Presidents of Azerbaijan and the Swiss Confederation made statements for the press
02 june 2014, 12:10
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President.
Distinguished guests. Welcome to Azerbaijan once again. I am pleased to see you. I am sure that your visit will strengthen the successfully developing bilateral relations between our countries. I would like to note that over the past six years, this is the third official visit of the President of Switzerland to Azerbaijan. I have also paid an official visit to Switzerland. This shows that our relations are at a high level.
The political relations between our countries are developing successfully. This also has a positive impact on our relations in various fields. A meeting of the joint economic commission and the Swiss-Azerbaijani business forum have been held in Bern recently. Thus, the business communities of our countries have an interest in establishing cooperation.
Our economic relations are also developing fast. I am confident that in the coming years we will establish a stronger partnership. We are also very pleased that the investment made by Switzerland in Azerbaijan and by Azerbaijan in Switzerland strengthens our ties, and this investment is channelled into priority sectors of the economy. Thus, Switzerland invests in the development of industry, in particular in the construction sector, while Azerbaijan invests in the energy sector. I am confident that in the coming years we will be able to consider additional forms of joint investment in our countries, perhaps in the region, i.e. in third countries.
Energy security is part of our agenda. I can say that our work in this area is at a very high level. Azerbaijan is represented on the energy market of Switzerland and has a share there.
The developments occurring in the area of gas transportation lately will strengthen our bilateral relations. As you know, at the end of last year we signed such ambitious projects as "Shah Deniz-2", Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic pipelines. Together they are the largest infrastructure project in Europe. This will allow Azerbaijan the opportunity to fully realize its energy resources in different markets.
I am pleased that Switzerland is our partner. Of course, our long-term energy partnership will further strengthen our relationship in the future. Therefore, as far as bilateral relations are concerned, we are satisfied with the current level of cooperation and it continue it.
At the same time, we have discussed regional security issues, because Switzerland is the country chairing the OSCE.
Certainly, in the course of our discussions today we focused on the most important issue for regional security – the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I informed Mr. President about the current state, prospects of the negotiations and the history of the conflict. Nagorno-Karabakh is a historical and integral part of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan and will remain an integral part of Azerbaijan. From a historical point of view, Nagorno-Karabakh has always been the territory of Azerbaijan. From a legal point of view this is our territory, and the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions demanding an unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories. The occupation has continued for more than 20 years. Not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven of our districts located around Nagorno-Karabakh are occupied by Armenia.
Twenty per cent of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied. Our people have been exposed to a policy of ethnic cleansing pursued by Armenia. This applies to the Khojaly genocide, which resulted in the killing of more than 600 people, including more than 100 women and 60 children. It is a war crime committed by the Armenian state. The OSCE has adopted resolutions and decisions related to the settlement of the conflict. The OSCE has sent two fact-finding and evaluation missions to the occupied territories. All of their reports clearly indicate that everything is destroyed: our historical buildings, mosques, monuments, graves of our ancestors are all destroyed. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve a settlement of the conflict as soon as possible. This is the biggest threat to regional security. To do this, it is necessary to comply with international law, UN Security Council resolutions, decisions of the OSCE and other international organizations.
Unfortunately, Armenia ignores these resolutions and continues the policy of artificially delaying the negotiating process. They do not want a settlement to the conflict and peace and are trying to keep the situation as it is.
They are trying to maintain the status quo although the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries have repeatedly spoken about the unacceptability of the status quo. To change the status quo, Armenia must start the process of withdrawing its troops. I do hope that the international community and the OSCE will be more active in this regard so that international law and historical justice are restored and Azerbaijan could start the process of reconstruction after the liberation of occupied territories.
Mr. President, I want to thank you once again for coming to Azerbaijan. We have held extensive discussions on regional issues, conflict resolution and bilateral relations. I am sure that your visit will make a good contribution to our future relations.