BAKU: Azeri President Rules Out Concessions To Armenia


ANS TV, Baku
30 May 06

[Presenter] Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has delivered a speech
at the session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Paris. Prior to
that, the head of state had a meeting with his French counterpart,
Jacques Chirac. Now over to Paris for more detailed information.

Joining us is ANS TV’s special correspondent Zamina Aliyeva. Zamina,
good evening. Could you tells us about the main points of the
president’s speech?

[Correspondent Zamina Aliyeva by telephone] Good evening, Natavan.

The Nagornyy Karabakh problem was the main point of the president’s
speech at the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He
proved that Azerbaijan’s position on this issue was fair. The speech,
which was based on facts and arguments, was not only welcomed, it
also showed that Armenia has gone beyond the principles of NATO and
the international community. Ilham Aliyev said that the occupation of
20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia and the existence
of more than 1m refugees were a big problem for the country and a
serious threat to the region.

He pointed out that Azerbaijan wants to solve the problem by means
of peace talks based on international law. He said that Azerbaijan’s
territorial integrity has been recognized by all states, except for
Armenia, and that the conflict must be settled only on the basis
of this principle. Saying that Azerbaijan is demanding that Armenia
withdraw its occupying troops from Karabakh, the president brought
to the attention of participants in the session that the report of
the OSCE fact-finding mission reflects the destruction of houses,
historical monuments and graves in the occupied territories. He said
that it was a humanitarian tragedy.

The president firmly said that Azerbaijan will never accept the
occupation of its territory and will not allow a second Armenian state
to be established on its territory. The settlement of the Nagornyy
Karabakh problem is important not only to Azerbaijan but also to the
region, end quote.

I should point out that in response to a question from the Armenian
delegation that it is not only the issue of Nagornyy Karabakh, but
Azerbaijan is also violating human rights, [changing tack] while
asking this question, a member of the Armenian delegation heard
a remark from Pierre Lelouche, chairman of the NATO Parliamentary
Assembly. Pierre Lelouche said that although [Armenian President]
Robert Kocharyan had been invited to the session, unfortunately he did
not attend it to participate in the dialogue. As for Ilham Aliyev,
he firmly told the Armenian representative that our position on the
Nagornyy Karabakh problem is not based on wishes and dreams.

The president said that we have no concessions to make to Armenia
because we have not occupied anyone’s territory and our problem is
not related to the population living in Karabakh, but to separatists.

The president said that today Karabakh has turned into a hangout for
drug trafficking and terrorism.

The Turkish delegation asked a question that supported Azerbaijan.

Asked whether he was pleased with the support of international
organizations on the Karabakh issue, the president answered that
although the Council of Europe resolution that describes Armenia as
an aggressor and the four UN resolution that demand an unconditional
withdrawal of occupiers from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories were
positive, several days ago Armenians celebrated the liberation
of Susa. There is a question – who was Susa liberated from? From
Azerbaijan? Unfortunately, international organizations have not
reacted to this issue.

[Passage omitted: Ilham Aliyev also spoke about Azerbaijan’s economic
development and the process of democratization in the country]

Another question was put to the president. This question stressed
that there were human rights abuses and political prisoners in
Azerbaijan. The president said that there were no political prisoners
in Azerbaijan and all reports about this were not true.

[Passage omitted: Ilham Aliyev’s speech was welcomed at the session]

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