Novruz Mammadov: “Historical evidence proves that Armenians are strangers to the South Caucasus”

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Baku, September 11 –

Chief of the Foreign Relations Department at the Azerbaijani President`s Administration Novruz Mammadov`s interview with website

– Our neighboring regions are experiencing the events seriously troubling the international community. We would like to know your views on the essence of these processes and their development trends.

– Indeed worrying events are happening in the regions close to the South Caucasus. One of the key priorities in the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan is not to interfere with internal affairs of other countries. Every nation has the right to decide its political destiny. The main thing is that there is no bloodshed, no wars. Putting pressure on other countries for your own geo-political interests, interfering with their internal affairs does not conform with international law. What we want is that armed conflicts end and peace and stability are established in the regions close to ours. For Azerbaijan, peace, stability and people`s well-being are core principles of modern international relations.

What is your view on the talks to settle the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

– Some media are alleging that there is a break in the work of the OSCE Minsk Group`s co-chairs. But in reality the process is continuing. The co-chairs paid another visit to the region. Azerbaijan`s Minister of Foreign Affairs visited France, and settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute was one of the key issues on the agenda. The co-chairs are expected to visit Azerbaijan in September. The talks to find a solution to the problem continue.

However, the co-chairs have not made necessary efforts for the negotiations to give concrete results, but that`s another story. They have not taken any effective measure to make Armenia quit its non-constructive position. Azerbaijan has always been committed to the idea of peaceful, fair settlement of the conflict. The Azerbaijani leadership is trying its best for a triumph of justice.

Azerbaijan is seeking change in the status-quo. You know that in their last statement heads of the co-chairing states stressed the necessity of changing the status-quo. But Armenia continues to pretend not to hear anything. Indeed nothing is being done to make the situation around the conflict change for better.

And the international community remains silent as usual. We want the conflict to be solved in accordance with legal norms recognized by the international community. The dispute must be settled under an international legal framework. This is beneficial for all the parties concerned.

– What can you say of the Armenian media allegations that Syrian Armenians will be resettled in the Nagorno-Karabakh?

– Armenians` mass resettlement from one place to another is kind of “a disease”. They have no notion of what a native land is. Syria is now facing a crisis, and Armenians are running away. In Syria, they lived mostly in Halab, and they had good opportunities. If they considered Syria their motherland, they would have stayed there and tried to contribute to solving the problems.

If it was about any kind of autonomy or independence, then Armenians would have immediately presented themselves as “Syria`s original residents”, “cultural people”, etc. Think about what Armenian politicians and ideologists will demand from Syria when the crisis is over. They will demand much from a country they left when it was in critical situation. It`s in their nature, which has remained unchanged for centuries.

And the reports that Syrian Armenians will be resettled in Azerbaijan`s occupied lands are nothing but nonsense and absurd propaganda. Firstly, as a state, Armenia has no legal right to do this. The world recognizes that the Nagorno-Karabakh is an Azerbaijani territory, no one can be resettled here without Azerbaijan`s permission. If Armenia does this, the country will once again prove that it`s an aggressor.

Secondly, Syrian Armenians must realize that they won`t be able to live on others` soil. According to some reports, those Armenians refused to move to the Nagorno-Karabakh. They won`t be able to live there without Azerbaijan`s consent. And we will welcome with kind hospitality representatives of any nation as guests or tourists on our lands once we liberate them. The government of Azerbaijan guarantees this.

– You`ve made several interesting points related to the resettlement of Armenians in Azerbaijani lands. Can you provide evidence?

– Historical evidence shows that for centuries Armenians have been moving from one place to another. They are strangers to the South Caucasus as well. Everything started with Russian Tsar Peter the Great`s edict on Armenians` resettlement here in 1724. The edict provided for the resettlement of Armenians in Caspian littoral areas. Under Catherine II, Tsarist Russia developed plans to create an Armenian state on Azerbaijan`s soil.

But those plans were spoiled by the Russo-Turkish War. Article 15 of the Turkmenchay Treaty of 1828 paved the way for the resettlement of Armenians in Azerbaijani lands.

The executors of this process - Nerses Astaraketsi, Alexander Griboyedov, General Paskevich, Colonel Lazarev and others - were acting according to a premeditated plan.

The Russian archive documents bear witness that the resettlement of Armenians in Iravan and Nakhchivan from April 5-June 10, 1828 was a well thought out state plan. The archive documents say that 50,000 silver rubles from the tribute paid by Iran under the Treaty of Turkmenchay were allocated for the resettlement of Armenians.

I should also note that the executors and those responsible for the resettlement of Armenians in the South Caucasus repeatedly warned the Russian leadership against settling Armenians in Russia`s central regions. The reason was that Armenians would immediately lay territorial claims to those lands, that is to say, everybody was well aware of Armenians` trait. This is why they resettled them in Azerbaijan.

– The Russian media is spreading various reports concerning the extension of the Gabala radar station`s activity. We would like you to comment on the two countries` negotiations on the issue.

– The Russia-Azerbaijan relations are rapidly developing. There are not unresolved issues between the two countries. The world is now experiencing complicated geo-political processes. Some forces are trying to artificially create problems. Therefore, the press and media in Azerbaijan must be vigilant to any news.

Official negotiations on the Gabala radar station are continuing, where each side certainly has its own interests. The Gabala station`s total area is more than200 hectares. It has picturesque nature and fresh air. Everybody today is aware of burning issues of environment. At the same time, there are other factors which must be taken into account.

Some circles seem to be concerned about Azerbaijan`s pursuing an independent policy. But hiding the realty is not an advantage for anyone. We are completely confident that Russia and Azerbaijan will solve all issues through effective negotiations.

– Let`s get back to the Syrian issue. What is Azerbaijan`s position on this?

– Azerbaijan is a peaceful state, it wants that stability and development reign in every country throughout the world. Syria is now experiencing controversial processes. As a UN Security Council member, we have always unambiguously expressed our position. In my point of view controversies, armed clashes and conflicts promise nothing good to Syria. On the other hand, we won`t be wrong to say that it is extreme interferences in the processes in Syria that put the country in today`s situation. Such things are dangerous for the future of every country. Syria is now experiencing such a stage of history which is full of risks. We wish for peace to be established in this Muslim country as soon as possible.

– Mr. Mammadov, Kyrgyzstan`s capital Bishkek has recently hosted a meeting of Turkic-speaking states. What can you say of decisions adopted at the gathering?

– First of all, it`s normal that given that the world is experiencing integration processes, Turkic-speaking states have stepped up efforts towards developing their cooperation. In 2009, at the Nakhchivan summit, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States was founded. And concrete steps are now being taken to develop the cooperation under this framework.

It should be noted that decisions made in Bishkek are mostly related to economic and cultural areas. In other words, it`s about cooperation which is important to the entire world, the international community.

– Meanwhile Tehran is hosting the summit of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, including Azerbaijan. We would like to learn your opinion on this event.

– There are 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Azerbaijan can bring any issue to the forefront of the member states` attention, for example, establishing peace in the region, putting an end to Armenia`s occupation, and other topical issues. For Azerbaijan, membership of the Non-Aligned Movement means an opportunity to be part of the international relations system, which has expanded in the last few years.

There are concrete clauses on Azerbaijan in the final document adopted by the Movement`s Coordination Council at its ministerial-level gathering in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, this May. The document recognizes Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity and stresses that the conflict must be settled in accordance with international law. I think it`s very important.

Azerbaijan will continue it activity within the Non-Aligned Movement, other international organizations and on the international scene, as a whole, raising issues in our state`s own interest and trying to strengthen the country`s influence. In this context, the Non-Aligned Movement Summit is of pivotal importance to Azerbaijan.

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