No:509/22, Comments by Aykhan Hajizada, Head of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in response to claims by Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, within the speech at the government meeting on 10 November 2022
An attempt by Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, during his speech of November 10, 2022 at the government meeting, to distort the speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Shusha of November 8, and create an impression that Azerbaijan has not fulfilled its obligations is completely groundless and unacceptable. Such an approach of the Armenian leadership is another blow to the process of normalization of relations between the two states and establishment of peace in the region.
Accusations of Prime Minister Pashinyan against Azerbaijan on violation of international law, while turning a blind eye to Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan over the past 30 years, gross breach of the fundamental rights of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis within the framework of the occupation policy, and numerous crimes against humanity, is an ultimate level of hypocricy. Making such a baseless accusations instead of admitting the violations of international law by his country over the years, and even admitting in a certain sense the violation of the obligations undertaken by the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020, Armenian Prime Minister seriously calls into question Armenia’s sincerity in the peace process.
We remind Prime Minister Pashinyan that in the 44-day war of 2020 Azerbaijan liberated its internationally recognized territories from the occupying forces and restored its territorial integrity by using the right of self-defense in accordance with the UN Charter. Armenia, on the other hand, is still refusing to implement the Trilateral Statement dated November 10, 2020, including the 4th, 6th and 9th paragraphs of the Statement, personally signed by Prime Minister Pashinyan, thus violating its international obligations.
Adequate responses by Azerbaijan to various military provocations of Armenian armed forces, which are still not completely withdrawn from the Azerbaijani territories and continue to pose a threat to the region contrary to the Trilateral Statement, are legal.
It is Armenian side that delays the process of opening the communications of the western regions of Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, violating the obligation undertaken in the 9th paragraph of the Trilateral Statement; Azerbaijan, on the other hand, honestly fulfills its obligation by building the new Lachin road. In this case, the Armenian Prime Minister’s claim that Azerbaijan intends to close the Lachin road is nothing more than a deliberate escalation of the situation in the region.
We emphasize that in accordance with the Trilateral Statement, the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees only the safety of the movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin road, and the use of the road for military purposes is unacceptable. As acknowledged by Armenian officials, the Armenian armed forces have not been completely withdrawn from the territories of Azerbaijan, and the landmines produced in Armenia in 2021 are transferred to the territory of Azerbaijan. This means that Armenia continues to abuse the Lachin road for illegal military activities in contrary to paragraph 6 of the Trilateral Statement.
Regarding the totally false interpretation of the well-known provision of the Trilateral Statement and groundless claims of the Prime Minister of Armenia regarding Zangezur Corridor, we note that Zangezur Corridor refers to the restoration of historical connection between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of our country, and this implies the use of the said corridor for peaceful and humanitarian purposes. According to the Trilateral Statement, Armenia has an obligation to open an unhindered connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan. Here we are talking about the use of the road only for people, cargos and transport, and not for military purposes, just like in the Lachin corridor. In addition to the economic and communication importance of providing this connection, its humanitarian necessity, the restoration of the traditional geographic connection in the region, and thus the importance of ensuring sustainable peace in the region is undeniable.
We bring to the attention of the Prime Minister, who accuses Azerbaijan of using the methods of terrorist organizations, that the crimes against humanity committed by the Armenian side against the Azerbaijani people during the 30-year occupation and after, including the unprecedented acts of ethnic cleansing, urbicide and culturicide, cannot be comparable to the crimes committed by any terrorist organization. Evidence of atrocities and destruction committed by Armenia against the population, historical and cultural heritage, cities and villages, infrastructure and natural resources of Azerbaijan has been documented and presented to the international community and courts.
Since the first Karabakh war, Armenian armed forces have committed unprecedented massacres not only against Azerbaijani soldiers, but also against civilians, and until today, no information has been provided about the fate of nearly 4,000 Azerbaijanis. In October 2020, crimes against humanity were committed by targeting the civilian population of the cities of Ganja, Barda, and Mingachevir in Azerbaijan. The landmine threat caused by Armenia is a serious danger to people’s lives in the region today. Since November 2020 until today, 268 people, most of them civilians, were victims of landmines. The fact that the landmines exposed in Azerbaijan’s territories were produced in Armenia in 2021 is a proof that Armenia continues its war crimes against Azerbaijanis by not handing over landmine maps to Azerbaijan, on the other hand by laying new landmines.
The government of Armenia has not taken any practical measures to prevent the committed war crimes or bring the relevant persons to justice for the committed crimes.
We remind the Prime Minister of Armenia, who wanted to avoid his obligations misinterpreting the provisions of the Trilateral Statement, and who tried to bring up the issue of “the status of Karabakh,” which was not mentioned in the agreed statements in any way, that our position in this regard was voiced by the President of Azerbaijan several times, including on international platforms: Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, and the rights and security of the Armenian population living in this region will be ensured in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
We remind N.Pashinyan, who is trying to present himself as a “democracy guard,” that today a wide-scale repression is carried out against political opponents in Armenia, and most of them have been convicted, while the citizens of the 3rd country expressing a critical opinion have been banned from entering the country.
On the other hand, it is well known not only to Azerbaijan, but also to international mediators that the Prime Minister of Armenia has abandoned the promises and commitments he made on various international platforms.
Additionally, accusations against Azerbaijan of obstructing the Turkey-Armenia normalization process by the Prime Minister of Armenia, a country that does not recognize the borders of its neighbors, and whose territorial claims against Turkey are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is completely illogical.
We declare once again that in return for Azerbaijan’s intention to establish peace and security in the region, and for peace-building initiatives, Armenia’s continuation of destructive activities contrary to its obligations, not only does not serve the restoration of peace in the region, but is primarily against Armenia.
Azerbaijan, for its part, is committed to establishing peace and stability in the region, and will continue its actions in this direction on the basis given to him by international law.