Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by TV channels in Munich18 February 2023, 18:40
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.
President Ilham Aliyev: Salaam alaikum.
Journalists: Hello, Mr. President.
Journalist: The meeting has 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 critical thing is that this peace agreement should be based on international norms and principles. Any provision about Karabakh is unacceptable. Azerbaijan’s position in this respect has been communicated. Three days ago, we received new responses to our proposals from Armenia, and we are elaborating on them now.
At first glance, there is progress in Armenia's position, but more is needed. So this is the primary issue discussed. Of course, the situation on the Lachin-Khankendi road was also addressed. I reiterated Azerbaijan's position that there is no question of any 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 crossed through? In other words, this is an unfounded accusation against Azerbaijan, we are rejecting it, and 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. It would be good if Armenia and Azerbaijan established checkpoints on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border bilaterally. We made this suggestion before and repeated it officially today. Previously, this proposal was conveyed through informal channels, and Armenia did not articulate any stance in response. They may require additional time to consider the matter.
But our initial impression is that Europe and America view this proposal as logical. This is an essential factor in normalizing relations between the two countries. Because if we are talking about border delimitation, it is only possible to achieve with checkpoints. Suppose we are talking about the opening of communications, of course. In that case, checkpoints should be established at both ends of the Zangezur corridor and the border between the 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 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: Possibly. 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, and his name was not mentioned in the initial proposal given to me. He probably decided to attend last night. I think this is a positive development because some cooperation among the three South Caucasus countries can finally be launched.
Journalist: How do you see the normalization of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan? Who should take the first step?
President Ilham Aliyev: You mean, who was responsible? You know about the terrorist act against our embassy, which was an organized act of terror against the Azerbaijani diplomatic premises. During 30-40 minutes, the terrorist was not disarmed. The police cars kept coming and going; local law enforcement officers allowed him to break in twice, killing one security officer and injuring two others. And only the bravery of one of the security officers, who with bare hands disarmed that terrorist, saved the lives of maybe dozens of Azerbaijanis. Because there were the families of the diplomats, including children, living in that building.
Therefore, we demand an immediate and transparent investigation. The terrorist being interviewed by Iranian media shortly after the act of terror indicates him being dispatched by a particular sector of the Iranian establishment. Additionally, the sudden announcement of his mental disability only two days later raises suspicion as to how this diagnosis was made so expeditiously. That is an attempt to shield him from justice. Therefore, the Iranian government must have a transparent investigation. We must be informed, and the terrorist must be punished. Still, most importantly, those behind the terrorist, those representatives of the Iranian establishment, who perpetrated this brutal act against Azerbaijan, must be brought to justice. It is only then that we can talk about any normalization.
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