Question. During a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Serbia, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan accused Armenia of obstructing the implementation of the November 9 trilateral statement. How would you comment on this statement?
Answer. When referring to the implementation of trilateral statements of November 9, 2020 and January 21, 2021 one should be guided by clear facts and not arbitrary interpretations of those statements. And the facts are as follows:
A month after signing the Statement, the Azerbaijani armed forces violated its first provision, according to which the sides should remain in their positions, and launched an attack on the villages of Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd in the region of Hadrut, as a result of which these settlements were occupied, the Armenian soldiers were killed and captured.
Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan did not fulfill the 8th provision of the November 9 statement, which enshrines the exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees. Moreover, Armenian prisoners of war are being prosecuted, which is also a gross violation of international humanitarian law.
Since May 12, the armed forces of Azerbaijan have infiltrated and continue to stay in the sovereign territory Republic of Armenia. It is noteworthy that Azerbaijani troops infiltrated into the Republic of Armenia from the territories over which Azerbaijan established control following the implementation of the Statement of November 9. In other words, the constructive approach of the Armenian side to implement the Statement was opposed by Azerbaijan`s policy of disrupting regional security and peace by the encroachment on the territorial integrity of Armenia The fact that the Azerbaijani military units are in the territory of Armenia was accepted by the President of Azerbaijan, noting that “Zangezur is the land of our ancestors”.
Recently, Azerbaijan has been making statements denying Nagorno-Karabakh as a territorial entity, which in turn violates Provision 7 of the Statement, where the parties, including Azerbaijan, agreed on the term "Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas."
Armenia has been the most constructive in implementing the November 9 and January 11 statements regarding the unblocking. Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani side has actively manipulated Armenia’s constructive approach and has attempted to circulate the official idea of "opening the corridor" with official public statements, which is unacceptable and completely distorts the content of the trilateral statements. It is noteworthy that along with these speculations, Azerbaijan, on one hand, made false territorial-historical claims to Armenia, and on the other hand, the Azerbaijani military units penetrated into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia.
As for the accusations that Armenia does not help Azerbaijan to demine the territories of the conflict zone, it should be emphasized that the November 9 statement does not contain any provision for cooperation between the parties in the field of demining. It is worth mentioning that the possibility of cooperation with Armenia and Artsakh in this direction was usually denied by Azerbaijan. Moreover, in 2017 due to Azerbaijan's efforts, the OSCE Office in Yerevan was closed under the pretext that the OSCE was engaged in a humanitarian demining program.
Not having any obligation to cooperate in the field of demining, the Armenian side nevertheless provided information to Azerbaijan through third parties as an expression of goodwill.
The complete implementation of the process of repatriation of prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees held in Azerbaijan may create a constructive environment for the implementation of the November 9 Statement.