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When words match actions: Azerbaijani army takes control of strategic heights around Lachin

31 March 2023 09:59 (UTC+04:00)
When words match actions: Azerbaijani army takes control of strategic heights around Lachin
 Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
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As the saying goes, you are what you do, not what you say you'll do. If your words do not match your actions, you are not leading, you are talking.

As always, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has delivered on his another solemn promise, that is to ensure security of the nation's strategic district ahead of the planned relocation of former IDPs back to their ancestral land.

On March 30, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry made the day of the nation with a brief but important report about yet another successful operation of the army in bringing back under control previously occupied by Armenia territories.

The ministry said that following the commissioning of the new Lachin road, several high grounds between Jaghazur and Zabukh villages of Lachin District, main and auxiliary roads, as well as large areas along the border were taken under the control of the Azerbaijan Army units. The liberation of strategically important heights in Lachin on the border with Armenia creates pivotal opportunities for the Azerbaijani army. Thus, from Lachin District - the nation’s gate –the Azerbaijani power-wielding structures will be able to monitor the movements of the Armenian army.

The successful operation will also provide the national army with the opportunity to successfully neutralize terrorist groups in the area and cement the inviolability of borders. This operation is in line with Azerbaijan’s plan to erect customs posts and apply customs procedural rules on the border with Armenia.

The stealthy footsteps of today’s victory on the border could be traced in the Azerbaijani president’s speech on March 28 when he named his special representative for Lachin District where the nation’s armed forces are implementing huge activities to restore security along the borders ahead of the realization of the Great Return project – the return of the IDPs back to their homes after the 30-year-long thirst for the lands where they were born and lived.

Lachin as one of the largest districts of Azerbaijan has tremendous potential, the president told the meeting with his special representative, adding that former IDPs who will return to Lachin District should live comfortably in Lachin, and the state of Azerbaijan will provide all the necessary conditions.

“Lachin District was under occupation for 28 years, and during this period, almost the entire infrastructure of the district was destroyed by Armenia. Great damage was caused to the environment. In general, as a result of illegal exploitation of our forest fund, 60,000 hectares of our forests were destroyed, cut, looted, and sold by the Armenians,” President Ilham Aliyev said.

Contrary to all international laws and principles, Armenians conducted a policy of illegal settlement in Lachin, and Armenians from abroad were resettled in several villages of Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijan regained Lachin both on the battlefield and by political means as the liberation of the district was one of the priority tasks.

France under fire

Now the defunct OSCE Minsk Group again came under the president’s criticism at the meeting. Throughout many years of negotiations, the OSCE mediators always showed a special approach to Lachin. On the whole, Armenia considered the return of Lachin District to Azerbaijan unacceptable.

The mediators, the former Minsk Group of the OSCE, actually tried to solidify this occupation by conducting negotiations, the Azerbaijani leader said, adding that everything become clear now – France's unfair and prejudiced attitude towards Azerbaijan is not accidental.

“They simply tried to cover it up to some extent during the occupation. They simply wanted to misguide us. But notice the ugly acts that have been committed against us in the two and a half years since the Second Karabakh War. Note the baseless accusations that have been made against us. In other words, all this is obvious, including a series of resolutions adopted by the European Parliament against Azerbaijan, which are still the products of the pro-Armenian, corrupt anti-Azerbaijani group, and French parliamentarians are playing the leading role here. Of course, we felt this during the occupation too, but not to such an obvious extent. We could not even imagine that countries can be so hypocritical and deceitful. They can look into your eyes and say one thing, but do the exact opposite behind your back,” the president said.

The president urged international actors to repulse Armenian lies and be honest about who is a warmonger in the South Caucasus, pledging to lead the nation toward new heights.

So the whole world could see everything again over the past two and a half years. At the same time, the anti-Azerbaijani forces could see our unbending resolve. No one can influence our resolve. No one can speak to us in the language of ultimatums. We proved this to Armenia in the Second Karabakh War, and we also proved it to Armenia's patrons during the two and a half-years after the war. We defeated them and showed the whole world again that we can and we will achieve what we want.

Lachin’s security tops the government’s agenda

The history of Lachin District should certainly serve as a lesson in many cases.

From now on, ensuring the security of Lachin district and returning the displaced people there as soon as possible are priority tasks for us, Ilham Aliyev said, adding that all engineering and fortification work in Lachin District along the border with Armenia has almost been completed and the March 30 report of the Defense Ministry once again proves the leader’s determination to accomplish the mission.

Roads that never existed there have been built, the president said, adding that 100 km of local roads in Lachin and Kalbajar districts, as well as the roads leading to military positions, have been built.

We have acquired very favorable positions in the direction of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border, we are reinforcing ourselves in these positions, and we will remain in these positions. Of course, other steps and measures are being taken for the security of Lachin district. These measures will allow our returning compatriots the opportunity to live there comfortably and safely, the leader added.

The wind energy potential of Lachin & Kalbajar

Lachin and Kalbajar districts have immense wind energy potential and it should reach 500 megawatts in the future and enable Azerbaijan to create a large energy capacity using the water resources.

Now the construction of hydropower plants is going fast in Lachin, Kalbajar, Zangilan, and several other districts to total overall amount to 50 megawatts of energy. On the whole, the goal has been set that the hydropower plants in the liberated areas should provide a capacity of 200 megawatts by the end of this year.

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