Ar­me­nia’s ag­gres­sion re­mains as ma­jor threat against Azer­bai­jan

Azer News - - Nation - By Rashid Shiri­nov

Ar­me­nia’s ag­gres­sion against Azer­bai­jan re­mains the ma­jor threat to the coun­try, Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­istry’s Spokesman Hik­mat Ha­jiyev said on De­cem­ber 28.

He made the re­marks at a press con­fer­ence in Baku on the out­come of 2017 for­eign pol­icy.

Ha­jiyev said that this year, Azer­bai­jan con­tin­ued its pol­icy of restor­ing the coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, en­sur­ing se­cu­rity in the re­gion, strength­en­ing the in­ter­na­tional author­ity of the coun­try, de­vel­op­ing mu­tual re­la­tions with other coun­tries, as well as im­ple­ment­ing a mul­ti­lat­eral pol­icy, a course of hu­man­i­tar­ian and cul­tural pol­icy, mea­sures to en­sure the rights of Azer­bai­jani cit­i­zens liv­ing abroad, and work in for­eign pol­icy in other ar­eas.

“Work was car­ried out against the dis­in­for­ma­tion pol­icy of the Ar­me­nian lobby and its pa­tron­iz­ing cir­cles against Azer­bai­jan, and the Ar­me­nian ag­gres­sion against Azer­bai­jan,” he noted.

The spokesman also added that Ar­me­nia’s at­tempts to dis­rupt the ne­go­ti­a­tion process and to pre­serve the sta­tus quo did not al­low the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict.

He fur­ther stressed that the il­le­gal ref­er­en­dum, held by the un­rec­og­nized regime in the oc­cu­pied Azer­bai­jani ter­ri­to­ries, was not rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, and re­spect was demon­strated for the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Azer­bai­jan.

Ha­jiyev added that the Ar­me­nian side again re­sorted to mil­i­tary provo­ca­tions dur­ing 2017, thus ag­gra­vat­ing the sit­u­a­tion on the con­tact line.

“De­lib­er­ate shelling of Azer­bai­jani civil­ians by Ar­me­nia and the mur­der of sev­eral peace­ful Azer­bai­jani cit­i­zens was strongly con­demned by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” he noted.

One of the most re­mark­able atroc­i­ties the Ar­me­nian side com­mit­ted against Azer­bai­jani civil­ians dur­ing the year was the mur­der of civil­ians early July. The Ar­me­nian armed forces, us­ing mor­tars and grenade launch­ers, shelled the Alkhanli vil­lage of Azer­bai­jan’s Fuzuli re­gion and as a re­sult, res­i­dents of the vil­lage Sahiba Guliyeva and her two-year-old grand­daugh­ter Zahra were killed.

Ar­me­nia broke out a lengthy war against Azer­bai­jan by lay­ing ter­ri­to­rial claims on the coun­try. Since a war in the early 1990s, Ar­me­nian armed forces have oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan's ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing Nagorno-Karabakh and seven sur­round­ing re­gions. More than 20,000 Azer­bai­ja­nis were killed and over 1 mil­lion were dis­placed as a re­sult of the large-scale hos­til­i­ties.

To this day, Ar­me­nia has not im­ple­mented four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on with­drawal of its armed forces from the NagornoKarabakh and sur­round­ing re­gions.

Work un­der­way on Azer­bai­jani hostages

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence, Ha­jiyev also said that the work con­tin­ued in 2017 with the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, OSCE and In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in con­nec­tion with the re­lease of two Azer­bai­ja­nis Dil­gam As­garov and Shah­baz Guliyev, who were taken hostage in their na­tive lands by Ar­me­ni­ans.

The spokesman said that as a re­sult of Ar­me­nia’s ag­gres­sion against Azer­bai­jan, the is­sue of about 4,000 miss­ing Azer­bai­ja­nis was dis­cussed with in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions.

As­garov and Guliyev were de­tained by the Ar­me­nian armed forces in July 2014 while vis­it­ing their na­tive places and graves of loved ones in the oc­cu­pied Kal­ba­jar re­gion of Azer­bai­jan. More­over, Ar­me­nian forces killed the third cap­ti­vated Azer­bai­jani, Hasan Hasanov.

Later, Guliyev and As­garov were judged il­le­gally by the un­rec­og­nized courts of a sep­a­ratist regime in oc­cu­pied Nagorno-Karabakh. Fol­low­ing an ex­pe­dited “ju­di­cial process” in De­cem­ber 2015, As­garov was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment and Guliyev to 22 years. At­tempts of Azer­bai­jan to pro­vide jus­tice and to free the hostages are still un­suc­cess­ful.

The in­for­ma­tion by Azer­bai­jan’s State Com­mis­sion on Pris­on­ers of War, Hostages and Miss­ing Per­sons says that 872 Azer­bai­jani miss­ing per­sons were cap­tured or be­came hostages of Ar­me­nian sol­diers due to the intense com­bat ac­tion dur­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh war and they are cur­rently kept in cap­tion.

Azer­bai­jan agrees on ex­pan­sion of OSCE of­fice

Ha­jiyev said Azer­bai­jan pos­i­tively re­sponded to pro­pos­als on in­creas­ing the num­ber of staff mem­bers of the OSCE chair­per­sonin-of­fice per­sonal rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s of­fice, not­ing that this is­sue was dis­cussed dur­ing the year. He noted that this is­sue was also re­flected in the lat­est state­ment of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

Ha­jiyev added that the in­crease in the num­ber of staff mem­bers of the OSCE chair­per­son-in-of­fice per­sonal rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s of­fice should be con­ducted in par­al­lel with sub­stan­tive and in­ten­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions on the set­tle­ment of the NagornoKarabakh con­flict.

List of un­de­sir­able per­sons

Ha­jiyev also spoke of the list of un­de­sir­able per­sons of the Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­istry, not­ing that it in­cludes 600 peo­ple.

“In 2017, Azer­bai­jan was re­quested to re­move the names of 10 peo­ple from the list of un­de­sir­able per­sons,” he said. “The names of some of them were re­moved from the list, the ap­peals of oth­ers are be­ing con­sid­ered.”

Speak­ing about the Turk­ish cit­i­zens who il­le­gally vis­ited the Nagorno-Karabakh, Ha­jiyev noted the Azer­bai­jani law en­force­ment agencies con­tinue stay­ing in con­tact with Turk­ish law en­force­ment agencies in this re­gard.

The spokesman em­pha­sized that as a re­sult of pro­pa­ganda and aware­ness-rais­ing ef­forts, peo­ple no longer be­lieve in Ar­me­nia’s lies, and for­eign min­istries of some coun­tries have posted news on their web­sites that there is le­gal li­a­bil­ity for such vis­its.

Any in­di­vid­u­als pay­ing il­le­gal vis­its to Nagorno-Karabakh and other re­gions of Azer­bai­jan oc­cu­pied by Ar­me­nia are in­cluded in the Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­istry’s ‘black list.’ The min­istry and diplo­matic mis­sions pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity in the oc­cu­pied ar­eas of the coun­try.

Baku to host min­is­te­rial con­fer­ence of Non-Aligned Move­ment

The spokesper­son also in­formed that prepara­tory work is car­ried out for the mid-term Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence of the Non-Aligned Move­ment, which is to be held in Baku on April 3-6, 2018.

Ha­jiyev said that Azer­bai­jan will chair the Non-Aligned Move­ment in 2019-2022, and the next sum­mit will also be held in Azer­bai­jan in 2019.

The Non-Aligned Move­ment unites about 120 states of the world on the prin­ci­ples of non-par­tic­i­pa­tion in any ma­jor power blocs. The pur­pose of the or­ga­ni­za­tion is set to en­sure the na­tional in­de­pen­dence, sovereignty, ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and se­cu­rity of non-aligned coun­tries. Azer­bai­jan joined the Non-Aligned Move­ment in 2011.

In his speech Ha­jiyev also said that Azer­bai­jan con­demns rocket at­tacks on Saudi Ara­bia. The spokesman noted that such neg­a­tive cir­cum­stances can cause ten­sion in the re­gion.

“We call on to in­crease the po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ef­forts in or­der to en­sure peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion,” he added.

The Saudi-led in­ter­na­tional coali­tion has re­cently an­nounced the in­ter­cep­tion of a bal­lis­tic mis­sile launched by Houthi rebels in Ye­men. The air de­fense forces of Saudi Ara­bia had ear­lier in­ter­cepted two other bal­lis­tic mis­siles launched by the rebels in early and late Novem­ber.

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