Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, who is visiting New York within the framework of the high-level week of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), gave an interview to Report’s US Bureau.
– Mr. Minister, after the anti-terrorist measures implemented in Karabakh, in what direction does official Baku expect relations with Armenia to develop and what steps does it plan to take?
– The initiative to prepare a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia belongs to Azerbaijan. Work has been done in this direction for a long time and several rounds of negotiations have been held. There were initial positive results on the draft of the peace contract and the agreement of a number of clauses.
But, there were enough open issues. However, during the last few months, there was some stagnation in the negotiation process, and we witnessed the non-constructive steps of the Armenian side. We saw a serious difference between their words, promises and the approach they took. As the most obvious example of this, on September 2, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan congratulated on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of the illegal, so-called regime, issued a separate message in this regard, and at the same time held illegal “presidential elections” in the territories of Azerbaijan. All this seriously affected the negotiation process.
The subsequent development of the events and the continued military provocations of Armenia made it inevitable that the Azerbaijani Army would conduct local anti-terrorist measures on September 19.
The state of Azerbaijan completed those measures with high professionalism and in a short period, observing all norms of international and humanitarian law. After a day, the anti-terrorist activities were suspended. The legitimate demands of Azerbaijan were accepted by representatives of Armenia and the leaders of the illegal organization.
At the same time, they agreed to hold a meeting in Yevlakh between the representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh and the representatives of the central government of Azerbaijan. We proposed this meeting a long time ago, invitations were made for it. Finally, on September 21, the first meeting with representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh took place in Yevlakh.
As for the next steps, we already see from the course of these events that the state of Azerbaijan is showing its commitment to all the steps it has taken before. The most important point here is the message of President Ilham Aliyev in his address to the people of Azerbaijan on September 20. Those messages were addressed to the world community at the same time.
In that address, the head of the country announced the humanistic and future vision of the Azerbaijan state in all directions. Even today, the steps taken by all state bodies continue accordingly. In this regard, the state of Azerbaijan is determined to implement the reintegration process, for which all adequate steps are taken. I believe that after the Armenian residents of Karabakh get rid of the illegal and criminal junta regime there, wide opportunities will be opened for them in the territories of Azerbaijan.
– It has been stated several times that a significant part of the draft peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been agreed upon. After the anti-terrorist measures, those agreements remain in force, or is there a need for a new project? When do you think a peace treaty can be signed?
– Regarding the process of normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, I can say that despite the non-constructive steps taken by the official Yerevan, the state of Azerbaijan is committed to the peace agenda, the steps taken by the state of Azerbaijan are consistent, systematic, logical, unlike those of Armenia, and they are based on the norms and principles of international law.
If Armenia stops the smear campaign against Azerbaijan, questioning Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity directly and indirectly, and taking other harmful approaches, in this case, I think it is possible to agree on a peace treaty principally in a reasonable and not long time. However, I would like to emphasize that it is quite important that not one side but two sides, that is, the Armenian side, support the peace process. The upcoming period will show whether Armenia learns from its past mistakes.
– How do you evaluate the discussions and the outcome of the meeting regarding Karabakh in the UN Security Council?
– Azerbaijan was not the initiator of convening this meeting. The official appeal was made by Armenia, and the initiative was taken by France, a permanent member of the Security Council. Unlike the speech of the other side, which was full of lies, we used the possibilities of the council effectively. We brought the rightful position of Azerbaijan to the attention of all states and the international community in accordance with the facts, evidence, and international law, that is, the legitimate steps we took. In addition to the Security Council meeting, we also hold numerous meetings and participate in events within the framework of the UN General Assembly session in New York.
This is an opportunity, and today all world leaders, government representatives, and foreign ministers are here. There are a large number of meetings held on our initiative, as well as countries that have applied for a meeting with us. Because the recent events in the region worry everyone and are at the center of everyone’s attention. Questions are asked and at the same time, we convey our position in bilateral formats. We present all the evidence, we provide information about the steps taken by us in the past and the non-constructive steps taken by Armenia in return.