Azerbaijan concerned over recent Armenian provocations (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 19:40)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 30


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has expressed deep concern over the recent intensification of provocations of Armenia.

The Foreign Ministry said the Armenian provocations are aimed at undermining the Vienna and St. Petersburg negotiations and the efforts on peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and are aimed at expanding the scope of the conflict.

A reconnaissance-subversive group of Armenian armed forces perpetrated yet another provocative act by violating the state border of Armenia and Azerbaijan on December 29, the ministry said.

“This provocative act by Armenian armed forces has been halted and the Armenian reconnaissance-subversive group was forced to retreat with losses.”

Serviceman of the armed forces of Azerbaijan Chingiz Gurbanov was killed while preventing the attack and his corpse was taken to the Armenian side, said the Foreign Ministry.

“Initially, the Armenian side denied that they have the body of the Azerbaijani serviceman,” the ministry said in the statement. “However, later the Armenian side with a view of hiding its responsibility for the incident and misleading the international community attempted to present the situation as the violation of the state border of Armenia.”

“Contrary to the moral and ethic norms and basic human values, Armenian side resorted to dirty propaganda and disinformation by sharing photos of the killed Azerbaijani serviceman in social networks,” said the ministry.

The Foreign Ministry added that numerous signs of torture after death were also registered on the bodies of the Azerbaijani servicemen killed during the April battles, which occurred with the provocation and instigation of the Armenian side.

“Their photos were also shared in media and social networks by Armenia.”

A couple of years ago the body of Mubariz Ibrahimov, a serviceman of the armed forces of Azerbaijan, was also kept by Armenia, acts of vandalism were committed on the body and only after persistent international pressure his body was returned to Azerbaijan a few months later, according to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.

“Ignoring international humanitarian law, the Republic of Armenia pursues a systematic policy of committing acts of vandalism on the bodies of the servicemen killed during combat operations and in a consistent manner makes the return of bodies the object of political speculation,” said the statement.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the necessary and urgent measures by international humanitarian organizations, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is guided by the principles of compassion and humanism, will be taken to ensure the return of Chingiz Gurbanov’s body to Azerbaijan.

“Abusing his authority with regard to the abovementioned issue, the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nikolai Bordyuzha distorted the essence of the incident and claimed that it happened in the territory of Armenia,” the statement said.

Besides, addressing the illegal regime established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”, Bordyuzha attempted to question the territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“This irresponsible statement by the CSTO secretary general serves to undermine the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, as well as is contrary to the basic principles of the relationship with the other member-states of the organization which support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan,” reads the statement.

Bordyuzha has in the past made biased statements on the conflict, the Foreign Ministry reminded.

Attempts by Armenia to bring the armed conflict directly to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and to involve the CSTO in the conflict by misusing the politicians like Bordyuzha who have particular attitude and sympathy towards Armenia serve for the escalation of the political situation in the region and pose serious threats to the regional stability and security, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said.

“We reject this irresponsible statement by Bordyuzha and expect other member-states of the organization to come up with the proper assessment,” said the ministry.

“The Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that continuation of aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan and the illegal presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is the main cause of the escalation and incidents in the conflict zone and the principal impediment to the political settlement of the conflict,” the statement said.

“The Republic of Azerbaijan calls upon the international community to enforce Armenia for peace and demand the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council,” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said.

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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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