President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on Friday again threatened military action against Armenia and announced that his government plans to settle more than 150,000 people in Artsakh territories currently being occupied by Azerbaijan.
The decision to settle those territories goes counter to the provisions of the November 9, 2020 agreement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Speaking at a media forum organized in occupied Shushi, Aliyev promised to “return more than 150,000 people to the Karabakh and East Zangezur regions” over the next three years.
According to Aliyev, “the return of 140,000 people is envisioned by 2026 in the Karabakh region alone.” Azerbaijani authorities say the settlement will begin from Shushi.
In a message that seemed to be directed at world leaders, Aliyev said that in the absence of implementation of international legal provisions, Azerbaijan is ready to use force, as it did in Artsakh in 2020.
“In today’s conditions, when the norms of international law are grossly violated and applied selectively, Azerbaijan must be ready for any scenario and therefore strengthens its armed forces,” Aliyev
“To this end, as soon as the Karabakh war ended, we showed our great victory and immediately started implementing deep reforms in the field of defense,” he continued, assuring that “today the Azerbaijani army is even stronger than three years ago.”
“When the international law does not work, when the signature is not so important, only force is the guarantee of peace,” Aliyev emphasized.
He also turned his threats of military aggression toward Armenia, once again, saying that if the authorities in Yerevan know what is good for them, they will immediately sign the peace treaty.
“I think that Armenia should take the final step. They have already taken a number of steps after the war, and I would not say that they were taken voluntarily. During the last two and a half years, there were several moments that clearly showed Armenia that if they do not recognize our territorial integrity, then we will not recognize theirs. It’s clear what that means to them. They have already recognized that Karabakh is Azerbaijan, they openly declared this, and now the stage of signing the document has begun. This is an extremely important last step,” Aliyev said,.
“However, if this [signing of peace treaty] does not happen, then there will be no peace. And this is not a good scenario for the region, it will not bring stability and security. At the same time, given the very sensitive geopolitical situation, this will create difficulties in the future,” Aliyev added.