Azerbaijan interested in peace rather than war
Believing a myth made up by themselves, Armenia took a big gamble and waged a war against Azerbaijan, which is several times bigger than itself. Due to this unfound and empty myth Armenians killed hundreds of innocent civilians regardless of ethnicity let alone soldiers who served the motherland. They expelled over one million people regardless of their origin from their hometowns.
Azerbaijan has tried to solve the conflict peacefully through negotiations. However, the Armenian side has never come to any agreement. Every time they raised the bid. First up, they claimed that they wanted only the then-mountainous Karabakh and they kept seven adjacent districts as a buffer zone. Then the invaded seven adjacent districts turned into so-called "liberated districts" in time.
Like many lunatic politicians, such as Hitler, Mussolini, etc. whose hands were smeared with the blood of innocent people, Armenian leaders believed that they were special ones; they were chosen ones; and they were invincible. For unknown reasons, they were sure that the whole world would come to aid Armenia. They assumed that the whole world were in debt to Armenia. Fanatical belief in this baseless myth reached such a point that they solemnly declared "new wars for new territories." In other words, believing in being invincible, Armenians wanted to wrest new territories from Azerbaijan whose military budget was bigger than their state budget.
First, in July 2020, they tried to wrest some territories from Azerbaijan's Tovuz district, where oil and gas pipelines pass through. Azerbaijan prevented their advance. However, it did not stop them. Armenians prepared much bigger provocations in September of the same year. So, Azerbaijan was obliged to conduct counter-offensive measures and thus the Second Karabakh War started. Azerbaijan liberated most of its invaded territories in 44 days. The War finished on November 1 with the signing tripartite declaration. Baku gave a last chance Armenians to think and did not enter Khankendi. Azerbaijan always considered ordinary Armenians living in Karabakh its citizens and offered them conditions under which they can stay and continue to live on that area.
As the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the Forum titled "Karabakh: Back Home After 30 Years. Accomplishments and Challenges" co-organized by ADA University and the Center of Analysis of International Relations:” I'd like to say that during these three years - after the end of the Second Karabakh War - on several occasions, I publicly stated that we consider Armenians living in Karabakh as our citizens.”
Azerbaijan offered them conditions, which were in line with international law, under which they could stay and continue their ordinary lives in Karabakh. Armenians needed only to apply for Azerbaijani citizenship. However, Armenian leaders manipulated the situation.
Azerbaijan was determined in the lasting peace and was ready to even give amnesty to the separatist leaders. However, they did not assess it properly. They believed that someone would come to their assistance. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke about it when he met with former refugees in the Lachin city.
“I also said that the leaders of separatists have a chance for amnesty if they surrender. That was a public statement. But unfortunately, again, my words were not properly assessed,” noted the President.
Believing their patrons abroad, the Armenian side miscalculated the situation. Instead of using the Lachin-Khankendi road for humanitarian purposes, they used it for transporting military equipment and transferring military servicemen. To hinder the reconstruction and restoration works commenced in the liberated territories, they made provocations and planted landmines. Tens of Azerbaijanis died as a result of the mine explosion. So, Azerbaijan was obliged to conduct anti-terror measures in Karabakh that last one day. The anti-terror measures or operation can be considered the most peaceful operation in the world because no civilians or infrastructure were hurt. As Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said “One day, in even less than one day, the anti-terror operation totally allowed us to restore our sovereignty. The operation was held without any damage to civilian infrastructure, any casualty among civilians.”
With this operation, Azerbaijan demonstrated to the whole world that it is interested in peace rather than war. Azerbaijan had a chance to eliminate all Armenian soldiers because the illegal army was under siege. To recall that Armenians did not express mercy and killed all civilians, let alone soldiers, in sieged Khojaly in 1992. However, Azerbaijan gave options to them and promised that if they surrendered they would be able to leave Karabakh for Armenia. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said: “We announced that if the army laid down its weapons, we would stop and allow them to leave. So, it lasted less than 24 hours. After they announced that they surrender, all their actions on the ground had stopped.”
Thus, the Karabakh issue closed forever. As mentioned before, Azerbaijan considers ordinary Armenians living in the region as its citizens and the government provided all needed legal and security framework for this. However, if someone prefers the citizenship of other countries to Azerbaijan, it is his/her choice. No one can force them. As President said: “Our proposals from the very beginning of the time - when the Second Karabakh War ended - were very clear. People who live in Karabakh have two options: either to become Azerbaijani citizens – we provided all the necessary legal and also security framework for that – or to find another place to live.”
Azerbaijan kept its promises and allowed all soldiers who surrendered to leave for Armenia and take care of all civilians who preferred to stay in Karabakh. In his speech, the President also touched on the issue and said: “Some of them prefer to stay there and they live there. We assigned our representatives from the State Migration Agency and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population to take care of those who cannot provide their own comfort. Because, now it's the area, where you have to be protected by social agency, because you have to eat, you have to have heating, you have to have other means of living. Not many of them, I would say remained. But those who remain, they have been taken care of and those who want to come back, they can use a mechanism, which I already informed you about,”
Thus the Karabakh conflict has been finished for Azerbaijan. Now, Baku has other issues which determined works on it. The issues are reconstruction and restoration of liberated territories, and the return of refugees to their hometowns. However, it seems some forces are interested in igniting the conflict again and the Armenian side relies on them. Otherwise, why does Yerevan need to prolong the signing of the peace treaty? Sending weapons to Armenia by France and India exemplifies it. As the Azerbaijani President said: “As the countries, who supply Armenia with weapons like France and India, now pour the oil on fire and create unrealistic illusions in Armenia that using these weapons they can take back Karabakh,”
Armenia is a landlocked country with no natural resources. The country is bordered with four countries of which two closed its border due to the Karabakh conflict. No country can live in such a situation forever. That is why, over twenty percent of Armenians has left the country for 30 year. So to speak, Armenia is a moribund country and the only recovery is the lasting peace with its neighbors.
Qabil Ashirov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @g_Ashirov
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