Recent remarks by high-level Azerbaijani officials who threatened military action against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has prompted the Artsakh foreign ministry to issue a statement on Wednesday warning on an impending plan by Baku to ethnically cleanse Armenians in Artsakh.
The foreign ministry pointed to statements made by Hikmet Hajiev, the chief adviser to President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, who on numerous occasions threatened military action and the use force against Artsakh residents.
Below is the text of the Artsakh Foreign Ministry statement.
The statements by the Azerbaijani side that the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict has been resolved and is no longer on the international agenda do not correspond to reality. The fact that the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict has not been resolved and needs a comprehensive settlement has been repeatedly stated by representatives of both individual States, including the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, and a number of international organizations.
The fact that the UN Security Council, which bears primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, in December 2022 discussed the situation related to the blocking of the Lachin Corridor, and refuted the claims of the Azerbaijani side that the conflict is no longer on the international agenda. Official Baku’s desire to legitimize the results of the illegal use of force against the Republic of Artsakh and its people and present it as a solution to the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict is an attempt to return to the times when military force prevailed over international law.
We are convinced that a comprehensive settlement of the conflict can only be achieved through negotiations, on the basis of the norms and principles of international law. Rejecting the international mechanism of dialogue with official Stepanakert, Azerbaijan is trying to avoid the implementation of possible agreements. Engagement of the international community in the dialogue between Artsakh and Azerbaijan is the only way to guarantee a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.
We strongly reject Azerbaijan’s attempts to distort the essence of the conflict and present it as an internal issue. Against the backdrop of the 90-day blockade of Artsakh, it is obvious that in this way Azerbaijan seeks to create conditions for unhindered ethnic cleansing in Artsakh, excluding the intervention of the international community. This is why Azerbaijan is opposed to the involvement of the international community, including the sending of international missions to Artsakh, so that nothing and no one can prevent the implementation of their criminal plans to ethnically cleanse Artsakh.
At the same time, Azerbaijan continues to make false accusations claiming that Armenia has not fully withdrawn its armed forces and continues to supply arms and ammunition to Artsakh. Such statements do not correspond to reality and are intended to justify the blockade of Artsakh, which has been lasting for more than 90 days.
We emphasize that the Republic of Artsakh has a Defense Army made up of local residents, the presence of which does not contradict any provision of the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020, and remains the main guarantee of the security of the people of Artsakh. Azerbaijan’s campaign against the Artsakh Defense Army is due to the fact that Baku seeks to deprive the Artsakh Armenians of the possibility of self-defense and resistance to Azerbaijan’s criminal plans of ethnic cleansing.
Azerbaijan’s claims that the Lachin Corridor is open are false. It should be noted that during the hearings of the International Court of Justice, Azerbaijan had the opportunity to present all its arguments regarding the situation related to the blocking of the Lachin Corridor. However, after a detailed examination of the arguments presented by the parties, the International Court of Justice ordered Azerbaijan to ensure the unimpeded movement along the Lachin Corridor. We recall once again that the decisions of the International Court of Justice are legally binding.