President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev held phone talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 19.
During the phone conversation initiated by the U.S. side, Ilham Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan had to launch anti-terror measures in the Karabakh economic region in order to ensure security in the region, and therefore the operation will continue until illegal Armenian armed detachments in territory of Azerbaijan lay down their weapon.
The Azerbaijani leader pointed out that the intelligence-sabotage groups of the Armenian armed forces in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan had planted mines for the purpose of terrorism, as a result of which six civilians were killed, and the units of the Azerbaijan army were subjected to fire from mortars and small arms of various calibers.
Ilham Aliyev stressed that these actions, including the so-called "presidential elections" on September 9, were a continuation of deliberate provocations against the sovereignty of Azerbaijan by Armenia and the so-called separatist institution established in Khankendi and supported by it. He said that in order to prevent such provocative and inciting actions, Azerbaijan had to launch local anti-terror measures in the region.
The Azerbaijani president emphasized that during the anti-terror measures, civilian population and infrastructure facilities are not being targeted, only legitimate military targets are incapacitated.
He recalled that that the Armenians in Khankendi had been invited to a dialogue several times by the Azerbaijani authorities to discuss reintegration issues, but the separatist leaders refused. They were invited to a dialogue again now.
Ilham Aliyev stressed that anti-terror measures will be stopped if the weapon is laid down and disarmed.
Blinken, in turn, called for a ceasefire and said that Washington supports direct dialogue between Baku and Armenians in Khankendi.
Anti-terrorist operation in Karabakh
The local anti-terrorist activities of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have been launched to restore the constitutional order in the entire territory of the Karabakh Economic Region. The civilian population and civilian infrastructure are not targets, only legitimate military targets of the Armenian Armed Forces are taken out of action.
The anti-terrorist operation will make it possible to ensure the rovisions of the Trilateral Statement signed on 9-10 November 2020, supress military provocations, sabotage and terrorist attacks in the Karabakh Economic Region, secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia’s armed forces from Azerbaijan, and thereby provide the safety of the civilian population and restoration work in the region