Baku articulates details of Karabakh policy, ties with Armenia, raps Paris, Washington for Karabakh bias
By Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
Since the 2016 Lala Tapa win, viewed as the harbinger of Baku's future victories, the triumphant Azerbaijani army has been re-establishing control over the nation's lands that had been torn away and handed over to Armenia during the Soviet era or were occupied following the years of the political and economic turmoil of the 1990s that coincided with the empire's demise.
In concert with the military, political, and diplomatic tools and the full backing of the nation, the mission is being realized day by day through reinstating control over torn-off lands. The mission will only be declared accomplished when Azerbaijan restores complete control over its own lands that are being controlled by alien forces and nations.
The Shusha international conference on August 27 with nearly 200 foreign diplomats and Azerbaijani officials coincided with the August 26 pivotal takeover of Lachin and surrounding Zabukh and Sus villages by the Azerbaijani army.
The importance of shoring up its own position over the strategically crucial Lachin city cannot be over-or-underestimated since the loss of the city in 1992 signaled the impending catastrophe for Azerbaijan and led to the loss of 20 percent of territories. Armenia had used the vital road to connect with the Karabakh separatists and supply them with weapons for further occupations that went on until November of 2020.
With Lachin bordering Armenia and two villages returning to Azerbaijan’s control, new horizons are opening for official Baku to broaden rebuilding, reconstruction, and resettlement efforts as the border with Armenia is now fully controlled.
"Azerbaijan has been implementing a very rare and unprecedented reconstruction project within the framework of post-conflict realities. The work is being carried out precisely within the framework of the Azerbaijani government's own efforts, resources, and management mechanism. The international community and the diplomatic corps are also seriously interested in this issue as this experience of Azerbaijan can be applied in other regions of the world. Recently, an extensive fact-finding mission was sent by the UN, the European Union, and the World Bank to the liberated territories of Azerbaijan in accordance with the concept of post-conflict reconstruction. They prepared a detailed report to this effect. As representatives of the international community, they admit that two important points stand out - the scale of destruction and the speed of reconstruction. This once again shows that the international community closely monitors the projects carried out by Azerbaijan," Hikmat Haciyev, top presidential foreign policy aide, said in Shusha.
Hikmat Hajiyev also shed light on various aspects of Azerbaijan's future logical steps on how to bring Armenia to its senses for signing a peace treaty, slamming Yerevan's attempts to torpedo the overall process of Karabakh coming under Baku's full control as well as the arch-enemy's ongoing propaganda campaign even after the second Karabakh war.
Armenia hypocritically continues mine-planting policy
Lashing out at Armenia's ongoing mine-planting policy, the presidential aide said that the Shusha conference was vital in terms of looking into details of Azerbaijan's reconstruction efforts in the region devastated by Armenia throughout the nearly 30-year-long occupation.
In remarks to reporters, Hajiyev said that “in particular, the participants in the event were informed about the policy of vandalism pursued by Armenia during the occupation. Throughout the journey, they saw the destroyed territories. Detailed information is also provided on Armenia's mine-planting policy over the years, the humanitarian problems that Azerbaijan is facing, as well as the problems associated with mine-clearing”.
To reinforce his point, he said that “only in one place, over 900 antipersonnel mines were found, which were manufactured in Armenia in 2021. This once again indicates that Armenia is hypocritically continuing its mine-planting policy," adding that recently, as part of Operation Revenge, the Azerbaijani army took control of some strategic heights and military posts along the Kalbajar-Lachin direction.
Aide raps Armenian propaganda, misinformation, and manipulation
"There is widespread propaganda, misinformation, and manipulation by Armenia," Hikmat Haciyev continued in Shusha.
"President Ilham Aliyev always emphasizes that he knows what to do, when, how, and in what way. This was once again proved by the transfer of the city of Lachin and the villages of Zabukh and Sus to full control of our country and the deployment of our army in these villages yesterday. There is widespread propaganda, misinformation, and manipulation by Armenia. The international community is being misinformed.
“The facts that the Armenians living there are part of the illegal settlement policy and that illegal settlement is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention and international law were also conveyed to the international community. All these are steps taken on the basis of agreements. This is one of the conditions defined in the trilateral statement, and Azerbaijan has fully established its sovereignty over the city of Lachin. The president uses our country's political, diplomatic, military, and other resources to bring our people to these goals. Yesterday's tweet of the president made every Azerbaijani citizen once again experience the joys we experienced during the war," the presidential aide added.
'Attempts to resuscitate the OSCE Minsk Group hypocritical and shameful step
Attempts to resuscitate the OSCE Minsk Group are a hypocritical and shameful step, Hajiyev reiterated in Shusha and lambasted the US and French ambassadors to Baku for ignoring Baku’s invitation to attend the Shusha conference.
"They have openly ignored the invitation of the Azerbaijani government. We cannot understand their absence. Indeed, the city of Shusha does not need the participation of those countries. It is up to them whether to participate in the conference or not. We probably will not invite them at all from now on. But their statements about the resuscitation of the Minsk Group once again show what mission they carried out within the 30-year-long negotiations process. It cannot be understood what they can't digest. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan or the reconstruction and restoration works in the city of Shusha?” Hajiyev questioned.
The official urged them to respond to the Azerbaijani people’s logical question on their failure to this effect.
“Therefore, first of all, they must answer to the people of Azerbaijan. If they consider themselves a friendly country to Azerbaijan, they should know that Shusha is of great value to the Azerbaijani people; Shusha is the apple of the eye of the Azerbaijani people, the city in the heart of every Azerbaijani citizen. The fact that they did not come here once again shows what goals they serve to and what they were interested in during the 30 years of the negotiations process - which took Azerbaijan's time," he added.
"Someone's attempts to revitalize the OSCE Minsk Group are a hypocritical and shameful step. The states that carry out the mission of co-chairing the Minsk Group should be somewhat ashamed of the international community. Because based on the UN Charter and the decisions of the Security Council, those states were vested with the mandate of the international community to eliminate injustice and stop occupation and aggression. Not an inch of Azerbaijani land was liberated from occupation, and not one Azerbaijani citizen returned to their land. Appointing someone as co-chair of the Minsk Group after 30 years of unsuccessful activity is just a shameful step. There is no such institution for us anymore. The Minsk Group is an institution that committed suicide, the Minsk Group is already a part of history," Hajiyev said confidently.
He also rapped the UN for inactivity regarding the restoration of the Azerbaijani territories in the post-war period.
No activity has been done by the UN and its sub-institutions regarding Azerbaijan since the end of the conflict, Hikmet Hajiyev said, adding that the UN leadership has not visited the region since the end of the conflict.
"The UN leadership had to visit the region in the post-conflict period and appreciate the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. Unfortunately, just as the resolutions of the UN Security Council remained on the table for 30 years, we do not observe any serious action by the UN leadership in this matter."
Goals of Susa International Conference
"Today, Shusha is turning into one of the diplomatic centers and capitals not only for Azerbaijan but also for the South Caucasus. The crux of the conference is to inform the representatives of the diplomatic corps on the spot about the reconstruction projects implemented by Azerbaijan," Hikmat Hajiyev said.
"The participants, in particular, include ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow. About 180 representatives of the diplomatic corps are participating in this event. Representatives of the diplomatic corps are interested in regularly receiving information about the work done by the Azerbaijani government in the liberated territories. Therefore, at this conference, one of our main goals is to inform the representatives of the diplomatic corps about the strengthening of peace in the region by Azerbaijan and the peace agenda implemented by our country. Based on the interview given by the Azerbaijani president to the media in Basgal, extensive information was conveyed about the details of the regional peace agenda of our country, and important points and theses were touched upon. The diplomatic corps was informed on the basis of the special tasks and theses set by the president in this regard, Hajiyev concluded.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz