Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry strongly condemns and rejects the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia dated March 18, which demonstrates the continuation of groundless territorial claims against Azerbaijan, aims at undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, and grossly interferes in its internal affairs, APA reports citing the commentary by Aykhan Hajizada, MFA Spokesperson.
"We once again urge Armenia, which is unable to accept the return of former IDPs, victims of Armenia's ethnic cleansing policy, to their homelands, to accept the reality that came to be as a result of the 44-Day Patriotic War, and to refrain from aggressive steps and revanchist policies.
To label the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes as a “violation” of the Trilateral Statement and “illegal settlement” is yet another clear manifestation of hypocrisy by Armenia, which, in violation of international law and four UN Security Council resolutions, kept the territories of Azerbaijan under occupation for 30 years, forcibly expelled about 1 million Azerbaijanis from their homelands, and brutally destroyed all Azerbaijani historical and religious monuments in the region. This statement demonstrates Armenia's feature of racial discrimination and hatred.
At the same time, this statement demonstrates that Armenia, a monoethnic state that has pursued a large-scale policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis for decades, has not refrained from the abhorrent goal pursued by illegal settlement of Armenians not only from its own territory, but also from the countries of the Middle East in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as “Armeniazation” of Azerbaijani territories, and the goal of hindering the return of Azerbaijanis in every possible way.
The reference to the settlements of Azerbaijan by fictitious names is another sign of Armenia's territorial claims against Azerbaijan. It seems that Armenia, which has just become familiar with international law and the principle of respect for territorial integrity, should continue its enlightenment in this area.
The Prague and Sochi Statements demand Armenia to end its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, and to recognize and respect the latter’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Nevertheless, the recently escalating rhetoric of the political leadership of Armenia, including the aforementioned statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, aggressive statements, especially the actions aimed directly at the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, demonstrate that Armenia yet another time does not intend to utilize the historical opportunity for peace.
The claim by Armenia that Azerbaijan, who initiated the signing of a peace treaty after the war of 2020, presented the 5 basic principles for building relations and the text of the peace agreement, is not interested in the peace agreement, is another obvious example of deception. It is well known that Armenia, which did not respond to Azerbaijan's proposal to sign a peace agreement for more than a year, and then conditioned the signing of a peace agreement to the delimitation process that usually takes a long time, and to other destructive proposals, obstructs the peace treaty under various pretexts, exaggerating certain elements and creating confusion about its essence.
With such statements, Armenia is trying to cover up its artificial delaying of the peace treaty negotiation process, as well as its recent blow to the process by refusing to attend the next round of negotiations in December 2022.
As it is known, even before the 2020 war, from the first day Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power, the chain of provocations committed by Armenia, both verbally and in action, undermined the negotiation process on the settlement of the former Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and led to a serious increase in tension in the region. It is also well known that under the leadership of N.Pashinyan, Armenia adopted a military doctrine and a national security strategy that envisages the concept of “a new war for new territories” and defines the country’s strategic goal in the negotiation process as preserving the results of the war and that after the July 2020 clashes, following the impunity syndrome, Armenia put forward 7 unjustified conditions against Azerbaijan.
Armenia, not forgetting its pattern of putting forward conditions, now interferes with the process of reintegration of the Armenian residents of Azerbaijan. In order to prevent Azerbaijan's determined activity in the direction of conducting a dialogue with the Armenian residents, the Armenian side does provocations that induce the representatives of the Armenian residents to oppose the proposal on holding the next dialogue in Baku, while putting forward 3 conditions for the process. It seems that the Armenian side has not adapted to Azerbaijan's successful dialogue with the Armenian residents in the last two years on the construction of the new Lachin road, the Sarsang reservoir and a in number of other directions. The fact that the Armenian side does not hide its hostile attitude towards the term “reintegration” and describes this concept as a challenge to dialogue and peace, indicates its intention to continue its groundless territorial claims under new forms and new names. If the Armenian side is interested in peace in the region, it should stop the attempts to interfere with and hinder resolute reintegration contacts of the central authorities of Azerbaijan with the Armenian residents.
The attempts of the Armenian Foreign Ministry to convince the international community that this country is not a monoethnic state can be considered as Armenia’s first steps towards understanding that monoethnicity is actually an anomaly in the multi-ethnic Caucasus region. Regarding the claims of Armenia against the success of Azerbaijan as a multinational state, let us note that it is well known that many ethnic peoples live in conditions of unity and stability in the territory of Azerbaijan, and contribute to the success of the state, and hold a number of high positions, including the membership at the Milli Majlis (Parliament). The Armenian side should understand that the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan is a commitment along with the right. Necessary conditions to live in Azerbaijan will be created for Armenian residents, who accept this.
Armenia should give up its intention to use the ethnic minorities in the territory of Azerbaijan in its unsuccessful and insidious policy, and instead of trampling on the rights of hundreds of thousands of Western Azerbaijan Community forcibly evicted from their native lands in the current territory of Armenia, and preventing dialogue with them at all costs, should respond to calls of this community for dialogue with Armenia for the purpose of peaceful, dignified and safe return. Thus, the practical indicator that Armenia has given up the concept of “ethnic incompatibility” and the “title of a mono-ethnic state based on ethnic cleansing,” and has chosen peaceful coexistence and multiculturalism can only be by creating conditions for the members of the Western Azerbaijan Community to return to their historical lands.
Armenia, which ignored the calls and decisions of international organizations to end the occupation during the 30-year-long occupation period, should also stop its efforts to use the international organizations in its revanchist policy in violation of territorial integrity, and immediately stop attempts to interfere in the cooperation and relations of the Republic of Azerbaijan with international organizations.
Despite all illegal intervention attempts, blackmail and threats by Armenia, Azerbaijan continues its cooperation with the international community, including UN specialized organizations, in direction of carrying out large-scale restoration and reconstruction work after ending the occupation of its territories, and in order to ensure the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons. We remind Armenia that the delegation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees witnessed the large-scale destruction caused by Armenia in the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation in October 2021, including in the settlement of Sugovushan. Unlike Armenia's vandalism, Azerbaijan, with its restoration and reconstruction work, proves that the true owners of the region have returned, and further aggression attempts in these areas will be prevented. The activity of international organizations in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan will continue within the framework of the national legislation of Azerbaijan, and interference in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan will never be allowed.
Regarding the false and misleading claims of the Armenian MFA regarding the implementation of the Trilateral Statement, we would like to remind that Armenia, which refuses to fulfill the 4th, 6th and 9th paragraphs of the statement in particular and in general never complies with international agreements, has illegally intruded its military servicemen into the territory of Azerbaijan and committed military provocation against Azerbaijan only two weeks after the signing of the Trilateral Statement. Despite the attempts by Armenia to present these detainees as prisoners of war, these people were not recognized as prisoners of war, and the International Court of Justice as well as the European Court of Human Rights rejected this claim and the demand for their release. Furthermore, Armenian side, contrary to the Trilateral Statement, has set to fire a number of houses, destroyed forests, planted landmines and booby traps in the areas it was withdrawing from, despite having been given an additional timeline by Azerbaijan for the withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin.
Contrary to the Trilateral Statement, Armenia has not yet fully withdrawn its armed forces from the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan, and despite its assurances while signing the Trilateral Statement, it continues to occupy a number of settlements and territories, including 7 villages of Gazakh district and 1 village of Sadarak district. The fact that Armenia proposes to organize the delimitation process on the basis of Soviet maps and does not accept these villages as settlements of Azerbaijan is a violation and an indication of Armenia’s false intentions.
Besides, Armenia carries out deployment of landmines and other terror activities in the territories of Azerbaijan by transferring newly produced landmines to the territories of Azerbaijan. The initial denial by Armenia of the existence of landmine maps for 8 months, and it presenting unreliable landmine maps later as a result of international pressure are well known. It is also known that more than 55% of the mine explosions in the territory of Azerbaijan happened in areas outside the maps handed over by Armenia. As a result of these provocations of Armenia, after the 2020 Patriotic War 286 people became victims of landmines, of which 49 people, including 3 journalists, were killed. At the same time, it is clear that Armenia, with all its efforts, has grossly violated the Trilateral Statement and prevented the opening of a communication line that would ensure unhindered movement from the western regions of Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan.
It is crystal clear that Armenia, which has resorted to so-called "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" tales to divert attention from these peace threatening steps, is looking for further provocations to convince the international community of its false claims. The cruelty with which Armenia committed mass killings against Azerbaijanis, killed 613 civilians in one night in Khojaly and committed acts of genocide are also well known. The facts that about 4,000 Azerbaijanis have gone missing as a result of the policy of aggression against Azerbaijan, that Armenia has refused to provide information on the missing persons, and that a number of mass graves have been discovered in the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation are impossible to deny. Despite such an aggressive policy of Armenia, Azerbaijan released many detainees, conducted searches after the 2020 war, and handed over more than 1,700 Armenian bodies to Armenia, as well as nearly 200 bodies as a result of Armenian provocation in September 2022. It seems that Armenia has forgotten these measures taken by Azerbaijan for humanitarian purposes in good will and on a unilateral basis.
Once again, we call on the political leadership of Armenia to act responsibly, to refrain from provocations, statements, and false rhetoric that undermine the opportunities for peace created in the region after the 44-day war."