Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev

“Russia has chosen to be neutral in the conflict,” says Azerbaijan’s president

Aliyev accuses Armenia of portrating itself as a victim despite being the occupying country, and says that Azerbaijan’s problem is not with Armenians.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said on Monday that Russia has chosen to remain neutral in the conflict in the Caucasus over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave despite attempts by Armenia to implicate Moscow; a statement made during an interview with the Turkish public television channel TRT.

“Armenia continues to try to attract Russia to its side, but it will not be successful,” said Aliyev, who recalled that the international community and various resolutions of the United Nations Security Council recognise Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan, despite the fact that Armenia maintains this territory and several adjacent districts under occupation since the 1990s.

Still, Aliyev added that many Armenian pressure groups are trying to promote disinformation campaigns to try to portray the conflict as an aggression by Azerbaijan. “The smear campaigns against Azerbaijan continue unabated. Armenian lobbies all over the world are doing everything they can to slander us,” said the Azerbaijani president, who also criticised the position taken by France, a country that has a significant Armenian minority.

“French President Emmanuel Macron made some accusations against us in a phone call, and I demanded that he prove them. He failed to present any proof,” Aliyev said, referring to the Armenian accusations that the Azerbaijani army is attacking the civilian population, an accusation that Baku makes also against the Armenian government after the 2nd largest city in Azerbaijan was bombed.

Azerbaijan’s problem is not with the Armenians, but with their government

Aliyev also wanted to make very clear during the interview that Azerbaijan has no problem with the Armenians as a people, but that the problem is with their rulers. “We have many Armenian citizens (in Azerbaijan); we have absolutely no problem with the Armenian people. Armenians are simply hostages of their government,” he insisted.

“Armenians (living) in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh are our own citizens. Officially, we regard them as citizens of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will regain its territorial integrity, and we are close to achieve that goal,” said the Azerbaijani president, who also had words of gratitude for Turkey.

Turkey’s high-tech armed drones have helped us reduce the loss of life. These armed drones show Turkey’s potential, and they make us stronger,” Aliyev said when speaking of arms imports from Turkey. The Azerbaijani president also once again accused Armenia of using PKK terrorists in Karabakh: “We have intelligence reports on the presence of PKK terrorists in Armenian-occupied parts of Karabakh.”

Turkey criticises Canada’s arms embargo

On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey criticised on Tuesday in an official statement the decision taken by the Canadian government to suspend military exports to Ankara due to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, accusing the Canadian government of using double standards in regards to the export of arms.

In the statement, Ankara considers the decision adopted by Ottawa as a partial position in favour of Armenia that ignores the legitimate right of Azerbaijan to regain its territories occupied by Armenia for three decades, and remembered that Canada nevertheless continues to export arms to countries implicated – for example – in the war in Yemen, even despite criticism made about it by the United Nations.

“While Canada sees no problem in exporting arms to countries militarily involved in the Yemen crisis (…) and presents the sales as a contribution to regional security, there is no explanation for blocking the export of military products to a NATO ally, “Ankara recalls in the statement.