No:606/22, Commentary of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the statement of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia dated December 24, 2022
We strongly reject the baseless statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia dated December 24, 2022, distorting the views expressed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan during his meeting with the Western Azerbaijan Community.
It is nothing but hypocrisy for the MFA Armenia to claim Azerbaijan's disinterest in peace and stability in the region, and it’s violation of international law. We would like to remind the Armenian side that despite the 30-year-long occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, expulsion from the territories of Azerbaijan hundreds of thousands of people, and committed massacres, Azerbaijan has remained faithful to the negotiation process toward the peaceful and negotiated resolution of the conflict with Armenia for 25 years. Despite the total victory in the 44-day Patriotic War and the liberation of its territories from occupation, it was Azerbaijan that put forward the proposal to sign a peace treaty with Armenia.
The idea that Azerbaijan violates the Prague and Sochi agreements and derails the peace process is equally unfounded. It should be noted that despite the Prague and Sochi agreements to discuss and resolve all problematic issues on the basis of mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, besides not giving up its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, Armenia continues its intrusions against the sovereignty of Azerbaijan, as could be observed from the situation around the Lachin road. Furthermore, Armenia putting forward conditions hindering the meeting between the leaders in Brussels in December, as well as refusing to participate in the Moscow meeting of Foreign Ministers on December 23, clearly shows the side obstructing the peace process.
It is surprising that Azerbaijan assuming more favourable positions on the undemarcated border with Armenia is being passed off as Azerbaijan allegedly occupying any part of the territory of Armenia. Considering the facts of occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia for 30 years, continuing occupation of 8 internationally recognized villages of Azerbaijan, and establishment of military positions in many directions within the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan, there is no basis for claims that any position in the aforementioned area belonged specifically to Armenia before.
Interpretation of the ideas that a number of territories in present-day Armenia are historical territories of Azerbaijan as stated in historical works, maps and adopted documents as territorial claims against Armenia, as well as accusation against Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing are hypocritical and prove that Armenia is ignorant of the historical facts.
It is historical fact that Azerbaijanis were suppressed in their historical lands with the massive relocation of Armenians to the South Caucasus during the last two hundred years. As a result of this plan, perpetrated step-by-step, Azerbaijanis were expelled from the territory now called Armenia - from their native historical lands, where they lived for thousands of years, and were subjected to mass murders and massacres, thousands historical and cultural monuments and settlements belonging to Azerbaijanis were destroyed, and more than 2000 toponyms were altered. Only during the years of 1948 - 1953, about 150 thousand Azerbaijanis were forcibly and massively deported from their historical lands in the territory of present-day Armenia. In addition, in 1988 - 1991, another deportation of Azerbaijanis from their historical and ethnic lands took place, as a result of which more than 200 thousand Azerbaijanis became refugees from Armenia. Moreover, during the nearly 30-year-long occupation of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, Armenia implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing against more than 700 thousand Azerbaijanis, brutally murdering 613 people in one night in Khojaly alone.
As for the calls for the restoration of the traffic on the Lachin road, it seems that Armenia is concerned that the protests on the Lachin road against illegal economic activity, will obstruct its such activity, disrupt the supply of Armenian armed forces, still not withdrawn from the territory of Azerbaijan in violation of the paragraph 4 of the Trilateral Statement, as well as obstruct its military provocations such as transportation of landmines through the Lachin road in violation of the paragraph 6 of the Statement.
It should be noted that the claims of protests on the Lachin road posing a threat of a humanitarian crisis, and of Armenians allegedly being under a blockade, are baseless. Movement of citizens, vehicles and goods along the road remains unchanged. The video footage shows the unimpeded passage of various types of vehicles, including ambulances and humanitarian aid convoys. Furthermore, there are no obstructions for the supply of goods for the use of local residents or the necessary medical services. The government of Azerbaijan has also stated its readiness to promptly resolve all humanitarian needs that Armenian residents may face.
We state once again that Armenia's continued destructive activities in violation of its obligations, its statements and actions against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, in light of Azerbaijan's intention to establish peace and security in the region and its peace-building initiatives, do not serve to restore peace in the region. Azerbaijan will continue the relevant peace-building measures on the basis provided by international law.