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Azerbaijan ready to recover Nagorno-Karabakh by force - Aliyev

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Armenia must voluntarily cede Azerbaijani territory if it wants to avoid a new war over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani president said Monday.

"Azerbaijan is militarily the strongest power in the region, and our neighbors should face up to this. Armenia should voluntarily withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani lands. Only on this condition will it be possible to say with certainty that there will not be a new war," Ilkham Aliyev said.

He said Azerbaijan will never put up with the occupation of its lands and is ready to free them by any means, including military.

"None of us want losses, but Azerbaijan is gaining strength and is ready to conduct any operation at any moment. We will never accept the situation now prevailing," he said.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan with a largely Armenian population, first erupted in 1988 when it declared its independence from Azerbaijan, and moved to join Armenia.

Over 30,000 people were killed on both sides between 1988 and 1994, and over 100 died following a 1994 ceasefire. Nagorno-Karabakh remained in Armenian hands, but tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted. Azerbaijan is determined to restore its control over the separatist region. - RIA Novosti

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