Ministry: Armenian leadership’s rhetoric escalates situation in region

16 September 2019 12:41 (UTC+04:00)

By Abdul Kerimkhanov

Recent statements by the Armenian authorities that imply annexation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia creates dangerous situation in the region and violates the international law, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated on August 13.

The ministry said such destructive statements undermine the work of international mediations who had been mediating the peaceful resolution of the conflict for many years now.

The ministry’s statement is a response to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's controversial statement made in occupied Khankandi on August 5, where he called for unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. This call for unification is similar to the calls made in the 1980s in Yerevan about cessation of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Earlier, Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan threatened to take additional Azerbaijani territory in case a war breaks out. Toronyan made his controversial statement on March 29 just when Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Vienna for peace talks.

“Pashinyan must clearly understand that a party that leaves the negotiation process under pressure from national provocateurs will definitely be a losing side," the statement reads. "Therefore, he has no choice but to negotiate with Azerbaijan through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group. The faster the Armenian leadership begins to move in that direction in a consistent and irreversible way, the sooner the Armenian people will be able to enter the path of sustainable development in peace with their neighbors.”

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry went on to say that Baku perceives “irresponsible rhetoric by the Armenian authorities” as an attempt to violate peace negotiations and has addressed various international organizations with this regard.

“Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov sent letters addressed to the UN and OSCE Secretary Generals, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, as well as the Foreign Ministers of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries. He emphasized that in their latest statements, the Armenian leadership directly admitted to pursuing an aggressive policy at the state level, which led to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and bloody ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population historically living there, and also drawing attention to international legal responsibility of a military occupation. He also noted that a strong position by international community must stop aggressor Armenia from acting with impunity,” the Ministry said in its statement.

Commenting on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the ministry reiterated Baku’s earlier position that the region’s status can be decided only with the joint participation of both communities of the region after ensuring the safe and dignified return of the expelled Azerbaijani IDPs to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Meanwhile, Maria Zakharova, the Official Representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed her concern over the situation, saying that the statements made by officials must not lead to an imbalance in the fragile negotiation process.

In turn, the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Lee Litzenberger, also stressed the importance of refraining from rhetoric that promotes violence and increases tension, and urged the parties to focus on the dialogue process.

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Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94 

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