BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:20 P.M.) – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that he is offering Yerevan a “last chance” to return to negotiations and withdraw its forces from the Karabakh region, coinciding with the start of consultations with Armenia in Moscow with Russian mediation.
In a televised address to the people of his country, Aliyev said that Armenia should accept the basic principles for settling the Karabakh conflict and leave the “occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”
Aliyev stressed that he does not agree with the proposition that this conflict has no military solution, saying: “We have changed the status quo in Karabakh and there is no contact line now, so we have destroyed it.”
Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan would regain its lands by any means, but it wanted to do so peacefully and give Armenia “the last chance.”
The President of Azerbaijan expressed his readiness to return to the talks on Karabakh, but renewed his adherence to the full sovereignty of his country over the region, adding that there will be no negotiations if Armenia insists that Karabakh be considered part of its territory.
The Azerbaijani President stated that his country’s forces had taken control of 9 towns in Karabakh, including the town of Gdrut, while the Armenian Ministry of Defense denied at a later time the loss of this town.
Aliyev’s remarks coincided with the start of talks in Moscow between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan under the mediation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Aliyev said that these talks would clarify “many things” and would set the basic principles for resolving the crisis in the region.