Assistant to Azerbaijani President: Powerful forces within Armenia don't want situation to change

Assistant to President of Azerbaijan-Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev

© APA | Assistant to President of Azerbaijan-Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev

# 14 September 2023 12:20 (UTC +04:00)

"Even the current Armenian prime minister publicly acknowledges that Garabagh is Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory. And this also means that Azerbaijan has a duty of care to those who live there regardless of and — perhaps even more so given recent history — because of their ethnicity," the Assistant to President of Azerbaijan-Head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev noted in his article titled "To clinch peace in the Caucasus, pay attention to both sides" published in Politico, APA reports.

It was mentioned in the article that the Azerbaijan government has repeatedly offered to supply the Armenians of Garabagh with food, medicine and more via roads that provide closer and faster passage than Lachin. The land routes Azerbaijan offers are acknowledged as viable and usable by the European Union, the U.S. and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and just this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the “immediate and simultaneous opening of both corridors.” But what has been reported in the international media is something different.

It's said that the idea that solely Armenia should supply ethnic Armenians living in the neighboring country of Azerbaijan through a single monoethnic route is — we are encouraged to believe — somehow acceptable to the international community and media: "And we are told this is because this conflict is different to others, that Armenians cannot live side by side in the same country with Azerbaijanis because of our history. But both our past and present teach us this simply is not true.

Before the war of the 1990s, Azerbaijanis and ethnic Armenians lived together, side by side, in Garabagh in peace. Today, a 30,000-strong Jewish community lives in Azerbaijan. An evangelical Christian community is growing. Georgians, Russians, Ukrainians all make up today’s multiethnic and multireligious country. This could, and should, apply to the Armenians of Garabagh as well.

There are, however, powerful forces within Armenia that do not want this situation to change, or this story to be fully told. For decades, the country’s leadership has originated not from Armenia itself but from politicians who first ruled the separatist holdout in Garabagh."

"Such leaders today seek retrenchment. A peace deal on offer between Azerbaijan and Armenia is an anathema to them. But were this land-locked nation to become a land-linked one, Armenia’s integration into the global economic community, away from its present-day isolation, would be achievable.

While trade with neighboring Azerbaijan might improve the lot of the Armenian people, however, it would remove these leaders’ raison d’être. And in their fight to maintain influence, these politicians have demanded the roads Azerbaijan offers as supply routes be sealed and blockaded.

The pain these monoethnic nationalists have created for their own country and the wider region is difficult for Westerners — who have spent the last generation living in relative peace — to fully understand.

Azerbaijanis want peace. We want restitution, reconciliation and, perhaps, one day even friendship with our neighbor," reads the article.