President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev addressed the people of Azerbaijan

The address of President Ilham Aliyev to the people

This morning Armenia's armed forced fired on our residential areas and our military positions, from several directions, using various types of weaponry, including heavy artillery.

As a result of the enemy fire, there are dead and wounded among the civilian population and our servicemen. May Allah rest our martyrs in peace! Shedding of their blood will not go unpunished. Azerbaijan's army is currently firing on the enemy's military positions, and as a result of these strikes, enemy's heavy military hardware has been eliminated extensively. It is another manifestation of Armenian fascism.

Armenia's military provocations against Azerbaijan have become regular of late. In July, our servicemen and a civilian were killed due to the artillery fire in the direction of Tovuz, on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. It is no secret that the first fire, including artillery fire, was opened by Armenia, and the first victims were Azerbaijani servicemen. Azerbaijan repelled the enemy befittingly, and they failed to move an inch forward. The enemy was stopped and we protected the territorial integrity of our country. The crushing blows forced the Armenian side to accept a bitter defeat. I have said this before, and I want to say again that if we had desired, we could have transferred military battles to Armenia's territory. However, we do not have military targets in Armenia, and this being the case, a ceasefire was introduced a few days later.

What objectives did Armenia pursue by committing this provocation? First, Armenia plans to occupy Azerbaijan's lands and does little to conceal that intention. Their military-political leadership tried to threaten Azerbaijan with a new occupation, a new policy of occupation for new territories – this is the policy of Armenia's military-political leadership today. Another reason is to distract the population from grave social and economic problems in Armenia and portray Azerbaijan as an enemy. Another reason is that Armenia is doing its best to disrupt the negotiations, and I can say it has succeeded. It is due to Armenia's hypocritical, obstructive and erroneous policy that the talks have stopped, and this provocation serves that very purpose. These are their primary goals.

In July, Azerbaijan gave a fitting response to the enemy, preserved its territorial integrity and proved anyone who dares to speak to Azerbaijan in the language of threats would regret doing that. Unfortunately, they have not learned their lesson. Although after the July provocation, I said that Armenia's bitter defeat should be a lesson for them.

In August, Armenia launched yet another military provocation. This time a subversion group was sent to Azerbaijan. The head of the group was captured by the Azerbaijani military and is currently giving evidence. His statements clearly show that this subversion group came to Azerbaijan, planning to commit acts of terror. Another military provocation against the civilian population and our servicemen was committed by Armenia today, and, as I said, they have been punished this time again, and punishment will continue.

Armenia's provocations are also reflected in the statements made by the Armenian leadership. A year ago, the Armenian prime minister said in the occupied territories, in Khankandi, that "Karabakh is Armenia, full stop." First of all, it is a lie, Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and I have repeatedly expressed my views on this issue. Karabakh is Azerbaijan, an exclamation mark! Secondly, this provocative statement was, in fact, a significant blow to the negotiations. If Armenia's prime minister claims that "Karabakh is Armenia", what are the negotiations about?

The Armenian leadership has repeatedly been stating for two years that Azerbaijan should negotiate not with Armenia, but with the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh republic". It is a severe blow to the negotiation process. First, Azerbaijan will never deal with the puppet junta regime. Secondly, attempts to change the talks' format show that Armenia's primary goal is to disrupt the negotiations and maintain the status quo. However, the heads of state of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have repeatedly stated that the status quo is unacceptable, which means that the occupation must end.

Armenia's provocations against us do not end there. The "swearing-in" ceremony of the head of the so-called criminal junta was recently held in Shusha, an ancient city of our ancient Azerbaijan. Isn't that a provocation? It is an insult to us. They thought that we would put up with this affront. They are deliberately provoking us, and they will see the bitter consequences.

Recently, a decision was made to transfer the so-called parliament of the "Nagorno-Karabakh republic" to the ancient Azerbaijani city of Shusha. It is another provocation. Furthermore, Armenia's prime minister announced that "voluntary" military units would be established, bringing together tens of thousands of people. Why is this necessary? Whom will they fight against? That was part of the preparations for today's provocation against Azerbaijan. I have said several times, including from the UN platform, most recently that Armenia is preparing for a new war. Armenia must and will be stopped.

Armenia is pursuing a policy of illegal settlement in the occupied territories. Several Lebanese-Armenian families have recently been resettled to Nagorno-Karabakh, including Shusha, an ancient city in Azerbaijan. It amounts to a war crime and contravenes the Geneva Convention. Armenia will be held accountable for this crime. It is another provocation against us. Settlement in the occupied territories is a crime, and Armenia has pursued this policy for many years. The fact is that the country's population is shrinking due to Armenia's difficult economic, political, and social situation. Armenia is experiencing a demographic crisis and does not have the human resources to deploy its people in the occupied territories. That is why they count on Armenians living abroad. This policy is currently underway. Simultaneously, according to the accurate information we have, Armenia has carried out an illegal settlement in some occupied territories. The names of our districts and villages are being changed. The historical heritage of Azerbaijanis is being erased. Our historical monuments are being destroyed, and mosques are being demolished and desecrated. Armenia keeps cows and pigs in our mosques. It is the greatest insult to the entire Muslim world. Tractors are used to destroy our ancestors' graves. Those who have done this are fascists, vandals and savages.

Moreover, the recent military exercises in the occupied territories should be considered another provocation by Armenia because these exercises have one purpose: to attack Azerbaijan, fire on the civilian population, and occupy new lands! All the facts I have mentioned show that Armenia and its sordid policies are the sources of threat in the region.

Azerbaijan has not resorted to any provocation. Azerbaijan defends its interests, stands its ground and pursues its policy openly. We have repeatedly stated that Nagorno-Karabakh is the historical and ancient land of Azerbaijan, and this is true. When Armenia's prime minister of Armenia claims that "Karabakh is Armenia", it is a lie. I say that "Karabakh is Azerbaijan", and it is true. The whole world recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. Historical justice is on our side because it is our native land, our ancestral land. International law is on our side. All international organizations recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. All countries recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Decisions and resolutions adopted within international organizations explicitly state that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan. Four UN Security Council resolutions call for an immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories. These resolutions have been on paper for almost 30 years. Negotiations within the Minsk Group have been going on for nearly 30 years, and, as a result, Armenia has paralyzed the negotiations by repeatedly committing military provocations.

Besides the United Nations, all other leading international organizations support our just position. The Non-Aligned Movement is the second largest international body after the United Nations, and Azerbaijan currently holds the chairmanship. It has adopted a fair resolution on the conflict. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has adopted just resolutions. The decisions of the OSCE and the resolutions of the European Parliament support our position. The position is based on international law and justice. We are fighting on our land. Today, Azerbaijan's Army is dealing crushing blows to the enemy on our soil. Today, our army protects the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan on its oil. What are Armenian soldiers doing in our lands? What is the Armenian army doing in our lands? It is no secret that 90 percent of the "Nagorno-Karabakh army" personnel are Armenian citizens. Armenia is an occupying state, and an end to this occupation must and will be put.

We are on the righteous path! Ours is the just cause! We will be victorious! Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!

Source: Official web-site of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

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