New York has hosted a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic at the level of the heads of state and government.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement Ilham Aliyev addressed the session in a video format, Report informs.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres and the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Volkan Bozkir, for their efforts in the Special Session of the General Assembly in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
I convey my gratitude to all Member States that have supported the initiative to hold the Special Session.
Today, there is a great need for the international community's joint efforts to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, which is the biggest threat to the world.
As the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan demonstrated responsibility at the national and international levels initiated holding of the Summit of the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement in response to coronavirus on May 4th, 2020. During the Summit, I suggested the convening of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in response to coronavirus at the level of the heads of state and government. All 120 Non-Aligned Movement members supported this proposal. It reaffirmed their commitment to "Bandung Principles," Movement's values, multilateralism, and international solidarity. Overall, more than 150 UN Member States supported this initiative.
Azerbaijan has taken timely and necessary preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. We have taken adequate actions in response to the emerging situation concerning COVID-19.
Today, coronavirus patients are undergoing treatment in 46 state hospitals across the country. We had six functional laboratories when the pandemic has started. Currently, we have more than 40 operational laboratories.
The government has released the socio-economic and financial support package worth over 2.5 billion US dollars to counter the pandemic's negative impact. The social support measures cover nearly 5 million people, which is half of the country's population. Funding for the fight against the pandemic was provided only from domestic sources, without external financial support.
Now, the world faces the new wave of the pandemic.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Azerbaijan is in close contact with the World Health Organization. We are grateful for its valuable recommendations and sending its specialists in the early days of the pandemic. The World Health Organization named Azerbaijan an example in the fight against the pandemic. We have made two voluntary contributions to the World Health Organization in the amount of 10 million US dollars. In the meantime, to date, Azerbaijan has provided humanitarian and financial assistance to more than 30 countries.
Azerbaijan supported the initiative of the Secretary-General on a global ceasefire during the pandemic. However, this call remained unheard by Armenia that kept under the Azerbaijani territories' occupation for almost 30 years and ignored four UN Security Council resolutions that demanded the withdrawal from all our occupied lands.
During the last two years, Armenia deliberately destroyed the negotiation process. The Prime Minister of Armenia made several provocative statements like "Karabakh is Armenia," which put an end to negotiations. The Minister of Defense called for a "new war for new territories."
In July 2020, Armenia perpetrated military provocation along the state border to create a new source of tension in the region, to occupy new territories, and damage Azerbaijan's strategic energy infrastructure projects.
Later, in August Armenian sabotage group attempted to penetrate through the Line of Contact.
In my statement during the General Assembly's General Assembly on September 24th, I warned that Armenia is preparing for the new war.
On September 27th Armenia launched large-scale military aggression against Azerbaijan. During 44 days, Armenia's armed forces heavily shelled Tartar and other cities of Azerbaijan situated along the frontline. Armenia fired a ballistic missile against Ganja, Barda, Mingachevir, Gabala, Siyazan, and other cities far away from the front line. They used heavy artillery, ballistic missiles, white phosphorus, cluster munitions to cause mass casualties and forced displacement among Azerbaijani civilians. 94 civilians, including 11 children, were killed, more than 400 wounded.
Azerbaijani Army responded adequately and defended its citizens and territory and launched a successful counterattack operation, resulting in the liberation of large parts of our occupied territories. During the military operations, Azerbaijan's military victory forced the aggressor to surrender and led to the signing of a trilateral statement of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia and Armenia's Prime Minister on November 10th, which provided liberation of other occupied territories. Since that time, the regime of ceasefire is holding for almost a month. Turkey and Russia play an essential role in ensuring ceasefire through Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Center.
Thus, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was resolved by military-political means. In the absence of compliance with international law, it was inevitable to ensure Security Council resolutions by force. As a result of which, the aggressor state was enforced to peace.
It was not the only destructive attitude of Armenia. Armenia was the only country to oppose the initiative of holding the Special Session of the General Assembly on the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the last moment, Armenia, by all means, tried to undermine the preparatory process to hold the Special Session. Armenia objected to this initiative simply because Azerbaijan has launched it.
I believe the Special Session will contribute to the global fight against pandemics and make us more united around our common goal.