On November 10, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation.
Address of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
– Dear fellow countrymen.
It is a historic day for our country today. An end is being put to the Armenian-Azerbaijani 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 would like to familiarize you with the text of the statement:
“Statement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and President of the Russian Federation
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:
1. 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 10 November 2020. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, shall stop at their current positions.
2. Aghdam district shall be returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan before 20 November 2020.
3. 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, 380 units of automobile and special equipment.
4. The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces. The period of stay of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is 5 years and shall be automatically extended by further five-year periods 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.
5. 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.
6. The Republic of Armenia shall return Kalbajar district to the Republic of Azerbaijan before 15 November 2020 and Lachin district before 1 December 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 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.
7. 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.
8. The exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees and bodies of the dead shall be carried out.
9. 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 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 provided.
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. At the first stage, 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 Armenian military capitulation. Therefore, this statement was signed by the President of Russia and myself 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 after the signing and the heads of state and government of Russia and Armenia will sign this document afterwards.
I want to say again that this action of Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan is understandable. However, I think that everyone should be held accountable for what they do. Everyone must have some respect for themselves even in the most difficult and critical situations for themselves and for their country. Pashinyan will sign it anyway. We have forced him to do that. But he will sign it in a closed 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 from the iron fist!
This statement is our glorious victory. I am glad to be sharing this good news with the people of Azerbaijan today. I think that one of the reasons why this statement has been signed is our brilliant victory, our historic victory, the liberation of Shusha from occupation. Shusha is the crown of Karabakh! The liberation of Shusha has great political and strategic significance, as well as great moral significance. We have returned to Shusha, we have returned Shusha, we will live in Shusha, 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 9 November – National Flag Day. Because on 9 November, the Azerbaijani Army liberated 72 settlements from the occupiers. By liberating Shusha, by liberating 72 settlements on 9 November, by liberating about 300 settlements since 27 September, we broke the back of the Armenian army. 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 this statement 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, these districts will be returned to us by the end of this month. This is great happiness. I take 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 with 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 saw that some of them had already lost hope. Yes, they expressed their gratitude, of course, we have created good conditions for them and resolved their problems. As you know, the work done for the IDPs in Azerbaijan is not done in any other country. There are IDPs 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 strong resolve, invincibility, loyalty to the state, but at the same time, I saw grief and longing in their eyes. This 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 a 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 hated enemy has done to these lands. All our buildings have been destroyed, all our historical sites have been destroyed, our museums have been looted, our nature has been severely damaged, our mosques have been 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 the liberation of Shusha to my people on 8 November, 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 God have mercy on all our martyrs. As a result of their heroism and self-sacrifice, we will return to our lands. May God heal all our wounded soldiers, may they recover soon and return to normal life, and we will do our best for their recovery. Even our seriously wounded soldiers and officers who are in the most difficult condition should know that we will do our best to bring him back to normality. We all owe this victory to them. They liberated our land from the occupiers piece by piece, they raised our flag in the occupied and liberated lands, they hoisted our flag there. This 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 nation, 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 resolve in a negative way. On the contrary, we have become even more united, even stronger, 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 have never deceived and I will not deceive it. 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 hated 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 27 September. I think many people know how it all started. The patience of the Azerbaijani people had already run out, and I was telling 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 but it will be too late. Come round, get out of these lands, these lands do not belong to you. But what did they do? In order to conduct illegal settlement there, they brought Armenians from abroad to Shusha in a demonstrative manner, in gross violation of international law, international conventions, including the Geneva Conventions, in order to insult us. It was in Shusha that the leader of the gang 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 annoy us? Did they think that no-one would hold them to account for that? We did, we put them to their knees, 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 humiliated him and we were absolutely right. When he danced drunk on Jidir Duzu in the holy city of Shusha, he should have thought that this day would come, he would receive his punishment, hide like a mouse, take this document and sign it crying. 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 equipment. We have passed the fortifications they had built for 30 years, our soldiers have passed them like lions. They have crushed the enemy, and were perfectly right to do that because they are on their own land. We abide by international law. We respect international law. We did not take revenge on civilians, we will never take revenge on civilians. In fact, 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 this war crime. To hit the city of Ganja with ballistic missiles from Armenia is a disgrace, a despicable act, a crime. It is a war crime to shoot Barda with cluster munitions. I said earlier that the city of Tartar is similar to the city of 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 one left. But the Armenians fled. Their “invincible” army was destroyed, desertion began, the head of the junta 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 what the people of Azerbaijan are! Civilians lost their homes, their property, their loved ones, but kept saying, “Long live the Motherland”. Go ahead, go forward! The letters to me say, Commander-in-Chief, go forward! 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 does not give interviews. I thought that I had sufficient opportunities 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 was necessary, I gave about 30 interviews and said in those interviews that we respect international law, we defend international law, we defend justice, and we are implementing UN Security Council resolutions. I said that all our steps were based on the norms and principles of international law, were based on morality, and all our steps were taken in this direction. 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 major destruction in the cities where the enemy lives and hides because we did not open fire on civilian facilities. That is the difference between us.
I said after the war started that many, almost all politicians involved in this issue were saying that there was no military solution to this conflict. What was I saying? I said there was! I was criticized. People were asking what Ilham Aliyev was saying. They were saying that there is no military solution. I said if there is not, then solve it peacefully. You have these opportunities in your hands. You are a superpower, you have a great reputation, you have great opportunities. What is Armenia compared to you? Can’t you influence it? Or don’t you want to put pressure on it? No, they said, it is impossible to wage war and the issue must be resolved peacefully. OK, a peaceful solution may be sought for one year, for two years, but for 30 years? How much longer will you try to fool us? However, we have proved that there is a military solution. And I said what I wanted. I said to Pashinyan, make a statement, make a commitment, provide a timetable, provide a schedule. I have been saying this since the first day of the war. Everyone can see it. In my interviews and in my addresses to the nation, I said openly – provide a timetable, provide 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 own 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 tell 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, we made him assume this commitment 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 1 December. Therefore, there is a military option. But as I said, I want this military stage to stop so that we could move on to the political stage. What happened? Exactly what I was saying. That I was saying is coming true today. The military phase is over and we are moving on to the political phase. We have signed a document that favors our interests the most. Pashinyan has signed it. There was no other option. In essence, this is a confession 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 play with the patience of the Azerbaijani people. 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 my orders. I have given my orders to command centers and we will stop. We respect our own 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 ceasefire the second time less than five minutes after it was declared, and the third time by hitting Barda with cluster missiles. If they breaks 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 actually gave them an ultimatum. I said – you must leave, if you don’t, I will go to the end. Until the end! On 8 November, 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 by 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 he was simply forced. Because he knew that if he did not sign this document, we would get these lands ourselves. 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 exactly 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 future settlement of the conflict 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. Because they made truly great efforts during these 44-45 days to resolve the issue peacefully. At the same time, I am very glad 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. Because 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 a 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 at my insistence. It has no bearing to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict but I am glad that my requirement was accepted. Thus, a historic step was taken to connect the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with Azerbaijan, with the main part of Azerbaijan by land. The hated enemy besieged Nakhchivan in the early 1990s and shortly before. All communication lines were cut off. At that time, energy resources were transferred there from the main part of Azerbaijan. As a matter of fact, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was in a very difficult 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 activities of 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 the people of Nakhchivan, 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, and everyone will know that the people of Nakhchivan, along with servicemen from all other regions, have shown great 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 in all our regions lived these days with great excitement, watched news from the front on 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 confessions living in our country showed courage fighting the enemy and restored the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. 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, in our region, there is no other country like this because no-one can live there. They are expelled, subjected to ethnic cleansing like the Azerbaijanis, or representatives of another nationalities cannot live there. They are being squeezed out, they are being squeezed out, they are being squeezed 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 did not agree, they said no, it is 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 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 scattered 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 how great a political victory we have won. Our military victory plays an exceptional 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 level of political relations, our international authority, our activities 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, this is also normal. 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, to the statehood. You can’t live with the thought “the worse the government, the state, the better for me”. I can say: these days, I saw that we can all unite in national issues. This is also very important 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, on the political plane, in any format. We showed our independence. The day will come, and some issues will probably be revealed that could not be revealed during the war. Perhaps I can also clarify some issues. Then everyone will see what ordeals we had to overcome, how much pressure we came under. We can say that they routinely told us to stop, stop, 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, our victorious army! We are proud of our people, our army! I am sure that all citizens of Azerbaijan believe that these days and minutes are the happiest in their lives. I am also happy to convey good news and these messages to the Azerbaijani people. I am happy to have signed this historic document. I am happy that we are returning to our homeland, to our native Karabakh, Shusha, which is the crown of Karabakh, and we will always live in these lands! From now on, no-one can move us from these lands!
The expression “Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and exclamation mark” 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!