Aliyev Calls for Peace on His Own Terms

BAKU (Xalq Qazeti)–In his New Year’s message to the Azeri nation–President Hayder Aliyev said that the government would do everything possible to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and declared his readiness to discuss compromises with Armenia. Aliyev described 2001 as a significant year for the whole world–especially for Azerbaijan. Following are excerpts from Aliyev’s message entitled–"2001: A successful year for the Azeri people":

The year 2001–the first year of the 21st century and the first year of the third millennium–was a year of special importance for the whole world and for the Azeri people. It was the year of the 10th anniversary of the independence of Azerbaijan. We solemnly celebrated the 10th anniversary of our independence–praised the historical path we had taken–analyzed the work we had done and defined tasks for the future.

Azerbaijan’s army became stronger and its defense capacity increased in the year 2001. The work done shows development in all spheres in Azerbaijan. We have made great achievemen’s in the social and economic spheres.

The main problem facing Azerbaijan is the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. Much has been done to resolve the problem in the past years and in 2001. The issue was discussed by various international organizations. Many meetings were held within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group–particularly–meetings were held in Paris–Key West and Moscow with the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen and the head of states of the Minsk Group’s cochairmen countries.

At the same time–meetings and talks were held between the presidents of the two states. Naturally–all this creates possibilities–even though not very great–for resolving the problem. I believe that in the year 2002 we will consistently use all possibilities to resolve the problem and will try to settle the conflict. I declare today that Nagorno Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan and that the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno Karabakh will be resolved on the basis of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan in line with the international legal norms. We always took a constructive stand. We are ready to discuss mutual compromises with Armenia.

In a word–however difficult the problem is–I am sure that this conflict will be resolved–Azerbaijan’s land occupied by the Armenian armed forces will be liberated and our compatriots who have been banished from their homes will return to their native land.

I believe that the year 2002 will be more successful for Azerbaijan because important achievemen’s have been made in all spheres in Azerbaijan in the past 10 years and especially in the outgoing year 2001. I believe that these achievemen’s have created great possibilities for an even more successful year 2002. We will use these possibilities effectively.

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