"Azerbaijan can cite the Russian experience after the Chechen war as an example" - ex-Foreign Minister
Commentary by Tofig Zulfugarov
Official Baku declared its goal to be the integration of Karabakh Armenians into Azerbaijani society. The Armenian side demands negotiations with Baku through the mediation of international forces. According to former Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov, as long as Russian peacekeeping forces are stationed in Karabakh, there is no need to talk about other mediators. “If the discussion about the security and rights of the Armenian population in Karabakh is being conducted with the participation of Russia, then Azerbaijan can cite the Russian experience after the Chechen war as an example.”
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In his latest interview, former Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Tofig Zulfugarov, commented on the latest developments in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
“Great success of Azerbaijani diplomacy”
According to the former Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, the Washington talks between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which lasted several days, can be considered especially successful for Baku:
“Yes, it was not possible to achieve the final result there, but we witnessed very serious and positive changes in the position of the United States.
The US position is that the issues of the Armenians living in Karabakh and the Azerbaijanis who must return to Zangezur and other parts of Armenia are equivalent. According to the Americans, these are issues of ethnic minorities.
I think this can be regarded as a great success for Azerbaijani diplomacy.
Back in Sochi, during a trilateral summit, President Ilham Aliyev said that the Karabakh issue had been resolved. Of course, any of the parties to the mediators must take into account such a principled position.”
“There can be no voids in security issues”
“If Armenia insists on resolving the issue of security and ensuring the rights of the ethnic minority in Karabakh, let Pashinyan announce that the Azerbaijanis who were expelled from Armenia can return to their native lands. Let him demonstrate on his territory an example for us, how he will ensure the security and rights of the local population in about 100 border villages. There is also an EU mission there. They can also help Yerevan create conditions for the return of Azerbaijanis.
You see, there can be no gaps in security issues. Illegal and anti-constitutional military formations in Karabakh should replace the legitimate law enforcement agencies.
There are examples in world practice. For example, tripartite patrols in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And in Karabakh, Armenians financed from the Azerbaijani budget can serve. In other words, let them guard the security in the part of Karabakh where the Armenian population live, but according to the laws of Azerbaijan.
Naturally, we are talking about police functions here. There can be no paramilitary units. So other formations that exist now should be disbanded, the Azerbaijani authorities should conduct an identification process – those who came there from Armenia should leave the territory of Azerbaijan.
In any case, there is not much time left until 2025, and we must use the remaining time as productively as possible,” Zulfugarov said.
“The Russians have integrated Chechnya into Russia”
The ex-Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan stressed that if discussion about the security and rights of the Armenian population in Karabakh is being conducted with the participation of Russia, then Azerbaijan can cite the Russian experience after the Chechen war as an example:
“To be honest, the Russians have integrated Chechnya into Russia. The current head of the Chechen Republic wrote in his book that he killed his first Russian at the age of 17. And now they are being killed in Ukraine for Russia.
It should be understood that during discussions such examples can and should be given.
Baku wants Azerbaijani laws to work in Khankendi and put an end to this enmity. I believe that there are opportunities for this. True, Armenia wants to see international mediators from different countries there, but as long as Russian troops are stationed in Karabakh, there is no need for another mission.
Any other scenario on the part of the Karabakh Armenians is doomed to failure. It is impossible to organize partisan resistance in Khankendi and adjacent territories. There is no place for this and suitable conditions.
On the other hand, there are special cameras that identify people. Under such conditions, any terrorist act will be prevented, and the organizers will be severely punished. Do not forget also patrolling by means of drones, which also makes it impossible to fight underground in forests and hard-to-reach places.
In conclusion, I would like to note that I am not a supporter of such terms as dialogue and negotiations. Specifically on the topic of Karabakh. There is a beautiful word – communication. A citizen cannot negotiate with the state.”