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Azerbaijan renews call on Armenia for peace deal, urges withdrawal of troops from Karabakh

28 December 2022 12:59 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan renews call on Armenia for peace deal, urges withdrawal of troops from Karabakh

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has urged Armenia to honor its commitments under the November 10, 2020, peace deal and find a middle ground with Baku to restore peace and order in the region to pave the way for comprehensive regional cooperation.

The Azerbaijani foreign minister said this in his extended news conference for the media to sum up the major results of 2022.

Peace vital for broader cooperation

"Official Yerevan said that there was nothing unacceptable for Armenia in the 5-point proposals presented by Azerbaijan as those proposals are fair enough," Jeyhun Bayramov said but blamed Armenia for breaking the previously reached deals.

"This is a dangerous trend. Such steps harm the negotiation process," the minister said.

In remarks on the issue of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Bayramov called it absolutely natural that both sides submit their proposals.

"They should be discussed. It is vital to follow proposals, and not make them for show. Armenia recently submitted its proposals, and the next day refused to participate in a joint meeting. No side ever expects unconditional acceptance of all its proposals. Azerbaijan constantly sees some high-profile statements from Armenia purely designed for the audience and no real steps," Bayramov said.

Asked about Azerbaijan’s take on meetings under the 3+3 format, the minister said Azerbaijan was keen on the format and views it as very useful, opining that the initiative to create the 3+3 regional platform belonged to Azerbaijan, and a joint meeting in this format was held last year.

“We are also keen on continuing meetings in this very useful format,” Bayramov opined.

The foreign minister also said that Baku’s main goal in the negotiations with Armenia is to achieve necessary results, adding that focusing on a specific negotiation platform is not a priority.

“We have always agreed to any platform for negotiations. The only exceptions for us are parties who have already demonstrated their bias and such platforms are unacceptable to us.”

The minister also shed light on Azerbaijan’s position on signing a peace deal with Armenia.

"Peace treaty with Armenia, delimitation, and opening of communications are different processes," he elaborated.

Russia was to host the third round of negotiations, Jeyhun Bayramov said.

"First, Armenia announced its proposals for a peace treaty. A day later, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that a peace treaty can be signed with this proposal. This is just a message for the public," the minister said, blaming the Armenian leadership for efforts to make the domestic public satisfied rather than stay loyal to international obligations.

"It will be beneficial for Armenia to fulfill its obligations by taking pragmatic steps regarding its national interests. We will continue our efforts towards the fulfillment of obligations undertaken by Armenia," Bayramov added.

Armenia must pull illegal armed groups out of Karabakh

The top diplomat also renewed Azerbaijan’s demand for the withdrawal of illegal Armenian armed groups from Karabakh, adding that the demand is enshrined in the tripartite statement.

"The tripartite statement includes the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Karabakh. Russia's main position is that this is Armenia's obligation. As an argument, Russia points to the signing of the tripartite document by Armenia."

On the progress of contacts with Armenia, the minister said the results are minimal in the Baku-Yerevan talks due to the latter’s non-constructive steps.

"In the post-conflict period, advancing our interests within the framework of the new realities in the region remained a priority this year," he said, adding that the international mediation was intensive.

"Trilateral meetings were held between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia with the participation of EU Council President Charles Michel. At the same time, the quadrilateral meeting was held in Prague and the trilateral meeting in Sochi. Despite the work done, the achievements are very limited because of Armenia's non-constructive and inconsistent steps."

Dwelling on the issue pivotal for Azerbaijan in terms of establishing firm and stable peace in the region, the minister said that the main factor causing tension in Karabakh is the presence of the illegal Armenian armed groups in Karabakh, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily deployed.

Zangazur road

In remarks on the construction of the Zangazur corridor to get contacted with the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan via Armenia, the foreign minister said that Yerevan harms itself by obstructing the construction of the road, adding that the 30-year-long conflict did not benefit anyone, including Armenia itself.

"Armenia needs to take pragmatic steps to achieve its own development," Bayramov advised.

“This is unacceptable for Azerbaijan. During negotiations, we continuously discuss these issues.”

Protest of Azerbaijani eco-activists

In remarks about the objective of the ongoing protests of the Azerbaijani eco-activists and NGO and youth representatives on the Khankandi-Lachin road, the minister added that he discussed the issue in Moscow with Sergei Lavrov on December 23.

"At the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, I conveyed to my counterpart the position of Azerbaijan on the situation on the Lachin road," the minister said but did not say anything about the opposite side’s reaction.

He reminded that representatives of the Azerbaijani state institutions were prevented from monitoring the mineral deposits in the Karabakh economic region.

"It was done by the people living there. We understand that this is a provocation. The work towards monitoring started much earlier. Recently, it has become more intense. As these efforts did not yield results, Azerbaijani eco-activists started a protest. It is their right, and they are exercising their right."

The minister went further to add that Baku does not accept Armenians' claims over the humanitarian crisis in Karabakh.

In remarks about Russia’s proposal to postpone the status of Karabakh, the minister said that “this proposal is unacceptable to us. We must proceed from the international laws".

Baku positive about Turkmen gas project

The discussion of the energy issue in Awaza at the summit of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkiye, and Turkmenistan in December 2022 was high on the agenda, the minister said.

Until now, Azerbaijan has initiated many projects in the energy sector.

"The issue with Turkmen gas is of little difference. Azerbaijan is a transit country and is very positive toward the project," the minister said, in a comment, adding that other countries' attitude is unclear yet.

Minister Bayramov is also optimistic about the great prospects of cooperation between Baku and Washington.

Azerbaijan and the USA are cooperating in the energy sector, fighting terrorism, humanitarian and other spheres, Jeyhun Bayramov said, adding his country is an important energy partner for most countries, not only regional ones.

The USA came up with a number of important initiatives for achieving regional peace. "Prospects for cooperation between the two countries are great and Azerbaijan is interested in it very much," Bayramov opined.


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