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Aliyev – RBC: “Russia has a lot of tools to convince Armenia”

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President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in an interview with RBC TV channel reported on the achievement of Baku’s goals in Nagorno-Karabakh, and also spoke about the course of negotiations on a ceasefire and assessed the degree of influence of Russia and Turkey in the region
– How do you assess the negotiations in Moscow?
– I assess it on the whole positively, because the statement that was circulated after the talks says that a ceasefire is being declared for humanitarian reasons, and that it was of fundamental importance and it was the position of Azerbaijan that substantive negotiations are starting between Armenia and Azerbaijan confirms the invariability of the format of the negotiations.
These are two positions that the new Armenian [government] tried to undermine. It is no secret to anyone that the statements we heard from Yerevan were essentially aimed at undermining the negotiation process, including undermining the basic principles, and undermining the format of negotiations. It was fundamentally important that the Armenian side – of course, this happened as a result of what we have on the battlefield – was forced to accept that the basic principles are the basis for a settlement, and they clearly state how the conflict should be resolved in what sequence should the occupied territories be returned to Azerbaijan. And secondly, the format of the negotiations remains unchanged. This means that negotiations have been, are and will be conducted only between Azerbaijan and Armenia. All attempts by the Armenian leadership to shift this responsibility onto the puppet regime that exists in Nagorno-Karabakh have failed.
After that, I am sure that we will no longer hear from Pashinyan [Nikol Pashinyan – Prime Minister of Armenia]: “Karabakh is Armenia”, and we will not hear that Azerbaijan should negotiate with the so-called leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh. If such statements were made by him, it would mean that he showed disrespect both to the mediators and to his delegation, which agreed on this text in Moscow, and in essence it again undermines the negotiation process. Where it came this time, I think everyone can clearly see. I don’t think he will allow himself to step on the same rake a second time.
– How fragile is the ceased truce, on what will its observance depend?
– The ceasefire lasted until the current escalation for many years, more than a decade. There were certain clashes on the line of contact, there were provocations of the Armenian side on the state border in July this year, but such large-scale actions have never taken place in the past almost 30 years. Everything will depend on the Armenian side.
Firstly, will she observe the ceasefire, because tonight and in the morning I was informed about the attempts of a large-scale counteroffensive by the Armenian forces in many directions: both an attempt to recapture Hadrut, and an attempt to recapture the territories we liberated in the Jebrail [region], and an attempt in the northern direction. Realizing that in Moscow the parties could come to an agreement, they tried as much as possible to get back to themselves what was lost and what did not belong to them. Therefore, the main factor in the strength of the ceasefire regime will be that Armenia must come to terms with the fact that we have these territories, that she will never see them again and will not make any attempts to reclaim them.
The second, no less important factor is that we must at the negotiating table see a constructive approach from the Armenian side, so that they stop trying to imitate the negotiation process, so that they refrain from provocative actions, statements and are committed to finding a way to a settlement. Everything that we have seen from the Armenian side over the past year was precisely aimed at undermining the negotiation process and blaming Azerbaijan. So let’s watch. We are committed to our statements. Azerbaijan is the country that has always fulfilled its obligations. I have always said that our signature has the same meaning as our word.

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