Armenia's provocation on border with Azerbaijan in the direction of Tovuz district, resulted in complete fiasco, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev said.
Hajiyev made the remark in an interview to Russia’s National Defense journal, Trend reports.
"The recent escalation in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district direction of the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border was the result of an Armenian provocation. With this move, Yerevan pursued a set of goals. Conditionally they can be divided into internal and external ones," he said.
Hajiyev noted that the internal reasons are connected with the worsening situation in Armenia against the background of the difficult political and socio-economic situation and the deplorable situation with COVID-19.
"As it is known, in 2018 Nikol Pashinyan came to power in Armenia on a wave of populist promises to the Armenian people. But time has shown that his government is unable to fulfill those promises, to change life in the country for the better. The situation with COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated its inefficiency. Therefore, amid the growing problems, Pashinyan’s government seeks to divert the attention of the population from internal problems," the assistant to president stressed.
According to Hajiyev, among the external reasons, Azerbaijan's huge success in the international arena should be noted.
“Strengthening of our international positions, including those ones regarding the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan - all this creates envy in Armenia,” he said. “Against this background, the country, pursuing a destructive policy and continuing the occupation of Azerbaijani territories, seeks to divert the attention of the international community from the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories by creating a new hotbed of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but this time on the state border.”
The official emphasized that with such provocations, Yerevan is trying to shape an opinion that Azerbaijan is allegedly committing attacks on the territory of Armenia and to involve military-political organizations, of which it is a member, in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
"In addition, among the goals of Armenia was the creation of a threat to strategic international projects such as export oil and gas pipelines, the East-West transport corridor. We can confidently say that Armenia did not achieve its goals and its provocation turned into a complete fiasco," he noted.
"On July 12, using their artillery, they struck at the positions of the Azerbaijani army. This attack was repulsed with return fire. But, just like before, Armenia began to blame Azerbaijan for this provocation, citing unfounded and even ridiculous arguments. The Armenian side claims that allegedly two Azerbaijani servicemen in a UAZ vehicle tried to commit military sabotage on the border with Armenia. This, of course, is absurd and beyond any logic. What modern army will attack an armed enemy using unarmored vehicles?" he said.
Hajiyev also stressed that Azerbaijan has no military plans or goals on the state border with Armenia.
"With the aim of demilitarization, the protection of this part of the border with Armenia was entrusted to the border troops of Azerbaijan. Escalation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border does not meet the interests of Azerbaijan. On the contrary, as I have already noted, the emergence of a hotbed of tension in this area is in the interests of Armenia.”
“One thing that needs to be clarified. There is no channel of communication between Azerbaijan’s president and the Armenian prime minister. There is a certain communication channel between the authorized representatives of the two countries. Practice has shown that as a result of factors related to Armenia, in particular the constant governmental reshuffle in Yerevan, this communication channel is practically ineffective. In fact, there is no one to keep in touch with. This proves again that the Armenian side is not sincere in its actions," he said.
Further, the assistant to Azerbaijani president noted that every day in Azerbaijani society there is growing indignation over the impunity of the Armenian aggression, disappointment over the ineffectiveness of international efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“It is quite obvious that as long as the impunity reigns, Armenia will continue to pursue its aggressive policy and occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The mass march in support of Azerbaijani army reflected the unshakable will of the Azerbaijani people, who are in complete solidarity and are decisive in the issue of liberating their ancestral lands from Armenian occupation,” Hajiyev said.
“This important event once again demonstrated the complete unity between the people and the government. The people of Azerbaijan actively support the policy of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev and wish the soonest restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I want to emphasize that in response to the call of the president, about 40,000 Azerbaijani citizens registered as volunteers in the army. This once again confirmed the high level of patriotic spirit in the country," he added.
Hajiyev stressed again that Azerbaijan has no military plans or goals in the border zone with Armenia.
"During the recent provocation, the combat task of the armed forces of Azerbaijan was to protect the state border and the security of the civilian population. The Azerbaijan army gave a worthy response to the enemy and again showed its military effectiveness and high morale.”
“They have demonstrated broad capabilities in solving strategic and tactical tasks in the defense of the country, including the ability to effectively use high-precision weapons, including the successful use of unmanned aerial vehicles," he said.
According to Hajiyev, during the hostilities, the armed forces of Azerbaijan prevented any penetration attempts, in a short time suppressing Armenian firing points, from where Azerbaijan's territories were subjected to artillery shelling.
“It should be noted that from these points Armenians shelled not only our military positions, but also settlements with civilians, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. We believe that it will be a good lesson for some of the warlords in Yerevan who dream of a "new war for new territories." Unfortunately, as a result of the recent act of armed aggression by Armenia, 12 Azerbaijani servicemen and a civilian were killed.”
Hajiyev also pointed out that the Armenian armed forces are hiding their true military losses from the public.
"In this matter, all the leaderships of Armenia did not behave sincerely and always deceived their people. According to our data, given the fierce nature of the hostilities, the Armenian side has dozens of killed and hundreds of wounded soldiers. Based on past experience, we can say with confidence that soon these losses will be presented as non-combat losses as a result of road and other accidents," he said.
Hajiyev also pointed out the fact that on the line of contact from the Armenian side, as a rule, a large number of mercenaries are involved, and the statistics of their deaths are not announced at all.
Hajiyev also commented on Armenian claims that Azerbaijan inflicted strikes on civilian objects.
"This is another lie. On the contrary, shelling of the civilian population is a long-standing practice of the Armenian armed forces. As in April 2016, this time they also deliberately shelled civilian objects and the civilian population of Azerbaijan from large-caliber weapons and heavy artillery installations,” he said.
“As a result of the hostilities on the state border, an Azerbaijani civilian was killed, and there were no casualties among the civilian population of Armenia. Serious damage was also caused to the civilian population, state property, including the infrastructure facilities of Azerbaijan. The president of Azerbaijan has already signed an order on measures to eliminate damage caused as a result of the shelling of the Tovuz district by the Armenian armed forces," he said.
Hajiyev noted that armed forces of Azerbaijan possess modern high-precision weapons and strike only at legitimate military targets.
"Meanwhile, the armed forces of Armenia, using terrorist tactics, place their firing positions near or inside settlements, thereby deliberately endangering them. Therefore, not Azerbaijan, but Armenia should be responsible for the targeted shelling of civilians. The latest escalation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border must be viewed in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia is a consequence of this conflict, armed aggression and the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia. A destructive policy, including the commission of constant provocations on the line of contact and the state border, demonstrates Armenia's disinterest in resolving the conflict and its desire to extend the status quo," he said.
As Hajiyev noted, the principles of the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have long been known.
"The conflict should be resolved on the basis of four resolutions (822, 853, 874, 884) of the UN Security Council adopted in 1993, the Helsinki Final Act, within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, its internationally recognized borders. There can’t be other solution. Based on the above principles, in the process of a gradual settlement, Armenia should withdraw the occupying forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts of Azerbaijan and create all conditions for the safe return of internally displaced persons to their homes," he noted.
The assistant to president also noted that Azerbaijan remains committed to the political and diplomatic settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"However, negotiations for the sake of negotiations are unacceptable. To resolve the conflict, substantive negotiations are needed within the OSCE Minsk Group in order to discuss the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from occupation, and not their imitation. Azerbaijan insists on the withdrawal of the occupation forces, and the return of internally displaced persons to their lands.”
“In turn, the world community should give a clear signal to Armenia, as an aggressor country, that changing the internationally recognized borders by force is unacceptable. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the position expressed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at the plenary session of the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club : "Karabakh is Azerbaijan!" Hajiyev said.
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