Situation on the Lachin Road: Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan
13 December 2022
We strongly reject the baseless statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia dated December 13, 2022, putting blame on Azerbaijan in the latest situation on the Shusha-Lachin road and distorting the obligations within the framework of the reached agreements.
Armenia MFA accusing Azerbaijan of blocking the Lachin road and violating the Trilateral Statement is nothing but hypocrisy.
First of all, we remind that the failure of Armenia to fulfill the provisions of the Statement signed by the leaders of the three states on November 10, 2020, especially the failure to withdraw Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan in violation of the paragraph 4, abuse of the Lachin road for military provocations, as well as for illegal economic activity in violation of the paragraph 6, and obstructing the opening of all transport communications in the region in violation of the paragraph 9 was stated by us on numerous occasions.
As for the claims stating that the Lachin road was closed, and the Armenian residents living in the area are allegedly facing the threat of a humanitarian crisis, it should be noted that the Lachin road was closed not by Azerbaijani protesters, but by the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation temporarily deployed in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is ready to facilitate humanitarian needs of all Armenian residents living on its territories, and the claims of Armenian side are baseless.
The protests of the members of the civil society of Azerbaijan and environmental activists on the Shusha-Lachin road is the result of the rightful dissatisfaction of the Azerbaijani public with the illegal economic activity, looting of natural resources, and damage to the environment in the territories of Azerbaijan in which Russian peacekeepers are deployed.
As reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan a few days ago, since December 3 of this year, a team consisting of representatives of the relevant state institutions held talks with the command of the peacekeeping contingent on the illegal exploitation of mineral deposits in the territories of Azerbaijan, the resulting environmental and other secondary consequences. On-site inspection of Gizilbulag gold and Demirli copper-molybdenum deposits, cessation of illegal exploitation, monitoring and inventorying in various directions, evaluation of potential risks to the environment and elimination of the consequences of the damage were requested.
In accordance with the reached agreement on December 10, representatives of Azerbaijan attempted to visit the areas where illegal exploitation of the mineral resources was taking place, but this visit was prevented. This caused the protest of the people of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, we remind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, which accuses Azerbaijan of "violating international law", "ethnic cleansing", and "policy of genocide", that it is Armenia that violated all norms and principles of international law, kept territories of Azerbaijan under occupation for nearly 30 years, over the night perpetrated massacres against hundreds of civilians in Khojaly, as well as in other cities of Azerbaijan, forced out nearly one million Azerbaijanis from Armenia and the territories of Azerbaijan it occupied, that still does not withdraw its illegal armed groups from the territories of Azerbaijan after the end of the occupation, and still continues military, as well as the landmine threats.
It should be noted that the transportation of landmines produced by Armenia in 2021 to territories of Azerbaijan, the continuation of purposeful planting of landmines in the territories of Azerbaijan are one of the main threats to the large-scale restoration and reconstruction work carried out in the post-conflict period, to the civilian population working in these areas, as well as to the return of internally displaced persons and to their peaceful life in their homes. As a result of Armenia's ongoing provocations, since the end of the 2020 Patriotic War, 268 citizens of Azerbaijan have become victims of landmine explosions, and 45 people, including 3 journalists, have died. 35 of the 45 killed were civilians.
Regarding the groundless calls for "creating an international mechanism to ensure the rights and security of Armenians,” let us note that the issue of the rights and security of Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is an internal matter of Azerbaijan. Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, and the rights and security of the residents of Armenian origin living in this region will be ensured in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan fulfills its obligations in full, and strongly demands that Armenia also complies with its obligations. Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan, the initiator of the peace agenda, is not interested in the creation of tension in the region. Azerbaijan ensures the security and integrity of its territories on legal grounds.
Armenia should stop statements and actions against sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.