“Erevan cease diplomatic war against us”
A peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is “possible”, but only in the event that the Yerevan government “stops imitating its participation in the peace process and constructively engages on the basis of the project presented by Azerbaijan a year ago and which is based on five fundamental principles of international law”. Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov, representative with special duties of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, stated this in an interview with Adnkronos, arguing that the positive outcome of an agreement “will depend a lot on the level of sincerity of the Armenian authorities” which today they follow a dual approach: “on the one hand they talk about the desire to finalize the peace agreement, but on the other hand they have engaged in a diplomatic war against Azerbaijan”.
According to Amirbayov, in recent days on a visit to Italy, the Armenian authorities are “abusing” and “politicizing” various international platforms such as the United Nations Security Council, the European Parliament, the European Union itself. In this way Yerevan “not only diverts the attention of all interested parties from the main path, but also brings the process into a dead end”, believes the ambassador, specifying that Baku “does not set any conditions” for the agreement.
“But I think that for the agreement to be reached, Armenia should demonstrate that it respects the commitments already made previously, that it will keep the promises made in the past – he specifies – I think that Armenia must re-engage in negotiations on the draft agreement of peace, but also at the highest level, and stop trying to pursue their own narrow political goals on parallel tracks.”
“Armenia guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing”
The diplomat therefore says that she “completely” rejects the accusations made by Armenia of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Karabakh region, “very harsh terms that have been completely devalued by Yerevan which uses them on every occasion, while the facts on the ground tell us ” the opposite. “It is Armenia itself that in reality implemented a policy of complete ethnic cleansing of all those territories – he explains – for 30 years it cleansed it from the Azerbaijani population, while as regards the act of genocide, it was committed by Armenia on February 26, 1992 when the city of Khojaly, inhabited by Azerbaijani citizens, was completely destroyed and the population exterminated, including women, elderly people and children”. In this regard, Amirbayov recalls that “613 Azerbaijanis were massacred during one night”, underlining that Azerbaijan “respects the rights of all the inhabitants of our country including those of ethnic Armenian origin living in the Karabakh region”.
The ambassador announces “enormous plans” to reconstruct “the former autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh”, highlighting that “this entity no longer exists” and that “respect for the sovereignty of Azerbaijan and the name that the country itself gives to the region, so I would like to clarify that the region is called Karabakh Economic Region of Azerbaijan.” Baku’s goal for this region, he emphasizes, is “to eliminate the consequences of the complete devastation and destruction, which was caused by Armenia during almost three decades of illegal occupation.”
“The Azerbaijani government has already spent more than seven billion dollars to build the necessary infrastructure in that region from scratch, but before doing so we still face the enormous challenge of contaminating these territories with anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and other unexploded ordnance” , declares Amirbayov, denouncing that Armenia has planted “about 1.5 million anti-personnel mines and the number of victims on the Azerbaijani side is continuously increasing. To date, after the ceasefire agreement, Azerbaijan has suffered 337 victims due to mine terror”.
“we want a ceasefire in the Middle East as soon as possible”
The diplomat then comments on the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in light of the strengthening of military relations between Baku and Tel Aviv, stating that Azerbaijan “has condemned any violence and obviously wants a ceasefire to be reached as soon as possible so that the lives of innocent civilians on both sides are not put into question.”
“Azerbaijan itself has suffered as a result of the conflict and the tragic consequences of military confrontation, so our position is based on the desire to achieve peace in this territory,” adds the ambassador, who then calls it “lies and partiality” article in the Haaretz newspaper according to which there are “Israel’s fingerprints on ethnic cleansing” in Karabakh due to Israeli arms supplies to Baku.
“excellent relations with Italy not limited to gas”
“The relations between Italy and Azerbaijan are currently in excellent shape, we have an excellent quality of political dialogue at the highest levels, a very active and lively economic cooperation and this cooperation is not limited only to gas supplies, which however constitutes an important part of it”, comments Amirbayov.
“We are exploring the possibilities of extending and diversifying our economic and trade cooperation with Italy”, argues the ambassador, according to whom Azerbaijan considers Italy “one of its key partners in the European Union and also through our relationship with Italy we are ready to further consolidate our relationship with the EU”.
Other fields of cooperation could be “education – we are planning the Italian-Azerbaijani university project in Azerbaijan – agriculture, defense and we can also explore the possibilities of extending the development of tourism cooperation because there is huge interest in both countries to discover the other”, concludes Amirbayov, according to whom the potential for the development of already existing cooperation “is enormous because there is good will and an excellent environment”.