By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan has alerted the UN about the importance of restoring the internationally recognized Azerbaijani-Armenian border and strengthening the border security system in line with international law and the Karabakh peace deal signed in 2020, Trend reported on June 7.
Azerbaijan’s permanent representative to the UN Yashar Aliyev and the Foreign Ministry press service made the remarks in a joint letter sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The letter noted that the latest events on the border “remind the importance of continuing measures to restore the internationally recognized border between Azerbaijan and Armenia and strengthening the border security system conducted in accordance with international law and the trilateral statement between the Azerbaijani, Russian presidents, and the Armenian prime minister to put end to the second Karabakh war signed on November 10, 2020”.
It stressed that Azerbaijan has been mourning for the victims of the latest Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, that is the killing of two journalists (also one official) and the wounding of four in a mine blast in Kalbajar region’s Sususzlug village on June 4, 2021.
A week before this tragic incident, six Armenian soldiers who crossed Azerbaijan’s state border had been detained by Azerbaijani servicemen, the letter said.
“According to the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, on May 27, 2021, at about 03 00 (GMT +4), sabotage and reconnaissance group of Armenian armed forces tried to cross the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the direction of Azerbaijan’s Yukhary Ayrim village (Kalbajar district). The ministry’s statement noted that the six Armenian soldiers trying to mine supply roads leading to the positions of the Azerbaijani Army on the border were surrounded, neutralized, and captured,” the letter recalled.
The letter stressed that after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, both Armenia and Azerbaijan gained independence within the borders of their former Soviet republics under international law.
In the agreement on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States signed on December 8, 1991, and in the Alma-Ata Declaration of December 21, 1991, all the signatories, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, undertook to respect the inviolability of existing borders. Since then, Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated its commitment to this principle, which defines the rules for determining the borders of new states, the letter said.
Aliyev also reminded that in late 1991 and early 1992, Armenia unleashed a full-scale war against Azerbaijan and occupied a large part of its sovereign territory. In 1993, the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions, 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993), and 884 (1993), condemning the use of force against Azerbaijan and the occupation of its territories, and reiterating its respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the inviolability of its internationally recognized borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force to gain territory.
“The Security Council demanded the immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan. However, Armenia did not fulfill these basic requirements. On the contrary, Armenia not only continued to violate the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan but also repeatedly denied the mention of this principle in international documents and the validity of the rule mentioned above, which ensures the international legitimacy of the border between the two countries,” the Azerbaijani representative said.
He stressed that such actions and position by Armenia failed to deprive Azerbaijan of the right to territorial integrity and that Azerbaijan had been making consistent efforts over the years to end the occupation and resolve the conflict through negotiations.
“However, Armenia didn’t give up its efforts to maintain and strengthen the consequences of the illegal use of force and constantly resorted to various provocations. As a result, in late September 2020, Azerbaijan launched and successfully completed a counter-offensive in response to another armed attack by Armenia, liberating more than 300 cities, towns, and villages, including the Gubadli and Zangilan regions bordering Armenia,” he said.
The letter added that under the terms of the above-mentioned trilateral statement, the Armenian armed forces were withdrawn from the territory of two more border regions - Lachin and Kalbajar, and were returned to Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani diplomat's letter further stated that Azerbaijan and Armenia are working to clarify the borderline between the two countries based on relevant official maps. This process is carried out through direct technical contacts between the parties with the participation of border services.
Such contacts have helped resolve border issues in Azerbaijan’s liberated regions of Gubadli, Kalbajar, and Zangilan. Moreover, in good faith, Azerbaijan allows Armenian citizens to use the Goris-Kafan highway, part of which passes through Azerbaijan’s territory after the demarcation of the border, Aliyev said.
“Against this background, there is no doubt that the provocative campaign launched by Armenia in connection with the situation around the Garagol Lake is mainly aimed at internal goals in the run-up to the early parliamentary elections to be held in Armenia in June amid a severe political and economic crisis,” he noted.
Aliyev noted that “in this context, propaganda of hatred for Azerbaijan and revanchist slogans are the only incentives offered by the warring parties - those who started the war with Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and the current authorities which lost that war 30 years later”.
The letter added that after holding Azerbaijan’s territory under occupation for 30 years, “in the current situation where there is no border regime between the two countries, Armenia still does not accept the need to respect the borders of the neighboring state and continues to violate its territorial integrity. The spread of forged documents and falsified historical versions on behalf of a non-existent organization, the commemoration of settlements in the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan under various false names, the resumption of revanchist efforts - there are plenty of examples”.
Aliyev stressed that all border issues must be resolved through a communication channel established between the border authorities of the two countries.
“The leadership of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan has been in the region since May 12, 2021, and talks are underway to normalize the situation around Garagol. Azerbaijan has also provided all the necessary information to international partners who consider it important to listen to the opinions of both sides. Armenia continues to confuse the international community. Therefore, we must not forget that the practice of falsification has long been characteristic of Armenia,” he added.
The permanent representative stressed that despite numerous indisputable facts, the country denied decades of aggression against Azerbaijan, occupation of its territories, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of civilians, destruction, and looting of occupied regions and cities, and killing of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians during the conflict.
“Azerbaijan doesn’t claim the lands of any state but will not give an inch of its territory to anyone. Azerbaijan supports the normalization of interstate relations between the two countries based on mutual recognition and respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders and expects the same position from Armenia,” concluded the letter.
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