Novruz Mammadov: “Armenia must honor decisions and resolutions of international organizations, as well as Madrid principles”

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Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print portal interviews chief of the foreign relations department at the Azerbaijani President`s Administration Novruz Mammadov

Q: Mr. Mammadov, the latest statement on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that presidents of the United States, Russia and France made in Los-Cabos aroused the interest of political circles. Which points would you like to touch regarding this issue?

A: Indeed it was high time for making such a statement. That is whyAzerbaijan supports the statement given by the presidents of theUnited States,RussiaandFrancein Los-Cabos on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We welcome the fact that the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries reaffirmed their intention to settle the conflict peacefully. Azerbaijanhas always preferred the principle of settlement of the conflict through negotiations, and this position remains unchanged. Azerbaijanhas demonstrated its commitment to peaceful solution to the problem in all negotiations conducted within the OSCE Minsk Group. The Azerbaijani leadership accepts the principles of Helsinki Final Act on resolution of the conflict. The country honors the principle of non-use of force, as well.

Azerbaijanhas not violated the ceasefire regime and does not intend to do so further. But the Armenian armed forces often violate the ceasefire and kill innocent people. During the latest trip of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the South Caucasus regionArmeniafired on positions ofAzerbaijanalong the frontline. Only in these instances,Azerbaijanresponds to prevent the aggressor from using the acts of sabotage. So we try to makeArmeniastop its aggressive intentions. If it was not so we would have liberated our lands through military way using the frequent violation of ceasefire by Armenia. We honor theMadridprinciples and suggest fulfilling them. We don not take any step threatening the territorial integrity ofArmenia. We recognize the right to self-determination of peoples. Under international law, we offer the highest status to Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. What concerns agreeing the main principles, which are necessary to solve the conflict peacefully, the Azerbaijani President tries to use all opportunities in this direction. President Ilham Aliyev demonstrates concrete position on fulfillment of the requirements reflected in statements given by presidents of the Minsk Group’s co-chair countries inL'Aquila,Deauville, Muskoka and Los Cabos. But due to the non-constructive position of the Armenian leadership the process remains deadlocked. That is why we think that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries’ paying attention to some points would be more constructive.

Q: Mr. Mammadov, what do you mean exactly?

A: Unfortunately, the conflict sides are not distinguished in statements of co-chair countries, they are treated equally. Azerbaijani territories have been under Armenian occupation for 20 years. So, Armeniais an invader.  This point must be underlined clearly in statements. The occupier must be mentioned. In the wake of the occupation more than one million Azerbaijanis were driven out from their lands, they live in a refugee status in their native country. But concrete position is not reflected in statements of heads of co-chair countries. I think that it is impossible to makeArmeniademonstrate just position by making common address. The practice confirms this. For example, heads of OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries in the "L'Aquila" statement (2009) demanded the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Armeniahas not fulfilled this demand so far. Which warning has been made by the co-chair countries toArmeniafor their not fulfilling this demand? We do not remember. Another example: Where does the contact line of military forces pass through? The contact line of military forces passes through the Azerbaijani territory - Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli, Lachin, Kalbajar, Agdam, Agdara, and etc. This is the frontline zone. So, the Armenian armed forces open fire at our soldiers and innocent people within our territory. Some of them get injures and die. The fact is that the war goes only in theterritoryofAzerbaijan. The international community officially recognizes that these territories belong toAzerbaijan. But why is not this reflected in the statements, documents and resolutions? The result of this is clear –Armeniacontinues the occupation of the territory of other country, and is misleading the world community to conduct propaganda of slander and disinformation. Almost every dayArmeniaviolates ceasefire without hesitation. Then it says to the world that the Azerbaijani side violated ceasefire. Having great opportunities in different countries, the Armenian diaspora is conducting a propaganda campaign, doing everything to make the world accept this lie ofYerevanas truth. But the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group are superpowers. They know what is true and what is lie.

Q: How do you think what is the way out of this situation?

A: There are two positive points in the Los-Cabos statement: The status-quo in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unacceptable. Azerbaijanneither tries to achieve a one-sided advantage, nor has an extreme position on the negotiations process. The change of the status-quo must be realized in the liberation of Azerbaijani territories based on the principle of the restoration of territorial integrity. Under international law, the Azerbaijani state will grant the right of self-governance to Armenians which are the citizens ofAzerbaijan. But, first and foremost,Armeniamust honor documents, resolutions adopted by international organizations, statements made by co-chair countries, as well asMadridprinciples.

But what is happening in reality? Armeniadoes not honor requirements reflected in resolutions and other documents on the conflict adopted by international organizations. It is disrespect for the international law, and an obstacle to settlement of the conflict. Any statement of the Armenian leadership is aimed at deceiving the world community. For example, what Armenian minister of foreign affairs Nalbandian said immediately after the Los-Cabos statement has nothing to do with the reality. He said Armenia accepts all the proposals put forward by the co-chair countries and tries to resolve the conflict on the basis ofMadridprinciples, alleging Azerbaijan’s position impedes the process to achieve the solution to the dispute. A politician must always take into consideration some realities.

Unfortunately, some circles in the international community have become a hostage of false statements and disinformation campaign. And this is a barrier to the settlement of the conflict. The most dangerous point is that by these moves, Armeniamakes the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus more strained and uncertain, and increases the factor of geopolitical and military risk in the region.

As far asAzerbaijanis concerned, we have always demonstrated our position unilaterally and concretely. Our country acts in the framework of international law and will continue doing so. We will never take a step back from our position to protect the territorial integrity of our country. We will establish no relations withArmeniaon an official level untilArmenialeaves the occupied territories ofAzerbaijan.Armenia’s participation in international projects in the region will not be possible. At the same time,Azerbaijanaccepts the OSCE Minsk Group as the main format of settlement of the conflict. We welcome the intentions of the co-chair countries to resolve the problem by peaceful way and without delay. OfficialBakuwills to implement all its obligations in this process. Unfortunately, although the international law stands byAzerbaijan, its territories are under occupation ofArmenia. The UN and the whole world recognize the territorial integrity ofAzerbaijan. That is why this situation is unacceptable. First of all, the international community must not accept this and take all necessary measures to put an end to the occupation.

Azerbaijanis committed to the principle of the non-use of force defined by the UN in solution of disputed issues in interstate relations. At the same time the UN must demandArmeniato honor the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity of states. Otherwise this will deepen the emerging of conflict situations on an international scale. Therefore, Azerbaijan regards that settlement of the conflict on the basis of international law can also be a good contribution to international relations.

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