Response by Aykhan Hajizada, MFA Spokesperson to the questions of the local media regarding the allegations voiced at the hearing with the participation of Yuri Kim, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs
Question: A number of allegations on continuation of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, “blockade” of Lachin road, inadmissibility of a military attack against “Armenian people of the Nagorno-Karabakh” and importance of reflecting their rights and security in the peace treaty were voiced by Yuri Kim, Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs at the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing dated September 14. How would you comment these allegations?
Response: First of all, the fact that the initiator and organizer of these hearing is Robert Menendez, pro-Armenian Senator who is notable by a traditional enmity towards our country is well-known. This person’s engagement with anti-Azerbaijani activities based on false claims of radical representatives of the Armenian diaspora while the aforementioned Senator is charged with corruption and the investigation process is underway, once again proves that political morals means nothing to him at all.
Coming to the allegations made by Yuri Kim, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs not reflecting the current situation and realities in the post-conflict situation in the region are just disappointing.
These claims not only contradict the agreement on the simultaneous use of the Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin-Khankendi roads agreed during the contacts between Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State dated September 1, 2023, but also, unfortunately, contain elements of Armenia's worldwide smear campaign against Azerbaijan. Non-observance of this agreement, which is also intended to be implemented through the mediation of the US side, by Armenia and the so-called regime created by it, and groundless claims on the “blockade and humanitarian situation” are well-known to the US.
We would like to remind Ms. Kim, who claims that the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not over, Azerbaijan has proposed a peace to Armenia based on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of both states following the Trilateral Statement signed on November 10, 2020. Bilateral negotiations on a peace treaty initiated by Azerbaijan and supported by international partners, including the United States, is a fundamental process of the post-war and post-conflict period.
Although the war and conflict is over, unfortunately hindering peace and stability in the region, the imitation of negotiations and the continuous military-political provocations of Armenia, as it was during almost 30-year occupation, have not ceased. In this regard, instead of denying the historical opportunity after 30 years of the conflict, we believe that ending provocations committed by Armenia and, most importantly, demanding immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces, which have not yet left the territories of Azerbaijan is critical and fair, and we call on the US side to act based on this position.
Referring to the notion of rights and security of “the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh” while talking about the Armenian residents living in the Garabagh region within the peace treaty, containing the terminology purposefully used by Armenia to promote separatism in our territories, is against our territorial integrity and sovereignty. At the same time, this reference is disrespect to the rights of Azerbaijanis expelled from this region as a result of Armenia's policy and action of ethnic cleansing and genocide. We would like to remind the US side that the Armenian residents currently living in the Garabagh region do not represent all segments of the population of this region.
In connection with the allegation on “military attack”, while noting that unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan has never used force against the civilian population, on the contrary we declared measures to be taken to reintegrate Armenian residents into our society at the national level, and despite the obstacles put by Armenia and its puppet regime, we are determined in this direction. The reintegration process is an internal affair of our country, and interference in that regard is unacceptable.
We advise the international community, including the US side not to be a part of such steps that contribute to instability in the region, and not to follow baseless smear campaign of Armenia.