Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has urged Armenians to topple their “dictatorial” government, saying that that is essential for establishing peace between Armenia and all of its neighbors.
“As long as Armenia is led by a criminal, corrupt and dictatorial regime the situation in Armenia will continue to deteriorate,” Aliyev said in a speech delivered on Tuesday at an official reception held in Baku on the occasion of an Azerbaijani national holiday.
“Therefore, if the Armenian people want to live in peace with neighbors they must first of all get rid of their criminal, blood-thirsty and illegal regime and send it to the annals of history,” said the Azerbaijani leader increasingly criticized by Western governments and watchdogs for his government’s dismal human rights record.
Aliyev, who inherited power from his autocratic father Heydar in 2003, also repeated his claims that modern-day Armenia was created on “ancient Azerbaijani lands” and again vowed to end Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories. “There will be no second Armenian state,” he said. “Self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh will never be granted any legal status.”
Accordingly, he went on, Azerbaijan will continue a massive military buildup financed from its oil and gas revenues. “The army will receive even greater support and resources,” added Aliyev.
Official Yerevan shrugged off Aliyev’s statements on Wednesday. Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said the Azerbaijani leader is torpedoing the Karabakh peace process and setting the stage for “a new armed conflict” with his territorial claims to Armenia. He also accused Aliyev of “disseminating racist hatred towards Armenians” in order to cling to power.
“Consequences of this bellicose policy are well known and another adventure of that kind would have disastrous consequences for Azerbaijan in the first instance,” Kocharian said in written comments to the Armenpress news agency.