Azerbaijani MFA holds briefing for diplomatic corps on situation in region

Politics Materials 8 September 2023 18:23 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijani MFA holds briefing for diplomatic corps on situation in region
Humay Aghajanova
Humay Aghajanova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 8. On September 8, 2023, a briefing for the diplomatic corps accredited in Azerbaijan was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the participation of Minister of Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev, and Representative of the President of Azerbaijan on special assignments Elchin Amirbayov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said, Trend reports.

During the briefing, the following major points were highlighted:

  • The normalization process between Azerbaijan and Armenia faces serious challenges;
  • What we observe in the behavior of the Armenian side is the replication of the pattern that has been typical for this country for 30 years: imitation of talks, back-stepping from previous agreements, and escaping from implementation of undertaken commitments through resorting to various political, military, and other provocations;
  • Armenia is engaged in a world-wide smear campaign against Azerbaijan and exploits all opportunities to abuse individual states and international organizations against Azerbaijan on the basis of false and groundless allegations of "blockade" or "humanitarian crisis".
  • Before going into specific details, one thing needs to be highlighted and underlined: in all engagements through different international actors, such as the Russian Federation, United States, European Union, or ICRC, Armenia escapes from real negotiations, behaves insincerely, and torpedoes all previously reached arrangements and understandings.
  • Armenia pursues one goal: to sustain separatism in the territory of Azerbaijan through all possible ideological, political, military, financial, and other means. For this purpose, Armenia tries to win time and escape from real steps to allow progress in negotiation in all tracks;
  • The situation with respect to the delivery of goods to the Karabakh region to meet the needs of Armenian residents is a clear example in this respect. The history of negotiations in this respect conducted through different third parties proves one thing: Armenia is not interested in seeking solutions at the negotiation table:
    • Armenia abused the Lachin Road for almost two and a half years for illegal military and other purposes. All our calls were neglected, and no action was taken to address Azerbaijan’s legitimate and fact-based concerns;
    • On April 23, 2023, Azerbaijan established a border check point on the state border as a means to prevent the abuse of the road while ensuring rightful, transparent, and regulated passage across the border. Despite all the allegations, the checkpoint functioned in an exemplary manner under very sensitive conditions;
    • Azerbaijan consistently appealed to the Armenian side for the establishment of working contacts between the relevant state structures, customs, and border services to ensure that cross-border passages are facilitated in a smooth manner. These were not reciprocated.
    • Armenia continued to challenge the very right of Azerbaijan to establish a checkpoint on its border and tried to exploit the International Court of Justice and other instances. Having failed in all such attempts and in view of intensified use of the checkpoint by local Armenian residents, Armenia resorted to an open military provocation on June 15. It put at risk the residents passing through the checkpoint, as well as the staff of the ICRC, which were in close proximity to conduct a pre-planned medical evacuation operation;
    • This was followed by a reckless attempt at smuggling in ICRC-hired vehicles. This was acknowledged by the ICRC;
    • Despite these provocations, passage through the checkpoint for medical evacuations and other urgent purposes has been continuous to date. Since June 15, the ICRC has conducted 27 operations; 312 Armenian residents accompanied by 208 others (totaling 520) traveled to Armenia, while 380 others returned to Karabakh having completed their treatment. For these operations, the passage of 425 vehicles of the ICRC was registered in both directions. While returning to Karabakh, they also bring essential goods, such as medicines and baby formula. Thus, the claim that since June 15, no goods have been transferred to Karabakh has no basis and is simply not true.
    • While facilitating passages through the checkpoint, Azerbaijan officially offered the use of other roads for the delivery of goods to meet the needs of local residents.
    • While continuing to facilitate the passage through the checkpoint for medical evacuations and other urgent purposes, Azerbaijan officially offered the use of other roads for the delivery of goods to meet the needs of local residents;
    • This was extensively discussed at the meeting of the leaders on July 15, with the participation of Charles Michel. It was not a coincidence that this matter was reflected in the statement of Mr. Michel following the meeting;
    • On July 25, in Moscow, the use of multiple roads in a synchronized manner was again the topic of discussion at the trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers. It was a formula proposed by the Russian side. Azerbaijan expressed its readiness to consider such an option and eventually gave its consent. Armenia demonstratively escaped from concrete discussions;
    • Instead, the following day, Armenia resorted to another pre-planned provocation by sending a so-called "humanitarian convoy" to the border. This was pure provocation to manipulate international public opinion and to create the ground for further steps;
    • The Russian Federation, the United States, and the European Union engaged intensively with the parties to facilitate the implementation of the synchronized use of Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin-Khankendi roads and the organization of meetings between the central government’s special representative and local residents.
    • Finally, on August 4, agreements were reached with respect to both issues. The sequential opening of roads and the organization of the meeting in Yevlakh were agreed upon. All involved stakeholders, including the ICRC and peacekeepers, were prepared to facilitate the implementation. Yet, again, at the last moment, the Armenian side backtracked from both agreements by using politically motivated, illegitimate pretexts;
    • This was followed by an intensified smear campaign worldwide to lay the groundwork for the UNSC's engagement in the matter. Armenia’s attempt to exploit the UNSC for anti-Azerbaijani steps failed. Instead, the majority of UNSC members spoke against the politicization of humanitarian delivery, called for the opening of all routes for such delivery, and underlined the necessity for direct dialogue.
    • Azerbaijan continued engagement with all partners to realize the well-received algorithm of synchronized use of Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin-Khankendi roads.
    • During recent high-level contacts with the United States, the simultaneous use of the Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin roads was again discussed in detail. In order to accommodate the concern of the Armenian side communicated through the American side, Azerbaijan agreed to change the sequential opening of the roads to simultaneous delivery of goods through both roads. The US side positively received this as a sign of constructiveness. Relevant US negotiators were tasked with taking this message back to the Armenian side and working towards the realization of the deal. Again, it failed to materialize.
    • The Azerbaijani National Red Crescent Society’s two trucks wait on the ground to be able to deliver the flour to the Armenian residents.
  • Azerbaijan is interested in finding a solution and has proven it in its sincere engagement with all those who offered their good offices and mediation services. In all instances, without exception, the Armenian side violated previously reached agreements under different pretexts. The true reason is one and the same: to prolong the situation, artificially ignite tension, and ultimately derail the normalization process.
  • One thing is crystal clear, and there should be no doubt on that: what Armenia tries to impose on the international community as a "humanitarian" matter is indeed a brazen political campaign targeting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
  • If the situation were humanitarian, it could have been solved weeks ago on the basis of the proposal of synchronized use of multiple roads. Under the pretext of the humanitarian needs of the Armenian residents of the Karabakh region, Armenia in essence took hostage these people to its policy of separatism and continues to spread the idea of intolerance and hatred;
  • As a matter of fact, Armenia has consistently put obstacles in the way of the ICRC Azerbaijan Delegation exercising its mandate too.
  • The situation around the issue of delivery of goods is not isolated from Armenia’s increased military and political provocations targeting Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Armenia’s close to 10,000-strong armed forces continue to be illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan. Dozens of tanks and other armored vehicles, more than two hundred heavy artillery pieces, including multiple rocket launchers, dozens of different types of radio electronic warfare equipment, and close to two hundred mortars are currently deployed in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent has been temporarily deployed;
  • Armenia provides technical, military, logistical, and financial support to sustain these forces in violation of its obligations and commitments. The armed formations in Azerbaijan’s territory are financed directly from the state budget of Armenia.
  • Recent days have witnessed even more intensified military provocations accompanied by an increased military buildup, both along the undelimited border and in the Karabakh region. Armenia digs new trenches, builds fortifications, and accumulates personnel and equipment in an apparent effort to go into another military adventure.
  • Despite its earlier statement regarding Armenia’s recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which includes the Karabakh region, the Prime Minister of Armenia took yet another extremely provocative step by issuing a so-called "congratulatory message" on the occasion of the so-called anniversary of the establishment of the illegal puppet structure in the territory of Azerbaijan.
  • The Prime Minister once again referred to the so-called "right to self-determination of Armenian residents" and confirmed that Armenia would continue to intervene with issues related to these residents under the pretext of their security and rights. As such, he essentially nullified his previous statement on the recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
  • Just to recall, this has been used for 30 years by Armenia to maintain its occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan. The Prime Minister’s message is nothing other than yet another confirmation that Armenia has not abandoned territorial claims against Azerbaijan and has no intention to stop fueling separatism in our territory by all available means, including by providing political, military, and financial support;
  • Armenian diplomatic missions accredited at different international organizations continue to distribute different types of documents on behalf of the illegal regime, again despite Armenia's expressed recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan;
  • The planned so-called "elections" of the "president" of this illegal entity are yet another extremely provocative step. This is a clear violation of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is by no means admissible or tolerable.
  • The mentioned provocations by Armenia negatively affect the normalization process and undermine the efforts of international actors in this regard. An adequate understanding of the risks and threats posed by Armenia’s irresponsible and destructive behavior and appropriate measures to persuade Armenia to refrain from such actions are required.
  • Azerbaijan’s commitment to the peace process is strong and has been proven through the consistent steps we have been taking since November 2020. Our determination to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity is equally firm and resolute.