Aliyev describes April war in Karabakh as one of Azerbaijan's most successful military operations
BAKU. April 2 (Interfax) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has described the Karabakh hostilities of April 2016 as "a highly successful operation" of the Azerbaijani army.
"Three years have passed since the April hostilities, which are a glorious page in our history. True, we suffered losses. The government has done its best to get the injured servicemen back to health. Fortunately, all wounded men have returned to normal life. Everything has been done to make them active again," Aliyev said during his visit to a unit of the Azerbaijani Special Forces.
"It is well known that the Armenian army had been continuously firing at our populated localities and military positions from occupied territories before the hostilities began. The Azerbaijani army accomplished a highly successful operation aimed at stopping Armenia's provocations and freed a part of the occupied lands in the Agdam, Fuzuli, and Jabrayil districts," Aliyev said.
"The April fighting was a highly successful operation from the military point of view, considering that crucial, strategic heights were taken over," he said.
"The April hostilities demonstrated to the entire world that the Azerbaijani army is highly trained and is capable of accomplishing any mission, any time," he said.
The government is focused on solving household problems of Azerbaijani servicemen, Aliyev said. "More than 300 servicemen moved into new homes last year, and this is an ongoing process," he said, adding that military camps were being built and modernized.
Employing civilians in military camps is an innovation, Aliyev said. "About 20,000 civilians are currently employed with military units," he said.
Aliyev said earlier on Tuesday that the military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia was not over yet.
Meanwhile, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Yerablur Military Cemetery on the occasion of the third anniversary of the April war in the Karabakh conflict zone and urged the country to be prepared for any turn of events in the region.
"The peace process must go on. However, all of us should know that we need to be prepared for any turn of events for as long the conflict stays unresolved," Pashinyan said.
Tensions in the Karabakh conflict zone grew abruptly in the small hours of April 2, 2016, and the hostilities involving aircraft and artillery began. The sides traded accusations of ceasefire breaches and claimed heavy enemy losses against moderate losses of their own.
Baku and Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), declared a ceasefire agreement on April 5, 2016.
Azerbaijan lost control of Karabakh and seven districts as a result of a conflict with the Armenian population of the region and Yerevan in the early 1990s.
A ceasefire between Armenia and the NKR, for one part, and Azerbaijan, for the other, was established in May 1994.
The ongoing negotiations are mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, which was founded in 1992 to search for ways of settling the Karabakh conflict. The group comprises Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey, and is co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States.
Azerbaijan refuses to recognize the NKR as a conflicting party and will not negotiate with it.