From Economy to Trade, Energy, Politics, Military, Peace and More – Key Takeaways from President Aliyev’s Interview with Local TV Channels

On January 10, 2023, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in an interview with local television channels, commented on numerous issues on the agenda of Baku’s domestic and foreign policy.

He gave detailed information about the country’s economic and political achievements in 2022, the future of regional transport projects, energy cooperation with Europe, the future of the Zangezur corridor, the stabilization of Azerbaijan and Armenia, peace with Armenia, and the growing national military. potential, main directions of foreign policy, etc.

Caspian News summarizes the key conclusions from the president’s interview below:

– Within two years after the Second Karabakh War in 2020, Azerbaijan achieved its goals at the level of international relations and within the country. The world accepted the outcome of the war.

– The gross domestic product of Azerbaijan reached a record level of 80 billion dollars; foreign trade exceeded 50 billion dollars, the positive balance was 25 billion dollars, and the foreign debt in relation to GDP decreased to 7 billion dollars.

– Azerbaijan is implementing projects in the field of transport, where all the main activities related to the Middle Corridor and the North-South transport corridor pass through Azerbaijan. Baku believes that 15 to 30 million tons of cargo can be transported across Azerbaijan only through the North-South transportation corridor.

– There should also be new shipping routes from Central Asia. The economic potential of the Zangezur corridor is unquestionable. The tripartite statement dated November 10, 2020 clearly states that there should be a transport connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and that Armenia should provide it. But Armenia wants to avoid this and has not fulfilled its obligations for more than two years. But this does not stop Azerbaijan, because this is a strategic project not only for the country, but also for several neighboring countries and a wider geography. Implementation of Zangezur corridor is a historical necessity. It will happen whether Armenia likes it or not.

– Azerbaijanis exiled from West Azerbaijan, i.e. today’s Armenia, return to their ancestral land; this is their right and all international conventions recognize this right. Azerbaijan should do everything possible to ensure this right in a peaceful way.

– Interest in Azerbaijan’s energy resources has increased significantly. Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of many countries, including member states of the European Union. With 2.6 trillion cubic meters of minimum proven natural gas reserves, Azerbaijan’s fields can supply gas to international markets for at least another 100 years. In 2023, about 24 billion cubic meters of gas are expected to be exported from Azerbaijan. The successful implementation of certain projects will allow Azerbaijan’s fossil fuels to reach new markets in the Balkans and Western Europe.

– The long-term debate about the Trans-Caspian pipeline has not yielded results. There are several important issues regarding the implementation of this project, one of which is who will finance this project. As for the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, it is still unclear. It should be clear who will lead this project and what its financial capacity will be.

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– Azerbaijan controls and knows which countries are preparing to transfer weapons to Armenia. Unfortunately, India is among them, which Baku considers an unfriendly act. These weapons, especially assault weapons, have a target, and that is Azerbaijan. Therefore, of course, Azerbaijan takes the necessary measures and cannot threaten Armenia.

– Azerbaijan has no intention of starting a third war with Armenia. Baku hopes that 2023 will actually end the second Karabakh war and that similar Armenian provocations will not happen in 2022 this year. However, if another threat appears against Azerbaijan, it will be eliminated immediately with all the means available to Baku. This is a warning for Armenia and those behind it.

– Azerbaijan is trying to implement the combat experience of the national army based on the new military concept. The new command forces are already fully formed, which is an important component, and this process is ongoing. New commando forces are being formed. Their number will be increased. The number of Special Forces, the number of special forces in the State Border Service, Internal Troops, State Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service and special forces of the Nakhchivan Independent Army have been increased and will continue to increase.

– Azerbaijan signed new contracts with large Turkish and Israeli companies and companies from other countries. At the same time, negotiations with several advanced companies for the expansion of local military production are in the final stage.

– A new era is beginning for the military industry of Azerbaijan. It will be an export oriented industry. Currently, Azerbaijan sells military products to more than 30 countries. There is a shortage in the global arms market. But there is still a lot of demand. Therefore, Azerbaijan should fill this market and can be an exporter of military products worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Baku has the same goal and is moving towards this goal.

– The current state of relations between Azerbaijan and France is the result of the efforts of the current French government. During the second Karabakh war, France openly accused and slandered Azerbaijan. “Now I apologize to them. They slandered us and said that we brought jihadists. There is no evidence.”

– During the second Karabakh war, France took the initiative in the UN against Azerbaijan. It was not working at that time. Then there was the Francophonie effort and then the Prague meeting. In Francophonie, they failed. The Senate and National Assembly of France adopted resolutions against Azerbaijan. The question arises, why? “I can’t understand it. I mean, where does this lack of attitude towards us come from? I don’t understand, and I don’t even want to think about it. I’ll say it again: we both left without each other. So we don’t need them, it’s just that it’s normal. and we do not believe that we are guilty.”

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– The goal of Azerbaijan is not to block the Lochin-Khonkandi road. In less than a month, about four hundred vehicles of the peacekeeping forces passed there. Of course, they also take food and other necessary goods to the Armenians who live there. Each time they apply, the Red Cross is allowed. Azerbaijan has legal requirements. They failed to provide Azerbaijani experts with access to mines that were being used illegally. The rally of Azerbaijani creativity on the Lochin-Khonkandi road will probably continue until the creation of this road. Monitoring, investigation and ending of illegal exploitation is necessary and Azerbaijan will achieve this. Therefore, it is fair to call the events happening on the Lochin-Khonkandi road a siege.

– Necessary conditions will be created for Armenians in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan who want to live under the flag of Azerbaijan. Like all other citizens of Azerbaijan, their rights and security will be ensured. Whoever does not want to become our citizen, the Lochin-Khonkandi road is not closed; is open They can leave whenever they want; no one could stop them. The road is open.

– The Armenian side disrupts the peace process. Azerbaijan put forward five principles, it should be a simple document, a simple document that shows the basic principles. It is impossible to talk about the internal problems of Azerbaijan and all issues related to Karabakh.

– This year sheds light on many issues. Baku believed that it would be possible to sign a peace agreement by the end of last year. But it didn’t happen. Maybe Armenia is waiting for geopolitical changes, maybe something has been promised to them. “Because it seems that someone actually promised them something. An objective analysis of the situation in the region, the balance of forces and the world’s reaction to the events of two years ago, as well as the events that happened last September. , and now on the way to Lochin “The chanting is happening, it shows that “every man is for himself”. We can help them, help them not to drown completely in this Azerbaijani swamp and hysteria.”

– “I think they will hear my messages and make the right conclusion. Again, I don’t want to be seen as a person who has pressured me. In no way have I disrespected, even towards someone who does not deserve respect. I must note because I think this year will be their last chance [Armenia]. Because then 2024 will come, and then in 2025, the Russian peacekeeping mission will end. They have to look a little further down their noses.”

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– After the “activation” of the Minsk Group, the European Union started its role in the stabilization of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Baku supported it. France has practically isolated itself from this process. America and Russia remain. At the moment, this is how Azerbaijan sees the negotiations. Of course, Europe can be there if it treats Azerbaijan fairly.

– Azerbaijan wants all former emigrants to return to their ancestral lands as soon as possible and is making every effort to speed up this process. Hundreds of residential houses are being rebuilt and repaired in Lochin. Construction has already started in many settlements. In the first period, up to 100 settlements should be rebuilt. The construction of high-rise buildings has started in Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Zangilon. The foundations of several villages have been laid. The year 2023 will be one of the first steps of the Great Return of Azerbaijan to its land.

– Karabog and Eastern Zangizur were connected to the national energy network. 11 hydroelectric power stations with a capacity of about 55 megawatts have been built on the freed lands. The construction of the solar power station will begin this year in Jabrail. Investment projects worth 23.5 million dollars in Aghdam Industrial Park and 5.9 million dollars in Gabriel Industrial Park have been approved. More than a thousand entrepreneurs have applied, and all applications are being reviewed.

– More than two thousand kilometers of roads and bridges are being built on the freed lands. The number of bridges will be more than 100. Fifty kilometers of tunnels will be built as part of the approved projects.

– The primary direction and goal of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy is to create a favorable environment for the country at the international level. Azerbaijan changed after the Karabakh war, and the world changed after the Russia-Ukraine war. These two changes are almost parallel processes in terms of time. Azerbaijan should strengthen its position in the region and the world. The primary issue is the reduction of external risks to zero, which Baku has succeeded in doing, and the measures taken today, which are being discussed, are calculated for this.

– Azerbaijanis should choose the right place for themselves and not set a goal that comes with sudden dreams. The real interests of Azerbaijan should be served. Azerbaijan has the opportunity to secure its political, economic, military and diplomatic interests and uses its power carefully. “Distance runners usually set their pace to finish first, and we’re pacers, but we’ll sprint when we need to.”


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