In an interview with Azerbaijan TV on April 20, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev referred to the “Zangezur corridor”. The interview caused a stir, as there were obvious threats against the territorial integrity of Armenia in Aiyev’s speech․
On the same day, Anna Naghdalyan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, responded to the President of Azerbaijan, stating that Armenia would take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. “We strongly condemn the Azerbaijani President’s aspirations against the territorial integrity of Armenia and his threats to use force. Such statements seriously harm the regional peace and stability,” Naghdalyan noted.
On April 21, responding to Anna Naghdalyan, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva argued that Aliyev’s words did not contain any threat to Armenia’s territorial integrity, but merely indicated that Azerbaijan is determined to respond to any threat from Armenia against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
“As always, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has expressed his views quite clearly and concretely. If the Armenian Foreign Ministry wants to present what it hears in the way it wants, it is already an indication of their malicious intentions.”, Abdullayeva noted.
The Fact Investigation Platform studied Aliyev’s interview, and in particular, his allegations about Syunik, to fact-check Leyla Abdullayeva’s words.
What did Aliyev really say?
In the interview with Azerbaijan TV, Ilham Aliyev spoke about the development of infrastructure, construction of roads and other topics in the territories passed to Azerbaijan after the 44-day war.
Speaking about the rehabilitation work in the occupied territories, Aliyev stressed that the Azerbaijani people will never forget the “Armenian vandalism”, but at the same time they will do their best to ensure their interests.
“The creation of the Zangezur corridor fully corresponds to our national, historical and future interests. We will make the Zangezur corridor a reality, whether Armenia wants it or not. If they want it, we will solve the issue in an easy way, if they do not want it, we will solve it by force. Just as I said before and during the war, they must leave our lands in good faith, otherwise we will expel them by force,” Aliyev stated.
The President of Azerbaijan also noted that their only competitor in this issue is time, because the construction of a railway, a highway takes time and stressed that all forces have been mobilized for the implementation of the program.
“Thus, the Azerbaijani people will return to Zangezur, which was taken from us 101 years ago,” Aliyev said.
Trying to justify Aliyev, the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan quoted a very short excerpt from his interview, which reads: “If we notice a possible threat, we will eliminate it because it is a matter of defense and national security.”
In fact, Leyla Abdullayeva’s words were a manipulation since she did not refer to Aliyev’s threats.
Thus, Ilham Aliyev really threatened the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia, as he spoke about the construction of a corridor in the internationally recognized territory of Armenia, regardless of Armenia’s will. Moreover, Aliyev compared his plan to the 44-day war, considering the military solution as a means of fulfilling it.