Jan 19 2010

Ilham Aliyev Azerbaijan's improved military capacity has helped
create a positive dynamic in the talks with Armenia over Karabakh,
President Aliyev said yesterday.

"Huge work has been done in the sphere of defence and Azerbaijan is
largely self-sufficient in military equipment," Aliyev said on Monday
at a Cabinet of Ministers' session on the country's socioeconomic
development in 2009. He said that a large volume of hardware and
equipment had been purchased abroad in 2009.

"Our military expenditure is $2bn and we should make more effort
in this regard. We should deal with this issue every day. The
strengthening of the military potential plays one of the most
important roles in the negotiation process and I think that the
positive dynamics observed in the negotiation process are the result
of the consolidation of the economic, political and military potential
of Azerbaijan," the president said.

Although no practical results were attained in the Karabakh conflict
settlement last year "there is progress", the president said. He
recalled that the document adopted at the OSCE Ministerial Council
in Athens at the end of 2009 reflects the need to settle the Karabakh
conflict on the basis of the principle of territorial integrity.

"I consider it important that for the first time Armenia joined such
a document, thereby recognizing the need to settle the issue within
the framework of territorial integrity," the president said. As for
the right of peoples to self-determination, the president said it
can be exercised within the framework of territorial integrity and
all international documents prove that. This is also set out in the
Moscow declaration adopted in 2008, the president said.

"The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has never been a subject of
discussion. It is recognized by the whole world and all member states
of the Minsk Group dealing with this problem," the head of state said.

Azerbaijan will continue to strengthen its position in future by
increasing its economic and defence potential, the president said.

There can be no political or legal question mark over the rightness
of Azerbaijan's position.