Azerbaijan will not change its principled position on the settlement of the conflict
Q: Recent escalation of violence on the frontline has once again proved that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a major source of threat to the region. What should be basic principles for the settlement of the dispute?
A: From the perspective of international law, Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, the occupied territories are our native lands.
The whole world recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan and will never recognize the self-styled Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent entity. The Azerbaijani state will never tolerate a second Armenian state on its territory.
The main problem faced by our country for a long time is occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory by Armenia. This occupation started with aggressive separatism by Armenia against Azerbaijan. This policy resulted in the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions.
One million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs on their own land. We were subjected to ethnic cleansing. International law norms are violated.
The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian forces from the occupied territories. These resolutions remain unimplemented, remain on paper. OSCE decisions, particularly decisions of Lisbon Summit, which clearly identify what steps should be taken in order to resolve this conflict, also remain on paper. The European Parliament, Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Alignment Movement and other organizations adopted decisions and resolutions. But Armenia simply ignores them. They do not want to liberate the territory, which does not belong to them. They want to keep everything unchanged. They ignore even statements of presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group`s co-chair countries. The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is the major source of threat to the region. And the best way to reduce tensions and build confidence-building mechanisms and strengthen confidence-building measures will be the beginning of withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territories of Azerbaijan.
Q: Some countries and international organizations have started commenting on the conflict…
A: Armenia`s recent provocations on the frontline necessitate imposing serious sanctions on official Yerevan. Everything is clearly stated in the resolutions of the UN Security Council and other international organizations. But, unfortunately, they remain on paper. In order to change the status-quo Armenia should start withdrawing its troops from our lands, but Armenia ignores these statements. Therefore implementation of resolutions of international organizations, restoration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and resolution of the conflict based on the principles of territorial integrity of countries is the main prerequisite for successful resolution of the conflict.
The whole international community, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are responsible for every killed and wounded Azerbaijani serviceman.
Q: The Azerbaijani society is dissatisfied with the activity of the Minsk Group. What can you say of this?
A: There is no a serious pressure by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on the non-constructive position of Armenia. There is still no result. Therefore, the peopel of Azerbaijan are dissatisfied with the course of negotiations and the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs as a whole. We think that if negotiations are continued without any pressure on Armenia, it will not produce results. However, we see no alternative for the negotiations. We believe that there is still the possibility of a peaceful settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, because the international community has not fully expressed its position. This conflict will be settled peacefully and the occupants will step back if the international community starts exerting a serious pressure on Armenia.
In all statements, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs treat Azerbaijan and Armenia equally. But this is not right because Armenia is the occupant, aggressor, while Azerbaijan is a country which suffers from this aggression and occupation. This attitude of the OSCE Minsk Group means support for Armenia.
Each co-chair works for three or four years, makes tourism visits to the region, receives a salary, but there is no result. And each statement repeats the previous one. This is why the people of Azerbaijan have no trust and confidence in them. There will be no progress in the settlement of the conflict until the co-chairs stop treating Azerbaijan and Armenia equally.
Q: Do you think the Sochi meeting will give a boost to the negotiations?
A: Such meetings are necessary because they pave the way for a diplomatic solution. Indeed, the meetings have yielded no results so far. But, however, at each meeting Azerbaijan reiterates its principled position. More specifically, I want to note with respect to the results of the Sochi meeting that this meeting was necessary amidst the attacks of the reconnaissance and sabotage groups of the Armenian occupation troops and bloody clashes in the conflict area.
As always, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted at this meeting that his country strives for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, establishment of the regional peace in the South Caucasus most of all but he set the condition - implementation of four UN resolutions on withdrawal of the Armenian forces from the occupied lands, return of refugees and IDPS to their homes and restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Q: Amid these developments some organizations make biased comments regarding the state of human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan. Would you agree that this is an attempt to distract attention from the Karabakh problem?
A: There is the Armenian lobby in many parts of the world today. They are primarily conducting blackmail campaign against Azerbaijan and Turkey with the aim of undermining our international image.
At one point in history the Armenian lobby was misleading the international community alleging that Azerbaijan committed genocide against Armenia. But the situation changed in our favor after national leader Heydar Aliyev`s return to power in 1993.
The Armenian lobby is doing everything to distract the world community`s attention from official Yerevan`s aggression policy. They encourage some organizations and countries to allege that human rights and democratic principles are violated in Azerbaijan.
But Azerbaijan is a constitutional state, where the rule of law is fully ensured.
Those countries who accuse Azerbaijan of violating democratic rights of people should first of all look inside their own affairs. For example, we see growing racism tendencies in the USA and Europe. All this shows the existence of double standards on the global scale.