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President Ilham Aliyev:In the present-day Armenia, 80 per cent of all villages have place names of Azerbaijani origin

“In the present-day Armenia, 80 per cent of all villages have place names of Azerbaijani origin,”President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has said as he chaired a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“These are our historical lands, and we will definitely return to this land. It can’t be otherwise. This is our strategic goal, we are committed to it and we will try to achieve this goal. Our economic, political and military power, our demographics give reason to say that. In the near future Azerbaijan's population will exceed 10 million people, and this is of considerable importance in addressing the issue.”

“Our main problem, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, unfortunately remains unresolved. I have repeatedly stated my thoughts on this issue. I want to say again that the only reason for this is the fact that Armenia does not want peace and wants to maintain the status quo even though the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries have repeatedly stated about the unacceptability of the status quo. Armenia ignores this, while these states are not taking any concrete steps except for making such statements. This is why these statements remain unfulfilled. Thus, the conflict is delayed and not resolved. In the middle of last year the leaders of co-chair countries began to display some activity. In August, September and October, the leaders of Russia, America and France held summits in order to quickly find a way out of the situation and put an end to the conflict. Azerbaijan, of course, supports this activity because, as I have always pointed out, we are the most interested party in resolving the conflict. However, Armenia displayed an insincere attitude at these meetings, did everything to leave the essence of the negotiations on the sidelines and talk more about some confidence-building measures. We are not opposed to that. Confidence-building measures are also important, but the essence is to end the occupation. Despite this, after the Paris meeting, we reached verbal agreement that both sides would try to reduce tension on the line of contact in the hope that it would have a positive impact on the negotiations. However, the hypocritical policy of Armenia manifested itself once again. Less than two weeks later they launched large-scale military exercises in Agdam District. These exercises had one goal – to drag Azerbaijan into provocation and disrupt the process of negotiations. We tolerated this provocation for a few days, but then we gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy, pointing them to their place. They immediately took advantage of that to start accusing Azerbaijan of aggressive behavior,” said the head of state.

“Of course, no-one took this thesis seriously. Azerbaijan has always displayed a very restrained position. Our participation in the talks for over 20 years shows that we want to resolve the issue in peace. Armenia does not want the issue to be resolved because it does not want to vacate our lands. Since late last year the Armenian side has been constantly attacking our positions, and this continues this year too. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Armenians have been killed. According to the information available to us, more than 50 occupiers have been killed on the frontline in the last three to four months. Armenia’s criminal regime, its leaders and the dictatorial leadership of this country are to blame for that. I have already expressed my thoughts about it. If you do not want to die, then get out of Azerbaijani lands.”

“Azerbaijan will not retreat from its position of principle. We will defend this position. Armenia, meanwhile, is paying a high price for this occupation – the economic downturn, the complete loss of the last remains of independence, the casualties on the contact line, the growing evidence of desertion in the Armenian army. The Armenian soldiers joining the Azerbaijani side are saying that the number of those who wish to go over to the Azerbaijani side is fairly large. They are simply afraid because there is an order there: if someone wants to join the Azerbaijani side, he should be shot in the back and killed. That is a reality. This is the price being paid by the aggressor, and as long as the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict remains unresolved, they will be paying this price,” the President added.