Details added (first version posted on 13:56)
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 7
By wordplay, the Armenian government cannot evade overwhelming responsibility, Hikmet Hajiyev, head of the foreign policy department of the presidential administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, said in the article on EURACTIV.
Hajiyev made the remarks in response to the interview by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to EURACTIV.
“Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s interview on March 4 with EURACTIV, particularly his claims on Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is diametrically opposite to the essence and format of negotiation process mediated by OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs,” he said.
“Since the Dushanbe meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan in September last year, Azerbaijan has taken constructive and courageous steps to create conducive environment to move the negotiation process forward,” Hajiyev added. “In the margins of CIS informal summit in St. Petersburg and in Davos two more meetings took place between leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. However, Armenian prime minister even avoids calling them meetings and prefers metaphorical illustration as informal contacts.”
“This hopeful dynamism has also been accompanied by four meetings of foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan with the mediation of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs,” he said.
“But instead of positively responding to the optimism of co-chairs and international community at large to continue substantive and intensive result-oriented dialogue between the two countries, Armenian prime minister started to make unrealistic assertions to involve illegal puppet regime established in the seized lands of Azerbaijan into negotiations,” Hajiyev said.
“By such thinking Armenian side deliberately blocks and paralyzes the entire talks,” he added. “Armenian prime minister says that he cannot speak on behalf of Armenians of Karabakh but fails to answer the basic question: What are Armenian armed forces doing in the sovereign lands of Azerbaijan?”
“It is very well known that Armenia, in blatant violation of the UN Charter by illegal use of force, occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan,” Hajiyev added. “Bloody ethnic cleansing has been perpetrated by Armenia against million more Azerbaijani civilians, who still continue to live as IDPs and refugees.”
“The direct involvement of the Armenian armed forces in the military hostilities against Azerbaijan and the presence of these forces in the occupied territories attest legal, political and moral responsibility of Armenia as the party to the conflict,” he added.
“Simply, by play of words Armenian government cannot evade this overwhelming responsibility,” Hajiyev said. “The occupiers often disguise their own role in the forcible seizure of the territory of another state by setting up puppet regimes in the occupied territories. The so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” is a vivid illustration of this policy and practice.”
“The European Court of Human Rights with regard to the case “Chiragov vs Armenia” put an effective end to Armenia’s persistent denial of responsibility,” he said. “ECHR ruled that “the ‘NKR’ and its administration survives by virtue of the military, political, financial and other support given to it by Armenia which, consequently, exercises effective control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories.”
“Recently, Pashinyan’s Cabinet member and chief of national security admitted Armenia’s policy of annexation of seized lands by justifying settlement practice and refusing to return even an inch of occupied lands,” he said.
“There is yet another inconsistency,” Hajiyev added. “In the interview Pashinyan welcomes the UN Secretary General’s statement on the conflict, but keeps silent over the four UN Security Council Resolutions on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Armenia has yet to fulfil the demands of UNSCRs on immediate and unconditional withdrawal of troops from all occupied Azerbaijani lands.”
“Paradoxically, Armenian leadership from one side expresses support to the efforts of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, but from another side undermines the work of Co-Chair countries by calling for change of negotiation format,” he added.
“According to the decision of OSCE Helsinki Ministerial of 1992 Armenia and Azerbaijan recognized as conflicting parties and consequently, Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan as interested parties,” Hajiyev said.
“Under the conditions of committing ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s groundless attempts to demand exclusive rights to Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh are contrary to the letter and spirit of human rights,” he said. “Armenia even tries to deny very existence of 80,000 more Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh and by all means blocks dialogue between two communities.”
“Azerbaijan supports statements by EU high officials during a press conference with Pashinyan,” Hajiyev said. “The status quo of occupation is unacceptable and must be changed. Putting conditions to negotiations is inadmissible, no need to create a new format, and negotiations should continue within existing framework based on agreed formula.”
“Continuity of and commitment to the negotiations must be preserved,” he said. “These are also unanimously shared view of international community. Therefore, addressed political-diplomatic messages should be delivered to Armenia. The Armenian side should finally understand that the period of euphoria has ended. Enough of street populism, it is time to take serious actions.”
“Armenia’s economic development is impossible without a settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict,” Hajiyev said.
“To achieve progress in the resolution of conflict, Armenia must withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and build civilized relations with neighbors,” he said. “Only in this case the most needed lasting and fair peace can be ensured in the region. Otherwise, Armenia’s political, economic and demographic crisis and self-isolation will continue to deepen.”