"Azerbaijan will push for peace treaty text"
    Farhad Mammadov's opinion

    INTERVIEWS  20 February 2023 - 17:35

    Huseyn Safarov

    On February 18, as part of the 59th Munich Security Conference, a panel discussion was held on the topic "Moving mountains? Building security in the South Caucasus" with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Earlier the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

    In a conversation with Caliber.Az, Azerbaijani political analyst Farhad Mammadov, head of the South Caucasus Research Centre, underscored the Azerbaijani President's words about the installation of the checkpoint on a bilateral basis. Aliyev stated that it would be good if Armenia and Azerbaijan established checkpoints on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border bilaterally.

    "This is a very interesting element, which puts the Armenian side in an uncomfortable position and characterizes Azerbaijan's proactive policy. For almost 3 years Azerbaijan has been taking initiative, while the Armenian side has always been in the role of a follower, a reacting one, rather than an initiator. This time Ilham Aliyev made a constructive proposal to establish a joint checkpoint. In fact, this also ties in with the Brussels principle of the sovereignty of the countries over communications, which was discussed back in December 2021," our interlocutor believes.

    As for the peace treaty, Mammadov emphasized that Ilham Aliyev has clearly stated that the issue of Karabakh should be mentioned in the treaty process.

    "It was also noted that there is progress in the proposals of the Armenian side. This means that the principled position of Azerbaijan has not changed and that the negotiation process is yielding results. The negotiation process with the help of the EU, and to a greater extent the US, is gaining momentum, which suggests that Azerbaijan will push for the text of the peace treaty in the version in which it is implied by official Baku," the head of the South Caucasus Research Centre added.

    He further noted that the Armenian side was the least involved in projects and integration processes in the South Caucasus, plus it was Russia's only military and political ally in the region.

    "Everyone expected a verbal skirmish and mutual accusations during the panel discussions, and in principle, this happened. But it should be understood that the head of Azerbaijan utters the narratives circulating in society in its approach to Armenia as an occupying country. It is very important to always remind of this. This is necessary so that the Western community understands Armenia's aggressive attitude towards its neighbours. Moreover, Armenia is being used by third countries in their interests. And Ilham Aliyev demonstrated this clearly with the example of Ruben Vardanyan's travel route. This was a very important element to show that Armenia is still occupying a non-constructive position and is harming the negotiation process," Mammadov said.

    In general, according to Mammadov, Ilham Aliyev's speeches demonstrated a focus on peace and a strong sense of complete self-sufficiency.

    "It was stressed that Azerbaijan is implementing everything it plans, restoring its territories after long years of occupation, complete destruction of infrastructure, and, most importantly, is ready for peace with Armenia on the basis of the principles of international law. The Azerbaijani leader has made it clear that firstly there is no blockade in Karabakh, and secondly, there is a complex that needs to be considered in a general context and not relegated to a separate issue. The main thing is the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As for the Armenians of Karabakh, Azerbaijan has shown at the highest level that it is ready to ensure their rights and security if they accept Azerbaijani citizenship," Mammadov summed up.


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