Azerbaijan expects mutual political will from Armenia to overcome differences
    FM addresses OSCE Permanent Council

    POLITICS  07 June 2023 - 19:40

    Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has said that Azerbaijan expects mutual political will from Armenia to overcome differences.

    Bayramov made the remarks while addressing the special session of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on June 6, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Caliber.az.

    He noted that talks on the text of a bilateral peace agreement are held within the process of normalization of Azerbaijani-Armenian relations, which will be based on mutual recognition and respect for each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of state borders. According to the diplomat, the talks in Washington, Brussels, Moscow and Chisinau over the past few weeks have enabled a better understanding of the positions of the parties.

    Bayramov stressed that Azerbaijan expects the mutual political will of the Armenian side to overcome its differences in three specific areas that form the agenda of bilateral discussions. They include an agreement on the establishment of interstate relations, the delimitation of the state border and the unblocking of transport communications in the region.

    “The declared recognition by Armenia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including the Garabagh region, provides a ground for cautious optimism. Yet, as always, deeds speak louder than words. The declarations of the Armenian leadership have to be reflected in the actual behaviour of this country to eventually achieve a breakthrough.

    In this context, the continued illegal military presence of Armenia in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan, consistent interference with our internal affairs, obstruction of the dialogue between the central Azerbaijani authorities and local residents of the Garabagh region of Armenian origin, and wide-scale smear campaign being pursued internationally, including within the OSCE, contradict to this declared commitment, and instead, constitute the major impediment for the negotiations on inter-state normalization between Azerbaijan and Armenia,” the top diplomat said.

    The minister spoke about the large-scale reconstruction work carried out by Azerbaijan to overcome the grave consequences of the thirty-year military occupation of our territories. He emphasized Azerbaijan's determination to reintegrate the ethnic Armenians of the Karabakh region as its equal citizens into the political, legal, economic and social framework of Azerbaijan.

    “Along with the inter-state process of normalization, Azerbaijan has, internally, embarked on large-scale post-conflict rehabilitation, reconstruction, and reintegration efforts to eliminate the harsh consequences of the thirty-year-long military occupation of our territories. This aims at ensuring the right of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis to eventually exercise their violated right to a safe and dignified return to their homes and peaceful coexistence of the conflict-affected citizens of Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijan is determined to reintegrate ethnic Armenian residents of the Garabagh region of Azerbaijan into the political, legal, economic, and social framework of Azerbaijan as equal citizens. The Government has appointed a Special Representative for the dialogue with local Armenian residents with a view to discussing issues pertinent to their reintegration. The Constitution and the national legislation of Azerbaijan, along with the international documents that we are party to, in particular, the European Convention of Human Rights and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities provide the solid ground to this end,” the minister underlined.

    Bayramov stressed the need for states to strictly comply with their obligations not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, not to harm the integration of persons belonging to national minorities, and not to foment separatism in neighbouring states.

    “It is equally imperative for all States to strictly adhere to their obligations and commitments regarding non-interference with the internal affairs of States, not undermining the integration of persons belonging to national minorities or fueling separatism in the territory of neighbouring states. Protection of human rights of persons belonging to national minorities should not undermine, but strengthen territorial integrity and sovereignty of states,” he added.

    Bayramov reported that as a result of the tireless efforts of the Azerbaijani government, the first group of IDP families have already returned to the village of Agali in Zangilan district, to the village of Talysh in Tartar district and to the city of Lachin. The Minister noted that the mass contamination of Azerbaijani territories with mines and other explosives continues to be the main obstacle to the return of displaced persons to their homes and a serious humanitarian threat.

    The Minister stressed the importance of just punishment for grave war crimes and crimes against humanity and stated that Armenia has ignored persistent calls to disclose the fate of some 4,000 Azerbaijanis missing in the conflict.

    “As we embarked on healing the wounds of the past conflict, ensuring justice with respect to serious war crimes and crimes against humanity is of vital importance. In this regard, it is of paramount importance to shed light on the fate of about 4000 Azerbaijanis who went missing due to the conflict. Regretfully, our consistent calls on Armenia to honour its obligations under humanitarian and human rights law to disclose information on the whereabouts of missing persons continue to be disregarded.

    Instead, we face a continuation of hatred and intolerance that undermines confidence and trust building. The case of the two Azerbaijani servicemen is a clear manifestation of that. Instead of taking action to properly investigate the torture and degrading treatment against the two Azerbaijani nationals and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Government of Armenia refuses to repatriate them under fabricated accusations.

    While remaining committed to its international obligations and open to constructive dialogue, Azerbaijan will not tolerate violations of international law and continue taking appropriate steps at the international level. In particular, Azerbaijan has initiated judicial proceedings to hold Armenia to account for its egregious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of atrocity crimes, which are not subject to any statutory limitations. While accountability and redress serve to ensure the rights and interests of the victims and must be the inevitable consequence of the offences committed, they are also an essential preventive tool and one of the key prerequisites on the path to genuine post-conflict normalization and reconciliation,” the minister stressed.

    Bayramov concluded by saying that Azerbaijan remains committed to its international obligations and is open to constructive dialogue, but will not turn a blind eye to violations of international law and will continue to take appropriate steps at the international level.

    “Azerbaijan genuinely believes that the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia based on mutual recognition of and respect for each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international borders is the only way to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region.

    We are determined and resolute to take forward the normalization agenda through direct bilateral negotiations. In this endeavour, we also rely on impartial and unbiased support and facilitation of our international partners pursuing the goal of a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus,” Bayramov concluded.

    Caliber.Az

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