By Vafa Ismayilova
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has said that Azerbaijan is fully committed to peace, security, and regional cooperation based on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of internationally recognized borders.
Abdullayeva made the remarks while commenting on Armenia's claims about the latest tensions on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and allegations about Azerbaijan's violation of Armenia's "sovereign territory".
“Unfortunately, this technical issue has been exaggerated by provocative statements and a smear campaign against Azerbaijan. This destructive approach only serves to increase tensions. The inadequate reaction and provocative statements of Armenia are connected with the pre-election situation in this country. Armenia's attempts to use this issue as a political tool are unacceptable. Let me reiterate that Azerbaijan is strongly committed to peace, security and regional cooperation on the basis of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders,” Abdullayeva said.
She recommended Armenia's political and military circles to recognize the reality of the interstate border regime along the international border, to prevent an unreasonable aggravation of the regional situation, and to constructively resolve border issues with Azerbaijan through bilateral channels.
"Such cases can and should be resolved through mutual contacts between relevant border authorities on both sides. Azerbaijan is committed to resolving tensions in the region and we call for appropriate steps to be taken to that end," the spokesperson added.
Abdullayeva described Armenia's aforesaid claims as unfounded.
"These claims are absolutely baseless. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and the State Border Service released information and brought clarity to the situation on the border tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan... It is Armenia that violates the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is only restoring its internationally recognized borders," she said.
Abdullayeva described the illegal occupation of Azerbaijan by Armenia until November 2020 as "the root cause of border problems".
“As our official statements already pointed out, in connection with the improvement of weather conditions in the liberated regions of Azerbaijan bordering with Armenia, Azerbaijan continues to strengthen the system of border protection, carried out within the framework of its territorial integrity. This process is carried out based on maps defining the borderline between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which both sides have,” Abdullayeva said.
The spokesperson added that building on this basis of good neighborly relations and well-intentioned launching of the delimitation and demarcation of borders is the only way to resolve any disputes that may arise.
"Armenia and Azerbaijan have just emerged from the war, therefore successful border demarcation and delimitation play a key role in ensuring peace and security,” she added.
Abdullayeva stressed that disagreements between the parties on border issues should be resolved politically and diplomatically.
"Let me also stress that over the last months several disagreements occurred between the sides on border issues, and all of them were settled via negotiations among the sides to the trilateral statements [between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia in November 2020 and January 2021]. We believe that such disagreements should be resolved via political and diplomatic means," the spokesperson noted.
Commenting on the reaction of some members of the international community to the recent border tensions, Abdullayeva noted that the demarcation and delimitation of borders is a bilateral issue, a very complex and technical process.
“The border demarcation and delimitation is a bilateral issue, it is quite a complicated and technical process. Of course, we understand the concerns of third countries over the situation in the region, which is about eliminating the aggravation of tensions. We believe that before making any statements on such a sensitive issue, all root causes and dimensions must be examined thoroughly,” she said.
Abdullayeva recalled that as soon as the tensions arose on the border, the State Border Service's senior officials immediately visited the region and began talks with Armenia's border guards. She noted that appropriate measures are currently being taken to normalize the situation.
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