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Aliyev says direct talks with Armenia best way to achieve peace agreement

05.05.23 12:26
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said direct talks between his country and Armenia are the best way for achieving a peace agreement.

"I believe that direct negotiations between the two countries will be more useful and necessary. I think we should continue to move in this direction if, of course, Armenia is also ready for this," he said, speaking at an international conference in the city of Shusha on Wednesday.

Aliyev said that Armenia now more openly than some of its friends in the West recognizes Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and it only needs to express that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan as it has already done on paper.

"The Alma-Ata Declaration actually delineated and recognized as administrative and official the borders of the former republics of the USSR. This means that they (Armenians) have already agreed that Karabakh is Azerbaijan. And I recently said that they just need to say the last word. They said "A." Now they should have said "B." They should say what I said, that Karabakh is Azerbaijan. I am waiting for that. I hope that time will come," he said.

Aliyev admitted that there are some sensitive issues in relations with the US concerning the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, but for the rest, "the bilateral agenda is very wide."

Turning to energy cooperation with foreign countries, he said there are negotiations on increasing the volume of Kazakh oil supplies through Azerbaijan, which has the capacity for this.

The president noted that oil supplies via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline may lead to problems with the quality of fuel, since Kazakh oil differs from Azeri light crude, noting that as an alternative, the Baku-Supsa Pipeline may be used for these purposes.

Aliyev also said that Azerbaijan is working on increasing gas supplies to Europe, and if the necessary infrastructure is built in time, supplies may start this year.

He also expects deeper integration with Central Asia in the future, not only in energy projects, but also in other sectors.

Aliyev praised the cooperation with Central Asian states within the Organization of Turkic States, urging to turn it into a global player, which will be beneficial for all its participants.

Relations with Iran

Speaking on relations with Iran, Aliyev said Azerbaijan does not want problems with any countries, particularly with its neighbors.

However, when video cameras were set up on the Lachin-Khankendi road, they spotted the movement of Iranian trucks to regions of Karabakh, which is illegal because Iran recognizes Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Karabakh, he said.

The president said Azerbaijan expects from Iran the same attitude that Türkiye, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan shows.

"These three countries did not actually have diplomatic relations with Armenia because of the occupation. Therefore, people thought that it would be natural if Iran were among these three countries and demonstrated solidarity," he said.

Another affair that overshadows relations between Baku and Tehran is the killing of an employee of the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran's capital, said Aliyev.

"For 40 minutes (of the attack), there were no police, no employees of the local security service, no one," he stressed.

The president said he personally made a decision to close the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran because for him, the lives and safety of people are of utmost importance.

Now relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are at their lowest level, and it is very difficult to predict whether they will remain at this level, deteriorate further, or improve, he said.

According to Aliyev, if Tehran proposes normalization, Baku will be ready to make this step only when its demands are fulfilled.

"If no, then no. Again, it wasn't our choice. But everyone in Iran, all segments of the establishment, should finally understand that the language of threats and terror does not work with Azerbaijan,” AA reports.