BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 21. The illegal presence of Armenian armed forces in Karabakh has been a serious problem for regional security, Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan and Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, said during an interview with BBC News, Trend reports.
"Azerbaijan has always said that the presence of illegal military formations on the territory of Azerbaijan continues to pose great challenges to regional peace and security. However, despite this, Armenia has refused to fulfill the obligation regarding the withdrawal of armed formations from the territory of Azerbaijan contained in the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020," Hajiyev said.
Hajiyev noted that Azerbaijan was forced to take anti-terrorist measures of a local nature.
He also added that Armenia continued to form troops on the territory of Azerbaijan. This refers to 10,000 troops, 100 tank elements, 200 artillery guns, and missiles. Azerbaijan repeatedly appealed to Armenia, but, unfortunately, the leadership of this country did not pay attention to Azerbaijan's appeals.
"Given this, we were forced to take localized anti-terrorist measures on our sovereign territory. There was no other choice. This measure was of a localized and limited nature. We were not talking about a large-scale military operation," Hajiyev added.
The president's assistant also noted that Azerbaijan in no way targeted civilians.
"However, Azerbaijani civilians and police officers became victims of mines laid by Armenian sabotage groups of illegal military formations in Karabakh," Hajiyev emphasized.
In order to ensure the provisions of the Trilateral Statement, suppress large-scale provocations in the Karabakh economic region, disarm and withdraw Armenian armed forces formations from the territories of Azerbaijan, neutralize their military infrastructure, ensure the safety of civilians returning to the territories liberated from occupation, civil servants involved in construction-restoration works, and Azerbaijani military personnel, as well as restore the constitutional order of Azerbaijan, anti-terrorist activities of a local nature were carried out in the region on September 19–20.
Within the framework of the activities, positions of Armenian armed forces formations, their long-term firing points, as well as military means and military facilities, were disrupted using high-precision weapons in the front line and in depth. Civilians and civilian infrastructure were not targets; only legitimate military targets were put out of action.
Taking into account the appeal of the representatives of the Armenian population of Karabakh through the Russian peacekeeping contingent, an agreement was reached on September 20, 2023, at 13:00 (GMT+4) to cease anti-terrorist activities of a local nature under the following conditions: the formations of the armed forces of Armenia, Armenian illegal armed formations located in Azerbaijan's Karabakh region, lay down their weapons, leave their combat positions and military posts, and completely disarm; the formations of the armed forces of Armenia leave the territory of Azerbaijan; Armenian illegal armed groups are dissolved.