Azerbaijani MFA Holds Briefing On Current Situation In Region For Accredited Diplomats

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 18. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has held a briefing for the diplomatic corps accredited in the country, Trend reports.

The briefing was held with the participation of Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Administration of the President of Azerbaijan Hikmat Hajiyev, Representative of the President of Azerbaijan for Special Assignments Elchin Amirbayov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fariz Rzayev.

During the briefing, the following main points were highlighted:

The ministry emphasized that despite all the efforts of Azerbaijan through the involved international partners, Armenia and the illegal structure it has installed in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan continue to undermine the normalization process and to reject all the proposals aimed at decreasing tension.

On the contrary, Azerbaijan faces persistent provocative steps from the opposite side. The so-called "presidential elections" in the Karabahh region are a clear example in this regard. Despite Azerbaijan's messages, the Armenian side did not reverse its path.

Türkiye, Pakistan, Ukraine, the UK, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, the United States, Iran, and international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of Turkic States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the European Union made statements that denounced and did not recognize "illegal elections" and their legitimacy.

Taking this opportunity, the ministry thanked all the individual states and international organizations that stood behind international law and spoke clearly against this unlawful, illegitimate, and utterly provocative step by the Armenian side.

For the past several months, efforts have continued through different involved partners, in particular Russia, the US, and the EU, to materialize the simultaneous use of Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin-Khankendi roads for the delivery of goods to Armenian residents.

In all diplomatic discussions, all interlocutors, without exception, confirmed that the formula of simultaneous passages from Lachin and Aghdam represents a legitimate and reasonable way out of the current impasse.

The ministry highlighted that the call for simultaneous passages was voiced in various statements issued by the US Department of State, Russian Foreign Ministry, and Spokesperson of the EU Council President, as well as in interventions delivered at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting held on September 12.

On September 12, after long discussions and delays, the truck of the Russian Red Cross Society was finally allowed to pass through Aghdam to Khankendi. While it was the shared expectation of all involved that this would be momentum for the realization of the simultaneous passages that have been on the table for months, these hopes proved to be wrong again.

On September 10, within high-level contacts with the US and other partners, Azerbaijan once again confirmed its adherence to simultaneous passage by the ICRC from Lachin and Aghdam with the implementation of Azerbaijan's national border and customs control requirements when it comes to the passage from Lachin.

On September 11, shortly after receiving relevant requests from the ICRC for the passage of goods, the Azerbaijani side conveyed its readiness to facilitate the passage of goods as enlisted in these official requests and asked the ICRC to notify the date and time when the ICRC intends to organize such a simultaneous passage. In response, we got the message that the ICRC has no green light from the Armenian side to accept the goods and ensure the security of the ICRC convoys.

While Azerbaijan responded to the appeals of involved international partners consistently and considered in good faith different options for simultaneous passages from Lachin and Aghdam, the Armenian side, with the same level of consistency, backtracked from agreements and introduced new pretexts.

The Armenian side's continued objection to the opening of the roads was political and had nothing to do with whatever "humanitarian concerns" Armenia's aim is to sustain the tools and means to continue fueling separatism in the territory of Azerbaijan. The ordinary residents are kept hostage to such a political adventure.

Against this backdrop, the recent public hearing in the US Senate was nothing but an orchestrated show aimed at pleasing the Armenian lobby. We regret that the State Department representative joined one-sided anti-Azerbaijani statements produced by Armenian lobbyists.

It has already been several weeks since the issue of simultaneous passages from Lachin and Aghdam in observance of Azerbaijan's legislation, including customs requirements, was discussed with the US side at various levels. Therefore, the reason for the current impasse is crystal clear to the US side. Notwithstanding this, the testimony at the US Senate replicated the false Armenian narrative.

Azerbaijan has always been ready to facilitate the consecutive and parallel use of both roads, as discussed accordingly during the July 15 meeting between the leaders in Brussels and during the September 1st phone conversation between the President of Azerbaijan and the Secretary of State of the US.

However, for several months, it has not materialized because of the indifference of the Armenian side to the solution, the continuous politicization of humanitarian delivery, and the pursuance of separatism and segregation. Another reason was to accuse Azerbaijan of creating the so-called humanitarian crisis, which was absolutely groundless. Unfortunately, some members of the political circles of some countries associated themselves with these fake accusations.

On September 17, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan received an initial notification from the ICRC that the Armenian side had agreed to accept the goods with parallel passage through the Aghdam-Khankandi and Lachin-Khankandi roads.

On September 18, after receiving an official note verbale on the passage by the ICRC, at 7:00 (GMT +4), the ministry was able to organize the simultaneous passage of two vehicles of the ICRC, one via Aghdam-Khankandi and another via Lachin-Khankandi roads, which once again demonstrated that the accusations against Azerbaijan on "blockade" have no ground.

At the same time, 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 more than 10,000-strong armed forces continue to be illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan [contrary to the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020 signed by Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian leaders following the second Karabakh war]. More than one hundred tanks and other armored vehicles, more than two hundred heavy artillery pieces, including multiple rocket launchers, dozens of different types of radio and electronic warfare equipment, and more than two hundred mortars are currently deployed in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent has been temporarily deployed [under the trilateral statement].

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. Armenia demonstratively violates the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, since Article 4 clearly stipulates that the Armenian armed forces must withdraw in parallel with the deployment of a peacekeeping contingent from Russia.

The use of radio-electronic warfare equipment illegally deployed in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan is of particular concern. Not only civilian aircraft of Azerbaijani Airlines but also those of foreign countries have been targeted for radio-electronic interference for the last several months, including on July 13, July 24, July 27, August 21, and September 1, posing a serious risk and threat to the safety and security of people and air traffic. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Russian peacekeeping contingent were informed of such threatening actions.

Past days have witnessed even more intensified military provocations accompanied by increased military build-up, both along the undelimited border between Azerbaijan and Armenia and in Azerbaijan's Karabakh region. Armenia digs new trenches, builds fortifications, and accumulates personnel and equipment in an apparent effort to launch another military attack.

Armenia continues to plant new landmines in the territory of Azerbaijan. Since August 2022, a total of 2,728 landmines made in Armenia in 2021 were detected and neutralized, out of which 1,119 were in the Kalbajar and Lachin districts of Azerbaijan along the border area with Armenia, as well as 1,609 in the territory of the Karabakh Economic Region. Both the Russian peacekeeping contingent and heads of the Turkish-Russian Joint Monitoring Center, as well as the military representatives of foreign countries, visited the area where these landmines were demonstrated.

One of the reasons for the establishment of the Lachin border checkpoint was to prevent the illegal military activities and smuggling mentioned.

A "congratulatory message" by the Prime Minister of Armenia on the occasion of the so-called anniversary of the establishment of an illegal puppet structure in the territory of Azerbaijan cannot but provide yet another evidence that Armenia is not sincere in its previous statements on the recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

On the contrary, with its latest statements and actions, the Armenian leadership essentially nullified these previous statements.

Armenian diplomatic missions accredited by different international organizations continue to distribute documents on behalf of the illegal regime, again despite Armenia's expressed recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan are as important as those of any other country. And consequently, Azerbaijan is as entitled as any other country in the world to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity by all means safeguarded under international law.

At this critical juncture, making Armenia reverse its dangerous path is more important and required than ever.

Armenia and the junta it continues to maintain in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan through all possible ideological, political, military, financial, and other means must face a unified and clear stance by the international community that relying on the old tactic of winning time has no chance to yield the outcome they desire.

Azerbaijan is interested in finding a solution and has proved it in its sincere engagement with international actors, which 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.

Azerbaijan's commitment to the peace process is strong and has been proven through the consistent steps we have been taking since November 2020.

Azerbaijan demands from Armenia to stop its military buildup, refrain from revanchist plans, stop contesting and violating Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and stop sponsoring separatism and terrorism in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan also demands to immediately begin to withdraw Armenian military personnel, dissolve the military and so-called "government" structures of the Armenian-subordinated puppet regime, and disarm all Armenian armed forces illegally located in Azerbaijan's territories. In this case, amnesty can be applied to so-called "representatives" of an illegal regime.


Trend News Agency

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