BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 14. The efforts for durable peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia have become hostages to Armenia’s policy of deliberate tension and revanchism and face serious challenges, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan said in a statement, Trend reports.
According to the statement, despite its first failure in December 2022, Armenia once again attempts to instrumentalize the UN Security Council for its political, military, and informational manipulation campaign.
"Armenia is a country that has for almost 30 years brazenly disregarded the four resolutions of 1993 and a series of Presidential Statements of the Security Council demanding the full, immediate, and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from the territory of Azerbaijan," the statement said.
The statement noted that Armenia's appeal to the Security Council "comes at a time when Armenia itself deliberately and intentionally obstructs all the efforts made through international partners to find a balanced, law-based, and reasonable solution on the ground" in the wake of unfounded claims of a "worsening humanitarian situation" and "continued blockade" in the area" the statement noted.
"As is well known, over the past three years, Armenia has widely abused the Lachin-Khankendi route, which prompted Azerbaijan to take the lawful and legal action of erecting a border checkpoint to maintain security and order on its border. The statement recalled that while Armenia tried to characterize these measures as a "blockade" and asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to seek an order ordering the dismantling of the checkpoint, the ICJ unanimously rejected this request in its judgment from July 6", the statement reminded.
"Armenia did not come to terms with the reality of being bereft of the means to supply and sustain its partially withdrawn armed forces on Azerbaijani soil and to illegally plunder Azerbaijan's natural resources. As a result, Armenia has launched a global propaganda campaign and imposed a number of military and other obstacles to the regular operation of the border checkpoint as well as the use of alternate routes, like the Aghdam-Khankendi road, for the delivery of goods to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan", the statement noted.
"Recently, following a series of intensive consultations and shuttle diplomacy efforts, agreement was finally reached with respect to the delivery of humanitarian cargo to the Karabakh region through various routes, as well as the organization of the meeting between the Special Representative of Azerbaijan and representatives of local Armenian residents," the statement further said.
"On the first case, concrete blocks and all other physical barriers imposed by the Armenian side on the use of the Aghdam-Khankendi road should have been removed to allow the delivery of humanitarian cargo by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to meet the needs of local residents. This should have been followed by an intensification of usage of the Lachin-Khankendi road by the ICRC within 24 hours. All the involved parties, including the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the ICRC, were prepared to realize this deal in practice," the statement noted.
"On the second, a meeting between Azerbaijan’s Special Representative and representatives of local Armenian residents was agreed to take place in Yevlakh," the statement added.
"Regrettably, on August 5, 2023, Armenia, through its illegally installed puppet regime, backstepped from both agreements at the last moment by introducing politically motivated and illegitimate preconditions and various pretexts," the statement emphasized.
"In other words, what Armenia cynically seeks from the international community in general and the UN Security Council in particular was indeed within reach days ago as a result of the active support of partners, including the members of the Security Council. This did not materialize only due to the rejection by Armenia itself," the statement explained.
"Had Armenia and its subordinate illegal structure honored the agreement, the situation would have been solved in early August, providing a reasonable framework for the delivery of humanitarian cargo to the residents of the Karabakh region and facilitation of routes for the passage of persons, goods, and vehicles," the statement said.
There should be no question that Armenia is purposefully impeding diplomatic efforts, the statement claims, despite the intense engagement by Azerbaijan with Russia, the US, the European Union, and the ICRC to find solutions to the problem.
The statement further noted that Armenia's plea to the Security Council is a part of this campaign and is a major setback to the efforts being made by those engaged, including the Security Council members.
"In addition to this pattern, over the past weeks, the Armenian armed forces illegally deployed in the territory of Azerbaijan in blatant violation of international law, as well as Armenia’s commitment under paragraph 4 of the Trilateral Statement of the leaders of Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, and Armenia of November 10, 2020, have intensified the military-engineering works and other military build-up," the statement said. "The use of radio-electronic warfare equipment illegally deployed in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan is of particular concern. Not only civilian aircraft of the Azerbaijani Airlines but also those of foreign countries have been targeted by radio-electronic interference over the past few weeks, posing a serious risk for their safety."
"In parallel to illegal military build-up and activities in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent has been temporarily deployed, large-scale accumulation of weaponry and other military equipment and personnel along the undelimited state border has also been observed over the past few days in an apparent effort to go into another military adventure," the statement said. "The above-mentioned fully resembles the pattern that had been typical to Armenia throughout almost 30 years until September 2020: to imitate talks, escape from previously undertaken commitments at the last minute, and commit political, military, and other provocations at every stage of negotiation to shy away from taking concrete decisions."
"Moreover, such actions by Armenia testify to the fact that Armenia didn't cease its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, and her verbal recognition of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity contradicts her deeds on the ground," the statement said. "Following the 2020 war, Azerbaijan offered a peace to Armenia based on equal and reciprocal respect for the legitimate interests of both sides through mutual recognition of and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders."
"On another track, Azerbaijan pursues the policy of reintegration of ethnic Armenian residents of the Karabakh region as equal citizens, guaranteeing all the rights and freedoms envisaged in the Constitution of Azerbaijan and all relevant international human rights mechanisms to which Azerbaijan is a signatory," the statement said. "At the same time, Azerbaijan’s adherence to both these tracks is without prejudice to its right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity by all legitimate means safeguarded in the UN Charter and other universal international law instruments."
"At this critical juncture, sober apprehension of existing risks and an adequate response by the international community to Armenia’s brazen provocations are more necessary than ever to overcome the challenges facing the inter-state Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process and the reintegration of local ethnic Armenian residents into Azerbaijan’s political, legal, and socio-economic framework. It is important to ensure that the historic opportunity for durable peace is not missed," the statement concluded.
In order to prevent the transportation of manpower, ammunition, mines, as well as other military equipment from Armenia for illegal Armenian armed groups on the territory of Azerbaijan (which weren't withdrawn contrary to the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020 signed by Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders following the second Karabakh war), and as an adequate response to the unilateral establishment of a border checkpoint by Armenia on the border with Azerbaijan on April 22, 2023, at the entrance to the Lachin-Khankendi road contrary to the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, on April 23 this year, the units of the State Border Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan set up a border checkpoint in its sovereign territories, on the border with Armenia, at the beginning of the Lachin-Khankendi road.
Despite Azerbaijan ensuring the passage of Armenian citizens, ICRC representatives, and the Russian peacekeeping contingent through the border crossing (temporarily stationed in Azerbaijan under the trilateral statement), the Armenian side spread rumors about the alleged "tense humanitarian situation" in the area in order to carry out its illegal activities in Azerbaijani territory.
At the same time, the Armenian side provoked, firing shells at Azerbaijani border guards on June 15 and attempted to transport vehicles into Azerbaijani territory without permission on July 26.