Head of Azerbaijani delegation sends letter to PACE over regional situation

Head of the Milli Majlis delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Samad Seyidov has sent a follow-up letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Tiny Kox over the situation in the region, News.az reports.

The letter, in particular, says:

“I am writing to you to express our disappointment about your recent statement made on 31 July regarding the situation in our region.

At the outset, I would like to recall that the region referred to in your statement as “Nagorno-Karabakh” is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. At the present time, there is no administrative-territorial unit in Azerbaijan with this old Soviet name. In this regard, we consistently pointed out that in 2021, the regions “Karabakh” and “Eastern Zangazur” were created in the previously occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and when mentioned, they should be named exclusively in accordance with the national legislation of our country. Our Assembly should, among other things, uphold the principles of legality and sovereignty. Therefore, we urge once again to refrain from using incorrect and old terminology and to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

As regards the situation in our region, over the last months, Armenia has been actively engaged in misleading and manipulating the international community, capitalizing on so-called “illegal blockade” and “humanitarian crises” in the region in an attempt to blackmail Azerbaijan and impose its agenda of torpedoing post-conflict normalization efforts. However, in fact, despite the protests on the part of the Lachin road since the December of last year against the illegal acts of Armenia, hundreds of vehicles, including those of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) have passed through this road on a daily basis. In addition, a well-regulated and transparent daily passage in both directions through the Lachin border checkpoint was ensured even after its installation in April this year. Moreover, despite the armed attack by the Armenian side at this checkpoint on 15 June, smuggling attempts, and the most recent provocation by the dispatch of convoys under the disguise of “humanitarian aid” on 26 July, Azerbaijan continues its cooperation with the ICRC, provides the passage of Armenian residents for medical purposes and facilitates the transport of medical supplies by the ICRC, which is also fully in line with the relevant interim measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

It should also be noted that during this period, Armenia, through its illegal subordinate regime, has imposed restrictions on the movement of Armenian residents of the Karabakh region, effectively depriving them of the opportunity to use the border checkpoint without prior permission. Moreover, despite the consistent calls of Azerbaijan and a series of discussions with the mediation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, Armenia continues to refuse to provide a guarantee for non-repetition of the above-mentioned incidents, and thus, obstructs the full resumption of the work of the checkpoint. Azerbaijan's consistent calls on Armenia for cooperation through the border and customs institutions to ensure the smooth functioning of cross-border movement of persons, cargo, and services equally have remained unanswered.

In the meantime, given the threats emanating from Armenia, Azerbaijan has proposed using the "Aghdam-Khankendi" and other alternative routes, to meet the needs of the Armenian residents, for the transportation of large volumes of cargo to its territories, where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed. Despite the fact that this proposal of Azerbaijan is being supported by international partners, including the European Union and the ICRC, obstacles and prevention of transportation of goods by blocking the roads by Armenia and those who present themselves as representatives of the Armenian residents is a clear proof that the speculations on the "tense humanitarian situation" is nothing than political manipulation. However, if Armenia truly recognises the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, it should not object to the transportation of goods through the “Agdam-Khankendi” road and hinder the reintegration process.

Dear President,

Azerbaijan is firmly committed to establishing peace and prosperity and turning the page of hostility in our region. Despite 30 years of military occupation and hardships with devastating human rights and humanitarian consequences, shortly after the 44- day war, Azerbaijan initiated a peace agenda and, to this end, proposed basic principles and a peace treaty to normalise relations between the two countries on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for each other's territorial integrity, sovereignty and borders. Despite the fact that the Armenian side did not respond to Azerbaijan's peace initiatives for a long period of time and after the start of negotiations between the two countries stalled the process under various pretexts, the Azerbaijani side demonstrated resolve and did not spare its good-faith efforts for advancing initiatives on peace treaty, delimitation of borders and opening of communications. Furthermore, Azerbaijan is determined to reintegrate the Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region. To this end, the first meeting was held in Khojaly, and Azerbaijan's proposal for the second meeting was presented. In this respect, Armenia should stop its disruptive actions thatimpede the development of contacts and dialogue between the Azerbaijani authorities and local Armenian residents.

Against this background, it is very important for the international community to avoid making statements that serve the propaganda and political manipulations of Armenia and ultimately risk legitimizing its illegal activity on the territories of Azerbaijan. In particular, such statements are unfortunate whereas they ignored the serious grievances of Azerbaijan both in the current post-conflict period and during the almost thirty years of military occupation of Armenia.”

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