Speech by Ilham Aliyev during the meeting with a group of family members of the wounded and martyrs

05 april 2016, 14:45

As you know, on 2 April, Armenian occupiers committed yet another armed provocation against our country. They attacked our military positions, fired on our civilian population and villages. The heroic Azerbaijani army, our courageous soldiers and officers stopped the enemy provocation, gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy and further reinforced our edge on the line of contact. This is not the first time the Armenian invaders have resorted to such provocations. I have repeatedly said that they want to keep the occupied lands under their control forever and do not want peace. They act insincerely in the negotiations. They have broken all norms of international law and morality. They fire on civilians. A few days before these events they staged a provocation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, in the Gazakh direction. They killed our soldiers there. During the current events they constantly shell our villages. There are victims among our civilian population. About 300 houses are damaged. These are their actions. Azerbaijani soldiers and officers have never fought and never will fight against the civilian population. We are fighting on our own land. We are protecting our own land. Our cause is just.

The Azerbaijani army has again shown the enemy where it belongs. We have given it a fitting rebuff. We have full advantage today, too. Despite this, we have stated that we are ready to unilaterally restore the ceasefire on the condition that the other party will also observe the ceasefire. We do not want war. We want a peaceful solution to the issue. This, however, is a complex process. But be aware that all major international organizations support Azerbaijan's position. The UN, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe – all of them have passed decisions and resolutions that reflect the truth and support our position. These decisions have not led to results though. But this is a legal basis for resolving the issue. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is well ahead of Armenia in the region in political and economic terms.

Let me repeat: although the negotiations remain fruitless, we are still ready for talks. The Armenian side has resorted to this provocation because the pressure on it from the international community and the mediators dealing with this issue is mounting. It is no secret what the situation is like – who is the occupier and who is the victim of occupation. This is why they resorted to this provocation to disrupt the negotiation process. As a result of this provocation, our people have martyred. There have been martyrs and those wounded. But you should know and the Azerbaijani people should know that the enemy has received a crushing blow. They only have themselves to blame.

Today I met with the soldiers who fought heroically. I met with our wounded guys and congratulated them. As a citizen, Commander-in-Chief and President, I expressed my gratitude on behalf of the Azerbaijani people and state. We are proud of them.

And I want to thank you for having raised such wonderful, skilled and brave patriots. Although they are wounded, they are still saying that they want to quickly check out and go back to the fighting zone. This is the greatness of the Azerbaijani people. It shows how decent, stable and patriotic our people are.

These kids grew up in the period of independence. They grew up under the flag of the independent Azerbaijan. They have a strong sense of national pride and national dignity. I have always said that all our young people should be patriotic and attached to the motherland. Your children, your loved ones are exactly like that. This is a great example.

I want to thank you again for having raised such sons for the motherland. They have a bright future. They have already proved that they are worthy citizens of our country. In the future, they will work in different fields – some in military, others in civil. But they have already proved that as worthy citizens they should and will build a future for themselves, a good life in Azerbaijan. We are proud of them and of their parents. Doctors told me that all the wounded will recover. Their health should and will be fully restored. Doctors are doing and will continue to do everything possible. I have come here to thank them and you, to say again that protection of the territorial integrity of our country is a sacred duty of the Azerbaijani people and every citizen of Azerbaijan. The territorial integrity of our country has never been and never will be the subject of negotiations. If the Armenian leadership realizes its mistakes and acts honestly at the negotiating table, I am sure there are possibilities for a peaceful solution of the problem are. In any case, we want it.

Let me repeat: Azerbaijan today declares that it unilaterally ceases all military operations, but on the condition that the other party does not take advantage of that. Let them stop, remain in place and not move. We are on our own land. We do not claim the land of another country. We did not occupy the land of another country, but we will not allow anyone to rule on our land. The Azerbaijani state is already a strong state, and its army is also strong. The brave young boys on treatment here are the most visible evidence of this.

Once again, I express my gratitude to you. May Allah grant you patience. I wish your loved ones, your children a speedy recovery.

Family members of martyrs and wounded: Mr. President, if necessary, we are ready to join our children in defense of our homeland. We always stand by you and support you. We are proud that we have a President like you. We all stand united behind you. Victory will be ours. We have raised our sons for the country.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.