Maharram Aliyev: Armenia's existence as a state will be called into question

Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan – Head of the Military Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Colonel-General Maharram Aliyev gave an interview to Ses Information Agency (SIA).

- Dear Mr Aliyev, how would you comment President Ilham Aliyev's statements – on Armenia's policy of aggression and violation of peace talks – which the President made during his interview with Azerbaijan Television, Public Television and Real Television, as well during his speech at the High-level meeting marking the 75th anniversary of United Nations held as part of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly?

- First of all, I would like to mention that every statement made by President Ilham Aliyev, every opinion put forward by him is an important message to the world because Azerbaijan is the country that has recently grew from a regional power into an international power. It is also evidenced by the transformation of the economic and other projects implemented by our country in the Caucasus region into global-scale projects. In general, undeniably, it is thanks to the multifaceted reforms carried out by President Ilham Aliyev that Azerbaijan has transformed into a county to be reckoned with. In the light of such factors, we see that the speeches and statements of our President immediately capture the global spotlight, and this is a reality, an axiom. At the same time, it is also due to the President`s statements on Armenia's policy of occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan that the international community today supports our country`s just and fair calls, condemns the Armenian policy of vandalism and terrorism, and supports the demand for the liberation of our occupied lands. We have witnessed this especially during the events in Tovuz. A closer look at those events allows drawing a conclusion that the fact that President Ilham Aliyev was the sixth in the order of speakers among 182 countries at the United Nations testifies to international respect for and confidence in him as both the President of Azerbaijan and Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement.

President Ilham Aliyev drew the global attention to the facts that the occupier Armenian government carried out ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population in the occupied territories, as a result of which more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons, committed the Khojaly genocide, pursues a policy of illegal settlement in blatant violation of international law, destroyed historical, cultural and religious monuments of the Azerbaijani people in the occupied territories. The President called on the UN and the international community to urge Armenia to refrain from further military aggression, and noted that otherwise Azerbaijan would have no choice but to exercise its right to liberate its lands by other means, i.e. by war.

So the Azerbaijani population living on the frontline was forced to face Armenian vandals and terrorists over these years. However, despite the fact that the Armenian military units targeted the civilian settlements along the frontline, causing destruction and casualties, the Azerbaijanis have not left their homes, showing courage. Because the people of Azerbaijani do believe in their Armed Forces. The facts that the provocations committed by Armenia at different times were resolutely prevented and the enemy was forced to retreat suffering heavy losses testify to the strength of our army. As our President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev said, patience of the Azerbaijani state and people is not endless. We will not wait for another 25 years to liberate our lands through negotiations. This issue must be resolved. There is an unequivocal opinion in Azerbaijan today that our lands must be liberated from occupation. Now Azerbaijan will make its choice. We will liberate our lands by military means. As a result, the existence of Armenia as a state will be called into question.

It is with regret and concern that I note that the whole world community is well aware that Armenia has established terrorist nests in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan where terrorists are involved in military exercises and active drug trafficking. This poses a serious threat not only to Azerbaijan, but also to all the neighboring countries and humanity.

I would also like to note that today the Azerbaijani people and the young generation growing up in the spirit of high patriotism support the liberation of our lands from occupation through war. Moreover, the country's defense capability and security, the creation of financial resources for the implementation of special defense projects and activities encourages us to believe that this factor will remain a priority in the coming years. We have enough manpower, well-educated and knowledgeable military officers with high-level tactical knowledge, cutting-edge military-technical infrastructure and a powerful Army to liberate our lands from the enemy.

As I have mentioned, although we have tried our best to resolve the conflict peacefully, obviously Armenia's current "pashinyan government" has halted the negotiation process. So, if tomorrow the occupier country finds itself in a situation that will lead to grave consequences, the military-political leadership of Armenia will bear full responsibility for this. Therefore, we hope that international law will be applied in relation to Azerbaijan as well, and that UN resolutions will lead to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as much as they are immediately put in place in relation to problems of other countries.

- Mr. Colonel-General, in recent years, the regular and strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey has been developing in all areas, including in military one. In your opinion, which other contributions can this environment of unity and equality make to our countries in the region?

- I have clarified this issue in my previous interviews and statements. I believe that the unshakable unity between the two brotherly countries is eternal and irreversible. But I would like once again to answer the question in detail. If you remember, when President Ilham Aliyev accepted the credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador of Greece to Azerbaijan, he approached the issue, which is still relevant today - the disputed issue around the Eastern Mediterranean basin - in order to support Turkey. The Azerbaijani President`s high diplomatic response to those who seek to speak in threatening terms to the brotherly country of Turkey on such issues, made all of us, I would say, the great Turkic world feel proud. It is not a coincidence that everyone, from state and government officials to ordinary citizens of Turkey, welcomed Mr President Ilham Aliyev`s resolute statements, valuing this as yet another example of unshakable brotherhood. I would also like to remind that Azerbaijan supported Turkey in the past too. A few years ago, when Turkey faced a coup d'état attempt by the terrorist organization FETO, President Ilham Aliyev made an immediate statement, emphasizing that the Azerbaijani state and people stand by the Turkish state, government and people on all issues. At this point, I would also like to emphasize that this issue is not only an indicator of the formal agreements between the two strategic and allied countries, but also a clear example of the brotherhood that will last forever. Because the Turkish state has continuously supported Azerbaijan's position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. The recent military exercises also bear convincing evidence that this support has existed over the years. The two countries are now united in one fist, and no one can shake this unity.

However, the two countries have conducted joint military exercises in the following years too. Particularly, the joint march of the Azerbaijani and Turkish soldiers in the military parade on Azadlig Square, the speeches of the two countries' Supreme Commanders during the military parade came down in our common history as one of the most obvious manifestations of the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance.

The global political and economic order is already changing, and new countries to be reckoned with have emerged especially in the Caucasus, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and etc. One of such powers is official Ankara. Of course, the fact that official Baku shares the same position with Ankara on this issue is of great concern to hostile forces, ill-wishers. Bilateral and large-scale military exercises of the Turkish and Azerbaijani Armed Forces took place in the environment closest to combat conditions in Baku, other regions and cities, as well as in Nakhchivan. It proves that this reality is obviously shaking the enemy and a number of their foreign patrons, and they are already suffering from the defeat they will face. Of course, we are, analyzing these realities, both in military and other respects, we know the course of events and always stand ready to respond to any threat with dignity, severity, determination, and defeat the enemy in the form of the Azerbaijani-Turkish brotherhood. Such a reality has already proved itself with sufficient and indisputable evidence - the progress made in the region today is a result of direct joint efforts of Turkey and Azerbaijan.

- By the way, the process of involving reservists in military training has recently been launched. What can you say about the purpose of those trainings?

- I have to note that the military exercises are based on many key points. At the same time, as a major military operation plan, these exercises are of great importance in terms of strengthening combat skills in the army and enhancing the servicemen`s confidence in victory. Conducting regular trainings in various military units has been one of the issues of special focus in the army building of Azerbaijan in recent years. At the same time, it is very important to involve reservists in those trainings so that they learn modern weapons and equipment, numerous military equipment mechanisms, which are included in the military arsenal of our army, and study the secrets of war. To be more precise, the human factor in the army is as important as the armament and military power. It is evidenced by the fact that Azerbaijan today boasts the strongest army in the South Caucasus thanks to the well-thought-out policy pursued by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Ilham Aliyev. The arsenal of the Azerbaijani Army now features the latest innovations of the world military industry. Most countries may envy the weapons and armament of the Azerbaijani army. In general, military trainings are essential in the lives of conscripts - soldiers, warrant officers and officers. Such exercises not only confirm their military strength, but also increase their fighting spirit and improve their military skills. Regular large-scale combat exercises on the frontline together with the personnel of the Azerbaijani Army are based on these principles. Along with various combat units, our reserve officers, warrant officers and soldiers are also involved in the exercises, which are held on the instructions of the President of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev and in accordance with the annual combat training plan of the Army. It is not a coincidence that the Armenian media and social network segments cannot hide the fact they are seriously threatened by the involvement of our reservists in the military trainings.

- Mr. Aliyev, another question arises: Can the illegal recruitment of mercenaries from various countries by the Armenian leadership be associated with the lack of enemy’s confidence in its army?

- Of course, it can. The ongoing arbitrariness in the Armenian army, military deaths, increase in the number of desertions also prove that their army is only called so on the document. In fact, Armenia's old, Soviet-era weapons and equipment are in a deplorable state. They only occasionally build joint collaborations with the armed mafia trying to acquire certain equipment. It would be incorrect to call it a global modernization of the army. Of course, not only soldiers but also officers are not interested in serving in such a weak army. Not long ago, an interview with an Armenian saboteur captured during another recent Armenian provocation demonstrated that the belligerent rhetoric of their leaders is a sign of fear and anxiety. Taking into consideration the fact that the Armenian leadership is today unable to provide its army not only militarily and technically, but also in terms of manpower, and also carries out illegal transfer of mercenaries, people connected with terrorist networks from different Middle Eastern states to Armenia, then the real situation is clear. In this sense, I can say that the strong Azerbaijani Army has the right to conduct anti-terrorist operations not only against Armenia's policy of aggression, but also against international terrorism in the liberation of Karabakh. This is in full compliance with international law, this is legal and fair.

- Mr. Colonel-General, the friendly State of Pakistan is one of the countries who mostly supports Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Please share with us your opinions about Pakistan`s role and place in this issue.

- You are right. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is one of the first countries to support Azerbaijan along with Turkey since the beginning of the Karabakh conflict. This country is also among first countries to recognize our independence. This has both historical and spiritual aspects. Because the connection between Azerbaijan and Pakistan reflects a number of important, vital issues.

On the other side, the state of Azerbaijan, and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which is distinguished by its influence in the world, have always supported the friendly state and nation of Pakistan. Azerbaijan stood by Pakistan during the natural disasters in that country, as well as in the construction of different educational institutions and a number of other relevant issues. The Pakistani government provided its consistent support to our country in various international organizations. We have military cooperation as well. The most important issue is that the friendly and fraternal country, along with supporting and demonstrating solidarity with Azerbaijan, has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia to date and has not recognized it as a state. The foundation of this policy was laid by the national leader Heydar Aliyev –starting from strengthening relations with Pakistan. Today, that policy is being successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev.Not in vain, saying “Azerbaijan stands by Pakistan in all matters”, the head of state proved that this unity is based on solid foundations. Speaking about the military-political factor of Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the brotherly country, I can recall that the agreement on defense and military cooperation signed between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2002, reflects the priorities of military-political partnership between the two countries. Under this agreement, the military relations between our countries have further expanded.

I also would like to note that, Pakistan is one of the fraternal countries offering various defence industry products to our country. At the same time, the signing of the Declaration on Strategic Cooperation between the two countries in 2015 raised the cooperation in security, military, military-technical and education fields to a new level. Statistics also confirm the successful military cooperation. Thus, in the last three years, 52 visits have been paid from Pakistan to Azerbaijan and 42 visits from our country to Pakistan. More than 350 Azerbaijani servicemen have attended various courses in Pakistan so far.

I also would like to note that, Pakistan is one of the fraternal countries offering various defence industry products to our country. At the same time, the signing of the Declaration on Strategic Cooperation between the two countries in 2015 raised the cooperation in security, military, military-technical and education fields to a new level. Statistics also confirm the successful military cooperation. Thus, in the last three years, 52 visits have been paid from Pakistan to Azerbaijan and 42 visits from our country to Pakistan. More than 350 Azerbaijani servicemen have attended various courses in Pakistan so far.

Meetings between our countries continue today. During his visit to Moscow in early September, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov met with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, General Nadeem Raza. The sides expressed satisfaction with the growing level of traditional friendship and mutual trust between the two peoples, as well as Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations and strategic partnership. The issues of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan in the fields of security, military, military-technical and military education, the fight against terrorism, expansion of relations between the Air Force and Navy, as well as joint military exercises were also discussed along with other important issues during the meeting. All this is a clear example of fruitful cooperation, friendship and brotherhood between our countries.

I would like to note that from a high-ranking government official to an ordinary citizen we have a great respect and love for the brotherly Republic of Pakistan. We are very pleased that we see the same attitude from the other side.

- Maharram muallim, let's return to the aggressive policy of the occupant Armenia and this time to the activities of the Armenian church, or more precisely, Etchmiadzin. Don't you think that the other side is losing to Azerbaijan in this issue as well?

- Unfortunately, the Armenian church has never acted as a herald of peace and as a side against the war. We should not forget that, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral has a sufficient role in the emergence, ignition and killing of our people in the Karabakh conflict. Archive footages of this still remain on our TVs today. In general, Etchmiadzin Cathedral openly demonstrates hostility against not only the Turkish world but also the Muslim world. This has been the case historically, and it is the case today. Not only Catholicos Karekin of All Armenians but also Catholicism of Etchmiadzin which covers many countries of the world, seems to be challenging the world, claiming that almost the whole world belongs to Armenians, denying historical facts, by lies and slander.

I would like to give an example. The world's attention has shifted to the geopolitical flank of the Middle East after a powerful explosion in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in the Armenian-populated Bourj Hammoud area, which caused numerous casualties. In this regard, Armenia`s fuss seems even more pronounced. Because, as we have noted around 400,000 Armenians live in the city where explosion happened, and majority of them are settled in the Bourj Hammoud town.

But this is not the only issue. To be more precise, it is no secret that Armenians have historically been scattered all over the world with their aggressive views and policies, as well as terrorism and so on. They carried out such political and military organizations, including the anti-Turkish policy, and maintained the dynamics of their activities in order to realize their new territorial claims. Lebanon was one of the main bases of the Armenian lobby, which established such centers in the Middle East. The foundations of the secret Armenian terrorist organization "Asala", as well as the Middle East branch of the "Dashnaktsutyun" were laid in Lebanon, and the Etchmiadzin Cathedral blessed all this.Not in vain, the foundations of the "Asala" terrorist organization, which the Armenians proudly mention today, as well as the Middle East branch of the "Dashnaktsutyun" were laid in Lebanon.

It is no secret that other small military organizations were also carried out in this country. By the way, I would like to remind other fact as well. Today, there are church centers in Lebanon, which the Armenians call the Great House of Cilicia and the Armenian Catholicos Aram I heads this center. This is the same Aram who has made numerous statements on YouTube demanding the annexation of Karabakh to Armenia, as well as the fact that the world belongs to Armenians.

Despite this, thanks to the successful foreign diplomacy carried out by Azerbaijan, impenetrable barriers are being placed in front of the activity of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. The international community already knows and understands that world Armenianism is not as strong as before, and its weakening is directly the result of the strong diplomatic policy of the Azerbaijani state. No Armenian interest is able to stand against our power anymore.

- Mr. Colonel-General, COVID 19 cases continue to increase in the world and Azerbaijan made strides in the fight against this virus. Which measures are being taken to tackle coronavirus infection in our military units?

- COVID is rapidly spreading among the world countries today. Based on the recommendations and requirements of the World Health Organization, successful results have been achieved in Azerbaijan, following the need to implement urgent measures. This is evidenced by the consistent achievements in the fight against COVID-19 as a result of President Ilham Aliyev's determination and constant attention.

However, in addition to what has been done, I would like to say that very important work has been done and is underway to combat the infection in our military units and various military facilities.

I would like to remind that in accordance with the instructions of the Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev, the Minister of Defense signed an order and approved an Action Plan to prevent the personnel of the Azerbaijani Army from contracting a new type of coronavirus infection. At the same time, the relevant departments have prepared instructions on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus and sent them to troops and military medical institutions, coordinated work in the fight against coronavirus was organized with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan and TƏBİB- Management Union of Medical Territorial Units. Relevant departments and agencies of the Ministry of Defense interact with the Ministry of Health and its relevant agencies by switching to an intensified mode of operation.Mobile hospitals, supplied with the state-of-the-art medical equipment, have been set up with a team of doctors to provide specialized medical care. The fight against infectious diseases in the Azerbaijani Army is carried out within the framework of a set of scientifically based preventive and counter-epidemic measures in accordance with WHO recommendations. This set of measures consists of 3 main links: identification of possible risks, assessment of these risks and their management, i.e. minimization of its impact. Effective implementation of this set of measures among servicemen is a constant requirement of the management.

In this regard, I would like to note that information about each serviceman who visits hospitals and medical centers is immediately reported to the management through special communication, as well as flexible, adequate, preventive and diagnostic treatment measures are taken. At the same time, the Military Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan is immediately informed about such incidents in the Armed Forces.

Thanks to the constant attention and care of the Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, the seriousness and demands of the Army leadership, as well as the dedication of military doctors, the health of our servicemen is now ensured at a fairly high level. As a result, medical military units and institutions have been prepared to operate in severe counter-epidemic conditions, appropriate boxes have been created for the isolation of patients, they have been fitted with the necessary equipment and medical staff have been instructed. Personnel are provided with personal protective equipment. Hospitals and polyclinics are staffed with infectious disease specialists and continue their activities. The preventive measures taken and the results achieved show that no cases of infection have been registered in the Azerbaijani Army, and the measures taken in this regard are successfully underway. I think that the achievements of the Azerbaijani state as a whole are already an example for the whole world.

- Mr. Colonel-General, thank you for extensive and detailed interview.

- Thank you.

Rovshan Rasulov

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