Azerbaijani official highlights unique opportunity for Baku, Yerevan to achieve peace
    Interview with BBC

    POLITICS  24 April 2024 - 15:57

    Elchin Amirbayov, the Azerbaijani President's representative for special assignments, has underscored the unprecedented chance for peace between Baku and Yerevan in an interview with BBC.

    Reflecting on recent developments, Amirbayov highlighted significant strides towards reconciliation between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Caliber.Az reports.

    "After Azerbaijan fully restored its territorial integrity last September, Baku and Yerevan now have a genuine opportunity to secure a peace agreement," Amirbayov stated. He emphasized that the removal of Armenian military forces from Azerbaijani territory, notably Karabakh and surrounding regions, has eliminated a major obstacle to peace.

    "With the illegal military presence of Armenian armed forces on our territory now ended, we are closer to peace than ever before," Amirbayov remarked. He lauded a recent positive development on April 19, 2024, when Armenia agreed to withdraw its troops from four border villages in Azerbaijan's Gazakh district, which had been under occupation since the early 1990s.

    Amirbayov highlighted several key points regarding this milestone. Firstly, the decision was the outcome of direct bilateral negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, demonstrating the ability of both parties to address their issues independently. Secondly, Armenia's decision to end the occupation came through diplomatic channels rather than military action, signaling a commitment to peaceful resolution.

    "Moreover, the April 19 decision underscores Azerbaijan's rejection of unfounded claims that it seeks to resolve remaining issues through force," Amirbayov added. He emphasized that such narratives, perpetuated by Yerevan and its Western allies, undermine the peace process. Amirbayov expressed hope that the recent developments would dispel doubts about Azerbaijan's intentions and pave the way for further peaceful resolutions.

    As Azerbaijan and Armenia navigate the path towards peace, Amirbayov's remarks signal a concerted effort to promote dialogue, diplomacy, and reconciliation in the region. With significant strides already achieved, the prospect of lasting peace between Baku and Yerevan appears closer than ever before.

    Meanwhile, the President’s representative cautioned against the militarization of Armenia, emphasizing its potential negative implications for regional security and the ongoing peace process between Baku and Yerevan.

    Amirbayov acknowledged the existence of lingering mistrust between Azerbaijan and Armenia, rooted in historical conflicts and unresolved issues. While expressing cautious optimism regarding prospects for peace, he highlighted several challenges that must be addressed to facilitate meaningful progress.

    "First, if peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan is to be based on the unconditional respect for the principle of territorial integrity, sovereignty, and inviolability of borders, Armenia must address inconsistencies within its legislation," Amirbayov asserted.

    He cited Armenia's constitutional references asserting territorial claims to Azerbaijan, calling for their resolution in alignment with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's acknowledgment of Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.

    Amirbayov also underscored the importance of Armenia ceasing its blockade of land connections between mainland Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. He noted that the continuation of this blockade violates commitments made by Armenia under previous agreements, hindering the effectiveness of peace initiatives.

    Furthermore, Amirbayov voiced concerns over external influences that could destabilize the peace process and exacerbate geopolitical rivalries in the South Caucasus region. He criticized recent initiatives by Western partners aimed at bolstering Armenia's military capabilities without similar opportunities being extended to Azerbaijan. He warned that such actions could undermine efforts for peace and compromise regional security.

    "These steps will not benefit the prospects of peace and will entail negative consequences for security," Amirbayov added.

    Caliber.Az

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