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Aliev's Anti-Armenian Statements Contradict the Calls of the Co-Chairs to Prepare the Society for Peace

After announcing snap presidential elections, on the day of being nominated as the presidential candidate, Aliyev began his pre-election campaign without losing time. During the meeting of the ruling "New Azerbaijan" party, Aliyev declared that "Yerevan is our historical territory, and we, Azerbaijanis, should return our historical lands. This is one of our political and strategic goals, which we must gradually achieve."

The anti-Armenian statements by the Azerbaijani President are not something new. Aliyev has for several times declared that "Yerevan should be returned to Azerbaijan", moreover, he has even called all Armenians the enemy of Azerbaijan. And during these days, when Azerbaijan is preparing for the presidential elections, making such statements is becoming important and necessary for Aliyev. The goal is to use the image of the enemy created over the years and in that way get the support of the public.

It is noteworthy that the main target of such statements by Aliyev is the layer of the society, with not too high level of education, speculating their "patriotic" feelings. Even for some segment of the Azerbaijani society Aliyev's such statements can in one hand cause laughter and on the other hand, compassion that by means of these cheap tricks it is possible to reap dividends in Azerbaijan so far. Aliyev's maximalist statements made for the internal audience are not perceptible to the international community and cast shadow on the country's international reputation.

In such a situation, it is important that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs also pay attention to the "threats" of Baku. It would be more logical if in their contacts with the Azerbaijani authorities or during their visit to Baku the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs explained to Ilham Aliyev that such hate speeches contradict to the calls made by the same Co-Chairs to prepare the public for peace. Moreover, such populism is also dangerous for the mental health of the Azerbaijani society, as it results in the the emergence of "safarovs".

As for the impact of such statements on the negotiation process, it should be noted that Aliyev realizes it well that before April (taking into account that elections are expected both in Azerbaijan and Armenia), the negotiation process will slow down. Therefore, such statements at this stage will not have a significant impact on the negotiation process and will only have a background effect.

In summary, it should be noted that Aliev's maximalist statements like "return of Yerevan" and other similar statements are directed only to the Azerbaijani society. It is quite probable that before the April elections in Azerbaijan, new announcements of this kind will be heard from Baku. It is desirable not to attach importance to them and to show adequate response. In this regard, the response of the Armenian Foreign Ministry to Aliyev's statement was not accidental. "The statements of the Azerbaijani President on" bringing back the historical lands of Azerbaijanis - Yerevan and Zangezur" are perceived with laughter even in Azerbaijan."

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