By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan’s Parliament’s Chairperson Sahiba Gafarova has said that Baku’s efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully have been unsuccessful due to the destructive policy pursued by the Armenian authorities who prefer provocations and military rhetoric.
Gafarova made the remarks while addressing the plenary session of Federation Council of Russia's Federal Assembly on September 23 during her visit to Moscow.
Addressing the Assembly, Gafarova reminded Armenia’s recent military provocation on Azerbaijan’s Tovus region in July with the use of artillery that killed Azerbaijani servicemen and a civilian. “How can threats to strike civilian targets of Azerbaijan be assessed?” Gafarova questioned.
Furthermore, the chairperson touched upon the illegal settlement of Syrian and Lebanese refugees in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
She highlighted that the demographic situation in the occupied territories has been illegally changed in recent years after 700,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from their permanent places of residence in Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan in the 1990s.
Gafarova described Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as “the most painful problem of Azerbaijan. “A fifth of the Azerbaijani territories - the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts are occupied,” the chairperson stressed.
Reminding that Azerbaijan has never laid claim to foreign territories, and the Azerbaijani people will never allow a second Armenian state to be established on its historical lands, Gafarova stressed that the conflict must be resolved within Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in line with the international law.
The chairperson underlined that Azerbaijan always demonstrates its commitment to peaceful diplomatic efforts in resolving the conflict following the norms and principles of international law, and, first of all, based on the inviolability of the territorial integrity and borders of states.
“We hope that Russia, which is the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and has been working hard from the very beginning for a peaceful solution of the conflict, will use its authority in international politics and make its best to resolve the conflict," she noted.
Armenia's provocation was also discussed during the meeting between Gafarova and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on September 23. The meeting followed her speech at the plenary session of Federation Council of Russia's Federal Assembly.
Gafarova said that recent so-called "seven conditions" proposed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan undermine all efforts of the world community to resolve the conflict peacefully as well as his statements about including the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh to the negotiations process.
Gafarova also reminded Armenia’s military provocation in Azerbaijan’s border Tovuz region where Armenian forces targeted infrastructure facilities that have importance for the entire region and that are away from the Nagorno-Karabakh’s territory.
“All these are serious violation of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, and the Additional Protocol of June 8, 1977, and constitute a war crime.”
“Contrary to these conventions, the illegal settlement of Syrian and Lebanese refugees carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan today is of particular concern,” Gafarova said.
In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that views expressed by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan on Nagorno-Karabakh undermine the settlement of the conflict.
“This is the position of official Moscow. Russia supports the return of the five occupied regions in the settlement process, the deployment of peacekeepers in the area and the restoration of the transport and communication system,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov said that Russia, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, supports the solution of the problem and spares no effort in this area.
Moreover, Lavrov noted that Russia intends to further deepen relations with Azerbaijan in all spheres of life, including the diplomatic sphere.
Gafarova pointed out that said that the Azerbaijani-Russian relations have a centuries-old tradition and have always been distinguished by their characteristics.
“A strong partnership has formed between Azerbaijan and Russia that is one of the first countries to recognize our independence, which has risen to the level of a strategic partnership over the years,” Gafarova said.
Noting the rapid expansion of the geography of interregional cooperation between the two countries, Gafarova said that today Azerbaijan actively cooperates with the subjects of the Russian Federation - Dagestan and Tatarstan, Astrakhan, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Ulyanovsk, Yekaterinburg, Vladimir, Volgograd and others.
She further noted that Azerbaijan has the largest number of ethnic Russians in the South Caucasus.
“There is a strong legal framework between our countries, consisting of more than 200 bilateral documents. These include the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Security between the Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Baku Declaration of Friendship and Strategic Cooperation,” Gafarova added.
Earlier, on September 22, the Azerbaijani delegation headed by Parliament’s Chairperson Sahiba Gafarova also met with Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matviyenko.
During the meeting, Matviyenko said that “Azerbaijan has been and remains a strategic partner for us. Of course, inter-parliamentary cooperation plays an important role in building the interstate relations. We have been looking forward to your visit and we attach great importance to it.”
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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