Will Yerevan draw conclusions from President's remarks?
The lasting peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia that will stop the bloodshed and bring prosperity to the region has been the main topic since the end of the 44-day war. The meetings held in different cities by the heads and the Foreign Ministers of the two countries over three years are filling many with hope. However, it should be mentioned that some forces, especially pro-Armenian media outlets working in the CIS area, do their best to develop a perception that Russia is mired in the Ukrainian crisis and Azerbaijan takes advantage of this. Every new cooperation and economic agreement between Azerbaijan and the West is misinterpreted differently by them. Even energy agreements between Azerbaijan and the EU as if Azerbaijan aims to replace Russia in the EU market, despite the gas agreement was signed before the Ukrainian War.
Needless to say that it is an old Armenian strategy that aims to neutralize Azerbaijan's growing strength by involving foreign countries, such as Russia, Iran, and so on in the process. Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan is an independent country ruled by a victorious president. Azerbaijan has balanced relations with different countries and recognizes their national interests, territorial integrity, and sovereignty, and demands the same values from these countries as well.
The interview of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev with Euronews also touched on these issues and the ongoing peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It should be emphasized that the president heralded that the lasting peace may be achieved by the end of 2023.
"But if we see a constructive approach from the Armenian side, and most important if they totally put down all their aspirations to contest our territorial integrity then we can find the peace solution very soon, maybe even by the end of the year," the President noted.
As for the mediation of Russia and the West, President Ilham Aliyev's frank and direct responses frustrated many who had tried to draw waters to their own mills.
The President recalled that Russia was a mediator of a ceasefire agreement or declaration of 10 November 2020. He underlined that it was not the United States or the EU and the first meetings with the heads of the two states were organized by Russia.
Of course, the Ukrainian War changed the situation and the West became more active than before. However, it is not a big difference for Azerbaijan. As the President mentioned, Azerbaijan is interested in results, more precisely, the lasting peace, not in who will lead the process. In other words, locations and mediators are not important. The FM of the two countries held meetings in Washington, in Moscow and it could be held in other cities as well. Azerbaijan appreciates all actors who attempt to get the results.
Observing the behavior of the Armenian side, some could conclude that they are reluctant about the delimitation and demarcation because they go the extra mile to evade it despite all attempts made by Azerbaijan. Besides, the Armenian side does not comply with the commitments of the 10 November statement. In accordance with the statement Armenia should provide Azerbaijan with free access to its exclave Nakhchivan AR, but this commitment has not been fulfilled despite three years passed.
So, the interview should be evaluated by the Armenia very seriously. They must understand that the time is ticking for them. Trying to create a perception with empty words, and hiding behind some countries will lead nowhere. It will be better for them if they comply with their commitments and offer constructive dialogues. Otherwise, no one can save them.
Qabil Ashirov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @g_Ashirov
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