ILHAM ALIYEV, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, said that the events surrounding Iraq had revealed weaknesses in the international security system. They had made it clear that existing United Nations mechanisms did not meet the requirements of the times, and it was necessary to reform the Organization, including the Security Council. He supported the reform proposals of the Secretary-General, in particular, on the enlargement of the Council’s membership, and counted on the goodwill of its permanent members regarding the revision of its mechanisms, especially the right of veto. He hoped the international community would now be able to consolidate its efforts to restore and strengthen a united and indivisible Iraq, and to establish democracy based on the will of the Iraqis.

The terrorist attacks on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad shocked the international community and convinced everyone that terrorists were capable of committing any crime, he said. Faced with such a situation, the only response was an uncompromising fight against anyone who resorted to terrorism regardless of the goals. Such an approach should constitute the basis of the international community’s actions and of the anti-terror conventions. Selectivity and double standards had no place in that fight, he noted.

He stated that, with the increased threat of terrorists’ access to nuclear materials and technology, non-proliferation issues took on special significance. His country, located in a region of increased nuclear threat, was particularly sensitive to that issue. Additionally, success in the fight against terrorism could not be assured without eradicating its underlying roots and removing the environment that allowed it to flourish. On the other hand, it was not possible to resolve conflicts throughout the world under conditions of continuing terrorism, particularly if such terrorism enjoyed the support of States. Terrorist groups were often based on the illegally controlled territories -- the so-called “grey zones” -- that emerged as a result of acts of armed separatism and external aggression.

He said that 10 years had passed since the Security Council adopted resolutions demanding the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from Azerbaijani territories. Armenia continued to challenge the international community by ignoring those decisions, and the Security Council and the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were not taking adequate measures in that regard. Azerbaijan would never accept a settlement on the basis of the “so-called existing realities”, and would not cede a single inch of its land. Responsibility for the deadlock in the settlement, he stated, lay with the aggressor, Armenia, and not with his country.

He appealed to the Security Council to carry out necessary measures to ensure the implementation of its resolutions regarding the conflict. In addition, he expected that decisive steps would be taken to stop criminal and aggressive actions on the occupied territories and on the line of engagement, as well as to push the occupying forces to unconditionally, immediately and completely evacuate the seized Azerbaijani territories.

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