Our demand for return of Western Azerbaijanis should not be portrayed as a threat to territorial integrity of Armenia – Ulviyya Zulfikar

In a letter sent by the leadership of the Western Azerbaijan Community and a group of the community members to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calls on the Armenian government to agree to a dialogue on the exercise of the right of our compatriots to return to their homes in a safe and dignified manner, the spokesperson of the Western Azerbaijan Community, Ulviyya Zulfikar, said in response to a question from AZERTAC, News.az reports.

Talking about the position of the community in regards to potential dialogue, the spokesperson said: “After the 44-day war, conditions have been created for the establishment of peace between the two nations, but for the establishment of a lasting peace requires provision of our rights as well. The right of Western Azerbaijanis to return to their homes and our legitimate demands in this regard should not under any circumstances be construed as an attempt to compromise the territorial integrity of Armenia. Therefore, no attempts should be made to divert the issue in the wrong direction. Just as the Azerbaijani government has declared its readiness to protect the rights of the Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region and taken tangible steps in this direction, the Armenian government should take tangible steps to ensure our rights. Considering all this, we have called on Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to start negotiations with the community on our return without wasting any time. While noting that we are always ready for a direct dialogue with the Armenian government on issues of mutual interest, we would also like to emphasize that the process of return and the issue of protection of our individual and collective rights in the post-return phase should take place within the framework of relevant international mechanisms.”

Ulviyya Zulfikar also explained the position of the community on the key topics of the potential dialogue regarding the return process. “The return process should take place within the framework of international legal guarantees and verification mechanisms;

In order to ensure the safety of the people who will return to their homes, an international peace mission with an appropriate mandate should be deployed in the areas of return. Such a mission should be comprised of representatives of the countries the community trusts;

In the process of return, the pre-expulsion geography of settlement must be restored. Dispersal of returnees will be rejected as an attempt against human rights;

Armenia should start a constructive dialogue with the community within the framework of international control and monitoring mechanisms in order to ensure individual and collective rights of returning Azerbaijanis. We have already sent an official request in this regard to the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;

Taking into account the special ties of the returning Azerbaijanis with Azerbaijan, conditions should be created for their unhindered connection with the Republic of Azerbaijan;

The government of Armenia should restore the property rights of returning Azerbaijanis, return their houses and community lands;

Western Azerbaijanis are ready to reconcile with the Armenian people, to live peacefully and side by side with them. The Armenian government should make effort to promote reconciliation, restore and protect the destroyed cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, revoke the changed place names and put an end to the policy of discrimination against Azerbaijanis. As a first step, we have appealed to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to allow us the opportunity to visit our homes, holy places and cemeteries. We believe that the mission of the EU in Armenia can fulfill its mandate by dealing with this issue;

The community should be allowed the opportunity to participate in the return process and all relevant processes in the subsequent period as a legitimate representative and interested party of the Western Azerbaijanis.”

You Might Also Like