persian wars. This is a historical fact and what Armenian president says is fake, absolutely fake.
-I must point out that as you suggest that the Armenian president is spreading lies and fake information so he has said the same thing about Azerbaijan and yourself.
-Look at the internet, look at the documents and you will see who is telling the truth and who is lying.
-I have to make the point that each side is trading insults at this point. How would Azerbaijan accept international mediation and stop military action? What are your bottom lines here?
-We have international mediation for 28 years. OSCE Minsk Group is in “action”, actually is passive form for 28 years since 1992 and this mediation led to nothing. This mediation led to what is happening today. This mediation was not enough in order to press Armenia to leave the territories which do not belong to them.
-Have you been in touch with Washington on this? I mean what is the Trump administration telling you? US, of course, is one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group.
-We have very diverse relations with the United States, relations are developing very successfully in many areas. As far as Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is concerned, three countries of the Minsk Group co-chairs have the same right and the same responsibility to mediate and when representatives from these countries come, they come altogether, representatives of three countries. Therefore, there is no distinction in their performance. But of course we understand that some countries are more pro-Armenian some countries are even more pro-Armenian.
-So, can I just ask you who are you speaking to in Washington? Is it state or is it the Trump administration? The Armenian president certainly told us that they have spoken to Robert O’Brien, for example.
-Well, Armenian prime minister I think the only person whom he did not speak during these days is a head of a tribe in some far away you know remote island. He called everyone. He called President Putin five times, he called President Macron, I don’t know four times. He called Chancellor Merkel. The only one left is a tribal chief. I advice to call him and to complain on Azerbaijan and to send some people from his tribe to help poor poor Armenia whom Azerbaijan is destroying.
-So, that wasn’t the question, the question was who are you speaking to in Washington is it the state or is it the Trump administration?
-We speak with administration, we speak to State Department. Actually, they contacted us. I gave instructions to our foreign ministry, to my administration to be in touch with all those who call us, who want to express their position and express their view on how to move forward. But it is actually doesn’t make any difference whether it is State Department or White House because for us it is US Administration anyway.
-What’s the position as you understand it in Washington?
-The position in Washington is not different from the position of other co-chairs. They are supporting the principles based on which the solution must be found. It is Armenia who is against those principles. Those principles say that territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijan in time and when you were referring to my statement time-table, that is exactly what is in the documents. It is not me who invented them. It is Armenia who is against.
-Let’s have a look at Russia’s position then, because it is not clear to me what Washington’s position is from what we have just discussed. But let’s have a look at Russia’s position. Let me play out some sound from the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He said we remain deeply concerned by the situation in the region and we believe that the sides must stop the fire and come to the negotiating table. They are asking that you go to the negotiating table. The Russian president has described the fighting as a tragedy. You personally spoke to Vladimir Putin as I understand it on Wednesday. What did he tell you? What are Russia’s red lines here?
-I called President Putin in order to congratulate him on the occasion of his birthday on the 7th of October. I do it every year and so does he. So every year we congratulate each other on our birthdays. And that was a coincidence that his birthday is coincided with the events. Therefore, of course, we discussed this issue and our press service has issued a press-release about that, I think it will not be right for me to say something more than it was released in the press.
-I wish you would, I mean are you prepared to defy Moscow’s appeal? For peace talks?
-We are for peace talks. If you allow me, I will just give you two examples. Azerbaijan is a constructive partner to negotiation table. We think that the principles which have been elaborated by the United States, Russia and France should be basis for settlement. Armenian President rejects them, I am sorry, Armenian prime minister rejects them. Because the person who is in charge in Armenia is not a president, but prime minister, and with whom I had negotiations. So he said that “Karabakh is Armenia”. That makes negotiations senseless. Because how you can say “Karabakh is Armenia” and negotiate to return the territories back? He said Azerbaijan should negotiate not with Armenia, but with Nagorno-Karabakh which is a change of format. So we are ready for negotiations if Armenian prime minister returns back from the skies where he is flying, back to earth.
-That is not the position, as I understand it, from the Russians who said both sides must stop the fire and come to the negotiating table.
-Those who started fire, should stop first and we will do the same. But to go back to negotiation table. Pashinyan regime did everything to destroy negotiations. They made the statement, they attacked us in July, they attacked us in August, they attacked us in September. They do everything in order to disrupt negotiations. We are ready. But they are not.
If you won’t stop, and they won’t stop. What happens next? Where does this leave the conflict which so many people are now concerned could escalate into much wider, regional war?
-It should not escalate wider, I call all the countries to stay away from this situation. It is our bilateral issue with Armenia. Mediators they have, they have their mandate. Their mandate is not to interfere on the ground, their mandate is to facilitate to find the solution. So, they will continue, I am sure within the framework of their mandate. Armenians’ attempt to make this conflict international is very counter-productive, destructive and dangerous for many countries. So, Armenia should understand that occupation cannot last forever. Status quo must be changed. And by the way presidents, former presidents of France, former presidents of United States and President of Russia made a statement, when all of them were in charge, status-quo is unacceptable and must be changed. I support it but Armenia is against.
-I want to get your response to a new report from Amnesty International claiming they have identified Israeli-made MO-95 DPICM cluster munitions. That appear to have been fired by Azerbaijani forces. Now CNN cannot independently verify those claims nor the apparent video of the explosions. But sir, how do you respond to Amnesty’s claims?
-I would say that we don’t have any contact with the organization which you named, because of their pro-Armenian and anti-Azerbaijani position. First, it is wrong, it is false and second, I would recommend them to see how cluster bombs are being used against our civilians. How they use “Smerch”, how they use “Elbrus”, “Tochka U”, ballistic missiles on our cities – Ganja, Goranboy, Naftalan, Yevlakh and other cities are under Armenian bombardment. Why does Amnesty International see or want to see only one side? Why they do not see another side? That’s a question.
-Let me just push you on this. Are you categorically saying that cluster munitions have not being used by Azerbaijani forces? And if so, are you prepared to allow independent observers to verify that?
-Yes, we are prepared to do it, also we are prepared to see how Armenia will allow independent observers to see what they have been doing. And though it should be not unilateral, it should be bilateral. We defend ourselves and we must do it. But our targets are only military objectives. And almost all of what we have destroyed, we destroyed from the very modern equipment. You can find it on internet. It’s Turkish brand new, excellent, marvelous fighter drones. It is other equipment which destroys you know tanks, guns, military positions. So we don’t need to use these kind of weapons in order to achieve our goal. Our target are not civilians. Our target are occupants, we must return our land to those whom it belongs to.
-Sir, Armenia can and will speak for themselves. I am asking you specifically, you categorically deny do you, that cluster munitions have been used by Azerbaijani forces.
-Yes, I deny it and I want to ask you. Did you ask this question to Armenian president?
-We didn’t have the information at the time.
-That’s the point, that’s the point. You ask me, ask him, ask him. Let the Amnesty International ask him what they do.
-We will certainly ask him for a statement. I’m asking you.
Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan: “Armenia purposefully committed a provocation on the state border”
On October 9, at around 20:00, the shooting and explosion in the territory of Armenia were observed from the defensive positions of the Azerbaijan Army located in the Dashkesan section of the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border.
At first, there was a firefight between the servicemen at the enemy positions in the Guneshli and Aghyokhush villages of the Vardenis region of Armenia using various small arms. Soon after, an explosion occurred in the Guneshli village and a fire broke out.
We declare that the units of the Azerbaijan Army have nothing to do with this incident. This provocation is aimed at distracting the attention of the Armenian people and the international community from the fiasco of the Armenian leadership in the military and political arena.
The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan strongly condemns this provocation of the enemy and declares that the Armenian side bears the entire responsibility for this act.
Sky News TV channel broadcast interview with President Ilham Aliyev
Sky News TV channel has broadcast an interview with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
-Thank you very much President Aliyev for agreeing to do his interview with Sky News. The French President seems confident that the truce will be agreed in the coming days and that you will be able to resume negotiations. How likely is that and on what terms?
-It depends on the position of Armenia. Azerbaijan has always been very supportive to negotiation table, and frankly speaking for 28 years since the OSCE Minsk Group was established we are involved in negotiations. We had hopes and still have hopes that negotiations will lead to progress, and will lead to political settlement. But unfortunately Armenia’s position was opposite. They used negotiation only as a pretext in order to make this process endless. In other words, they wanted always to seal the status quo, to keep status quo unchanged, and not to return the territories back which they have to according to the UN Security Council resolutions and according to the basic principles which are on the table, which were elaborated by the OSCE Minsk Group. Therefore, I hope that after this bitter defeat which Armenia is suffering on the battlefield, they will be more reasonable, and they will listen to the advises of the mediators, and will be sincere on negotiations table. Negotiations should leave to the political settlement, and to the liberation of the occupied territories.
-But what territories exactly are we talking about? Are we simply talking about Nagorno-Karabakh or we talking about the seven occupied Azerbaijani territories that they call their security zone? Because clearly you are not getting all of it back.
-Our territorial integrity is recognized by the whole world. All the countries recognize territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which includes Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenians’ position, actually was also a pretext that we are using these seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh as an excuse to occupy a security zone. But today’s clash shows that there is no security zone in modern world. Modern military equipment does not provide security even for long distance. The security must be provided by political means. Therefore, we were always saying that political settlement will provide security guarantees for all-for Azerbaijanis, for Armenians, for other nationalities who live in the area. And the basic principles which Armenia rejected to support and clearly says how the territories are going to be returned back. In the first stage five regions of Azerbaijan which are situated on the south eastern part of Nagorno-Karabakh. Then two regions of Azerbaijan which are situated between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Then Azerbaijanis return to Nagorno-Karabakh. There have been 25 percent of Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh their rights must also be provided. And they go back to where they lived in the ancient city of Shusha and other places and we restore normal communications, we restore people-to-people contact, and slowly and slowly I am sure people will reconcile. That’s the plan of the mediators and we support it.
-Would you recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence if you’re allowed to have 25 percent Azerbaijani population there?
-No, no, never. And that has never been the issue on negotiation table. Our position was very clear, that Azerbaijan will never recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, because it’s our ancient land. The history of Nagorno-Karabakh is now well-known. Second, it is an integral part of Azerbaijan and why should we give independence to small number of people? Azerbaijan is a multi-ethnic country as almost all the countries in the world. National minorities live in peace and dignity in Azerbaijan and in many countries in the world. Being national minority does not mean that you have a right for secession, have a right for separatism. Separatism is a big threat to international community and all the countries in the world condemn separatism. What has been done against us was separatism of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and military aggression of Armenia’s state against Azerbaijan which led to the situation which we are facing now. Occupation, a million of Azerbaijani refugees, ethnic-cleansing against Azerbaijanis, destroyed cities and villages. Now when we are liberating our territories, there are video about what happened there. Everything is destroyed, it’s as if like Stalingrad. It’s even worth than Stalingrad after World War II.
-But that is exactly what you are doing now to the regional capital Stepanakert. That is what you are doing to Shusha which yesterday was targeted not once but twice. A double hit on the cathedral there when it was very clear that civilians and journalists were sheltering inside.
-That was first of all a provocation from the Armenian side. We never did that in the past, we have Armenian church in the center of Baku. You can send someone, or when you come…
-It’s not that the Armenians targeted their own cathedral. How can that be?
-That’s probably their provocation in order to present us in such a way but I can tell you that they are shelling our cities. Do you know that we have 31 killed civilians as a result of Armenian bombardment? 170 wounded people and more than 1 thousand houses totally demolished or damaged because of Armenian attack on our civilians. And they use ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles!
-With all due respect, that is also what you are doing with your shells on Nagorno-Karabakh and you have very sophisticated drone technology which should allow you to see precisely what you are targeting. So, why the civilian structures are getting hit?
-No, no. We never attack civilians. What we did in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, we attacked their tanks, we attacked their guns, we attacked their artillery systems, and also we attacked their military infrastructure. It is not our fault that these military infrastructures sometimes is situated in the city center. But we never on purpose, we never attack civilians. Yes, we have sophisticated weapons but not all of them are sophisticated. There could be some mistakes. Therefore, there was never a deliberate attack on civilians on our side. On the contrary, every day the city of Tartar which is very close to the line of contact is being bombed. We have 2 thousand shells a day on the city. It is almost destroyed and nobody talks about them. So, please let’s be fair about that, we didn’t start it, and we don’t need to attack civilians. We need our territories. Why should we attack civilians with whom we plan to live side by side after the war is over. People of Armenian origin in Nagorno-Karabakh are hostages of a criminal regime which is there. They will, I am sure, live side by side with us in peace and dignity after the war is over.
-You have said that you would like to see Armenia withdraw its troops. But you have also said that you are not prepared to accept peacekeepers there. How else can you reassure your counterparts, the Armenians, that you will not then retake the whole lands?
-If you can tell me when I said that I don’t want to see peacekeepers, I will answer you, but I never said that. That’s wrong information I am sorry, I never said…
-But you won’t accept peacekeepers on that territory.
-Peacekeepers is one of the elements which is provided in the basic principles for the settlement, which was elaborated by the OSCE Minsk Group and there is an item about peacekeepers. But we did not come to this item to discuss it properly. Because it’s premature. Because first, we need to resolve the core issue-the occupation, liberation of territories and then, when Azerbaijanis will return, then of course peacekeepers should come. It is in the framework of agreement, if it is signed by both sides. Then both sides will select who these peacekeepers will be. So we are not against it, but we actually were not in active phase of negotiations on this item.
-It doesn’t sound as though your terms of negotiations have changed since before this latest vast outbreak of hostilities. So, I am just wondering, why weapons should be placed down now if negotiations have never succeeded before?
-You know, negotiations are taking place since 1992. Since that time there have been zero progress on the ground, zero progress. Armenia always was using some manipulation tools in order to disrupt negotiations. This year, starting from July they launched three times a military attack on us. On July, they attacked our civilians and our military positions on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan far away from Karabakh region. That lasted for four days, we pushed back, they could not occupy territories, and we stopped because we don’t have any military purpose on Armenian side. On August 23, they send a sabotage group to commit a terror act which was detained and the head of the group gives evidence. At the end of September, they launched the artillery bombardment of our cities and killed immediately innocent people. We had to respond, we had to push back, that’s what we did. Therefore, we are in favor of negotiations. I can give you two examples, Armenian prime minister last year announced that “Karabakh is Armenia”. What does it mean? It means the end of…
-I asked him what he meant.
-What he meant?
-He said that he meant that ever since the 4th century there have been Armenian churches, there has been an Armenian population and there has ever since the beginning of the Soviet Union much larger Armenian population, ethnic Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh than Azerbaijani.
-You know, he is telling, mildly speaking, not truth. The Armenians’ settlement in that area started in the late 18th and early 19th centuries after the treaty of Kurekchay was signed by Azerbaijani Ibrahim Khan, and Russian general. As a result of that treaty Karabakh khanate became part of Russia, and Russia started…
-I am sorry.
-That’s how it was. That’s how Armenians came to Nagorno-Karabakh. It’s only two centuries, less. He is telling about 4th century.
-You have been in power since the beginning of this century. And yet, there has been no progress made on this issue. It is all very well to blame the Armenians. But do you take some personal responsibility for the fact that your soldiers are now dying on the frontline because you politically have not been able to resolve this?
-Our soldiers are dying for our land. Our soldiers are dying on Azerbaijani soil, historical and internationally recognized. On which soil now Armenian soldiers are dying? They are dying now in Fuzuli, they are dying in Jabrayil, they are dying in other Azerbaijani territories. What they are doing there? You should ask Pashinyan what his soldiers is doing there? 90 percent of the so-called “army of Nagorno-Karabakh” consists of Armenian citizens. They are on our land. It is just enough to look at the map. For us it is a patriotic war. We are defending ourselves. We want to restore our territorial integrity to allow one million refugees to go back. That’s what we are doing. For 28 years we were patient to believe that negotiations will lead to progress. As a result, we got what we have got now. When we pushed back and punished the aggressor, you know we are attacked politically. I accepted the basic principles, Pashinyan rejected it. I accept the format of negotiations which is between Armenia-Azerbaijan, Pashinyan says no, Azerbaijan should negotiate with Nagorno-Karabakh. This is acceptable not only by me, but also by Minsk Group. So, he is to blame for what is happening now.
-The French and the Russian say that they have intelligence that Syrian mercenaries are being used on your frontlines. Do you categorically deny that?
-Absolutely, categorically. So far I haven’t been provided with a single document which testified this intelligence. Let them show this intelligence to me. Our intelligence representatives had contacts after these accusations have been made. During this contacts with their counterpart no evidence was provided. If there is evidence why is it not on the newspapers? Why is it not on your channel? Where is this evidence? Show it to me. There is no evidence. We don’t need mercenaries we have 100 thousand fighters, well-prepared, well-trained. We have modern equipment, we have all the necessary military components in order to liberate our land and that’s what we are doing. This is fake news.
-One final question, what gesture of good will could you put on the table to try and start negotiation at this stage?
-We already did that. By the way, I can tell you one more thing about who is against negotiations. Foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia were invited, even before this outbreak, to Geneva to meet Minsk Group co-chairs. Armenian foreign minister was supposed to go in the beginning of October, our foreign minister was supposed to go on the 8th of October. So, Armenian foreign minister ignored that, he didn’t go. Our foreign minister yesterday was in Geneva, met with the co-chairs. And when we received the proposal from Russia to organize the meeting between foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Russia, we agreed. So our foreign minister just an hour ago landed in Moscow, and he will be meeting with his Russian counterpart. And I don’t know what will be the program. Will he meet Armenian minister or not? But he is there. We want peaceful settlement, but settlement. We want solution, not imitation, not another 30 years of etceteras, practical steps, time-table. When our people are going back home? What will be the security guarantees for them? And how we will reconcile? Two nations must reconcile. We are neighbors, we cannot live in hostility forever. This must be stopped, but stopped on the basis of historical truth and international law.
-And a question about journalists operating in Nagorno-Karabakh. Your presidential spokesman has said that because they are there illegally on what you consider to be Azerbaijani territories, they are effectively fair game. Is that something that you believe also?
-Our position is very fair, clear. Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan and our position is that, if any foreign citizen, any-not only journalists- if he wants or she wants to visit Nagorno-Karabakh, please, let us know. We do not expect some kind of special attitude, just inform us that such and such person wants to visit and when we have this information, when we have this sign of respect to our territorial integrity we never object. So, those who go there without this, how to say, procedure, they are being put in the black list of our foreign ministry and the entrance for them to Azerbaijan is forbidden. But if those people write a letter to our foreign minister that we made a mistake, or next time we will inform you, we remove them from the black list. This is fair, the only thing we need is just respect. Therefore, for those journalists who want to go there and cover events, I’d like to use this opportunity to deliver messages to them. Please, inform our foreign ministry by e-mail and go there. No problem.
-And you will not target them.
-We never do it. We never do it. Why should we? We are interested that journalists are coming. I am everyday on TV, everyday I give interviews, because we want to deliver our point. We want to deliver our case, we are not aggressors. We are victims. It is Armenia who is an aggressor. We want the territories back. That’s all.
-President Aliyev, thank you so much for talking to us today.