All military response operations carried out by Azerbaijan after the Tripartite Declaration signed on November 10, 2020, especially the 44-Day Patriotic War that ended the occupation of Armenia on Azerbaijani territory, and most recently the local anti-terrorist operation on September 19, are fully qualified as the Peace Enforcement Measures in terms of international law. Because as a result of all these military measures, we have come one step closer to the demands of international law. Approaching to the law means approaching what is right. If it is right, then it is GOOD. “Who is feeling disconfort by the Right and GOOD?” I would like to leave it to the discretion of the valuable reader who thinks about the answer to the question.
Azerbaijan’s local anti-terrorist measures on September 19 was not a surprise. It is the result of Azerbaijan’s repeated warnings for 3 years. Because Article 4 of the tripartite declaration signed in 2020 stipulated that illegal armed Armenian groups and Armenian military units in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan should leave the territory of Azerbaijan. This process should have taken place in parallel with the inclusion of the temporary Russian Peacekeeping Force, which came to the region with the permission of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani side provided the opportunity for the Russian Peacekeeping Force for safely integration of the ethnic Armenians to the country.
As a result of the local anti-terrorist operation on September 19, illegally armed Armenian groups in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan suffered very serious losses and agreed to lay down their weapons and surrender their weapons after 23 hours measures. During the military operations carried out meticulously, care was taken to ensure that civilians were not harmed. Even Armenian Prime Minister N. Pashinyan confirms this truth. Upon Azerbaijan’s offer, representatives of the Armenian minority (those who were not involved in criminal cases and had no gang connections) agreed to meet in Yevlakh, Azerbaijan, on September 21. I would like to remind you that previous meeting offers made by the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan were rejected.
At the meeting held on September 21, 2023, the demands of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and relevant legal legislation were explained to the representatives of the Armenian minority; it has been stated that the Republic of Azerbaijan is not a mono-ethnic country like Armenia, that peaceful coexistence can be achieved like other ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan, it was guaranteed that all their constitutional rights, especially their security, would be ensured, and it was announced that the amnesty law could be considered.
The second meeting was held in a constructive environment in Khojaly, Azerbaijan on September 25, 2023, and as a result of the first meeting, satisfaction with the assistance provided by Azerbaijan was expressed; it was decided to hold the third meeting under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Shahin Mustafayev, and the establishment of mobile field hospitals in the region. It was also decided to review the visits of representatives of non-governmental organizations of the Armenian minority to other regions of Azerbaijan for dialogue purposes.
Despite the attempts by Azerbaijan to create an environment of peace and dialogue, publishing “ethnic cleansing” news in line with the instructions of some Western governments about those who did not choose to live in Azerbaijan and immigrated voluntarily, do not serve for GOOD and Right. In all news in this context, the following expression is frequently used: “Karabakh region, which belongs to Azerbaijan at the international level, but the majority of which is Armenians“. Why are the following questions not asked: 1-) Didn’t Azerbaijanis live there before, why has this region been mono-ethnic for 30 years?, 2-) What happened to the fundamental rights of the local Azerbaijani people who were subjected to ethnic cleansing, massacres, and forced to migrate as a result of the Armenian occupation?, 3-) Who embezzled their private property?, 4-) Aren’t the overwhelming majority of those who left Azerbaijan in a hurry today the ones who embezzled private properties in the 1990s?, 5-) Aren’t those who left Azerbaijan in a hurry now those who were illegally immigrated to Azerbaijan during the Armenian occupation period? Can we talk about the Khojaly, Bashlibel, Aghdaban, Garadaghlı and Ballikaya massacres? Can we talk about the issue of more that 250 thousands of Azerbaijanis expelled from the territory of current Armenia? Do we need to say who is the expert/master in ethnic cleansing?
Azerbaijan is trying to solve the problem within the framework of international law and historical facts. It takes concrete steps and carries out projects to make the South Caucasus region an area of peace, cooperation, and prosperity.
This “opportunity” is slowly disappearing from the hands of those who have no geographical connection with the South Caucasus region and who see the continuation of the problems as an opportunity/tool to intervene in the region. The real problem is not “ethnic cleansing“, that (loosing their tools) is the real problem.
The attempts of those who have tried with all their resources, including those in the UN Security Council, in order to continue the habits inherited from their colonial past, have not yielded any results and will not yield any results. GOOD and RIGHT will win.
Dr. Elsevar SALMANOV
Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Malaysia