Azerbaijani President: I always said that if Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha did not return to Azerbaijan, then there can be no agreement

Azerbaijani President: I always said that if Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha did not return to Azerbaijan, then there can be no agreement
  • Clock-gray 12:23
  • calendar-gray 01 December 2020

"In connection with the process of negotiations, I must also say – I want the Azerbaijani people to hear this information from me – that the issue of returning the occupied districts to Azerbaijan was the central topic of the negotiations for a reason. This was our position. But here, too, a phased solution was envisaged. We were also in favor of that. The return of five districts to Azerbaijan at the first stage, the return of Kalbajar and Lachin districts with the exception of the Lachin corridor at the second stage," said President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in his address the nation, APA reports.

"Every time the Armenian side said that if these seven districts were returned to Azerbaijan, then the issue of a status for Nagorno-Karabakh must be resolved at the same time. Another issue is that Armenia was simply engaged in imitating the negotiations and was not going to return a single district to us. But in any case, their position was that five districts could be returned, but in order to return Lachin and Kalbajar districts, Azerbaijan must recognize either the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or the vote that would have taken place there, and the date of such a vote would have been determined. If Nagorno-Karabakh had been granted independence, then Armenia would have returned Kalbajar and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan, but the Lachin corridor would have been given to Armenia, and the width of this corridor was not determined. These issues were on the negotiating table.

I can say that over the past 17 years we have received repeated signals from various places, from outside circles that we should take five districts now and be content with it. We were told that we had been defeated in the war, that Armenia had won – the implication was the first Karabakh war. We were told to come to terms with this reality. The five districts we were being given were described as a big deal, while Lachin and Kalbajar were supposed to be left for later. We were also told that when we granted independence to Nagorno-Karabakh, then part of these districts could be transferred to us.

I always said that if Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha did not return to Azerbaijan, then there can be no agreement. My position irritated many in foreign countries. I was saying that our territorial integrity must be restored. I said that the military option is never ruled out. I not only spoke about that. For all these years, having mobilized our resources, we strengthened the country, gathered strength – gathered strength at the international level, within the country, in resolving economic issues, in strengthening the solidarity and unity in the country, and in army building. We have turned this strength into an iron fist, broken the enemy’s back and created a new reality. If some were telling us to come to terms with reality a year ago, I say to them today that everyone should come to terms with the new reality," noted Azerbaijani President.

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