Azerbaijan has no plans of engaging in another military conflict with neighboring Armenia, President Ilham Aliyev told journalists on Tuesday. Tensions between the two nations have been running high for months over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“We have no plans of starting a third war [against Armenia],” Aliyev said, commenting on some reports in the Western media suggesting Baku could attack Yerevan’s forces at some point in the future. All those accusing Azerbaijan of harboring such intentions are waging a “dirty and slanderous campaign” against Baku, the president insisted, calling all the rumors “fake.”
Aliyev blamed Yerevan for the border clashes between the two nations in September. At the time, hostilities claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers on both sides as Azerbaijan and Armenia pinned the blame on each other for instigating violence.
“The September clashes were unavoidable,” Aliyev said, arguing that Yerevan supposedly could not accept the results of an earlier conflict between the two neighbors, which saw Azerbaijan making territorial gains in the disputed region.
I hope [such incidents] will not happen again,” Aliyev said. He also expressed his hope that Yerevan would understand that “a peace treaty is inevitable,” adding that the sooner this happens, the better it will be for the whole region.
Mostly populated by ethnic Armenians, the disputed region broke away from Azerbaijan in 1988 and established its own republic in 1991. Yerevan and Baku have been contesting the area ever since.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Yerevan was ready to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, but only if it served Armenia’s national interests. He also said that an effective and working compliance mechanism would be needed should such a document ever come to be. Just signing the paper is not enough, he maintained, adding that, in the absence of an effective implementation mechanism, no treaty would prevent further escalation.
The prime minister also said that “begging for peace” makes no sense. At the same time, he stated that “we could have peace if we were able to establish tolerant relations with Türkiye and Azerbaijan” through certain agreements. He expressed the belief that this was possible, for the simple reason that otherwise any talks at all would be senseless.