Statement of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Latvia with regards to the recent Armenian military provocations
The international community has turned a blind eye to Armenia's policy of military occupation and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijan for many years. The “equal treatment” of the aggressor and the victim of aggression have encouraged Armenia to resort to new military provocations in the atmosphere of impunity.
The last such provocations happened on 12th of July and on 27th of September, 2020.
On the 12 of July the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia made attempts to attack and occupy the positions of the state border in the Tovuz district of the Republic of Azerbaijan using heavy artillery. This time, choosing not a frontline along the zone of occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan, but a region of the state border for military attacks, Armenia was trying:
- To provoke Azerbaijan to retaliate on the borderline, and thus involve third countries, with which it is in a military alliance, to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict,
- To hinder the process of peace negotiations between the two countries, thus forcing Azerbaijan to reconcile with the results of military occupation,
- To threaten or gain a control over the independent East-West energy (oil and gas pipelines) and transport corridors (roads and railways) passing through the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan. These alternative corridors connects Europe with the huge/alternative Oil and Gas reserves of the Caspian Sea, and with key economic centers in Asia that play an important role in the energy and transport security of Europe.
- To make Azerbaijan to pay for its independent energy and foreign policy.
- To destabilize the region and hinder its euro integration processes.
Immediately after the events in Tovuz, the Azerbaijani side observed new military buildup and war preparations in Armenia. According to open sources and intelligence information, a large amount of weapons have been shipped to the country from Russia. Azerbaijan warned and informed the international community about the war perorations in Armenia many times.
At last, on the 27 of September 2020 the armed forces of Armenia blatantly violating the ceasefire regime have launched another aggression against Azerbaijan, by intensively attacking the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the frontline, as well as the villages of Qapanli of Terter district, Chiragli and Orta Garavend of Aghdam district, Alkhanli and Shukurbeyli of Fizuli district and Jojuq Merjanli of Jabrayil district, using large-caliber weapons, mortar launchers and artillery.
According to the information of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, there are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen. Extensive damage has been inflicted on many homes and civilian infrastructure including a whole family from Naftalan city and 2 schoolboys from Tartar city of Azerbaijan deliberately. This is yet another blatant violation of fundamental norms and principles of international law, including Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols.
In order to prevent another military aggression by Armenia and provide the security of civilians and densely populated residential areas the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan undertake counter-offensive measures within the right of self-defense and in full compliance with the international humanitarian law liberating 6 villages of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Nagorno Karabakh which is the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia after it launched military campaign against Azerbaijan in 1991. By the time the ceasefire reached in 1994, Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territories, which include the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts that have ethnically been cleansed of ethnic Azerbaijanis. The bloody war claimed the lives of 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis and expelled one million more from their ancestral lands.
Armenia, which bears full responsibility for unleashing the war against Azerbaijan, seizing 1/5 of its internationally recognized territory, has carried out ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories blatantly violating the binding resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) of the United Nations Security Council demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the decisions and documents of other international organizations. The illegal presence of the armed forces of Armenia in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan is a serious threat to regional peace and security.
Azerbaijani side reminds once again that the latest provocative behavior of the new political and military leadership of Armenia such as firing civilian Azerbaijani population along the frontline, conducting illegal elections in Nagorno Karabakh (31 March 2020) that faced international condemnation, exclusively by the EU denonucing and “not recognising the constitutional and legal framework" for the ballot, conducting military exercises in the occupied territories, employing new aggressive rhetoric such as declaring “Nagorno Karabakh as a part of Armenia” (Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan), evaluating the “new war as an opportunity for gaining new territories” (defense minister David Tanoyan), conducting illegal settlement of ethnic Armenians from Syria, Lebanon and the other parts of the world in violation of relevant Geneva Conventions have strictly undermined the peace process between the two states, and made peace negotiations senseless. Full responsibility for the present situation falls on the political-military leadership of Armenia.
The Azerbaijani side highly appreciates the official statement of the Latvian Foreign Ministry of July 17, 2020 in support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan in connection with the recent Armenian provocations, and calls all the Latvian and the world society to condemn the aggressor and to demand the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan enabling the refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homeland.
Al the above-mentioned in mind we conclude that:
- The international community has turned a blind eye to Armenia's policy of military occupation and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijan for many years. The “equal treatment” of the aggressor and the victim of aggression have encouraged Armenia to resort to new military provocations in the atmosphere of impunity.
- The balanced position of the international community on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has been demonstrated for many years, did not prove effective.
- Azerbaijan has proposed Armenians to live in self-governance, but they refused and continued the occupation and annexation of our lands.
- We have negotiated for 26 years, but peace process did not produce any results, and Armenian leader N.Pashinyan has abandoned the peace talks by saying “Karabakh is Armenia”.
- The counter-offensive measures undertaken by Azerbaijan are carried out in its own – internationally recognized territories, and Azerbaijan does not have any military targets in the territory of Armenia.
- Azerbaijan relies only on its own army. No mercenaries and external help, as some fake news report.
- Each country must put itself in the place of Azerbaijan and think how they would behave in our situation.
- There is only one way to achieve the peace: the armed forces of Armenia must withdraw from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
It is incumbent on the international community more than ever to demonstrate principled position and express its solidarity with Azerbaijan in its just struggle to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and protect its population.