Ilham Aliev was sworn in on Saturday as President of Azerbaijan for a third term at a simple ceremony held in the country's Parliament. The Constitutional Court had earlier adopted the final result of the 9 October Presidential election and declared Aliev as the winner.
In his acceptance speech in front of an audience of MPs and officials Aliev reiterated that the resolution of the Karabakh question remains the first foreign policy priority of Azerbaijan. The President said that Azerbaijan will never allow "a second artificial Armenian state" to be established on Azerbaijani lands. He accused Armenia of a "hypocritical unconstructive position" with regards to the conflict, and the international community of "indifference".
"The whole world recognises Nagorno- Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's position on this issue is unambiguous, based on justice and historical truth. Our historical land - Nagorno -Karabakh - remains even at present an integral part of Azerbaijan from the political and legal point of view. Azerbaijan will never compromise on the issue of territorial integrity. Azerbaijan will never allow the establishment of a second fictitious Armenian state on its territory. I want to make it clear that this is our one and only position, and is based on historical justice and international law."
President Aliev said that Azerbaijan will continue to enhance its political and diplomatic efforts, and will continue to keep Armenia isolated from political, regional and economic initiatives. Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan's diplomacy on this issue and will continue to be offensive, "since truth, justice and international law are on our side."
President Aliev said that "the Azerbaijani army is one of the strongest armies in the world and over the last decade has acquired enough weapons, ammunition, military equipment to break the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan."
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment:
"President Aliev's inauguration speech indicates strict continuity in policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. There were no hints of either new initiatives or new flexibility, but on the contrary a belief that current policy focused on unambiguous objectives, and the tactic of isolating and weakening Armenia, continue to be the basis on which Azerbaijan should pursue its Karabakh policy. Whilst the speech made ample reference to Azerbaijan's military strength it stopped short of threatening war as a solution. Over the next days the three co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Process will arrive in Baku in order to try to renew the process of negotiations. With both Armenia and Azerbaijan dug deeply in their entrenched positions the work of the international mediators is not going to be easy. The prospect of a meeting of the two Presidents before Christmas offers some hope that some creative ideas may emerge to help take the process forward but squaring a circle has never been easy and this is what this process has started to look like. However the long election cycle in Armenia and Azerbaijan that started in the spring of last year and finished yesterday with Aliev's inauguration is now over, so the sides have no more excuses of having to take regard of domestic opinion. It is now up to the two leaders to break the impasse."
Source: Commonspace.eu with agencies
Photo: President Aliev swearing the oath of allegiance on the Koran during the inauguration ceremony for his third term on 19 October 2013 (picture courtesy of the Press Service of the President of Azerbaijan).