rferl.org BAKU — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has talked tough at a military parade, calling the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region “primordially Azerbaijani territory” and saying Baku will never accept its “occupation.”
As he has in the past, the long-ruling Aliyev vowed on June 26 that Azerbaijan will “reinstate its control” over Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territory that is also held by ethnic Armenian forces.
He spoke at a major military parade marking what the government considers the 100th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s armed forces.
“We are for the peaceful resolution of the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict but [Armenia] has to understand that there is no military or strategic object that the Azerbaijani Army is unable to destroy,” Aliyev said.
“The war is not over. Only its first phase has ended,” he said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked for years in hostilities over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani territory that was seized by Armenian-backed forces during a war that killed more than 30,000 people before a 1994 cease-fire.
Sporadic fighting continues and three decades of diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, whose claim to independence have not been recognized by any country, have brought little progress.
Aliyev stressed that Baku will continue to buy weapons abroad to strengthen its armed forces, saying that “the factor of military potential currently dominates in the world affairs.”
“International law does not work, because if it did, we [would have] liberated our occupied territories long ago,” he said. “The war is not over. Only its first phase has ended.”
Some 4,000 military personnel took part in the parade and more than 70 aircraft and 240 pieces of military equipment, including Belarusian-made Polonez and Israeli-made LORA missiles, were on display.