Along with other routes, Azerbaijan's Aghdam-Khankendi road hampered by Armenia - MFA

Politics Materials 14 August 2023 11:19 (UTC +04:00)
Along with other routes, Azerbaijan's Aghdam-Khankendi road hampered by Armenia - MFA
Humay Aghajanova
Humay Aghajanova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 14. Armenia has imposed a series of military and other obstructions for the use of other routes, such as the Aghdam-Khankendi road, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan said in a statement, Trend reports.

"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," the statement noted.

According to the statement, along with the above, 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.

"As it is well known, wide-range abuse of the Lachin-Khankendi road by Armenia over the past three years necessitated Azerbaijan’s legitimate and legal action of establishing a border checkpoint to ensure security and order on its border. While Armenia attempted to portray these efforts as a "blockade" and requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an order on the removal of the checkpoint, the ICJ, in its order of July 6, has unanimously rejected this request," the statement reminded.

"Armenia did not reconcile with the reality of being deprived of the means to supply and sustain its not fully withdrawn armed forces in the territory of Azerbaijan and to illicitly extract Azerbaijan’s natural resources. Consequently, Armenia has started a propaganda campaign worldwide and imposed a series of military and other obstructions for the normal functioning of the border checkpoint, as well as for the use of other routes, such as the Aghdam-Khankendi road, for the delivery of goods to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan," the statement pointed out.

"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.

Therefore, according to the statement, there should be no doubt that, notwithstanding the intensive engagement by Azerbaijan with Russia, the US, the European Union, and the ICRC to find ways out of the situation, Armenia is deliberately obstructing diplomatic efforts.

Armenia's appeal to the Security Council is part of this campaign and is a serious blow to the efforts being made by involved actors, among them the members of the Security Council, as the statement also pointed out.

"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," the statement said.

"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 engaged in provocations, including shelling Azerbaijani border guards on June 15 and attempting to smuggle vehicles into Azerbaijani territory without authorization on July 26.