Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev underlined on Wednesday that his country's flag will forever fly in Lachin while on a visit to the city that returned to Azerbaijani control in late August.
"Armenians settled illegally in some parts of Lachin. They brought people of Armenian origin from Syria and Lebanon and settled here illegally. This is a war crime, defined as a war crime in all international conventions, and this crime was committed in front of the world's public opinion. The Azerbaijani flag will fly forever in Lachin," said Aliyev.
"When another provocation was made against us on Sept. 13, the Azerbaijani army responded and repulsed the enemy. I hope this will eventually be a lesson because they saw that no one and nothing could stop us. No phone calls, no explanations, no attempts can stop us,” the president said.
While visiting the region that lies on the road connecting Khankendi to Armenia, Aliyev raised the Azerbaijani flag in Lachin city center, according to a statement from his office.
In his speech here, Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan temporarily lost control of Lachin per the tripartite declaration signed between Baku, Yerevan and Moscow after the Second Karabakh War.
Aliyev stated that the city of Lachin was destroyed by the Armenians during the occupation period and highlighted that many settled there illegally, in what he called a clear war crime.
“The world and international organizations ignored this. While going from Armenia to Karabakh, from Karabakh to Armenia, they saw that illegal settlements were made here, the place names belonging to Azerbaijan were removed, and the historical Azerbaijani land Lachin was Armenianized, but they were condoning. The Azerbaijani people could not accept this either."
Aliyev accused Armenia of not exerting any efforts toward a peace agreement as a delay tactic and highlighted that the corridor to unite the western provinces of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan has not been provided yet.
He said that Armenia has been provoking Azerbaijan in recent months and that Armenians have laid mines in the region despite the war having ended.
Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan is ready for negotiations about borders with Armenia.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decadeslong dispute over the region of Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the illegal occupation of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.
Moscow brokered a peace deal last November to end six weeks of fighting over the territory, during which more than 6,600 people were killed. The truce allowed Azerbaijan to reclaim control over large parts of Karabakh and surrounding areas that the Armenia-backed separatists controlled.