Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan’s security challenged from very beginning of restoration of its independence by military aggression of Armenia

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Azerbaijan’s security has been seriously challenged from the very beginning of the restoration of its independence, by military aggression of Armenia, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev at the 7th Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference in Baku Dec. 1.

“As a country suffering from continued occupation of 1/6 of its territory and possible displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens, Azerbaijan fully realizes the value of peace, security and stability,” Ilham Aliyev said.

“For more than 20 years Armenia occupies almost 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of our country. More than one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons,” he said.

The president noted that Armenia conducted the policy of ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan.

He went on to add that the situation in the occupied territories is well known to the international community.

“The OSCE has twice sent fact-finding and assessment missions to the occupied territories, and their reports say that acts of vandalism have been committed on these lands. Our cities, villages, buildings, graves, cemeteries, and mosques were destroyed by Armenia,” said the president.

President Ilham Aliyev reminded that in in 1993 the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions, demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan.

“The status quo is unacceptable. This is stated not only by Azerbaijan, but also by the OSCE Minsk group co-chair countries. The presidents of these countries have repeatedly stated that the status-quo most be changed, and is unacceptable,” he said.

The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved on the basis of international law, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, said the president.

“The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be completely restored,” he said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.