“Despite the global financial and economic crisis, Azerbaijan’s economy managed to somehow protect itself from risks. Of course, we also are experiencing some difficulties. We are an open-to-the-world country, part of the global economy. Despite this, Azerbaijan’s right policies in the economic, social and other spheres allows the country to protect itself. As is known, recently a road map of the national economy was determined by a special decree of Azerbaijani President. This map will become one of the most important documents of post-oil period”, said Ziyafat Asgarov, First Deputy Chairman of the Milli Mejlis, chairman of the defense, security and anti-corruption committee of the parliament, during his interview with APA.
He said that despite the cost savings in other areas, there are no problems with the military budget:
“Our goal is to continue to strengthen the military power of Azerbaijan, as we did before. Because we know the challenges that face us in connection with the occupation of 20 percent of our territories by Armenia. From this perspective, we must never allow the weakening of the military budget”.
Asgarov also expressed his attitude to the criticism towards the recent visit of the representatives of a number of Armenian NGOs and media to Azerbaijan. According to him, the arrival of Armenian representatives in our country in the framework of the Peace Platform cannot pose a threat to the security of Azerbaijan:
“If they openly acknowledge the occupation policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan, criticize Armenia, talk about the realities of Azerbaijan, and demonstrate the occupying nature of the official Yerevan, what’s wrong with that? I am fine with that. Let the Armenians themselves admit that their country is an occupier, recognize what crimes they have committed in Azerbaijan, have been responsible for the Khojaly genocide, that their political leaders are party to these crimes and so on… Let them talk, let them admit it. There’s nothing wrong with that”.
Asgarov said that today Azerbaijan is the strongest country in the Caucasus. It has the most powerful army, and yet always shows its peaceful intentions:
“However, Armenia does not understand it, imitates negotiations. Personally, I believe that if this imitation will continue, then Azerbaijan, both in terms of domestic and international law, has every right to liberate its territory by military means. I openly say that I do not believe the OSCE Minsk Group. They just come, hold meetings in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and then leave. You know, make “duty” visits. It doesn’t have to be this way! Minsk Group should be mindful of their obligations, has to do some work. They claim: Azerbaijan and Armenia should reach an agreement. What kind of statement is this? If Azerbaijan and Armenia could come to an agreement, then what need would be in the establishment of the OSCE Minsk Group? As long as you do not call occupier an occupier, until you are sincere, you will never achieve anything. Heads of your States always declare that they recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. But those are just statements. Thus, I only believe in my people, state and president. What does it mean? It means that the unity of the people and president is at the heart of power of the state. That’s it! Only in this way can we liberate our lands”.
Asked about the establishment of a joint group of Russian-Armenian forces and providing the occupier with “Iskander” missile complex, Asgarov said:
“Regarding this issue, I had a conversation with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have sent a formal request to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. Russia has not given us a specific answer to the question regarding for what purpose it did so. We will express our opinion after we get an official explanation from Russia itself. As for the “Iskander” missile complex, they did not say specifically whether it was given to Armenia or sent to the Russian military base in Armenia. Personally, it is still not clear to me. We will make a decision after we get an official response. Of course, in order for this conflict to be resolved, Russia, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, must be impartial”.
“The heads of state say one thing, their ambassadors say another, and the secretaries of state say something completely different. That’s why I no longer believe in the Minsk Group. They will not do anything. We must rely solely on our own strength. That’s it! The status quo will be changed. Armenia should be put under pressure, we must proceed from the adopted statements”.