'Azerbaijani leadership stands far from its own calls for peace and reconciliation' - Armenian FM
The Armenian Foreign Ministry responded to the recent statements made by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev at the ‘New Look at the South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation in the Post-Conflict Period’ conference where President Aliyev stated that he had offered Armenia to sign a peace treaty, but there has not yet been a response from the Armenian side.
The press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Anna Naghdalyan stated that the Armeniaphobic position of the Azerbaijani leadership hampers the process of a peaceful settlement. Naghdalyan added that the signing of a peace treaty requires a peaceful process, which was interrupted by Azerbaijan upon the outbreak of the Second Karabakh war.
Naghdalyan said that no meeting on this matter is planned in the near future.
She also touched upon the issue of the return of prisoners of war held by Azerbaijan, and said that it once again confirms the unconstructive position of Baku, together with the statements of the Azerbaijani president, who continues to refer to some of the territories of Armenia as being the “historical lands of Azerbaijan”.
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Ilham Aliyev’s statements
The President of Azerbaijan said in February 2021 that Baku is ready to normalize relations with Yerevan and does not rule out the possibility of signing a peace treaty.
On April 13, Ilham Aliyev spoke once again about the possibility of concluding a peace agreement with Armenia during a conference in Baku:
“I have repeatedly spoken about the possibility of concluding a peace agreement. These are our plans, but there are no such signals from the Armenian side. As president, I look to the future. We will do everything [to normalize relations] if there are positive signals from Armenia”.
The President of Azerbaijan added that the situation in the conflict zone after the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh remains fragile.
In addition, Aliyev said once again that Zangezur (Syunik region of Armenia) and the capital of Armenia are “historical lands of Azerbaijan.”
Armenian Foreign Ministry’s response
Anna Naghdalyan, press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry commented on Aliyev’s statement. Naghdalyan said that the President of Azerbaijan continues to make contradictory statements:
“On the one hand, he presents to his own audience the thesis that the conflict is resolved, on the other hand, at an event organized for an international audience, he speaks about the signing of a peace agreement and the unresolved problems of the Karabakh conflict. To sign a peace treaty, first of all, a peace process is needed, which was halted by Azerbaijan’s use of force”.
Anna Naghdalyan stressed that neither in the context of the peace treaty that Aliyev spoke about, nor in general, no meeting is planned in the near future.
Naghdalyan said that the position of Baku does not allow for a constructive approach, especially amidst the propaganda of hatred towards the Armenians and the opening of the “War Trophies Park” of the second Karabakh war in the Azerbaijani capital, where exhibits offend the memory of the dead Armenian soldiers:
“All this, as well as Azerbaijan’s manipulation of the prisoners of war problem, proves how far the Azerbaijani leadership stands from its own statements about the post-war situation, regional peace, and reconciliation”.
Press secretary Naghdalyan said that Armenia counts on the active support of the international community, especially that of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries.
Armenia continues to demand the immediate return of all prisoners of war and civilians that are currently being held in Azerbaijan. Naghdalyan recalled that in its last statement of April 13, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also touched upon this issue.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry insists that, in accordance with international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention, as well as the trilateral peace agreement signed by the heads of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2020, all military personnel and civilians should be returned without any preliminary conditions on the principle of “all for all”.
The press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry also commented on the statements of the Azerbaijani president regarding the fact that the southern regions of Armenia Syunik and Yerevan “historically belonged to Azerbaijan”:
“It’s funny when the leader of a country whose name has only a century-old history in the South Caucasus, both politically and even geographically, makes territorial claims to the Armenian people living on their historical lands. We understand that the process of forming its own identity has been going on in Azerbaijan for the last hundred years, but we consider it necessary to emphasize once again that history is not Azerbaijan’s strong point.
Such provocative statements undermine efforts to establish stability in the region, which poses a threat to all countries located in it”.