Aliyev: “Azerbaijan Will End the Operation if Karabakh Forces Lay Down Their Arms”

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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Baku will stop anti-terrorist activities if the Armenian military lay down their arms. This was reported by Aliyev’s press service. “The head of state claimed that anti-terrorist measures will be stopped if the weapons are folded,” the report said. Aliyev also said that Armenian formations should disarm. He emphasized that during anti-terrorist operation, civilians and infrastructure objects are not a target for the Azerbaijani armed forces, only legitimate military targets are destroyed. The Azerbaijani President noted that his administration had several times invited representatives of the Armenian population of Karabakh to discuss reintegration issues, but they had refused. Nevertheless, according to him, during the continuation of anti-terrorist activities of local nature they were again invited to dialogue. The head of state said that Azerbaijan was forced to start local anti-terrorist activities in the region “to stop provocative and inciting actions of the Armenian side”. Among such actions he named the laying of mines by a sabotage-reconnaissance group of Armenian forces in Karabakh, which resulted in the death of civilians and police officers, as well as the shelling of Azerbaijani army units with mortars and various small arms. “President Ilham Aliyev stressed that these actions, including the holding of the so-called presidential elections in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on September 9, are a continuation of purposeful provocations by Armenia and the so-called separatist entity created and supported by it against the sovereignty of Azerbaijan,” the press service said in a statement. The press service reported that Blinken, in turn, expressed concern about the current situation, called for the achievement of a ceasefire and said that the U.S. supports direct dialogue between Baku and representatives of the Armenian population in Karabakh.