Bahraini influential newspaper highlights Azerbaijan’s peaceful policy

Baku, September 5, AZERTAC
The Bahraini newspaper The Daily Tribune - News of Bahrain has published an article by Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev headlined “The fragile process of normalizing relations in the face of Armenian provocations in Karabakh.”
The article reads: “Azerbaijan, which won the war in 2020, offered peace to Armenia based on the principles of international law, including respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders internationally recognized. Azerbaijan supports the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the region and is ready for the process of normalizing relations with Armenia.
Despite earlier optimism, the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks are still ongoing and may be at a standstill. One of the stumbling blocks on the path to an agreement on a peace treaty is Yerevan’s unwillingness to explicitly recognize, in writing, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity (although Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has made oral pronouncements to that effect several times). However, even this step—written recognition—should not be understood to be sufficient. More specific legal, binding commitments are required in addition, such as constitutional changes, the cessation of unilateral financial support to the ethnic-Armenian secessionist entity, and the deployment of Armenian soldiers in any part of sovereign Azerbaijani territory, including liberated Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur as well as in the area that falls within the zone of deployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent as defined by the terms of the 10 November 2020 tripartite statement that ended the Second Karabakh War.
Contrary to the commitment formalized in paragraph 4 of the Tripartite Declaration of November 10, 2020, Armenia still does not withdraw its armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. The Armenian side is trying to interfere in the process of reintegration of the local Armenian population of Azerbaijan by preventing this process. In view of this, Armenia should demonstrate its commitment to regional peace not only with words, but above all with deeds. For its part, Azerbaijan is grateful to the countries that have contributed to the process of normalizing relations and holding meetings between the parties. Recently, these meetings have become more intensive. In addition to recent meetings in Brussels and Washington, another meeting took place in Moscow.
Armenia presents the international community with distorted information about the current situation in the region. Armenia’s main intention is to slow down the process of normalization of relations by making it last as long as possible and thus gain time to carry out its political program directed against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and, to this end, to create a new crisis situation to undermine the process of normalization.
Considering the devastating history of Armenia’s occupation of sovereign Azerbaijani lands, ensuring Armenia’s adherence to and respect for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is a critical issue for Baku. Apart from the formality and structure of a final peace treaty, Azerbaijan has been clear in wanting Armenia to explicitly recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan and waive any direct or indirect claims to it. Thus, Azerbaijan requires Armenia’s explicit and unconditional recognition in the treaty of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan categorically rejects all unfounded allegations about the existence of “blockades” or “humanitarian crises” as propagated by Armenia. It is imperative to stress that the terms “blockade” and “humanitarian crises” invoked by Armenia constitute a flagrant manifestation of its vast campaign of propaganda and discredit against Azerbaijan. As for the so-called “Lachin Corridor”, this is unequivocally a road located on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It should be noted that this route does not have any extraterritorial status. Azerbaijan, in accordance with its commitments under the Trilateral Declaration of November 10, 2020.
However, Armenia has consistently exploited this route envisaged exclusively for humanitarian purposes to facilitate the movement of illegal armed groups under its direct responsibility and which it illegally maintains on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. These armed groups, which number around 10,000 people, are active in particular in the trafficking of arms, ammunition, including landmines, as well as in the protection of the illegal extraction of minerals on Azerbaijani territory.
On April 23, 2023, Azerbaijan, in exercise of its inherent right to safeguard its sovereignty and security, established a border checkpoint at the beginning of the Lachin road on the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s establishment of the “Lachin” border checkpoint on the international border with Armenia is a measure taken in accordance with international law and current international practice arising from the sovereign right of our country.
It is of paramount importance to refute any allegations suggesting the “illegality” of the aforementioned border checkpoint or its alleged obstruction of cross-border movement. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), by its order of July 6, 2023, unanimously rejected Armenia’s appeal asking Azerbaijan to withdraw its personnel from the Lachin road.
Contrary to Armenia’s claims, the Azerbaijani side is organizing the legal, regulated and transparent passage of citizens, goods and vehicles from the Lachin border crossing point. As proof, the movement of civilian populations from the Karabakh region in Azerbaijan to Armenia increased significantly after the establishment of the border checkpoint.
Remarkably, more than 2,000 people passed through the border checkpoint until June 15, 2023. On that day, traffic came to an abrupt halt due to the assault of the Armenian armed forces on the Azerbaijani border guards and accompanying Russian Federation peacekeeping forces. Unfortunately, this attack caused serious injuries to an Azerbaijani border guard. Amid the acute security threat and pending an investigation into the attack, traffic through the border checkpoint has been temporarily suspended.
Azerbaijan, unwaveringly, has repeatedly called on Armenia to cooperate through border and customs institutions, promoting transparent and secure cross-border movement of people, goods and services. It is deplorable that these appeals have gone unanswered.
Given Armenia’s intransigence, Azerbaijan has tried to work with the ICRC to use alternative and shorter routes, such as the northern route to Khankendi via Aghdam, to transport humanitarian supplies to the Karabakh region from other parts of Azerbaijan. In this context, it is essential to underline that the President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel, in his public remarks following the meeting between President I. Aliyev and Prime Minister N. Pashinyan in Brussels, encouraged the use of the Aghdam-Khankendi road as an important road essential to ensure that the vital needs of the inhabitants of Karabakh are adequately met. Despite everything, the Armenian side continues to oppose the use of Aghdam-Khankendi, Fizuli-Shusha-Khankendi roads for political reasons. Furthermore, Armenia, through the illegal subordinate regime it established on the territory of Azerbaijan, continues to refuse ICRC assistance. Armenia is orchestrating so-called public protests against the use of alternative routes blocking them to prevent the delivery of goods and services. This hostile behaviour is accentuated by a recklessly instrumentalised program of ethnic and racial hatred, thus subverting the very essence of the humanitarian assistance offered by Azerbaijan to its own population in the Karabakh region.”

Politics 2023-09-05 13:22:00