By Vafa Ismayilova
After Azerbaijan suppressed Armenia’s decades-long aggression in the last year’s six-week war, the signing of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan is high on the agenda in the light of the latest Armenian sabotage acts against Azerbaijan on the border.
The post-war Azerbaijani-Armenian tensions caused by un-demarcated borders definitely necessitate the signing of this treaty and the speedy delimitation of the borders.
By signing the treaty, both countries will recognize each other's territorial integrity. It will end Armenia’s age-old claims to the Azerbaijani lands and ensure long-term stability and eliminate the risks of military conflicts in the region. Subsequently, it will move the South Caucasus region into a new era of development and integration. The treaty's positive tendencies will affect not only the South Caucasus but other regional neighbors.
Baku ready for a peace treaty
President Ilham Aliyev earlier stated the need for a peace agreement to avoid potential armed conflicts.
“I have repeatedly said that we are ready to start working on a peace agreement with Armenia. We need a peace agreement with Armenia and the delimitation of borders to end the war, minimize or eliminate the risk of any potential military confrontation. All this requires joint efforts, which we cannot do unilaterally,” he said on May 20.
He stressed that Azerbaijan is ready for cooperation with Armenia.
“Azerbaijan is open for cooperation, open for planning our common future because we are neighbors whether we like it or not. We have to live side by side, and we need to learn once again how to live side by side. It’s not easy, emotions are here, especially when Azerbaijani people visit liberated territories and see total destruction you can imagine what kind of emotions they have. But the role of politicians is to defend their agenda and to explain that only through interaction we can provide sustainable development and peace and security in the region,” he said.
Although Azerbaijan made humanitarian, economic, and communication gestures to Armenia to demonstrate its readiness, unfortunately, Armenia has not yet shown any reaction.
“We have made several important gestures to show that we are ready to work together on important issues after the end of the war - after November 10,” Aliyev said.
The return of about 1,600 bodies despite Armenia’s failure to return the bodies of 4,000 Azerbaijani servicemen, who went missing during the first Karabakh war, the immediate release of all Armenian servicemen detained during the war, including civilians abandoned after the Armenian troops fled, steps to take care of elderly Armenians, their hospitalization and hand-over to the ICRC, and their safe return to Armenia can be seen as Baku’s humanitarian steps.
Against the background of all this Yerevan still fails to show any sign of cooperation as a result of which over 100 Azerbaijanis have been killed or seriously injured by Armenian-planted landmines since the end of the war.
“Armenia refuses to give us a map of mines. We know for sure that they have a map showing that perhaps at least one million mines were buried,” Aliyev said.
Azerbaijan proved its goodwill from an economic standpoint as well.
“At present, we allow Armenian citizens to use 21 kilometers of the highway connecting Armenian cities through the territories we have liberated from occupation. This is another indication of goodwill. We allowed Russia's Gazprom to transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Armenia, as Russia was repairing it. For more than a month, Armenian consumers received gas from Azerbaijan. Did the Armenian government inform its people about this? No,” Aliyev said.
Meanwhile, the president added that Yerevan failed to thank Baku, who recently voluntarily released 14 Armenian detainees.
“They thanked everyone. They thanked the Russian peacekeepers. They thanked the US administration. But they did not thank us, those who released those people,” he mentioned.
Despite all this, Baku still insists on cooperation.
“But still what we have offered. We have offered cooperation in transport issues, especially in the opening of the Zangazur corridor, which will connect Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. At the same time, Armenia will have a railway connection with its two close friends - Russia and Iran... The process has begun, it is not easy, but it has begun,” he noted.
Lack of Yerevan’s political will
All the abovementioned facts show that what is lacking to have the treaty is Armenia’s political will. During the years of occupation, Armenia completely lost all ideas about borders, so it is not easy to return this country to legal realities today.
In an attempt to preserve at least something of what had been used illegally and undividedly for three decades, Armenia continues to resist. Under such circumstances, Azerbaijan has to tear every meter of its land out of the occupier’s hands by force, facing series of the Armenian army’s provocations and hooligan behavior.
The significance of the treaty for Armenia cannot be overestimated at all. It will cease to be a destabilizing factor in the region and will be able to prove its viability as a state.
Moreover, it will facilitate the revival of Armenia, which is facing serious economic problems.
There are still concerns about guarantees whether Armenia will fulfill the terms of the possible peace treaty.
In view of the fact that Armenia has successfully ignored four UN resolutions for about three decades, it is assumed that Azerbaijan will play the role of a regulator.
All steps that Baku has taken so far are always based on international norms and principles. It should be noted that despite all international support and sympathy for the Armenians and phobias towards Azerbaijan, no one dared to take real actions to prevent Azerbaijan from liberating its territories, because international law was on its side.
The same is believed to be the case with the peace treaty, which, will be hopefully signed with Armenia sooner or later. However, Azerbaijan also relies on international support.
“We need the support of the Minsk Group, the co-chairs, including the United States, the countries of the region, as well as Turkey, which has always supported positive development in the region, and, of course, we need the support of the European Union. Because I think it will be a unique format of cooperation, and if Armenia misses this chance, it will regret it,” President Aliyev said.
The world has accumulated considerable experience in terms of concluding peace agreements. It has been proven that lasting peace is achieved only when it is secured by an interstate document certified by signatures and seals.
There are cases in history when peace treaties concluded after the wars even acquired global significance over time. For example, on September 17, 1978, the Camp David Accords were signed, which brought the leaders of Egypt and Israel the Nobel Peace Prize. The peace treaty between the two countries put an end to the 30-year war between the two states.
The treaty established normal good-neighborly relations, including mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. The parties pledged to prevent the conduct of hostilities against each other from their territory, the effect of any economic boycotts was canceled and diplomatic, economic and cultural ties were established in full.
This document, according to experts, radically changed the political landscape of the region and proved that peace in the Middle East is possible.
Another problem resolved by the signing of the peace treaty was the war in the former Yugoslavia. The agreement on peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed on November 21, 1995, at the US military base in Dayton (Ohio) and received the name of the Dayton Agreement. An agreement on a ceasefire, separation of warring parties, and isolation of territories put an end to the bloody civil war.
In accordance with the Dayton Agreement, the new official name of the country was "Bosnia and Herzegovina" (BiH). According to the Constitution, which is an integral part of the peace agreement, BiH consists of two administrative and territorial entities: the Federation of BiH (Muslim-Croatian) and the Serbian Republic. This is a union of two territorial entities with a separate position. The Dayton model presupposes a complex system of power that takes into account the interests of the three state-forming peoples - Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks), Serbs, and Croats.
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