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Azerbaijan Rejects Armenia’s Plans to Include ‘Rights of Karabakh Armenians’ in Peace Treaty

By Ilham Karimli February 16, 2023


President Aliyev has repeatedly said that Baku would not discuss the rights of Armenians living in the Karabakh region with any country since it is Azerbaijan’s internal matter. / Courtesy

The government of Azerbaijan has adamantly rejected Armenia’s intentions to include an article about the so-called rights and security of Armenians living in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region into a peace agreement.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Aykhan Hajizade said such manipulations of the Armenian side, which hinder the process of negotiating the peace agreement, demonstrate once again that Yerevan is not interested in peace in the region.

“In the process of negotiations on the peace agreement, Armenia's initiative to create an international mechanism for the rights and security of Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and efforts to include a provision on this in the draft bilateral peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia are completely groundless and such attempts will not yield any results,” Hajizade said in a press briefing on Wednesday, adding such efforts contradict the norms and principles of international law, as well as the Prague and Sochi agreements between Azerbaijan and Armenia about mutual recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“We would like to remind once again that Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, and the rights and security of the population of Armenian origin living in this region will be ensured in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It is unacceptable for Armenia to interfere in the reintegration process of Armenian residents, which is an internal issue of Azerbaijan.”

On Tuesday, Secretary of Armenia's Security Council Armen Grigoryan said Yerevan was in favor of negotiations between Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijan as part of an “internationally visible mechanism” which can be mentioned in the peace treaty currently being drafted by Baku and Yerevan.

According to him, Armenia continues to work with its international partners to make this mechanism work in the form of an international structure or a different format, and put it into the peace treaty to address the “rights and security of the Armenians of Karabakh”.

On Thursday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan revealed that draft peace proposals have been submitted to Azerbaijan.

The remarks by Grigoryan completely contradicts the statements of the Azerbaijani authorities, including President Ilham Aliyev on the rights and security of Armenians in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. President Aliyev has repeatedly said that Baku would not discuss their rights with any country since it is Azerbaijan’s internal matter.

“The Armenians living in Karabakh are our citizens. We will not discuss their fate or future life with any country, including Armenia. This is our internal matter, and Armenians will enjoy the same rights as citizens of Azerbaijan. In any case, they can rest assured that their lives integrated into Azerbaijani society will be much better than their present life,” President Aliyev said after a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Prague, Czech Republic in October.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have long been at odds over the latter’s Karabakh region. Following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Armenia launched a military campaign against Azerbaijan that lasted until a ceasefire deal was reached in 1994. As a result, Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis were killed, and one million were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict between the two countries spiraled after Armenia’s forces deployed in occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During counter-attack operations, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from a nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended in a statement signed on November 10, 2020, under which Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

According to Azerbaijani official data, up to 25,000 ethnic Armenians live in certain parts of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region, temporarily monitored by the Russian peacekeeping contingent. Armenia demanded special status for this area, while Baku rejected these claims as a threat to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Since late 2020, Azerbaijani authorities have been calling on ethnic Armenians residing in the Karabakh region to eliminate anti-Azerbaijan propaganda and take steps to form part of the Azerbaijani society.