President of Azerbaijan: Armenia must “leave our territory, and then the war will end”

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In an interview with Al Jazeera, President Aliyev went on to say that once the war is over “maybe a while later Azerbaijanis and Armenia can live together again in peace”.

Aliyev, however, gave no indication that the cessation of hostilities would end anytime soon, adding: “I think the Armenian government has overestimated their so-called importance on the world stage, overestimated possible international support for them and made very serious mistakes provoking us, attacking us and now they are suffering a very serious defeat. ”

Continuing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have erupted in recent days in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both sides accusing each other of attacking civilians amid reports of casualties.

Neighboring countries have long disagreed over mountainous territory – which is located within Azerbaijan’s borders – and waged a war that ended in 1994.

Although the conflict ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, military skirmishes between the two sides are not uncommon.

New evidence has emerged this week of the recruitment of Syrian rebels to fight as mercenaries in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed enclave.

But both Azerbaijan and Turkey have denied the presence of Syrian rebels in the conflict – something Aliyev argued in his interview with Al Jazeera, categorically saying that none of these fighters were in the country.

Aliyev urged French President Emmanuel Macron to provide proof that Syrian mercenaries were fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, saying: “He made these statements without any proof. Let him testify to us. Let him give us the proof. ”

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry warned: “Azerbaijan’s political-military leaders will pay a heavy price for committing such serious crimes against the Armenians of Artsakh, for importing terrorists into the region and to undermine regional security. “

Aren Melikyan reported in Yerevan, Armenia and Arzu Geybullaeva reported in Istanbul. Rory Sullivan and Jennifer Hauser contributed reporting.

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