Azerbaijani President: If we want to look to future, to create a stable situation, to minimize completely risk of a new war, we need turn page

President Ilham Aliyev

© APA | President Ilham Aliyev

# 15 December 2021 18:26 (UTC +04:00)

"First of all, I would like to say that the International Court also issued a preliminary assessment based on our case against Armenia, and I would say that the decision so far made by this institution is balanced. So if you read what is recommended to Armenia, you will probably see much more accurate and much more insisting work," said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in an interview to the Spanish El Pais newspaper in Brussels while responding to the question "Recent declaration of the International Court of Justice asks your government – I will read it out the way it is – to prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred and discrimination against the Armenian national or ethnic origin, to take necessary measures to prevent violence against all prisoners and detainees in connection with the 2020 conflict, to protect them from bodily injuries and ensure their safety and equality before the law. I would like to ask you what steps have been taken in this direction in connection with the situation?", APA reports.

"As far as we are concerned, in Azerbaijan our state policy is aimed at the normalization of relations. Therefore, that’s our position, and I openly announce it. With respect to public opinion, one should understand that for almost 30 years Armenia on the occupied territories, committed a genocide against Azerbaijani cultural heritage. Our cities and villages are leveled to ground. There have been thousands of international visitors, including journalists from Europe and other parts of the world, who saw with their own eyes what they have done to our historical monuments, to our cities and villages. Aghdam does not exist, Fuzuli does not exist, they totally leveled to ground. And that was done not during the first Karabakh war but that was done during the years of occupation. Deliberate demolishing of all the buildings, and destruction of our religious monuments. 65 out of 67 mosques have been totally destroyed. In two remaining, they kept pigs and cows in order to insult the feelings of Azerbaijanis. Therefore, it is natural that many people in Azerbaijan, especially those who lost their beloved ones, who lost their territories have negative feelings against Armenia. This is natural. It would be wrong if I say no, the war ended and now let’s become friends. It will take time. But the issue is that, the state policy. I several times said already despite all these tragic events in our history, devastation and genocide in Khojaly, we need to turn the page. If we look to the future we want to build the stable situation. We want to minimize completely the risk of new war, we need to turn the page. So, this is our policy. With respect to detained persons, Azerbaijan, after the second Karabakh war ended, released before Armenia all the prisoners of war. This can be proved by international observers. Those people which are now in detention cannot be considered as prisoners of war, because most of them have been sent to the liberated territories in the end of November, almost twenty days after the war ended, to commit acts of terror. And they committed these acts of terror as a result of which, several servicemen and civilians were killed and they have been detained and brought to justice. Some of them were released on humanitarian grounds. We released so far more than one hundred detainees. But those who committed crimes, have been sentenced. So by no international convention these people can be considered as the prisoners of war. Another thing, that some of the detainees after we returned, and we returned ten of them, just ten days ago, some of them have been arrested in Armenia. This is a very serious signal to us, to this people, to their relatives. We returned them to Armenia and they put them into prison. Probably, they will torture them and they have very tough practice. Because what our hostages tell about the terrible time they spent in the Armenian prison shows that these people will be suffering very hard tortures. Therefore, if we return more, they will put them into prison," noted the President.