Azerbaijan rebuffs Armenia’s claims of Baku seeking military aggression

Azerbaijan rebuffs Armenia’s claims of Baku seeking military aggression

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on Saturday rejected claims by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Baku is planning “military aggression” toward Yerevan, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aykhan Hajizade noted in a written statement, “It has become a tradition for Armenian officials to give priority to baseless and contradictory statements instead of practical steps in the peace process with Azerbaijan.”

Hajizade said statements as “preparation for aggression” against Armenia are completely groundless.

“It is unacceptable for the Armenian side to make claims against Azerbaijan instead of presenting comments on the draft agreement ‘on the establishment of peace and interstate relations’ and starting negotiations on the agreement, which it has been delaying for more than two months,” he added.

“The fact that the prime minister of Armenia stated that there is an agreement between the two countries on the basic principles and border demarcation, that Armenia and Azerbaijan do not have territorial claims, and that our country is preparing for war against Armenia is an indication of how contradictory the Armenian officials are in their statements,” the official said further.

He said that despite Azerbaijan’s initiatives, Armenia has obstructed the process for the basic five principles, namely the demarcation of borders, the opening of communications, and the signing of the peace agreement.

Hajizade said that despite the return of nearly 100 Armenian prisoners by Azerbaijan, the fact that the Armenian side violated the confidence-building efforts to return the captured persons who crossed the border by mistake and captured two Azerbaijani soldiers shows that the Armenian side does not take the issue of the return of the detained persons seriously.

He called on the Armenian side to stop “aggressive slanderous rhetoric” against Azerbaijan using various international platforms, to stop making statements that harm the prospects of peace and to use the historical opportunities created to transform the South Caucasus region into a place of peace and cooperation.

A day earlier, Pashinyan was quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency that Armenia and Azerbaijan have been able to agree on the basic principles for a peace treaty but are still “speaking different diplomatic languages.”

“We have good and bad news about the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process,” Pashinyan said.

“It is good that the basic principles of peace with Azerbaijan have been agreed.

“This happened through the mediation of the head of the European Council Charles Michel as a result of my meetings with Azerbaijan’s president in Brussels,” Pashinyan continued.

“The most important bad news is that we still speak different diplomatic languages and very often do not understand each other,” Pashinyan said.

He said that Azerbaijan did not publicly comment on the agreed-upon peace outline announced last month, making him question its commitment and fostering what Pashinyan described as an atmosphere of mistrust.

Rhetoric by Azerbaijani officials that he said included referring to Armenia as “Western Azerbaijan” leaves the door open for further “military aggression” against Armenia, the prime minister said.

“This seems to us to be preparation for a new war, a new military aggression against Armenia, and it is one of the main obstacles to progress in the peace process,” Pashinyan said.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Most of the territory was liberated by Azerbaijan during a war in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement and also opened the door to normalization.

This September, the Azerbaijani army initiated a counterterrorism operation in Karabakh to establish a constitutional order, after which illegal separatist forces in the region surrendered.