YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARTSAKHPRESS. Arman Yeghoyan, the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on European Integration responded to the speech made by Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Yashar Aliyev at the UN Security Council debates.
Yashar Aliyev repeated the Azerbaijani propaganda’s fake accusations against Armenia, such as “Armenia refuses to fully withdraw its troops from Nagorno Karabakh”, and is “laying landmines in Nagorno Karabakh”. Aliyev also falsely claimed that the Armenian side refuses to provide information on the Azerbaijanis missing in the conflict.
Member of Parliament Arman Yeghoyan denied the accusations in an interview to ARMENPRESS.
ARMENPRESS – Mr. Yeghoyan, how would you comment on Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Yashar Aliyev’s speech at the UNSC debates, where he accused the Armenian side in not fulfilling its obligations?
Yeghoyan – The groundless claims made by the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations have nothing to do with reality. These are again unsuccessful attempts to “justify” Azerbaijan’s belligerent, maximalist and destructive positions and their blockade of Nagorno Karabakh for already 48 days, and the policy of subjecting the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh to ethnic cleansing. All claims made by the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan are debunked with facts. Armenia had officially announced earlier in 2022 that there are no units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia in Nagorno Karabakh. In order to verify this claim, the Prime Minister of Armenia had even proposed to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno Karabakh, which Azerbaijani President Aliyev himself rejected. It would be logical for Azerbaijan to have had agreed to this proposal, however their rejection shows that this all is simply a propaganda trick by Azerbaijan. Certainly, Nagorno Karabakh has self-defense armed forces, the necessity of which is substantiated for the protection of the local population from Azerbaijan’s aggressive and ethnic cleansing policy. As a sign of goodwill and humanism, the Republic of Armenia unilaterally conveyed to Azerbaijan the minefield maps which it possessed. And this happened in conditions when the Armenian side did not have such an obligation neither under the trilateral statements nor international law. Furthermore, Armenia expressed readiness to support, in cooperation with international partners, in the process of decrypting the maps which were conveyed. It is also an important fact that the landmines were laid in Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent regions as early as during the First Nagorno Karabakh War, mostly by Azerbaijan, and access of respective international organizations for de-mining works into the region was impeded by Azerbaijan itself.
ARMENPRESS – But nevertheless the Azerbaijani official spoke about what he described as “landmine terror” by Armenia in his speech. The same claims were made by Azerbaijan during the hearings of the Armenia v. Azerbaijan case at the International Court of Justice.
Yeghoyan – Azerbaijan’s claims alleging that Armenia is now laying landmines in Nagorno Karabakh are also false. The Republic of Armenia has laid landmines only in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia and has done so only with self-defense purposes because it was subjected to military aggression by Azerbaijan in May of 2021, in November of 2021 and in September of 2022. The landmines showcased by the Azerbaijani side for propaganda goals which the Azerbaijan side described to be manufactured in 2021 and to have been recently transported from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh through the Lachin corridor have actually appeared in Azerbaijan’s possession from the occupied territory of the Republic of Armenia as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression against the Republic of Armenia in 2021-2022.
ARMENPRESS – How would you describe the position of Azerbaijan regarding delimitation and demarcation?
Yeghoyan – On one hand Azerbaijan continues to say that no border exists between the two countries because it is not delimitated, and on the other hand it continuously raises the question of eight villages. By doing so, Azerbaijan itself is factually indirectly accepting the existence of a borderline. It is noteworthy that since the 1990s most part of four Armenian villages, as well as the enclave of Artsvashen village of the Republic of Armenia, are under the control of Azerbaijan. The Armenian side stands ready to discuss this issue based on the existence of the borderline recognized under the Almaty declaration and legal grounds.
ARMENPRESS – Despite regular statements made by Azerbaijan on its readiness to sign a peace treaty with Armenia, Azerbaijan continues its state-sanctioned promotion of Armenophobia. How would you describe this?
Yeghoyan – Azerbaijan continues to promote on the highest level Armenophobia and racial hatred towards Armenians. This is clearly recorded in the 7 December 2021 UN International Court of Justice order on indicating provisional measures regarding the case examined within the framework of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Azerbaijan continues to grossly violate.
Official Baku is carrying out a planned policy of falsifying and destroying Armenian religious and historical-cultural heritage in territories that have gone under its control as a result of the 44-Day War, which is another manifestation of ethnic and religious intolerance. At the same time, Azerbaijan is impeding a visit of the UNESCO assessment mission to Nagorno Karabakh.
ARMENPRESS – The Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the UN was speaking about missing Azerbaijanis. Does Armenia have anything to say in this regard?
Yeghoyan – To this day Azerbaijan is keeping Armenian prisoners of war and civilians in captivity, and the fates of hundreds of missing and forced disappeared people as a result of the 44-Day War remain unclear. The numerous war crimes and atrocities committed by Azerbaijani Armed Forces during the 44-Day War and the aggression against the Republic of Armenia are documented – the extrajudicial executions of Armenian prisoners of war, torture of Armenian servicemembers, including women, and desecration of bodies. However, so far no one has been held to account for these crimes against humanity.
The consequences of the Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in May and November of 2021 and in September of 2022, in violation of international law, namely the UN Charter and the 2020 November 9 trilateral statement clauses, including the occupation of 150 square kilometers of Armenia aren’t eliminated to this day.
ARMENPRESS – Mr. Yeghoyan, what should the international community do in this situation and what actions do you expect from Azerbaijan?
Yeghoyan – With its clear statements and respective actions the international community must continue giving an assessment to Azerbaijan’s destructive policy and approaches, which are greatly jeopardizing regional security, stability and peace. Azerbaijan must immediately lift the illegal blockade of Lachin corridor, end its belligerent and Armenophobic policy and move into the arena of peaceful negotiations by abandoning the policy of the use of force or the threat of force.