Following the joint meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has been interviewed by TV channels in Munich.
Azernews presents the interview.
President Ilham Aliyev: Salaam alaikum.
Journalists: Hello, Mr. President.
Journalist: The meeting has probably been held. How did it go?
President Ilham Aliyev: It went well. I think it was constructive. Many issues were discussed, including the signing of the peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the existence of the necessary conditions for the signing of the agreement. Of course, I reiterated my position. The key thing is that this peace agreement should be based on international norms and principles. Any provision in relation to Karabakh is unacceptable. Azerbaijan’s position in this respect has been communicated. Three days ago, we received new responses to our proposals from Armenia. We are elaborating them now. At first glance, there is progress in Armenia’s position, but it is not sufficient. So this is the main issue discussed. Of course, the situation on the Lachin-Khankendi road was also discussed. I reiterated Azerbaijan’s position that there is no question of any kind of blockade. More than 2,500 trucks and Red Cross vehicles have passed along the road since December 12, and if there had been a blockade, how could these vehicles have got through? In other words, this is an unfounded accusation against Azerbaijan, we are rejecting it, and I can say that this position was met with understanding in all the meetings I have had. The European Union understands our position as well. We rightfully demand that the illegal exploitation of our fields be stopped and until this is achieved, I am sure that our social activists will not give up their honorable mission. I have tried to communicate this message as well today. I have also stated that it would be good if Armenia and Azerbaijan established checkpoints on the Armenian-Azerbaijan border in a bilateral manner. We made this suggestion earlier and made it official today. Previously, this suggestion was communicated through unofficial channels. Armenia did not voice any position. They probably need some time to discuss it.
But our initial impression is that both Europe and America view this proposal of ours as logical. This is certainly an important factor in the normalization of relations between the two countries. Because if we are talking about border delimitation, it is impossible to achieve without checkpoints. If we are talking about the opening of communications, of course, checkpoints should be established at both ends of the Zangezur corridor and at the border between Lachin district and Armenia. Today, at the meeting held with the participation of Secretary of State Blinken, I officially put forward this as a proposal. We will wait for a response from Armenia.
Journalist: Mr. President, a panel discussion is expected to take place at 19:30 Baku time. Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili will also participate in this panel discussion. Can the Tbilisi format come up?
President Ilham Aliyev: Maybe. Because it would be natural. We are also welcoming that. This issue was discussed during my visit to Georgia. The Armenian side is somewhat hesitant about this. But I think it would be fair. Initially, the participation of the Armenian Prime Minister was not envisaged. His name was not mentioned in the initial proposal given to me. He probably decided to attend last night. I think this is a good development because, finally, some cooperation among the three South Caucasus countries can be started.
Journalist: How do you see the normalization of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan? Who should take the first step?
President Ilham Aliyev: You heard about the terror act against our embassy, which was the organized act of terror against the Azerbaijani diplomatic premises. During 30-40 minutes the terrorist was not disarmed, and the police cars coming and going, security officers allowed him to break in twice and kill one security officer and injured two others. And only bravery of one of security officers, who with empty hands disarmed that terrorist, saved lives of maybe of dozens of Azerbaijanis. Because they were the families of the diplomats, including children live in that building. Therefore, we demand immediate and transparent investigation. And the fact that right after this act of terror, the terrorist was interviewed by Iranian media demonstrates that he is one of those who was sent by some of the branches of the Iranian establishment. And another strange thing was that just two days after, he was announced as mentally disabled. How could they hold this expertise immediately? That is an attempt to protect him from justice. Therefore, the Iranian government should have a transparent investigation. We must be informed about that, the terrorist must be punished, but most important, those who sent the terrorist those representatives of the Iranian establishment, who did this brutal act against Azerbaijan must be brought to justice. Only after that, we can talk about any kind of normalization.