In this photo provided by the Azerbaijan's Presidential Press Office provided on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation in Baku, Azerbaijan. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out Sunday around the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Defense Ministry said two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down. Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan also said Armenian forces hit three Azerbaijani tanks. (Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office via AP)

Major fighting in the contested South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh began last Sunday, with both sides accusing one another of starting the conflagration, and claiming that their forces have killed thousands of enemy troops on the other side.

Baku would be prepared to cease its operations in Nagorno-Karabakh if Armenia proposed an agenda for the withdrawal of its forces from the contested region’s cities, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has announced.

“We agree with the point of view that the problem with Armenia should be resolved through dialogue, but there must be a foundation for this. The Armenian Prime Minister must declare his adherance to previous agreements, according to which the territories of Nagorno-Karabakh were recognized as occupied Azerbaijani territories,” Aliyev said, speaking to Al-Arabiya on Sunday.

According to the president, stopping the fighting will require an apology from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who “called the occupied Azerbaijani lands Armenian.”

Otherwise, Aliyev said, Azerbaijani operations would continue, and Baku would try to establish normal relations with the Armenian people after the liberation of its lands.

The Azerbaijani president also demanded an apology from French President Emmanuel Macron for his claim that Syrian jihadists had been transfered to the region to carry out operations in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“There are no mercenaries. We have an army of 100,000 soldiers. I want France to apologize and show responsibility,” Aliyev said.