February 29
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President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev rules out the possibility of granting any autonomy to the Armenians of Artsakh, Interfax-Azerbaijan reports.

“As far as the talks about autonomy are concerned, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group know Azerbaijan’s position very well. There was a time when Azerbaijan was offering to grant a certain degree of autonomy to the Armenians, but they would only talk about “independence”. Now when the conflict is behind us, they are raising the issue of autonomy, but our agenda doesn’t include the granting of any autonomy,” Aliyev said in an interview with France 24 TV.

Aliyev reaffirmed his position, according to which the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is over. “The conflict is resolved. This is my stance, and the reality shows that this is the right stance. Therefore, any statement that the conflict hasn’t been resolved is not only inappropriate, but also very dangerous. If the conflict isn’t resolved, let them say how it should be resolved…”

At the same time, Aliyev said he has never “had any territorial claim against Armenia”, and immediately referred to Zangezur as “historic land” and “an integral part of Azerbaijan”. “I am certain that we Azerbaijanis will return to Zangezur. I have already said that we will go there by foot, cars and planes, not tanks. If a peace treaty is achieved after the situation is resolved, why shouldn’t we return? It is our legitimate right.”

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