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Azerbaijan reaffirms commitments to resolving ongoing issues with Armenia through peaceful means

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Azerbaijan has reiterated its commitment to resolving ongoing issues with Armenia through peaceful means but has raised concerns about Yerevan’s financial support for the “so-called regime in Karabakh,” which Baku says is not contributing to peace.

Adviser to the Azerbaijan president, Hikmet Hajiyev, emphasized Baku’s responsible standing in the international community in an interview published on Saturday by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, asserting that Azerbaijan consistently operates within the framework of its constitution and international law, always striving for peaceful resolutions to existing challenges.

Regarding potential compromises in negotiations with Yerevan, Hajiyev said Baku would not engage in discussions that jeopardize its territorial integrity and sovereignty, whether with Armenia or any other third party.

On the peace process and regional developments between Azerbaijan and Armenia, he highlighted the negotiations based on five fundamental principles, including mutual recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He pointed out that recent actions by the Armenian government, particularly Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s congratulatory message to the “self-proclaimed regime in Karabakh,” have seriously harmed the process.

While Armenia has made public statements recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, the president’s advisor noted that Armenia’s financial support for the “so-called regime in Karabakh and the so-called regime’s presidential election have not contributed to peace.”

Stop interference in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs

Hajiyev raised concerns about provocations by the Armenian army along the border and in Karabakh but reaffirmed Azerbaijan’s commitment to the peace process. He urged Armenia not to meddle in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs and to respect its sovereignty.

The peace process has been hindered by Armenia’s continued support for an illegal regime on Azerbaijani territory, he said, emphasizing the need for opening the Aghdam and Lachin roads and calling for an end to Armenia’s policies that stymie regional dialogue.

Armenia’s policy of supporting the illegal regime that holds 30,000 ethnic Armenian citizens living in Karabakh hostage in Azerbaijan must come to an end, the president’s advisor said, adding that there is no room for “gray areas” in Azerbaijan.

He emphasized that any attempt to intervene in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs by proposing international mechanisms for dialogue with the ethnic Armenian minority in Karabakh would be futile.

He discussed the potential opening of the Zengezur Corridor, emphasizing that it would primarily benefit Armenia. However, if Armenia refuses to cooperate, Azerbaijan is actively exploring alternative projects with other regional partners.

The advisor expressed hope for a peace treaty by the end of the year and called on Armenia to take the main step toward recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Karabakh, by signing a peace agreement.

Separatist Armenians in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan held self-proclaimed elections last week to choose a new separatist president — a move that was not recognized by many, including Azerbaijan, Türkiye, the US, and the UK as well as the European Union.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered cease-fire.

Tensions between the two nations, however, continue despite ongoing talks over a long-term peace agreement.

On Wednesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry announced that the joint US-Armenian military exercise Eagle Partner 2023 will be held on Armenian territory on Sept. 11-20.

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