Azerbaijan submits basic principles for normalization of relations with Armenia

Azerbaijan last week submitted a proposal containing basic principles for establishing mutual relations with Armenia through mediators.

Leyla Abdullayeva, spokeswoman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said the proposal reflected five basic principles for normalizing relations between Baku and Yerevan. It is part of Azerbaijan’s peacebuilding efforts in the post-conflict period since 2020 and aligns with consecutive high-level announcements by the country’s officials on the desire to sign a peace treaty. with Armenia.

According to the ministry, the five basic principles of the proposal submitted to the Armenian side are as follows:

  • Mutual recognition of respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of internationally recognized borders and political independence;
  • Mutual confirmation of the absence of territorial claims against each other and acceptance of legally binding obligations not to raise such a claim in the future;
  • Obligation to refrain, in their inter-State relations, from undermining the security of the other, from resorting to the threat or use of force, both against political independence and against territorial integrity, and in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations;
  • Delimitation and demarcation of the State border and establishment of diplomatic relations;
  • Unblocking of transport and other communications, construction of other communications, if necessary, and establishment of cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said that Yerevan had responded to Baku’s proposals and asked the OSCE Minsk Group – a mediation group that failed to establish peace between Baku and Yerevan over the three decades – to organize negotiations on the conclusion of a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to TASS.

Armenia and Azerbaijan were locked in a decades-old armed conflict over the latter’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia launched a full-scale military aggression against Azerbaijan. The bloody war ended with a ceasefire in 1994, which saw Armenia forcibly occupy 20% of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. More than 30,000 Azerbaijanis have been killed and a million expelled from these lands in a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia. Following the war between the two countries, Nakhchivan was completely cut off from the Azerbaijani mainland after Armenia closed energy, electricity and transport connections, including highways and railways to and from the region .

On September 27, 2020, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict took a violent turn when Armenian forces deployed in occupied Azerbaijani lands, shelling military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During counterattack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated more than 300 settlements, including the towns of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-old illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended with a tripartite declaration signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on November 10, 2020. Under the agreement, Armenia also returned the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin to Azerbaijan.

The liberation of Azerbaijani lands has brought new realities that could help reshape regional geopolitics, economy, trade and transportation and establish a stable peace between Baku and Yerevan. Azerbaijani government officials are convinced that attempts at peace and cooperation should not be limited to verbal declarations but translated into deeds.

“[Peace] Initiatives have been repeatedly articulated by me and other Azerbaijani officials, but unfortunately they have not yet received a positive response from the Armenian side,” President Ilham Aliyev said earlier this year. . “Our position has remained unchanged since the end of the war. We want to establish normal relations with Armenia based on mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of both countries.

Azerbaijan’s attempts to restore peace, however, remain dead in the water amid regular armed provocations by the Armenian army and illegal separatist formations on the border and in the Karabakh region.

The last shelling of Azerbaijani army positions in the Karabakh region by an illegal Armenian armed detachment took place on March 13. Since the beginning of March, the Azerbaijani armed forces have been targeted more than 60 times.