“The policy of double standards should finally be stopped,” said representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on special assignments Elchin Amirbayov in an interview with the French Radio J.

Elchin Amirbayov highlighted the local anti-terrorism measures carried out by Azerbaijan in Karabakh. He noted that the purpose of the anti-terrorist measures was to destroy legitimate military targets: “They were directed against the formations of the Armenian armed forces located on our sovereign territory. It has been three years since Armenia took upon itself an obligation on this issue to withdraw troops from our territory, but refused to do so. Moreover, their provocations in the last two weeks have led to the death of many our military personnel and civilians. So that was our reaction, our response. Civilians were in no way our target. I repeat that our target was legitimate military objects.”

The Representative of the President of Azerbaijan for Special Assignments emphasized that the illegal separatist structure has now surrendered and they themselves announced the dissolution of their illegal structure. “We are currently conducting a dialogue with representatives of the Armenian community. Three meetings have already been held with them. The issues of reintegration of the Armenian residents of Azerbaijan were discussed,” he underlined.

When asked “You effectively explain that the Armenians living in Karabakh are free to decide whether to stay or leave… Why did they all decide to leave?”, Elchin Amirbayov said: “Yes, this is a very good question. We, as the government of Azerbaijan, have announced that the civilian population was not the target of these military measures since the beginning of anti-terrorist measures. On the contrary, attempts were made to persuade them to stay.

I don’t know, perhaps after the illegal separatist structure surrendered all weapons and ammunition, the civilian population was not confident enough in their safety. Even during the last week, numerous attempts have been made to ensure them not to leave their homes.

They were provided with the necessary humanitarian assistance, medicines, other supplies, and ambulances were sent. The power supply has been restored. Similar calls were also made on radio and television, so that there would be no panic among the population. The fact is that the decision to leave their homes is a personal and voluntary decision. We regret this. I will say again that these people, of course, retain the right to return to their places.”

With regard to the question on Azerbaijani environmental activists’ blocking the road connecting Armenia with Karabakh, Elchin Amirbayov noted that this statement is not true. “During all these months, the International Committee of the Red Cross was there. They delivered the necessary medical supplies there. They also supported those in need to leave the territory. It is not true. The road was blocked to prevent the transportation of mines, military equipment, as well as Armenian military personnel,” he said.

Elchin Amirbayov also reported on the ongoing negotiations with Armenia and emphasized that Azerbaijan stands for signing a peace agreement with Armenia.

He noted that the territories liberated from occupation were once subjected to complete ethnic cleansing by Armenia, the Azerbaijanis were expelled from there, and recalled that more than a million Azerbaijanis were subjected to ethnic cleansing by Armenia. “But, unfortunately, at that time the West was not interested in this. The policy of double standards should finally be stopped… Our citizens have the same rights as everyone else,” Elchin Amirbayov emphasized.

Recalling that the UN mission made a trip to the territories liberated from occupation, the representative of the President of Azerbaijan on special assignments said that the mission also included representatives of various foreign media.

“They confirmed that several hundred people remained there… We should also not forget about the efforts of the Azerbaijani government to return them. At present, the Armenians did not want to remain in this territory. The occupation of these territories by Armenia for three decades has left its traces. Let me remind you that the UN also condemned this occupation. Today it is necessary to find some way out and ensure coexistence both for Azerbaijanis and Armenians,” Elchin Amirbayov added.