lham Aliyev: “The Minsk Group has been operating for 28 years. The result is obvious - zero success"
Azerbaijani President’s comment on the OSCE Minsk group mandate
According to the President of Azerbaijan, the mandate given to the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the conflict actually de jure remains in force, but de facto it can be considered invalid. Ilham Aliyev said that the Minsk Group had been operating for 28 years, and “the result of its work is obvious – zero”.
He also expressed his opinion on the role of the European Union in solving problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia, on the 5 principles proposed by Baku, as well as the need to start work on the construction of the Zangezur corridor.
- Op-ed: Сan Moscow lose its influence on Armenia and Azerbaijan amid Ukraine war?
- Future of Karabakh mediators: no more OSCE Minsk group?
- Opinion from Baku: Turkey can become one of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev chaired a meeting dedicated to the results of the first quarter of this year.
In the political section of his speech, Aliyev commented on the current situation in the negotiation process with Armenia. The President of Azerbaijan discussed issues related to the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group and the mediation efforts of the European Union. He also announced the need to start construction of the Zangezur corridor and spoke about the situation with the termination of the supply of natural gas to part of Karabakh, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily stationed.
“The Minsk Group has been operating for 28 years. And the result is obvious – zero “
According to Ilham Aliyev, the OSCE, which issued the mandate to the Minsk Group, fully accepted the new realities:
“As for the OSCE Minsk Group, immediately after the war, the co-chairs of the Minsk Group arrived in Baku. This was their first and last visit to Azerbaijan after the war.
We ourselves have settled this conflict. Before the second Karabakh war, the Minsk Group operated for 28 years, during these years the co-chairing countries made, probably, hundreds of visits to Azerbaijan and Armenia. And the result is obvious – zero.
Azerbaijan itself resolved this conflict. Allowed by military-political means. Although the mandate given to the Minsk Group to resolve the conflict actually de jure remains in force, de facto it can no longer be considered valid”.
The President of Azerbaijan stressed that over the past year the country has not received any proposals from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs:
“Our foreign minister met with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group at various international events, and we asked them: tell us, what do you intend to do? The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been settled, and there is no and will not be an administrative territory called “Nagorno-Karabakh” in the territory of Azerbaijan. Tell us what you intend to do so that we know and express our opinion.
For more than a year, we have not received any proposal on this issue. And in the current conditions, the Minsk Group and the format of its co-chairs are actually in a non-functional state. High-ranking officials of these co-chairing countries are already saying this, and in this case, of course, there can be no talk of any group activity”.
On the mediating role of the European Union
At the initiative of the President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel, trilateral meetings were held in December 2021 and April 2022 with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
“Both the experts and the Azerbaijani public saw that the final communiqué did not contain the name “Nagorno-Karabakh”, and this is natural because Azerbaijan objected to this. There is no word “conflict”. This is also natural because there is no conflict, it has been resolved.
Now the European Union is engaged in the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and these issues were discussed at the last meeting in April – the meeting held on April 6”, Aliyev said at the meeting.
He also commented on the discussion in Brussels of the five principles proposed by official Baku to the Armenian side:
“To normalize relations between the two countries, Azerbaijan presented a proposal consisting of 5 principles, and the Armenian side reacted positively to this proposal, these statements had already been made before the Brussels meeting.
And at the Brussels meeting, I just wanted to clarify this for myself again and found out that Armenia accepts 5 principles.
Thus, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is accepted, and Armenia renounces territorial claims against Azerbaijan. That is, if these 5 principles are accepted – this was confirmed at the April meeting – then these questions are an integral part of these 5 principles.
This is a very positive fact and, I think, the main condition for the normalization of bilateral ties. We agreed to create working groups both in connection with the border and with the preparation of a peace treaty.
As you know, the other day, the first telephone conversation took place between the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, I think, in modern history, perhaps in the last 30 years. We positively assess this as well”.
“Relations between two countries should be decided by these countries”
“Relations between the two countries should be decided by these countries. Those who want to help can help. I see it this way, and this is our position on this matter.
I believe that the working groups that will be formed by the end of April in connection with the delimitation of the border, as well as the working groups for the preparation of a peace agreement, should soon begin work.
We look at this process with great hope, there is no need to waste time”, Aliyev said.
Ilham Aliyev said that last month a memorandum was signed between Azerbaijan and Iran on the construction of roads and railways through the territory of the Islamic Republic, which will connect the main part of Azerbaijan to its exclave, Nakhichevan.
“Of course, this does not cancel the opening of the Zangezur corridor. It must open. In Brussels, we discussed extensively the issue of building a railway and a highway along the Zangezur corridor”, the President of Azerbaijan said.
“As for the road through Iran, Armenia must see that it cannot interfere with our plans. If it does not give way through Zangezur, it will lose itself, and first of all, she will violate the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020. If Armenia does not want to fulfill its obligations under this document, then we will not bear any responsibility for the fulfillment of any obligations”, Aliyev added.
Restoration of the gas pipeline in Karabakh
“The gas pipeline in the part of Karabakh where Armenians now live has recently fallen into disrepair, and temporarily there was no gas in that territory. They raised a fuss and told the whole world that Azerbaijan is committing a humanitarian catastrophe.
For 15 years Nakhichevan remained without gas. And there, the winter is even colder, the temperature reaches -30 degrees. Well, from 1990 to 2005 the people of Nakhichevan lived without gas. And who deprived them of it? Armenians and the leadership of Armenia, the Armenian state.
Has anyone, or any organization raised their voice? No! They were indifferent. And Khankendi was left without gas for one week, and not a single person remained who did not call us about this – from America to Europe.
There are countries where gasification is only 3-5%. And is there a humanitarian catastrophe raging there? And then a week without gas became a humanitarian disaster. And when Nakhichevan was left without gas for 15 years, was it not a humanitarian catastrophe? This is the question. Is there an answer to it? There is! Double standards and discrimination.
We have restored the gas pipeline, and the Armenians should appreciate it. This is a goodwill gesture on our part. If we didn’t want to, they wouldn’t restore it. Who will tell us what to do about this? Are we obliged to restore the pipeline? No. We restored it, and we hope they realize that they are citizens of Azerbaijan and must live, will live under the flag of Azerbaijan. the sooner they realize this, the better for them”, Aliyev said.