Response by Aykhan Hajizada, Head of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the media question regarding the views expressed by Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during his interview to the “Armenpress” News Agency on January 20, 2023
Question: On January 20, 2023, Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, once again made allegations against Azerbaijan during his interview to the “Armenpress” News Agency. How would you comment these claims?
Answer: The claims by Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during the interview to “Armenpress” news agency dated January 20, 2023 are completely baseless and unacceptable. We would like to note the following regarding the allegations made in the interview:
- The claims that Armenia did not disrupt the negotiations is hypocrisy, since it was Armenian Foreign Minister, who refused to participate in the third meeting with Azerbaijani side scheduled in Moscow, as a continuation of Geneva and Washington meetings, and thus spoiled the process.
- The claims by the Armenian side that their goal is a peace and security in the region are ludicrous, since Armenia up until now creates obstacles against the proposals put forward by Azerbaijan in the direction of ensuring peace and security in the region, including the opening of all communications, the advancement of the delimitation process, the signing of a peace agreement in a short period of time, as well as continues provocations against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan by all means.
- Expressions uttered by the Armenian Foreign Minister during an interview such as “the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh” demonstrates that this country has not yet given up its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, contrary to the norms and principles of international law, as well as the Prague and Sochi agreements. At the same time, meddling in the functioning of the Lachin road, a sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, is an indication that Armenia has not yet forgotten the policy of occupation carried out for 30 years. However, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has several times stated that Karabakh is recognized by the whole world as the territory of Azerbaijan.
- Instead of expressing opinions that Azerbaijan has not yet responded to Armenia’s proposals and 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. The declaration by Armenia about the readiness for signing the treaty immediately after their latest proposals were submitted in December of last year, showed that this country does not take the negotiation process on the treaty seriously. Instead of manipulating the process, the Armenian side should declare whether it is ready for a meeting. We would like to emphasize once again that the Azerbaijani side is in favor of conducting negotiations on a peace treaty in a short period of time, and is always ready to it.
- At the same time, it is well-known to Foreign Minister Mirzoyan how the planned meeting in Tbilisi between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia was obstructed by all efforts, and that Armenia since the beginning of December has not yet responded to the proposals to the draft statement of such a possible meeting, presented by Azerbaijan as a sign of constructive approach.
- In response to a number of unfounded allegations regarding the situation around the Lachin road, we remind once again that according to paragraph 6 of the Trilateral Statement, the Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the safety of citizens, vehicles, and goods traveling along the Lachin road in both directions. Safety also includes the prevention of misuse of Lachin road. Armenia, instead of preventing the abuse of the Lachin road, contrary to the Trilateral Statement, brings newly manufactured landmines to Azerbaijan using the Lachin road, continues the supply and rotation of the Armenian forces that have not yet been withdrawn from the territory of Azerbaijan as confirmed by the leaders of Armenia, and arranges the transfer of illegally extracted natural resources of Azerbaijan to Armenia, once again proving that Armenia is not interested in fulfilling its obligations, and continues its policy of aggression against Azerbaijan and activities contrary to international law. The latest assessment by the Minister, who initially claimed that the Lachin road is closed and the Armenian residents are deprived of humanitarian aid, that filming of teenagers returning from Armenia using the Lachin road is an act of intimidation, is generally a product of unhealthy imagination. It is well known to the Armenian side how the Armenian residents, who approached the Azerbaijani side for support and assistance, treated positively.
- Regarding “crisis” claims in the region, and the call for humanitarian intervention by the UN, OSCE, and other international actors, we would like to note that such a call by Armenia, as a country occupied our territories for 30 years and has not implemented four resolutions of the UN Security Council, is absurd. As for the humanitarian situation, it is impossible to deny the fact that the needs of the Armenian residents, who refrained from Azerbaijan’s support and from the use of the Lachin road under the pressure of those who present themselves as leaders of the Armenian residents, were met with products transported by dozens of vehicles during the day by the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the International Committee of the Red Cross. All these prove that the area, where Armenian residents live, is not under the blockade.
- Denial of transportation through the Lachin road and placement of 2021-Armenia-produced landmines in our territories during an interview, and arguments that these landmines were allegedly removed from Armenian territories and brought to our country by Azerbaijan do not fit into elementary military knowledge and logic. The Azerbaijani side has demonstrated such landmines in large numbers and the areas, where the 2021-Armenia-produced landmines were planted to the commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces temporarily deployed in Azerbaijan, the leaders of the Turkish and Russian contingents of the Türkiye-Russia Joint Monitoring Center, as well as the military attachés and journalists of foreign countries accredited in Azerbaijan. These landmines were inspected by military personnel and specialists. It is impossible to deny these facts. It is known that the statements about the non-production and non-export of landmines by Armenia during the last decades, and the claims about this in the reports submitted by Armenia to relevant international platforms, were only false. For instance, the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the OSCE declared that no mines are produced in Armenia during its speech at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation on October 5, 2022. Now, the Armenian Foreign Minister not only confirms that landmines were actually produced in Armenia in 2021, but at the same time, despite previous denials, he emphasizes that the mentioned landmines discovered in the territories of Azerbaijan were manufactured by Armenia. In addition to what has been mentioned, the claims of the Armenian side in the interview that they placed landmines only in the territory of the Republic of Armenia is hypocrisy. During the occupation Armenia placed landmines in thousands of sq. km. areas within the territories of Azerbaijan, currently continues landmine threats, and only since the end of 44-day Patriotic war 282 Azerbaijanis became victims of landmine explosions.
- Regarding the claims by Armenian Foreign Minister on the opening of communications, we would like to remind once again that it is well known to the international community which party is obstructing the opening of communication lines and renouncing agreements in this direction. In accordance with paragraph 9 of the Trilateral Statement, Azerbaijani side demands the establishment of a “transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organize an unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions.” Armenia, within the Trilateral Statement, has agreed to provide unimpeded movement through its territory and, indirectly, to remove all obstacles, and must comply with this commitment. The claim that Armenia, which has occupied the internationally recognized sovereign territories of Azerbaijan for nearly 30 years, thereby isolating itself from all transport projects, is allegedly promoting East-West and South-North transport routes, is surprising.
We once again remind the Armenian Foreign Minister, who wants to evade from obligations, that listed destructive activities and statements do not serve to restore peace in the region, and are primarily against Armenia.