New chapter in Azerbaijan’s history of victories
By Vafa Ismayilova
The liberation of Azerbaijan's Farrukh village from illegal Armenian armed groups is another manifestation of President Ilham Aliyev's statement that we know better when and what to do. It should be noted that Farrukh village located in Karabakh's Khojaly region is currently under the glorious Azerbaijani army's control.
Following the 44-day war with Armenia in 2020, the Azerbaijani military has achieved another victory in Farrukh. To recap, this village enters the administrative area of Pirlar village in Khojaly region located 16 km of Asgaran and 32 km of Khankandi.
The Azerbaijani soldier is writing a new chapter in the history of the country's victories. The name of this new victory is Farrukh. Azerbaijan once sacrificed more than thousands of martyrs for this land. The victorious Azerbaijani army cleared Farrukh, without suffering any casualties or bloodshed. This victory is a logical continuation of the country's national unity, the strength and power of the Azerbaijani army, and President Ilham Aliyev’s foresight.
As a result of this foresight, the alliance agreement signed with the Russian Federation this February was a factor that aimed to give Azerbaijan a boost in its fight against separatism. However, the position of Russian peacekeepers, the latest Russian Defence Ministry statement accusing Azerbaijan of violating the trilateral peace deal proved to be incompetent in view of a trilateral statement signed by Baku, Moscow and Yerevan on November 10, 2020, and the Azerbaijani-Russian alliance pact signed on February 22, 2022.
It is noteworthy that the failure to implement the provisions of the trilateral ceasefire deal and the indifference of Russian peacekeepers, who were temporarily deployed on Azerbaijani territories under the November 10 agreement, stipulated the processes that have occurred over the past few days in the region. In 2020, Azerbaijan, which alone implemented four UN resolutions on the unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from its occupied territories, has been given no choice but to fulfill the provisions of the November declaration on its own.
The full picture of what is going on can be seen by looking at how the points of the November agreement are being fulfilled.
- Complete cessation of all military operations and fires. With the exception of minor issues, this section has been completed in detail.
- Come to a halt at occupied positions. This point was completely fulfilled.
- Azerbaijan reclaims Aghdam region. The item has been fulfilled completely. The region's occupied territory was returned to the Soviet administrative borders.
- A peacekeeping contingent is deployed along the line of contact and the Lachin corridor. That is, Russian peacekeepers should have taken a stand against Azerbaijan as a whole. This did not occur. Why? Consider the following point.
- The Russian Federation's peacekeeping contingent is deployed concurrently with the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces. That is, peacekeepers, arrive at the contact line in the position of Armenian armed forces, and these Armenian forces are withdrawn. This is the most important point, which was not fulfilled, along with point 3. The Armenian armed forces have not yet been withdrawn and the Russian Defence Ministry has actually taken the position of recognizing the illegal armed groups on the Azerbaijani territory.
- To control the ceasefire, a peacekeeping center is established. The goal has been achieved, and the center in Aghdam region is now open. However, it is unclear what this center is doing at the moment.
- Return of Kalbajar and Lachin regions. So, Kalbajar region was returned to Soviet administrative borders. The Lachin corridor is still under the Russian peacekeepers' control and Azerbaijan guarantees safe travel along it. This has been and is done. However, it is done so that Armenians can carry weapons and ammunition and throw grenades at Azerbaijani posts near Shusha.
- Relocation of refugees to Karabakh and neighboring regions. It has not been fulfilled. All of this must be done under the supervision of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
- Exchange of prisoners of war, hostages, detainees, and dead bodies. Both sides exchanged all prisoners of war and hostages, and the bodies of the deceased are being returned. Although the point has been met, Armenia believes that Azerbaijan is obligated to return that military personnel taken prisoner after the signing of the statement. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that this military personnel does not fall under paragraph 8 of the trilateral statement.
- Unblocking regional economic and transport communication. Despite Azerbaijan's practical steps, Armenia has made almost no efforts. So far, the tripartite working group formed for this purpose has made no progress.
It should be noted that the Russian peacekeepers' current mandate is uncertain. Dozens of videos and media reports can prove that the Russian peacekeepers are not adhering to the provisions of the November 10 deal. On the contrary, Azerbaijan has seen Russian peacekeepers feed and inspire Armenian illegal armed formations for more than a year.
The behavior of Russian peacekeepers, as well as the fact that the Russian media continues to portray terrorists in Karabakh as "republic" and the official media, replicates terrorist Araik Arutyunyan's "orders" contradict the alliance statement signed between Baku and Moscow on February 22. The provisions of the alliance pact, including the fight against separatism, are also flagrantly violated.
During the year and a half following the 44-day war, the Azerbaijani state showed restraint and patience in its approach, always took the initiative of peace. The opening of regional communications, the demarcation and delimitation of the Azerbaijani-Armenian borders, calls for ending hostile relations and refraining from revanchist actions topped Baku’s agenda at bilateral and multilateral levels. Unfortunately, Armenia, which occupied the country’s territories for 30 years and razed to the ground Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, cemeteries, historical monuments, villages, and cities, continues in the same vein, trying to mislead the international community.
Artificially inflating Azerbaijan’s determined ongoing efforts to clarify the location of positions and deployment points in the region, hysteric Armenia is engaged in disinformation.
As earlier Baku stated Yerevan deliberately uses as an instrument for political manipulation the technical problems that have arisen over the past few days on the gas pipelines of the region due to weather conditions.
"Armenia kept Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan with a population of more than 400,000 people in a gas blockade for many years, for 30 years used the Sarsang Reservoir as a tool for environmental terror against the population of Azerbaijan, for a long time denied the existence of maps of minefields, continues to hide information about the fate of about 4,000 Azerbaijanis who went missing in the early 1990s. Now Armenia is making similar unfounded accusations against Azerbaijan, which is political hypocrisy," the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
Baku sees the full implementation of the provisions of the signed joint statements, including the “complete withdrawal of the remnants of the Armenian illegal formations from the region and the normalization of relations based on the principles of international law” as the only way to ensure regional peace and security.
On March 26, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry described the Russian Defence Ministry’s one-sided statement as the one not reflecting the reality.
Baku stressed that Moscow’s statement "contradicts the essence of bilateral relations between Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Declaration on Allied Interaction, signed between the two countries on February 22, 2022".
The current course of events suggests that Azerbaijan will fully restore sovereignty on its territory and that no separatist regime or illegal armed group will be able to remain in the country. Azerbaijanis will return home soon.
As part of his visit to liberated Fuzuli region in October 2021, President İlham Aliyev stated about attempts to threaten Azerbaijan before, during, and after the 2020 war.
“But all these efforts were in vain. Because no one can take our will. We will not compromise our dignity, our pride, our independence. Let everyone know... No one can speak to Azerbaijan in the language of dictate, in the language of threats,” he said.
Stressing that some international circles have recently attempted to "hit" Azerbaijan with the weapon of "ethnic cleansing", some local experts dismissed as nonsense the thesis that the Azerbaijani government is taking systematic steps to expel Armenians from Karabakh.
Meanwhile, it is questioned why Azerbaijan has to give any guarantees to Armenians in Karabakh. It is believed that these discussions, can only begin if the rights of 200,000 Azerbaijanis expelled from Goycha, Zangazur, and Yerevan are restored, and they are safely returned to their ancestral lands.
In other words, if Yerevan brings the rights of the Armenians of Karabakh to the forefront, why does not Baku do the same for Azerbaijanis deported from their historical lands? In brief, guarantees must be reciprocated.
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