French flier, Vince Reffet, has wowed the people of Dubai by jetting high above the city’s skyscrapers in another of his solo flights.
Skynews reports that Reffet, wearing a carbon fiber wing powered by four mini jet engines, flew to 1,800 meters (5900 feet) above sea level.
After taking off from a skydive runway, Reffet soared to his maximum height, where he performed a loop before opening his parachute and returning to the ground.
Rising 100m (328ft) every eight seconds, he achieved a top speed of 150mph (241kmh).
The flight proved Jetman’s pilots can now fly directly upwards from a standing start without the need for an elevated platform.
It is also the first time one of the company’s pilots has taken off vertically – having previously had to jump out of a helicopter at high altitude.
Controlled by the human body, the equipment enables Jetman to reach speeds of 248mph (400kmh), as well as hovering, changing direction, and performing loops.
The panel discussions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the participation of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan have been held as part of the Munich Security Conference.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Leyla Aliyeva also attended the event.
Moderator: Welcome to the session, the discussions on Nagorno-Karabakh. My name is Celeste Wallander. Our guests are President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Both leaders will speak of the issues the Munich Security Conference has always focused on and is working on, the peaceful settlement of disputes in the international system. I express my gratitude to chairman Ischinger for this issue remains on the agenda and in the attention of the Munich Security Conference. Let me turn to President Ilham Aliyev and invite him to offer his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities.
President Iham Aliyev: Thank you. First of all, I would like to express gratitude to chairman Ischinger for organizing this event. I told Mr Ischinger now that there was an opportunity to deliver the messages from Armenian and Azerbaijani leadership several years ago, in Davos and predecessor of Mr. Pashinyan was supposed to attend but last moment he cancelled his participation. So I am glad that finally, we get to the point, so we will be able to deliver the messages and to answer the questions which I think will be enough today. So, first of all, on the resolution. In order to talk about how to resolve the conflict, first we need to go back and look to the history of the issue. Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan. This is historical truth, and this is based on the international law norms.The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is recognized by the whole world, and Nagorno-Karabakh is an integrated part of our country. From historical point of view, back in 1805 the khan of Karabakh Ibrahim khan signed a treaty with general of Russian Empire Tsitsianov. Under this treaty, theKarabakh khanate, Azerbaijani Karabakh khanate as an independent country became under the rule of the Russian Empire. In that treaty which was called Kurakchay treaty-the text of this treaty is on internet-nothing is said about Armenian population of Karabakh. Other treaties were signed in 1813 and 1828-Gulustan and Turkmanchay.Under these treaties the rest part of Azerbaijan became part of Russian Empire and Dagestan, Georgia and Armenia also. So, this is a historical part of the issue. Then during the period when Russian Empire collapsed, and Georgian and Azerbaijani Democratic Republics were established, one of the first decrees of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic in 1918 was to transfer Yerevan from Azerbaijan to Armenia and to announce it a capital of Armenia. This is also a historical fact. If you give something to someone that means that this something belonged to you. In 1921, the Caucasus bureau of the Bolshevik party made a decision to retain Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan, to retain and not to transfer as some Armenian historians want to present. This is also the historical fact and the other historical fact is that in 1923 the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic issued a decree on the creation of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous district inside Azerbaijan. So, this is a history, and then, in the end of 80s Armenia launched an aggression against Azerbaijan. 300,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from the territory of Armenia.And then in the beginning of 90s Armenia already launched an aggression against Azerbaijan Republic and as a result of that aggression almost 20 percent of our territories are under occupation and one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs.Our people were subject of ethnic cleansing and in 1992, previous Armenian regime committed a war crime, genocide of Khojaly. As a result, 613 innocent civilians among them 106 women and 63 children were brutally killed. More than ten countries recognize the Khojaly genocide. Coming to the international law issue,once again, Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding withdrawal of Armenian troops, from the occupied territories. This resolutions are not resolved. Therefore, any solution which will be achieved as a result of peaceful negotiation must provide preservation of internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I will now conclude in order not to use more time than it was planned. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you Mr. President. Thank you for that overview.
Mr. Prime Minister, I think we are ready to hear your views on this issue.
Nikol Pashinyan: Ok, thank you. You know, I would ask President Aliyev not to go so far into history, because when Armenian king Tigran the great was negotiating with Pompei, a Roman military leader, there wasn’t any country in the South Caucasus, in all around the world named Azerbaijan. And so, I don’t think it is right way to go so far, because I could go even further and start from for example 400 years before Christ. But I wouldn’t do that, because I don’t think it is right way to go. As far as Nagorno-Karabakh is concerned like a country, you know, I should say that I do not agree with President Aliyev, because Caucasian bureau decided Karabakh to be part of Armenia. And after that decision, and this was totally lawful decision and after that according to the personal initiative of Josef Stalin, this decision was changed in Moscow. And it was like a plot between Stalin, Lenin and Ataturk. And Karabakh has never been a part of independent state of Azerbaijan. Karabakh was put into Azerbaijan only in the process of forming the Soviet Union. When we are speaking on the territorial integrity, we should decide about which country’s territorial integrity we are speaking. My question is, if Azerbaijan respected territorial integrity of Soviet Union becoming independent country as Azerbaijan left Soviet Union in the same way Nagorno-Karabakh left Soviet Union. You can say that I am now speaking of the country which does not exist, meaning Soviet Union. But the Soviet Republic which contains Nagorno-Karabakh also does not exist. There is no Soviet Republic, Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. And that is true. And like Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union, in the same way Karabakh gained independence both from the Soviet Union and from Soviet Azerbaijan. As far as Khojaly is concerned, in the mid 90s former President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutallibov gave an interview to the Russian paper “Argumenti I Fakti” saying that the provocation in Khojaly was organized by Azerbaijani opposition to tackle him from the power. And this happened actually, because as a result of that event Ayaz Mutallibov was tackled from the post of President of Azerbaijan. About the UN Security Council documents, what was the general meaning of those documents? The general meaning of those documents was unconditional and immediate ceasefire, to stop any violence and stop military actions. And when we will see the UN Security Council resolution 884, we will see that there written that Azerbaijan violated ceasefire and as a result Azerbaijan lost territories. And first of all, it is Azerbaijan that did not keep the conditions of the Security Council document. And it is very important to state but you know, I don’t think it is good way for Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders every time repeat the same thing. Unfortunately, within last 25 even 30 years, we are repeating every time the same things. And I am afraid international community maybe somehow is tired hearing the same thing. And I think that we need to bring some new ideas. And I would like to say that when I became Prime Minister of Armenia through the non-violent velvet peoples’ revolution I understood that it is not possible to solve thirty years lasting conflict with one or two step. And I thought that for solving this problem, we need to have revolutions. And I started the process of micro revolutions and in the next opportunity when the floor would come to me I will present you the role of micro revolutions in Nagorno-Karabakh negotiation process, that I initiated. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you Mr Prime Minister. That is a welcome topic of conversation, I thought as a logical follow up to the historical background that each of you has offered to the group and as a political scientist I always want to get on to the solution. I feel like historians help us understand, but they don’t help us always understand how to move forwards. Sorry for any historians in the room, what I wanted to get your thoughts on and I start with you Mr. Prime Minister. You are here in an international audience, many experienced negotiators, many who worked on this challenge for some 30 years and trying to support a peaceful resolution of the dispute, what is the one thing that you would want to see from the international community to help you advance what you think is a equitable, peaceful solution to the challenge of Nagorno-Karabakh. Maybe about 2 minutes answer.
Nikol Pashinyan: Yes, there is a very concrete thing that international community could do. It makes it clear that there is no any military solution for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. There is no any military solution and international community should make it strongly and very clear. If someone thinks otherwise saying that there is military solution for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict I guess that people of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would answer. In that case we can say that this conflict already solved. But I think we need sustainable peace and Armenia and I am not representing Nagorno-Karabakh in negotiation process, but I know that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are ready to put real efforts to create in our region sustainable peace. And as a Prime Minister of Armenia I perceived this situation not only my responsibility for security of my country but I understand my responsibility for regional security and for global security. And I invite President Aliyev to perceive this situation as our mutual task to create sustainable peace and stability and perceive this situation not only an issue of our national agenda, but also on agenda of global and regional security, and our duty and our responsibility to bring our effort, our input to the global security. I would assure you that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are ready for that.
Moderator: Thank you Mr. Prime Minister, those were very helpful and thank you for sharing your priorities with us. President Aliyev, may I ask you the same question, you are very experienced in negotiation you have dealt with many people in this room on the issue but help us understand what do you think of the most important at this moment in history for the international community to do to help you advance. What do you think is an equitable and peaceful resolution of the conflict?
President Ilham Aliyev: First of all, I would like to make one comment. I am absolutely sure that we came here to tell the truth. And what I said in my introductory remarks is 100 percent truth, which can be easily checked right now. Just enter the Internet find those documents, which I referred to and you will understand who is telling truth, and who is not. Second comment, I would also like to clarify situation which in Armenia unfortunately became a kind of attempt to find an excuse of what they have done in Khojaly. President Ayaz Mutallibov is in good health and lives in Baku, maybe Armenian side doesn’t know it. Recently and many times he said that he never said the Khojaly genocide was organized by Azerbaijanis. This is as it is said today is a fake news which was invented by some of Armenian journalists in Russia and that was put in Russian press but he never said that. And this is absolutely true. Whocommitted the genocide in Khojaly, their names are well known. Theywere local Armenians, Armenians from Armenia and Armenians from diaspora. The names of these people are well-known, and many books and international articles were published about that. Therefore, to say that Azerbaijanis themselves brutally killed 63 children, 100 women and 1000 people are still missing, is a peak of cynicism. With respect to what international community should do, I think the most important thing is that international community-and when we talk about international community we talk primarily about the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ efforts-they should at last very clearly explain to Armenian side that Nagorno-Karabakh is not Armenia. That Nagorno-Karabakh is not an independent country. No one recognizes this illegal entity. So this is number one. The second, I think there should be more international pressure on Armenia in order to implement resolutions of Security Council, because there is no higher international body than the Security Council of the United Nations. They adopted four resolutions.It is easy to check.The numbers of these resolutions are known to specialists. What it says. It says Armenian troops should immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the occupied territories. Not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven districts surrounding itare occupied. Armenia wants to hide it. Seven districts where Armenians never lived. In the last Soviet Census of 1989, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh was identified as 189,000 people. Out of which 139,000 Armenians, 48 thousand Azerbaijanis and some other representatives of other people. So all Azerbaijanis were ethnically cleansed from Nagorno-Karabakh and from our ancient city of Shusha, then all Azerbaijanis were ethnically cleansed from seven districts, they committed the genocide against our people, against our culture, they destroyed our mosques, they destroyed our graves, they changed the name of our cities. They now publish the map of Nagorno-Karabakh which consists of all the occupied territories, and then, they say that we should agree with this realities. Therefore, international community should explain that Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and second, put a serious pressure on aggressor to stop. Just one minute. Prime Minister just said about peace, ok I agree, but how it correlates what happened today on the line of contact when Azerbaijani soldier was killed by Armenian sniper?
Moderator: So, I think the elements of the challenge are clear to everyone. There is a complicated history. Territory that has been part of different political entities of the time, the human tragedy of refugees and those killed on both sides. A ceasefire that is not held for period of time enough to create trust, and a basis for moving forward and a political negotiation. So, I would welcome some questions on some of this issues. I am guessing that the questions will provide the opportunity for following up on several of those issues if I made because I have my boss sitting right here and I don’t want to break the rules. We want to get questions.
Nikol Pashinyan: I would like to make several comments first of all on resolution of UN Security Council.There is no word Armenian troops there is written local Armenian forces. That means that people of Nagorno-Karabakh formed forces for self-defense and there is no written Armenian troops. About victims, yes it is tragedy, it is conflict, and thousands of people died as a result of that conflict. And both Armenians and Azerbaijanis and this is fact. But personally me, I read in the newspaper “Argumenti I Fakti” the interview of former president of Azerbaijan. And I think we can find it easily on the internet, on historical facts there is a book Nagorno-Karabakh legal aspect and what I said you can find it there and you can find it in the historical books. Names of cities and about the ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh was the region of Shaumyan.
President Ilham Aliyev: It was not in Nagorno-Karabakh. It was not in Nagorno-Karabakh. No, no…
Moderator: I can give you a floor.
Nikol Pashinyan: My opinion is Nagorno-Karabakh, ok.
President Ilham Aliyev: You see, you see, he is telling lie.
Nikol Pashinyan: But there is a region Shaumyan and in 1988 there lived 100 percent Armenian population and now there is no Armenian and the name of Shaumyan is changed into the Azerbaijani name it is difficult word to me. President Aliyev said that today Azerbaijani soldier was killed. I can say that today in the border of Gazakh-Armenia and Azerbaijan Armenian soldier was injured by the Azerbaijani snipers. And this is our mutual task what to do to stop this process?
Moderator: Thank you. That is a good place to turnover. I am going to give you Mr President the opportunity to speak of the specific points you disagree with. Then we do have questions and I do not want to miss this opportunity. Please.
President Ilham Aliyev: Once again, I came here to tell the truth, and once again I tell. I don’t know what was written in “Argumenti I Fakti”. “Argumenti I Fakti” is an independent newspaper, where many Armenians work. And we in Azerbaijan know the number of Armenians who run the leading Russian press so they can write whatever they want. Therefore, I refer to the official statement of the former President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutallibov who said that he never said that. So, now, look. The president the former president, his words and the words of one pro-Armenian or Armenian journalist which has more value? This is first thing. About Shaumyan, Mr. Prime Minister was just pointing that it was Stalin who made a decision to give Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan which is wrong because again, look at the Caucasus Bureau July 1921, when it is said to retain Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan and not to transfer it to Azerbaijan. But if he does not like Stalin so much, it is strange why he likes so much Shaumyan? Because Shaumyan was one of the Bolsheviks, he was a person who killed innocent Azerbaijanis, and today’s so-called capital of Nagorno-Karabakh is named after his name. The question, if Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient Armenian territory why does not it have the ancient Armenian name for the capital? Because the ancient name for the capital is Khankandi. The village of the khan. and the Stepanakert because Shaumyan’s name was Stephan, kert means city in Armenian. Stepanakert was named in the name of that Bolshevik. So that once again proves that there was no Armenian historical legacy on those territories. And coming back to from where I began, this historical issue is important for understanding how the conflict should be resolved.
Moderator: Thank you sir. I hope everyone is taking notes because we are getting a history lesson here with multiple dimensions. We do have a question. please. Identify yourself please.
Question from the audience: Thank you very much. My name is Florin Crina I am a research fellow of the Max Plank Institute of International Law. President Aliyev already mentioned the role of international law. My question would be to both. Would you submit this dispute to the International Court of Justice by a special agreement?
Moderator: Mr President, May I ask you to answer the question first?
President Ilham Aliyev: You know, Azerbaijan is committed to the negotiation process. Therefore, we did not lose hope that by negotiations we will be able to restore our territorial integrity. Therefore, when still we have these hopes probably that will not be the best choice. But if as a result of the new approach from Armenian side the negotiations will be completely disrupted then of course this option can be considered.
Moderator: Thank you Mr President. Mr Prime Minister.
Nikol Pashinyan: We are also devoted to the negotiation process, peace process as I said. And I think that negotiations should take place in the format of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmanship and we are working very intensively and as I said, we are ready to put real efforts to make real difference and to reach to the solution of conflict. But nobody asked me about minor revolutions that I met in negotiation process. I hope I will have an opportunity.
Moderator: I am asking you to please explain.
President Ilham Aliyev: Next time maybe. The revolutions, that’s wahat I do not want to hear about.
Nikol Pashinyan: You know, my conceptual perception is that as I said already it is not possible just solve this long lasting conflict with one-two step. We need, why I am saying micro revolution because I think that we need to have micro revolution conditionally to transform it mini revolution and after that to have real breakthrough in negotiation process. What was the micro revolution? In the September of 2018, I announced that any solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be acceptable for people of Armenia, for people of Karabakh and for people of Azerbaijan. And why this is micro revolution? Because, I am first Armenian leader saying that any solution should be acceptable for Azerbaijani people as well. But now, after more than one year of that revolution I am not only leader of Armenia but I am only leader from Azerbaijan and Armenia that saying that any solution should be acceptable for all sides. It is very important micro revolution. Another revolution during one of my press conferences I called the Azerbaijani and Armenian users of social media not to use social media to offend each other, to threaten each other, and to insult each other. But use social media, new technologies for trying to understand each other better. And it is another way and I think that we should I tried to address directly to the Azerbaijani people and if President Aliyev doesn’t mind, and I don’t mind that President Aliyev would speak with Armenian people. But we have very strange fact President Aliyev is refusing to speak to representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh and it is very strange fact. How it is possible to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without speaking with the representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh. By the way, Nagorno-Karabakh was recognized as a party of conflict and a party of negotiation by the OSCE and this happened twice, in 24 March of 1992 and in 1994 in Budapest OSCE Summit.
Moderator: Thank you. So let me ask President Ilham Aliyev what you think of the three proposed micro revolutions to seek the views of Azerbaijani citizens who have suffered from the war, Armenian citizens and the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh? Can I assume also the occupied territories or including refugees from those occupied territories you would want to include? And the idea of social media not being we have heard a lot about this, today. Exasperating for hostility among the peoples and the idea of being able to welcome speaking to one another citizens honestly.
President Ilham Aliyev: You know, during my experience of negotiation with Armenian leaders, I had this opportunity with two predecessors of Mr Pashinyan always in the very decisive moment of negotiations they found some excuses in order not to continue. Otherwise, to put it, all of them wanted to keep status quo unchanged but all of them tried to do it differently. Now, when Prime Minister Pashinyan talks about his proposal that the resolution must be accepted to the people of Azerbaijan, I answered to that and I said what is acceptable to the people of Azerbaijan? People of Azerbaijan, those who suffer from Armenian aggression want to go back to their homes. It is their fundamental right. They are deprived from this right for almost 30 years. Because Armenian leadership, it is not Nagorno-Karabakh, and when Prime Minister talks about the so-called self-defense forces of Nagorno-Karabakh again he is telling thing which is not true. Because he knows very well and I know, that more than 80 percent ofthe so-called Nagorno-Karabakh army are citizens of Armenia, and this is true, maybe even more than 80 percent. Therefore, there is no Nagorno-Karabakh army. There is no Nagorno-Karabakh republic. Only two parties to the conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ask the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Who are the parties to the conflict? They will say the same. Armenia and Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh is not. Why is not? It is other question, but it is not and we are not going talk to them. We are talking to aggressor. We are ready to talk to Nagorno-Karabakh in case, Armenia stops funding this illegal entity, Armenia pulls back all their military troops from Nagorno-Karabakh and completely withdraws from our territory. And then, we will have arguments to talk to this people. But until then there is no way and they want to keep status quo unchanged. They think that they can keep this territories under occupation forever, and I am sure that will not be the case, and our territorial integrity must be restored. We had, coming to the second part, we had exchange of journalists recently. And I think that was an experience which we need to evaluate. We need to evaluate its positive and negative side. Because part of society in Armenia and in Azerbaijan was not very supportive to that format but that was the decision by two leaders to try. We want to try every opportunity to find a peaceful settlement. To persuade Armenian people that they can not live like that forever. They need to find solution with us, and live in the future, in peace as neighbors.
Moderator: I appreciate you reporting that constructive step where that is a constructive attempt because that’s the spirit we want to support. We have a time for maybe one more question and some closing remarks. Another question from the floor.
Question: Thanks a lot. My name is Yelena Chernenko. I am a Russian journalist from the Commersant newspaper and a Munich Young Leader of 2015. Russia is one of the countries that is trying to bring about the solution within the OSCE process. And as far as I understand one of the proposals was maybe leaving the status question for later and trying to do something that maybe the sides can more eagerly agree about for example about the districts around Nagorno-karabakh, creating a corridor and other steps. So do you see any chances for interim solutions that would leave the status question for later and resolve maybe some of the other things. Thank you.
Moderator: President Aliyev do you have thoughts on the question?
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes. I think this is possible. And this proposal was seriously considered by Azerbaijan. And in general we gave our agreement to that. That is the most reasonable thing to do, because it is clear that we need to resolve this conflict in phases. We cannot resolve it one and completely in one day. It should be put in phases and the first phase should be, and as the journalists said in Russian proposal, the liberation of part of the occupied territories, return of the Azerbaijani IDPs to those territories, resettlement of that territory. In a meantime, the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be discussed later, when both sides are ready. Because without the process on the ground, without beginning of liberation of the territories it will not be possible to agree on the status. Our position in the status must not interfere with territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. At the same time, we always were saying that Azerbaijan is a multi confessional and a multi-national country. There are many national minorities in Azerbaijan who live in peace and dignity. And when our territorial integrity is fully restored Armenians as national minority will enjoy all the rights and privileges as any other representative of any other nation in our country.
Moderator: Thank you President Aliyev.Step by step sounds like your own micro revolution. So I like this theme,
Nikol Pashinyan: By the way we have one mutual minor revolution. I hope I will have opportunity to tell about that. When we first met in Dushanbe, in capital of Tajikistan, after that President Aliyev made little, minor revolution, because after that meeting the tension after that meeting in general reduced unprecendentially, and we were able to create direct line for contact and information and I should accept that in that case President Aliyev is co-author with me. As far as President Aliyev is saying territories and from point of view and in perception of Azerbaijan these are territories but from point of view of Karabakh this is security, because we need to understand, why current status quo emerged, because when Nagorno-Karabakh tried to use its right for self-determination, military actions started against Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh. And Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh were forced to organize self-defense. President Aliyev was speaking on Shusha. The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, within years was bombed from Shusha and peaceful citizens are living in underground for many many long time and this is the truth. You know, it is not possible to give up security for anyone and for Karabakh as well. President Aliyev mentioned military forces of Azerbaijan. My son is passing his military service in Nagorno-Karabakh but he went there as a volunteer to defend his compatriots because he knows history. What happened from 1998. And I already said about the Shaumyan region with 100 percent of Armenian population, but now there lives no Armenian and we know the case of Nakhchivan with huge Armenian population and it is Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan and now there is no Armenian. And one more sentence. President Aliyev is saying that Nagorno-Karabakh is not a part of negotiation in the conflict. But Azerbaijan twice signed an agreement with Nagorno-Karabakh. First it was in 1994, and it was a ceasefire agreement between Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and ministers of defense signed that and after 3 months in July of 1994 they confirmed that the ceasefire would be kept until the political resolution of that conflict.
Moderator: I think that I would like to express my gratitude to president Aliyev and to prime minister Pashinyan for their extraordinary knowledge, their extraordinary passion, I think it is clear that both of these leaders care very deeply about resolving the conflict but care very deeply about how the conflict would be resolved. We cannot expect less. I also think in addition to the fact we heard the full scope of the challenge and the dynamics of the challenge and the elements of the challenge. We also, and I am grateful to both of you, heard elements of what the opportunity could also be for a way forward in improving the lives of those affected by the conflict and maybe through micro steps or micro revolutions beginning constructive process finding peaceful resolution. So we are extraordinarily lucky at this historic opportunity here at the Munich Security Conference and let us thank please President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan for sharing their thoughts with us. Please.
President Ilham Aliyev: Just one remark.
President Ilham Aliyev: Constructive, yes. On self-determination only. I will not talk about the fact that in Yerevan 70 percent of population were Azerbaijanis in the beginning of the 19th century.
Moderator: That’s not constructive
President Ilham Aliyev: I will not talk about that.
Moderator: 30 seconds.
President Ilham Aliyev: On self-determination, that’s what they always talk about. Armenian people self-determinated themselves, they have Armenian state. My advice is to find other place on Earth to self-determinate them for the second time, not in Azerbaijan.
Moderator: 30 seconds.
Nikol Pashinyan: Mr. President it wasn’t so constructive, but I would say in times of the Tigran the great, in our region, there were only two nations.
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians and Armenians.
Nikol Pashinyan: Armenians and Georgians. There were no one and not only in the times of the Tigran the great but in times of Bagratunis in times of Arshagunis. You could find it in any historic book. But I am very glad for this discussion and I would like one more time confirm that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are ready to put real effort to solving this conflict. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you everyone.
Panel discussions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were held as part of the Munich Security Conference.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan participated in the discussions.
President Ilham Aliyev stated that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is recognized by the international community.
The head of state stressed that Armenia occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory.
A passenger plane on Wednesday skidded off the runway at an Istanbul airport, injuring 52 people, officials said, according to Anadolu Agency.
The Pegasus Airlines plane was arriving from Turkey’s Aegean province of Izmir at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport when it skidded off the runway during landing, Turkey’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said.
Television footage showed the plane separated from its fuselage after it burst into flames following the crash. Several firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the area.
There are no casualties among 177 people — including two children and six crew members, Turhan said.
“Our teams are currently evacuating the passengers,” he added.
“According to the information we obtained, the plane skidded off the runway and drifted to the land as a result of the hard landing,” said Turhan.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said 52 injured passengers were transferred to the nearest hospitals.
Prosecutors in capital Ankara launched an investigation into the incident. The airport has been temporarily closed to air traffic.
Seven Azerbaijani citizens are evacuated from China to Turkey due to the risk of coronavirus, the Turkish media reported.
The cargo plane will leave Etimesgut Military Airport in the capital Ankara to evacuate 34 Turkish citizens as well as seven nationals of Georgia, seven Azerbaijanis, and one Albanian.
The Turkish plane, at the initiative of the Health Ministry, will carry health personnel experienced with infectious diseases.
The documentary film “Black Orchards: Azerbaijan and Armenia’s Wars” produced by “TRT World” was screened at Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles on January 23, 2020. It should be noted that last week the film received the “Best Short Documentary” award at the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Hosted and organized by Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles, the event was attended by the film’s senior producer Oubai Shahbandar and the director and producer Atakan Kerkuklu, as well as Consuls General and Honorary Consuls of various countries, faith and community leaders, media representatives, scholars, members of the local Azerbaijani community and leaders of Turkish, Pakistani, Jewish, Iranian, Korean, Latino and other communities.
Opening the event, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev gave detailed information on the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and Armenia’s policy of aggression, military occupation, and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijan. He stated that as a result of this illegal occupation of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, over 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were expelled from their ancestral lands in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Consul General also noted that Armenia refuses to fulfill four United Nations Security Council resolutions condemning the occupation and demanding the unconditional and complete withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied areas.
Then the documentary film “Black Orchards: Azerbaijan and Armenia’s Wars” was screened. The audience received the film with much interest.
Following the screening, the film’s senior producer Oubai Shahbandar spoke about the events highlighted in the film and the filming process.
Then Oubai Shahbandar and Atakan Kerkuklu responded to various questions from the audience on the film and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
At least 19 people died, 772 were injured in a major earthquake in the eastern Turkish provinces of Malatya and Elazig, Report says, citing Anadolu Agency.
According to the Emergency Management Agency, 493 rescue teams from 28 Turkish provinces work in the disaster area. 1,689 tents, 1,656 beds, and 9,200 blankets were delivered to the earthquake zone.
Mobile operators announced free communication services in Elazig and Malatya.
France’s hardleft trade unions on Friday threatened industrial action for months to come, as they searched for a way to force President Emmanuel Macron to ditch the biggest overhaul of the country’s pension system since World War II.
After a brief respite from a seven-week strike that extended over the Christmas period, French unions called for major shutdowns and demonstrations on Friday to show their “determination” to halt Macron’s pension reform plan.
The call came as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the new plan instituting a “universal system” of point-based pensions to the cabinet Friday, before it is sent to the National Assembly, France’s lower house, where debates will begin February 17.
The unions on Friday brought thousands of protesters into the streets for a seventh day of nationwide demonstrations, which took place as their large-scale protests have been petering out and they are increasingly resorting to wildcat actions to cause disruption.
“Our determination remains intact,” Yves Veyrier, head of the Force Ouvrière union, told reporters ahead of a street march in Paris. “We have weeks, months, of protest ahead of us.”
On Thursday evening, demonstrators held torch-lit protests in Paris ahead of a “Black Friday” of strikes and shutdowns.
Reforms needed to create flexible job market, says Macron
France’s hardline CGT union’s leader, Philippe Martinez, warned that opposition to the pension reform “has not weakened” in an interview with the Public Sénat TV station, with polls showing that 61 percent of French people are calling for the reform to be withdrawn.
The CFE-CGC confederation of trade unions however declared it wanted to “take (a) break” after Friday’s mobilisation. “Our members are difficult to mobilise on a long-term basis, they have responsibilities and are not asking for economic activity to be too disrupted,” said senior CFE-CGC official Gérard Mardiné.
Macron wants to streamline the existing setup of 42 different pension schemes, each with their own levels of contributions and benefits, into a single system that gives every pensioner the same rights for each euro contributed.
The myriad special benefits deter job mobility, says Macron, for whom the reform is central to a drive to create a more flexible labour market.
‘We Shall Overcome’ say protesters
Trade union opponents say the reform will require people to work longer for a full pension.
“I still believe in our fight,” said one protester in Paris who identified herself as Karine and carried a banner reading ‘We Shall Overcome’.
Walkouts at power plants left electricity generation reduced by 6.4 percent of available capacity, according to grid operator data. Power demand is outstripping supply due to cold weather, leaving France a net importer of electricity from its neighbours.
French Prime Minister Philippe insists the pension reform must result in a balanced pension budget by 2027.
Under pressure from the unions, he has withdrawn a proposal to raise the retirement age for a full pension by two years to 64. But unions must now find another way to balance the pension books or the provision will be added back in before the bill is due to be voted into law this summer.
Friday is the 51st day of France’s longest strike in 40 years and unions hope there will be enough protesters in the streets to force the government to back down.
FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS
Cooperation between Caspian countries is essential, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at Caspian Week, a platform for global ideas at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Report informs.
The PM spoke about Georgia’s position in the region.
“We consider that our country is a door to the Caspian region. This moment is important for us. We believe that our country can play the role of a platform in the trade spaces of the EU, Turkey, China, and others. Georgia is in a remarkable position. We think about how to benefit from this resource for the interests of our citizens. Georgian government pays attention to this issue.”
Gakharia also touched upon the significance of coordinated operation: “Establishment of relations is of great importance to us. That’s why we are here in Davos. We are here to speak about relations in our region, in Georgia and the Caspian region.”
The PM said cooperation in the Caspian region is essential: “Cooperation among Caspian countries is essential. This event is a result of our joint activity. I am proud to be here today and that our country is also in this region.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev have met in Davos, Report says, citing Ukrainian media.
Zelensky and Abdullayev noted the significance of investing in infrastructure projects, enterprises, as well as Ukraine’s transportation capacities.
Zelensky recalled his visit to Azerbaijan in December 2019, saying the trip was very productive.
“I think that visit raised the relations between our countries to a new level,” Zelensky said.
They also discussed the implementation of joint projects with SOCAR based on agreements reached during the Ukrainian President’s visit to Baku.
“Almost 90% of the agreement has already been completed, but we expect the European side to be more involved in energy and trade issues.”
“The European Union and Azerbaijan are closely cooperating in the areas of security, transport, and energy. Azerbaijan and the EU are strategic partners mainly in the field of energy,” Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev said in his interview with Euroactive.
“This year is particularly important for both of us: in the middle of summer, Azerbaijani gas delivered via TAP and TANAP will physically be on the territory of EU. And we will complete the final portion of the TAP project,” Hajiyev said.
According to him, official Baku is currently negotiating with the European side to develop a new partnership agreement with the EU.
And there are certain fundamental areas, we have a lot of different views, but both sides have a constructive engagement to narrow this gap. Almost 90 percent text of the agreement has been finalized. But there are energy issues and also trade issues, we are looking for more engagement on the side of the European Union, but they should not take a preferential position or in other words offensive trade approach with regard to the agreement and based on that understanding with the belief that we can move forward.”
The Assistant to the President noted that Azerbaijan is strategically important for the EU, as it is at the stage of internal reforms and gives preference to economic initiatives.
“The agreement should be prepared and assessed so that it should meet the requirements of both sides. It should be mutual and beneficial for all,” Hajiyev said.
Relations with the European Union are one of the main directions of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev said in an interview with Euroactive.
He touched upon issues of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, including in the energy sector, negotiations on a new agreement, the EU’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, geopolitics, trade, the events of January 20, 1990, and other matters.
“As my president said, unfortunately, last year was a lost year regarding the resolution of the conflict. We can’t see any particular movement in this respect. On the contrary, we have seen counterproductive destructive policy by Armenia. The Armenian side tried to change the format of the negotiation process. Nevertheless, we have already established the format of the negotiation process. Armenia and Azerbaijan as parties to the conflict, and OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs as mediators,” Hajiyev said.
EU-Azerbaijan new partnership agreement should meet requirements of both sides, Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev told EURACTIV.
“The negotiation process is still going on between EU and Azerbaijan. There are certain fundamental areas, on which we have a little bit different views, but both sides with constructive engagement are working together to narrow this gap. Almost 90 percent of the text of the agreement has been finalized. But there are energy issues, but also trade issues, we are looking for more engagement from the EU side. They shouldn’t take preferential
position, or in other words, offensive trade approach with regard to the agreement. Based on that understanding, we do believe that we can move forward. Because for Azerbaijan, it is also strategically important that we have own internal reform process and own economic priorities and initiatives. The agreement should meet the requirements of both sides and in the meantime, there should be mutually beneficial approach,” he said.
Hajiyev noted that Azerbaijan’s relations with the European Union are one of the important directions of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.
“Azerbaijan and the EU are cooperating in many different spheres. Azerbaijan is also an important partner of the EU in terms of trade. Biggest investors in Azerbaijan are mainly EU countries. The EU and Azerbaijan are closely cooperating in security, transport and energy fields. Especially, in the energy field the EU and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. This year is particularly important, as we will finalize the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Azerbaijani gas will physically be on the territory of Europe,” he added.
As for the Eastern Partnership program, he noted it should be tailor-made.
“As regards the Eastern Partnership, my president has once again mentioned that in general, it is a framework that brings together different countries and we are also a part of this process to be engaged. We are participating in the Eastern Partnership program. Currently, there are some talks and discussions about further development of Eastern Partnership. But for us inclusiveness in this process, and also not to rank the partners are extremely important. Eastern Partnership should be designed in a sense that particularly, needs and requirements of the partner countries should be met and it also should be tailor-made. Because from Azerbaijani perspective, we see the Eastern Partnership as a general framework and we are not asking for any kind of donor support or any kind of financial support within the Eastern Partnership. We want to build up further cooperation with the European Union by using the wider framework,” noted Hajiyev.
Moreover, he talked about Azerbaijan’s role in improving the connectivity between the East and West.
“In general, the Silk Road concept resonates with Azerbaijan’s own perception, because Azerbaijan was historically located on the ancient Silk Road. Therefore, along this road, along the Caspian Sea, we are building different connectivity mechanisms with our Central Asian partners. It is not only about transportation, it is also about information and communication technologies. Along the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan with our Central Asian partners, with China and some other partnering countries involved, is building a new fiber-optic line as well. We are working on maritime and air component of the Silk Road. Simply, things are going well. There is a big potential for trade turnover between China and EU and as a mid-corridor, Azerbaijan can play its role. Especially, with Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway system we see that we can do a lot with our EU partners. Azerbaijan’s railway system is well integrated and connected with Russian railway system. Now we are working with our Iranian partners, so that we can bring goods from wider Indian ocean to the northern part of Europe within a short range of time,” added Hajiyev.