BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 29. Azerbaijan intends to organize the UN mission's visit to Karabakh in the coming days, the Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan and the Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, Hikmet Hajiyev, told CBC News, Trend reports.
According to him, Azerbaijan wants Armenian residents of Karabakh to remain in that territory.
"Azerbaijan has a comprehensive plan to provide them with safe and better living conditions. However, they can freely leave the territory if they wish. Azerbaijan has never had and currently has no plans to force Armenian residents of Karabakh to leave their homes," the official said.
"On the contrary, Azerbaijan has declared that it fully guarantees their safety if they choose to stay in Karabakh. We want that. Azerbaijan continues to call for ensuring their safety. However, we do not have the right to impede their freedom of movement. It is a sovereign and personal choice for each individual," he noted.
Speaking about the baseless statement by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Hajiyev called the 'ethnic cleansing' phrase abusive.
"Unfortunately, we see a large amount of disinformation. Azerbaijan has never conducted ethnic cleansing and will not conduct it. We have never used force against the civilian population," Hajiyev emphasized.
He also stated that the Azerbaijani government sent buses to Khankendi after Armenian residents who didn't have cars sought assistance.
"People are not forced to board buses. Azerbaijan will do everything possible to organize the safest and most convenient route in any direction," Hajiyev added.
At the invitation of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ramin Mammadov, the point person for contacts with ethnic Armenian residents of Karabakh, met with representatives of Armenian residents of Karabakh Sergey Martirosyan and David Melkumyan on September 21, 2023, in Azerbaijan’s Yevlakh.
The discussions held in a constructive and positive atmosphere focused on reintegration of the Armenian population of Karabakh, restoration of infrastructure and the organization of activities on the basis of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In the context of discussions of social and humanitarian issues, the representatives of the Armenian residents of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan said that there was a particular need for fuel. At the same time, they asked for humanitarian assistance, including food products.
As a result of the meeting, their request was accepted positively.
On September 25, 2023, another meeting between Ramin Mammadov with representatives of Armenian residents of Karabakh was held in the city of Khojaly.
Agreement was reached on organizing a meeting of the working group led by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev on the solution of social, humanitarian, economic and infrastructure issues with relevant representatives dealing with utility, health and other civil services in the area, including the city of Khankendi, in order to determine the directions of further action. The sides also agreed to set up a joint working group for this purpose.
It was also suggested that healthcare services in the field hospital to be established near the city of Khankendi or in the direction of Khojaly should be jointly organized by medical staff of Azerbaijani and Armenian origin. It was also proposed to establish a mobile food supply service by Azerbaijani and Armenian service personnel.
The sides expressed their readiness to provide necessary medical assistance to persons suffering from chronic diseases or who are in need of special surgery.
In addition, the sides emphasized the importance of establishing joint mobile medical teams consisting of medical workers of Azerbaijani and Armenian origin, providing services to lone people in remote villages.
The proposal to organize visits of civil society representatives and social activists of Armenian origin living in the Karabakh economic region to Baku or other cities of Azerbaijan was emphasized. It was noted that such initiatives were important in terms of creating a civil society dialogue platform, as well as implementing confidence-building measures.