Azerbaijani diaspora organizations issued statement on situation around Lachin road
Azerbaijani diaspora organizations have issued a statement regarding the situation around the Lachin-Shusha-Khankendi road, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting AzerTac.
The statement reads: “We are very surprised and disappointed by the July 28, 2023 statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić on the issue of supplies for the Armenian population of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. This statement contradicts the purposes and principles set out in the Council’s Charter, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Azerbaijani diaspora organizations maintain that the statements that Armenians living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are allegedly under blockade and facing a humanitarian crisis are yet another piece of defamation and nonsense that Armenia has resorted to in order to mislead international public opinion. For example, in 2020, shortly after the Second Karabakh War, which lasted 44 days and ended with Azerbaijan’s historic victory, official Baku, despite the 30-year occupation and hardships endured by the Azerbaijani people, proposed basic principles and a peace treaty to normalize 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 remained unresponsive to these peace initiatives for a long time and used various pretexts to slow down the process, the Azerbaijani side showed determination and continued its goodwill efforts to promote initiatives towards a peace treaty, delimitation of borders and opening of communications. Consistent steps were taken by the Azerbaijani authorities towards dialogue with the local Armenian residents of the Karabakh region, the construction of the new Lachin road was completed in a short period of time and the road was put into operation.
The Armenian side, on the contrary, made the unreasonable proposal to “ensure the rights and security of Karabakh Armenians through Baku-Khankendi negotiations within the framework of an international mechanism”, preventing direct contacts between Azerbaijan and local Armenian residents and effectively continuing to make territorial claims against our country in a different guise. At the same time, in violation of the trilateral agreement of November 10, 2020, Armenia has not withdrawn its armed forces from Azerbaijani territory, and continued to mine Azerbaijani territories instead of providing maps of minefields to official Baku. As a result, 303 Azerbaijanis, including two journalists, have become victims of landmine explosions since November 2020.
Azerbaijan has set up the Lachin border crossing checkpoint in its sovereign territory in order to control its borders and prevent Armenia’s illegal activities. Although Azerbaijan ensured the passage of Armenian residents, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Russian peacekeeping forces through the border crossing checkpoint, the Armenian side circulated false statements about the “dire humanitarian situation” in the region in order to continue illegal activities in the territory of Azerbaijan. At the same time, it resorted to numerous provocations, such as firing at Azerbaijani border guards on June 15, attempted smuggling, and unauthorized sending of trucks to the territory of Azerbaijan on July 26.
Despite the fact that Azerbaijan made a number of proposals, including the use of the Aghdam-Khankendi road and other alternative roads to meet the needs of Armenian residents, and despite the support of these proposals by the European Union and the ICRC, the Armenian side rejected these proposals by installing concrete obstacles on the alternative roads and blocking access to the territory, which once again shows that Armenia’s statements concerning the humanitarian situation in the region are political blackmail and manipulation.
Azerbaijani diaspora organizations state that Armenia’s goal is to attract third parties to the region, expand the geography of tensions and disrupt the peace process. Responsibility for all the provocations of recent days lies with Armenia and its leadership, as they continue their illegal military presence in Azerbaijani territories, foment separatism and obstruct reintegration efforts. At the same time, we demand that a number of countries turn a blind eye to the suffering of about one million Azerbaijanis forcibly expelled from Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to the genocide of February 26, 1992 in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, to the fact that Armenia kept the invaded Azerbaijani territories under occupation for 30 years and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic under blockade for 32 years, to the continuing presence of Armenian armed forces in the territory of Azerbaijan for the last three years, to Armenia’s obstruction of the opening of communications, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of our country and put an end to the policy of double standards.”