Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry urges CoE to refrain from harmful actions
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has called on President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to be impartial and refrain from actions and statements that would harm peace in the region, Azernews reports.
In a response to the statement made by Iceland’s FM and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, about the situation on the Lachin-Khankandi road, the ministry noted that "such failure to reflect the realities on the ground is regrettable".
"Such attitude to the peaceful protests on the Lachin road with the demand to prevent the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan's mineral deposits, their illegal transportation to Armenia, and the abuse of the Lachin road, the use of which is intended only for humanitarian purposes, is incomprehensible," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry once again reiterated that protests against illegal economic and military activities on the territory of Azerbaijan are the right of Azerbaijani citizens and should be respected. Such statements do not contribute to peace in the region and lead to increased tensions, the ministry added.
The statement emphasized that the claims on the alleged closure of the Lachin road, and the creation of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region are unfounded, noting that about 800 vehicles have passed through the road in the past period proving that the road is not closed.
"Also, as we have repeatedly stated, the government of Azerbaijan is ready to promptly resolve all humanitarian needs that Armenian residents may have. There are also indisputable facts about the attempts of people presenting themselves as representatives of Armenian residents to artificially create a humanitarian crisis by preventing Armenian residents from using the road," the statement stated.
The ministry also questioned the lack of response by the EU official to the miserable humanitarian situation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced from their homes, the war crimes of Armenia that clearly violated international humanitarian law, to landmine threats stemming from the deployment of 2021 production landmines as a result of the abuse of the Lachin road, that resulted in 282 Azerbaijanis becoming victims of landmines after the second Karabakh war, as well as to the other illegal activities.
"This is again indicative of double standards and of a selective approach," the ministry added.
Similarly, Spokesperson of the Ministry Aykhan Hajizada noted that the peaceful protests held on the Lachin-Khankandi road, demanding the prevention of the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijani lands and misuse of the road, are legitimate.
"Paradoxically, Iceland representative at Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe dismisses human rights of hundreds of thousands of displaced Azerbaijanis, the war crimes and brutal violation of IHL by Armenia," he wrote.
Meanwhile, the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee of the Azerbaijani parliament and the Azerbaijani Members of the European Union-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Co-operation Committee expressed protest against the biased and unfair resolution that the European Parliament adopted via special procedure on 19 January 2023 in a joint statement.
Noting their strong opposition to the "allegations resting on lies and fabricated information", the statement added that Armenia has not yet fulfilled its obligations envisaged in the Trilateral Statement signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia on November 10, 2020.
"It becomes clear that the pains Azerbaijan has suffered since the signing of the Trilateral Statement to ensure peace and security in the region come under the premeditated and purposeful blow being dealt by those powers who chose to advocate separatism, terrorism, and war. Those powers do not wish to see that certain circles in Armenia and their backers are nurturing revanchist plans and cherishing the hope that they will again plunge the region into a calamitous maelstrom," the statement said.
The statement noted Armenia's provocations on the border, the fact that it transported militants and military cargoes as well as narcotics and mines on the Lachin-Khankandi road.
It is also mentioned in the statement that the peaceful protest of civil activists and ecologists on the Lachin-Khankandi road, brought about by the prevention of access to the specified area for monitoring purposes for state officials and experts of Azerbaijan, has been continuing for longer than a month now. Contrary to what is stated in the resolution of the European Parliament, there is no "blockade" of Armenian residents on the territory, stressing that vehicles pass freely daily through the road.
"All that indicates clearly that certain groups within the European Parliament act while being under the influence of the Armenian lobby and the pro-Armenian forces. In view of all of the above, we now urge the leadership of the European Parliament to put an end to such devastating and biased forces, those mired in corruption, and, instead, to support the efforts to establish peace and stability in the region by passing unbiased documents reflecting the new realia set in the region of the South Caucasus," the statement concluded.
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