"Baku and Yerevan can achieve results without mediators"
    Farhad Mammadov & Rasim Musabayov on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  20 April 2024 - 17:50

    Vadim Mansurov

    The recent return of four villages in Gazakh District to Azerbaijani control, following over three decades of occupation, offers a glimmer of hope that Yerevan may be gradually distancing itself from the notion of Greater Armenia. This development signals a growing acceptance of the imperative to foster peace and harmony with neighboring nations, acknowledging the reality of coexistence and mutual respect.

    Caliber.Az asked Azerbaijani political experts to comment on this event.

    According to the political expert, head of the South Caucasus Research Centre, Farhad Mammadov, along with the joint statement of Azerbaijan and Armenia dated December 7, 2023, the transfer of the four villages is the second important event that Baku has achieved through negotiations.

    "I emphasize – direct negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan without the help of mediators. And this is an indicator that we - Baku and Yerevan - can bilaterally achieve such results.

    The second important point I would single out is the fact that this is the beginning of the process of defining the border, and after the return of these villages, delimitation and demarcation of this section of the conditional border will be carried out, i. e. this section will become a section of the final agreed border between the two countries," Mammadov noted.

    In his opinion, if we take into account that today Azerbaijan has three negotiation baskets with Armenia: on the peace treaty, on defining the borders, as well as unblocking communications, we can say that the process of determining the borders is beginning to take on a concrete form and content.

    "There is an institution dealing with this issue, a joint commission headed by two deputy prime ministers, and the commission includes dozens of officials from the relevant state structures. The work is underway, and we can confidently say that this process will positively impact the other two baskets. Because the issue of fixing the Almaty Declaration as a basic one has long prevented the signing of a peace treaty, and on the issue of unblocking communications, there is also some optimism, because the issue of defining borders also brought dissonance to the dialog on this topic between the parties. And if even the prospects of transport communication between ‘mainland’ Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan passing through the territory of Armenia still cause sharp contradictions, then at least in the already defined areas we can be ready to open communications in the future, as a consensus has already been reached here. Undoubtedly, the return of our villages is the result of the active role of the Azerbaijan president, consistent, patient policy coupled with the art of repelling pressure on Azerbaijan. And this is, in fact, the final touch in the restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial activity. It will certainly have a positive impact on the whole course of the negotiation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan," Mammadov said.

    At the same time, in the opinion of MP, political expert Rasim Musabayov, an important point in the return of the villages is that world politicians of the first rank, such as the UN Secretary-General, the US Secretary of State, EU leadership, note that the parties not only agreed on the return of the four villages of Gazakh under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan but also defined an algorithm for further negotiations on the delimitation of the border, a roadmap for this work has been drawn up. They are astonished by the effective result of these agreements.

    "It is important that the parties finally agreed to stick to the administrative line of the borders that existed at the time of the collapse of the USSR, as it was defined within the framework of the Almaty Declaration. After all, Armenians were very worried that Azerbaijan, as a strong party, would impose its interpretation and its own will. Yes, there is one reservation that the line defined by the Almaty Declaration is accepted until other approaches are outlined in the peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia," the political expert noted.

    According to him, Armenia has nothing to worry about, there is no hurry in the transfer of Gazakh villages, and this process will start only from May 15.

    "Armenia will withdraw its troops from these villages, and Azerbaijan will not introduce its troops there, only our border guards will be stationed there. Armenian troops, accordingly, will retreat from the line of the already agreed border. In this way, the security of the population will be increased, both Armenian villages adjacent to the border and Azerbaijanis, who will return to their homes after demining is carried out there, housing and social infrastructure will be restored. Because now there is nothing there, all these villages have been destroyed to the ground. Of course, it will take time to rebuild them. So, from the point of view of the security of the population, contrary to what the Armenian radicals claimed, the residents of all these territories will only win, not lose in some way. Of course, the most important thing in the process of returning Azerbaijani villages, in addition to the fact of the liberation of another piece of our homeland from occupation, is the fact that together with the transfer of villages, a constructive start has been made to the whole process of delimitation of the Azerbaijani border," Musabayov summarized.


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