Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.13
Military helicopter performing the attacking flight was shot down, as required by all the rules of war, said the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu.
He said that Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory of Azerbaijan.
"Russia does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as a subject of international law and therefore recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan," said the ambassador. "It is enshrined in many documents, including the Treaty of friendship between Azerbaijan and Russia, containing separate lines that parties will oppose separatism on territories of each other. As for the situation - how would you imagine that one state conducts military exercises on the territory of another state? Military exercises in Nagorno-Karabakh are precisely the exercises on the territory of another state. And when the line of contact between the parties is broken by a military helicopter, how should the troops tasked to guard this line react? There were two helicopters but only one was shot down.
He said that it is normal practice of border security, any sovereign state protects its borders.
"I can recall a situation when the Soviet Union shot down a South Korean "Boeing", which violated the airspace either by mistake or not - but it was shot down," said Bulbuloglu. "That's because one can not violate the border. The latest in materials show that CSTO Secretary General Mr. Bordyuzha indignant at the fact that the helicopter was shot down, which could lead to an escalation of the conflict. But why would not respected General Bordyuzha explain Armenian colleagues that one can not conduct exercises on foreign territory? And if a military helicopter of a certain country violated the airspace of the Russian Federation, which order would have given the General Bordyuzha? Give it a cordial welcome? In 1994, the Azerbaijani authorities declared the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh closed for the passage of all types of transport. It was officially sent by us in all international aviation organizations."
The ambassador said that the president of Azerbaijan repeatedly noted in his speeches that Azerbaijan will never reconcile with the loss of its territories.
"What is not clear? Azerbaijan will fight until all the occupation forces are withdrawn from the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh," the ambassador said.
"And here the talk is not about civilians who live there. We do not want in any way to deport them, and we offer them the highest level of autonomy in the world, even though over 200,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from Armenia," he added.
Bulbuloglu also said that aside from the upper regions of Karabakh, five low-lying areas are also under occupation, and that is where the military exercises are being held.
"If I am asked, not as an ambassador, but as a native of Karabakh, I would say Azerbaijan is too softly reacting to this," Bulbuloglu said.
The ambassador reminded that there was a military helicopter, which was in an attacking flight and it was downed as it should be according to the rules of war.
"The war is not over," he added. "We have an agreement, signed 1994, for an armistice, but not the end of the war."
"I'd like to emphasize that this is the only conflict where the parties don't have any separation forces."
Bulbuloglu further said that throughout 20 years, the ceasefire have been respected more or less.
"Of course, there is always shooting, but the issue doesn't end in full-scale military activities, we try to resolve it by peaceful means," he added.
Bulbuloglu said there is the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, and there are negotiations, four UN Security Council resolutions, and the UN General Assembly decisions that Armenia should withdraw from the occupied territories.
"The sooner they do it, the better it will be for the entire region," he said. "But now there is an aggravation, snipers are shooting. Why is this happening? Remove troops from the occupied lands, let there be no snipers. This territory de jure belongs to Azerbaijan, and no drills can be held there."
He said that prior to the start of these drills the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan made a statement on the inadmissibility of holding them, but they are still held.
"In short, it is necessary to remove the cause, and then talk about the consequences," Bulbuloglu stressed.
On Nov. 12, at 13:45 (UTC/GMT +4 hours) an Armenian Mi-24 helicopter flying 1700 meters northeast of the Kengerli village of Azerbaijan's Aghdam district attacked the Azerbaijani army positions.
The helicopter was shot down by the Azerbaijani side.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.