Ilham Aliyev: Karabakh Armenians will be guaranteed security, educational, cultural, religious, municipal rights

Ilham Aliyev: Karabakh Armenians will be guaranteed security, educational, cultural, religious, municipal rights

Armenian residents of Karabakh must either stay and live under the laws of Azerbaijan or leave, stated Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during an interview with Euronews, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Turan.

Armenians who remain within Azerbaijan will be guaranteed security, “educational, cultural, religious, municipal rights,” he said.

“They must choose: to live as citizens of Azerbaijan, like other ethnic minorities that Azerbaijan is so rich in, or to leave … The choice is theirs. They cannot live on our territory as citizens of Armenia or citizens of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, which is not recognized by anyone!

Our approach is in keeping with the international practice that we see in many European countries that are also fighting separatism,” Aliyev continued.

He drew attention that “Europe and the West have united to help Ukraine in the fight against separatism.” “So why is our fight against separatism treated differently? Why is Georgia’s approach to the separatist regions fully understood by Western circles and politicians, while our legitimate right to end separatism is questioned? Why Spain does not allow Catalonia to hold a referendum, even though there are 5-6 million of them. And they do not have their own state, unlike the same Armenians who have their own state? Why should we tolerate separatism? We will not do it,” Aliyev said.

He urged Karabakh Armenians not to “oppose the peace initiatives of the international community”, for otherwise “the situation in the future may be unpredictable”.

“As we see, the geopolitical situation in the world and in the region is changing very dramatically. Some of their hopes for security have completely disappeared. Now they are looking for new guarantors of security. And who is ready for a confrontation with Azerbaijan on the battlefield in this region, especially after what we demonstrated during the war and after we have increased our defense capabilities.”, Aliyev said.

Karabakh Armenians should not follow their “leaders” who have deceived them for decades.   “They should not become hostages of today’s clique, which has seized power in Khankendi and whose main goal is to secure its own interests,” Aliyev emphasized.

According to him, “Karabakh Armenians must realize that as part of Azerbaijani society, they will live better. At the same time, “they should understand that the current situation will not change in their favor if they continue to ignore us. We offer them a normal life. If they listen to me, they will understand. They know that I do not throw words into the wind,” Aliyev said.