Commentary by Aykhan Hajizada, Head of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, regarding the allegations made by Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during an interview with the “Armenpress” news agency on November 28, 2022
The attempt by Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan to mislead and distort the essence of the negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the preparation of the peace agreement, the delimitation process, the landmine threat, as well as issues related to recognition of territorial integrity during an interview to “Armenpress” news agency on November 28, 2022, is completely baseless and unacceptable.
- The fact that Armenia put forward a condition for its participation in the next meeting between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and affirmation in the mentioned interview that such a meeting only be held with the participation of the French President once again demonstrates that the Armenian side is not faithful to its commitments, and has forgotten that the next trilateral meeting in the same format between the leaders was agreed upon not in Prague, but in Brussels on August 31. Notwithstanding the Brussels agreement on the next meeting, unfortunately Azerbaijan’s consent in good faith to Prague meeting and to the participation of French President alongside the President of the European Council Charles Michel was misused later on. As a matter of fact, this has demonstrated that French side is not an impartial and fair mediator. Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan has not given up on the negotiations between the leaders, and is committed to continuing the negotiations in accordance with the Brussels agreement.
- Regarding the agreement on the foundations of the delimitation process, it should be noted that contrary to the claim of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, in the statements of both the Prague and Sochi meetings the delimitation is planned to be carried out on the basis of the mutual recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty, as stated in the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration. In general, reference to the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration was made in the context of the mentioned principles, and it is well known to the Armenian side that there are no provisions in these meetings about the maps on which basis the delimitation will be carried out. The delimitation process should be carried out on the basis of analysis of all legally significant documents.
- The claim that Azerbaijan allegedly occupied the territories of Armenia, as a result of clashes that took place in September of this year after Armenian provocations against the military positions of Azerbaijan and placing of landmines on un-delimited border, is unfounded. Accusations by Armenia, which had occupied the territories of Azerbaijan for almost 30 years, still occupies 8 villages of Azerbaijan, not completely withdrawn its forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, and continues its military provocations and landmine threats, about Azerbaijan taking some positions on un-delimited border and disrupting the activities of the commission is illogical. It should not be forgotten that after the 2020 Patriotic War it was Armenia that did not respond to the proposal of delimitation of borders for a long time.
- In an interview, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia also avoided answering positively to the question on recognition of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity by Armenia. It is well-known to the Armenian side that sovereignty and territorial integrity are mutually confirmed on the basis of the five basic principles for the establishment of interstate relations and the signing of a peace treaty, which Azerbaijan offered to Armenia after the war and which was left unanswered for a long time. It is no secret that despite the occupation of territories of Azerbaijan for 30 years and all the opportunities that Azerbaijan possessed during military operations, Azerbaijan has not launched an attack on the territory of Armenia. Against this background, accusations against Azerbaijan for the provocations are completely unfounded.
- In response to the question on the preparation of the peace agreement, Armenian Foreign Minister attempts to manipulate like in all other issues. It would be better if, instead of creating confusion among the international community, Armenian Foreign Minister should clarify where the first proposal for the preparation of the peace treaty came from, who presented the basic principles for the first time, and who provided the first draft of the elements of the peace treaty at the Geneva meeting, as well as the issue of how long it took for both Azerbaijan and Armenia to comment on each proposal, so that more complete picture would emerge.
- Regarding completely baseless claims that the Armenian side allegedly unilaterally presented all landmine maps to Azerbaijan and that most of landmine planting was carried out by Azerbaijan, it is well-known that the landmine maps, the existence of which were completely denied by Armenia in the first 8 months after the signing of the Trilateral Statement dated November 10, 2020, but later were submitted as a result of international pressure, are only 25% accurate. At the same time, it is also well-known that more than 55% of the recent landmine explosions took place in areas outside the maps provided by Armenia, and 268 people became landmine victims after the war. Armenia, which occupied the territories of Azerbaijan for 30 years and planted landmines over the entire former line of contact, distorting the facts and claiming that Azerbaijan is the cause of the landmine threat, is the ultimate level of hypocrisy. Considering at least the impossibility of demining under the observation of the military positions of Armenia on the un-delimited border, the claim that the landmines produced in Armenia in 2021 were obtained by Azerbaijan from the border with Armenia is contrary to common sense and basic military knowledge.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia once again manipulates the issue of the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan. On this matter, we would recommend to the Minister of Foreign Affairs coordinate their positions with Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, and other officials. As stated by Armen Grigoryan, the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the territory of Azerbaijan planned in September of this year has not yet happened. Regarding the commitment to the withdrawal of forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, we remind once again that according to paragraph 4 of the Statement of November 10, 2020, it is intended to withdraw all Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, and manipulations in this matter are unacceptable.
We remind the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, who wants to evade his obligations by misinterpreting the provisions of the Trilateral Statement, that besides not serving to restore peace in the region this destructive activity is not in favor primarily of Armenia.