Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
Azerbaijan has very good friendly and partnership relations with all regional countries except Armenia, Ali Hasanov, the head of the Public and Political Issues Department of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, told Trend on May 19.
"Armenia is the only country threatening the regional security and conducting open aggressive policy in the region," he said.
Commenting on some of the U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar's negative comments about democracy in Azerbaijan, the country's domestic and foreign policy in an interview with Azadlyg radio, Hasanov said that unfortunately the ambassador creates the basis for various rumors about the neighbors of Azerbaijan, rather than speaks about the real threat.
"This trend is not new," he said. "The Western officials and media repeatedly tried to disrupt Azerbaijan's relations with the major regional countries through various allegations, unfounded judgements and information."
"People are wondering today: what kind of a serious threat it is, that the U.S. ambassador speaks about the need to "raise voice in the name of independence and sovereignty". One must openly admit that the main cause of recent misunderstanding in relations between Iran and Azerbaijan was various disinformation, deliberately leaked to the media. But all misunderstandings were removed during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's visit to Iran in April 2014. The bilateral relations entered a new stage of development. Today Azerbaijan's relations with all regional countries are at a high level. Such statements cannot harm the existing cooperation," Hasanov said.
"President Aliyev has repeatedly expressed his attitude to this issue and strongly condemned the existing double standards," Hasanov stressed.
"Indeed, the U.S unequivocally condemns an act of aggression, and speaks about international law and the territorial integrity principle with regard to other similar conflicts in the post-Soviet area," Hasanov said.
"However, in terms on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution the principle of 'self-determination of peoples' is recalled along with the territorial integrity. Neither James Warlick [OSCE Minsk Group U.S co-chairman], nor Richard Morningstar speak directly about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, confirmed by the UN and the OSCE in 1992. They speak only about returning seven occupied regions," Hasanov noted.
"It is proposed to determine the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh only through negotiations, rather than in accordance with international law," he said.
"The question is why? Doesn't the U.S. consider Nagorno-Karabakh the territory of Azerbaijan? Then how are we supposed to understand the statements that have been made for 20 years by the most senior officials of that country - that 'the U.S. recognizes and supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity'?" Hasanov stressed.
"What's reason of such a contradiction? How can it be possible that in some cases the international community condemns aggression and occupations, makes demands, uses economic sanctions and force when necessary, but on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia they say that the parties should come to an agreement, and the international community will support this. Which agreement can be reached under international law between an aggressor and a victim of aggression?" Hasanov said.
He believes that it would have been better if James Warlick and Ambassador Richard Morningstar touched upon other issues as well.
"For example, why does the U.S. annually allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia? Where have they spent nearly $2 billion, that the U.S. have allocated to invador Armenia and the separatist regime so far? Why the U.S. has a representative office of this fictional regime? Why do they create conditions for the heads of this terror regime to hold a marathon in the U.S. several times in a year to collect millions of dollars? What real steps has the U.S. taken so far as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group?" Hasanov emphasized.
He went on to note that to date there has not been a clear and satisfactory answer to these questions.
"Azerbaijani society is tired of the repeated words, double standards, and it no longer believes in the sincerity of the authors of these statements. There is an opinion in the Azerbaijani public that the political structures of the U.S., those which head the state or those aspiring for power, are more concerned about the upcoming elections, and sacrifice strategic interests of their country for the interests of the Armenian lobby," Hasanov underscored.
Touching upon the question whether the U.S. ambassador's statement will negatively affect the Azerbaijani- U.S relations, the head of the presidential administration's department said that the strategic interests of the U.S. and Azerbaijan and the friendly relations between the two countries and peoples require conservation of partnership and its further development.
"This is only possible in case of mutual trust, sincere atmosphere, rejection of unnecessary steps such as interference in the internal affairs of each other, and a real contribution to the development of bilateral ties. Azerbaijan considers these principles as the main criteria in its foreign policy, in its relations with all friendly countries and expects an adequate position from the partners," Hasanov underscored.
"We believe that all U.S. officials, including Richard Morningstar, should take into account these realities and avoid biased, unfounded allegations, as well as rhetoric that is contrary to the bilateral relations," Hasanov said.