"The Karabakh issue is off the international agenda" - Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan
Hikmet Hajiyev interview
“With the Prague and Sochi documents Armenia recognized the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over Karabakh,” Hikmet Hajiyev, an assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, said in an interview with Report agency. According to him, the reintegration of Armenians living in Karabakh into Azerbaijan “is the only way out.”
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“Armenia recognized the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over Karabakh”
“President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stressed that the negotiations on a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan and contacts with Armenians living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are two completely different things,” Hajiyev said in an interview.
He says that at the meetings held in October 2022 in Prague and Sochi, Azerbaijan and Armenia declared mutual recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty based on the 1991 Almaty Declaration:
“In accordance with the Almaty Declaration, the newly independent countries recognize the administrative borders of the former Soviet republics of the USSR period. Thus, with the Prague and Sochi documents, Armenia recognized the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over Karabakh.”
Hajiyev maintained that the issue of personal rights and security of the Armenian population living in Karabakh is “purely an internal affair of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan will not discuss issues related to its sovereignty with any third party, including Armenia.”
“The Karabakh conflict has been settled. Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan. For Azerbaijan, the Karabakh issue is off the international agenda. It is no coincidence that the documents adopted at the meetings in Brussels, Moscow, Prague, Sochi, Karabakh are not mentioned,” he added.
“There are no special privileges for Armenians”
On the issue of personal rights and security of the Armenian population living in Karabakh, Hajiyev said that this issue “will be resolved in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Azerbaijan”:
“There are no special privileges for Armenians. As I said, this issue has nothing to do with Armenia and others.”
Hajiyev recalled that at the talks in Brussels and at a meeting in Washington in September of last year, “the issue of ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians living in Karabakh was discussed precisely within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan”:
“The creation of any international mechanism to discuss the rights and security of the Armenian population living in Karabakh is out of the question, and we have never agreed to this. Armenia’s claims on this score are completely illogical and aimed at creating artificial tension.
The position of Azerbaijan regarding sovereignty is accepted at the international level.”
On the requirements for sending an international mission to Karabakh
“Statements by Armenian officials about “creating a demilitarized zone around Karabakh” and “sending a UN fact-finding mission to Karabakh, on the Lachin road” are unacceptable.
On what basis does Armenia call for sending a UN or OSCE mission to the territory of another country? No organization can and will not take such steps without the consent of Azerbaijan. The UN resolutions also clearly state that without the consent of a country, it is impossible to send any mission to its territory.
Such statements by Armenia as sending a mission to Karabakh, to the Lachin road and attracting external forces are nothing but a utopia, a geopolitical adventure and an attempt to create artificial tension.”
“We are determined to continue contacts”
On March 1, the first official meeting of official Baku with representatives of the Armenian community of Karabakh was held in Khojaly. According to Hajiyev, the Azerbaijani authorities “are determined to continue these contacts”:
“Armenians living in Karabakh for the last 30 years have been hostages of Armenia and the illegal regime. After the end of the 30-year occupation, Azerbaijan expressed its readiness to establish contact with the Armenian population. Recently attempts have been made to create a new reality in Karabakh with the Ruben Vardanyan project exported from Moscow, to return the situation to 1988 and create a new status quo.
As is known, Ramin Mammadov, deputy of the Milli Majlis, was made responsible for contacts with Armenians living in Karabakh. The first contacts were established in Khojaly on 1 March. Unfortunately, after the contacts, we witnessed undesirable statements by the Armenian side. But we are determined to continue these contacts.
In our opinion, the provocation committed by Armenia on the Khankendi-Khalfali-Turshsu dirt road on March 5 was also designed to prevent contacts with the Armenian population. We consider the transport of weapons to the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan as a continuing policy of aggression and terrorism against our country by Armenia. Why does Armenia continue to send weapons and ammunition to the sovereign territory of another country? All responsibility for the tension lies with the military-political leadership of Armenia.”
“Is there really a blockade?”
The assistant to the President of Azerbaijan also commented on the 91-day protest of Azerbaijani activists on the Lachin road and accusations of a blockade by Armenia:
“In protest against the illegal exploitation of our natural resources in the territories of Azerbaijan, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed, since December 12 citizensand environmental activists have been holding a rally on the Lachin-Khankendi road.”
Hajiyev held that this was “a peaceful action — its participants do not have machine guns, cannons and tanks, and they put forward legitimate demands.”
“However, now Armenia has thrown in a new narrative. Allegedly, the Lachin road is “blocked”, Azerbaijan is preparing to commit a “genocide” against the Armenians living in Karabakh. We have been saying from the first day that the Lachin road is not closed, Russian peacekeepers, the Red Cross, and humanitarian cargo passes freely along the road. From December 12 to the present day, more than 3,600 cars have passed along the Lachin-Khankendi road. Is there really a blockade?
Armenia intends to mislead the international community, strike at the positions of Azerbaijan, delay the signing of a peace treaty, and prevent the reintegration of the Armenian population living in Karabakh into Azerbaijan. There is another narrative: “Karabakh is isolated from the whole world.” These people do not understand that “Nagorno-Karabakh” is not a separate entity and cannot live as an island. This territory is an integral part of Azerbaijan. The reintegration of Armenians into Azerbaijan is the only solution.”