By Vafa Ismayilova
Baku has said that Azerbaijan's responsive measures against Armenia's provocation on September 27 a year ago were in full compliance with international humanitarian law to thwart another aggression and ensure civilians' security.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement issued on September 27 - Remembrance Day on the first anniversary of the Second Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan that broke out in 2020.
"One year ago today, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan began responsive measures to counter another military provocation from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. These measures were undertaken within the framework of the right to self-defence. They were in full compliance with the international humanitarian law to prevent another military aggression from Armenia and to provide for the security of the civilian population. This marked the beginning of the 44-day Patriotic War," the Foreign Ministry reported.
The ministry expressed "deep respect and esteem to the memory of all our martyrs who died for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan on September 27", which is marked in Azerbaijan as Remembrance Day in Azerbaijan under President Ilam Aliyev's order.
It stressed that the Patriotic War put an end to Armenia’s nearly 30-year aggression policy.
"Azerbaijan ensured its territorial integrity, and the fundamental rights of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis were restored. Azerbaijan alone ensured the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993," the statement added.
The ministry stressed that the end of the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories revealed the full extent of the illegal activities undertaken by Armenia for decades.
"This includes extensive mining; the deliberate destruction and misappropriation of Azerbaijan’s historical, cultural and religious heritage; plundering of natural resources; destruction of infrastructure; and other violations of international law. Evidence of Armenia’s numerous war crimes was also revealed. In order to hold Armenia accountable for its breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law, Azerbaijan filed inter-state applications against Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights and International Court of Justice," the ministry added.
It noted that the Azerbaijani government is rebuilding the liberated territories and taking consistent steps to ensure the safe and dignified return of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis, as well as the reintegration of these lands.
The ministry underlined that the Government is also taking all necessary measures to ensure lasting peace, security, and prosperity in the region under the trilateral statement signed by Baku, Moscow and Yerevan on November 10, 2020.
"The Patriotic War under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President İlham Aliyev that ended with a victory of the brave Azerbaijani Army, opened a new era in the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan, established international justice and changed the realities in the region," the statement read.
The ministry stressed that Azerbaijan is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, on the basis of strict observance of the principles of international law, in particular sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of international borders.
"We call on Armenia to respect these fundamental principles to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in the region and comply with its international obligations," the ministry said.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions and withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city.
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