Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday set conditions for a halt to fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region that would be near-impossible for Armenia to accept.
In a fiery address to the nation as fighting raged between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, Aliyev warned: "The leadership of Armenia should think carefully before it is too late."
Shortly after his televised address, Aliyev spoke to Al Arabiya and said that Armenia must commit to a full withdrawal of its troops from his country’s territories.
“They must commit to withdrawal of the troops from our territory. They must give us a timetable of withdrawal from occupied territories. Their Prime Minister, who says that Karabakh is Armenia should now say that Karabakh is not Armenia. And after that, of course, we will be ready to put an end to hostility and to restore the ceasefire regime,” Aliyev said.
Eighteen Nagorno-Karabakh civilians were killed by fire from Azeri forces and more than 90 were wounded in the past week, RIA Novosti news agency cited an official in the breakaway region as saying on Sunday.
For his part, Aliyev said 22 of his country’s civilians were killed and 73 wounded on Sunday amid fierce clashes.
Repeating claims that Azerbaijan had seized a series of settlements, he vowed to keep fighting until the region was reclaimed.
“We managed to liberate some of the territories, several villages, and today we liberated the city of Jabrayil, which was under Armenian occupation for 27 years. Our successful military operation continues, and we are fully determined to liberate our land and to restore our territorial integrity,” Aliyev told Al Arabiya.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on called for an immediate ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday and said Moscow was ready to help seek a solution to the conflict via the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.