Aliyev's fiery speech lays out terms for a ceasefire
"My condition is the same, they must leave our lands."
On Sunday evening, 4 October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke to the nation in a live television broadcast on AzTV.
Beginning the speech by congratulating the soldiers and officers involved in the liberation of the Jabrayil region, President Aliyev repeated the Azerbaijani position on Nagorno-Karabakh, stating that a failure of negotiations to bring an end to the occupation of the disputed districts is the reasoning behind the continuation of fighting.
The Azerbaijani President laid out Azerbaijan's terms for a ceasefire, specifically:
- The Armenian army must leave Nagorno-Karabakh
- Armenia must recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
- Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan must apologize to the Azerbaijani nation
- Armenia must propose a timetable for withdrawal from the occupied regions
Aliyev had harsh words for Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, blamed him for the outbreak of war, and stated that "we will chase them out of our lands like one chases off a dog".
Even without such rhetoric, it seems next-to-impossible that Armenia will agree to any of these terms at this point in time, signaling a continuation of fighting in what have become the longest-lasting hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the ceasefire in 1994.
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, was declared independent by ethnic Armenians living there as the Soviet Union collapsed. An estimated 30,000 were killed when the conflict turned into a full-fledged war,. A ceasefire signed in 1994 under the auspices of Moscow put a fragile end to a large-scale conflict. Peace talks mediated by France, US and Russia were unsuccessful and since then, conflict is volatile, with flare-ups sporadically occurring.
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