As it is well known to the international community, Armenia has been occupying one fifth of internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan for almost 30 years. As a result of the military aggression by Armenia, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were forcibly expelled from their homes and became internally displaced persons in their own country. In clear violation of the UN Charter, Armenia has been disregarding four UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884).
These four resolutions which were adopted in 1993 by the United Nations Security Council demand the immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, condemn the use of force against Azerbaijan and the occupation of its territories and reaffirming respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the inviolability of international borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory. However, these resolutions have not been implemented by Armenia.
Armenia has not only disregarded the demands of the UN Security Council, but systematically and deliberately pursued the goal of securing the annexation of the occupied territories. This included, among others, illegal implantation of settlers into the occupied territories, destruction, pillage, and looting of historical and cultural heritage, illegal exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories.
PM of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan’s provocative “Karabakh is Armenia and period” statement, “new war for new territories” concept put forward by Armenia, as well as so-called “seven conditions” for the resumption of negotiations have finally rendered negotiations meaningless.
In continuation of the above mentioned provocative actions on September 27, 2020, the armed forces launched large-scale military assault and act of aggression against Azerbaijan, targeting military positions of Azerbaijan and civilians in the densely populated residential areas along the entire front line. This assault has resulted in serious casualties among civilians and military. Military actions of Armenia went far beyond the conflict zone. Armenia deliberately targeted cities and other residential areas of Azerbaijan located far from the front line using prohibited missiles and heavy artillery.
Since the beginning of the assault, more than 90 civilians were killed, including women, children and elderly as well as around 400 wounded. Around 3000 facilities, including private houses and public buildings were destroyed. Armenia’s targeted attacks against civilians include Ganja, the second largest city of Azerbaijan, Mingachevir, which hosts a reservoir dam and hydro-power plant, regions in the vicinity of the capital city – Absheron, Khizi, and Siyazan, as well as Yevlakh, Tartar, Barda, Beylagan, Naftalan, Kurdamir, Aghjabadi, Gabala and Goranboy regions – all beyond the conflict zone. A cluster rocket launched by Armenia landed only 10 meters from Baku – Tbilisi – Jeyhan pipeline. By doing so, Armenia grossly violates its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols.
On October 11, 2020, few hours after the humanitarian truce entered into force, Armenia launched missile attack (using SCUD/Elbrus ballistic missiles with cluster bombs) against Ganja – the second largest city of Azerbaijan which caused complete destruction of several residential building, leaving 10 civilians killed, 34 injured. On October 17, 2020 armed forces of Armenia launched another missile attack on city of Ganja with more gravity (using SCUD/Elbrus ballistic missiles with cluster bombs), casualties and destruction leaving 16 civilians, including 5 children killed, 52 injured. On October 27, 2020 and October 28, 2020 Armenia launched series of attacks on unarmed and innocent civilians of Barda city killing 25 and wounding 84. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan stated that “by attacking the Azerbaijani residential areas and civilians during the formally declared humanitarian ceasefire and on the eve of the Geneva meeting of the Foreign Ministers of both states with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Armenia obviously aims to undermine the negotiations, increase the tensions and involve the third states to the conflict”. Also, the Ministry appealed to the international community and expressed that “the international community should take necessary steps to stop Armenia from violating international law, purposefully killing the civilians, and demand to withdraw its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”.
In this war, Armenia extensively uses terrorists and mercenaries against Azerbaijan. Currently thousands of mercenaries and terrorists from Middle East and CIS countries have already been deployed by Armenia to the conflict zone.
The armed forces of Azerbaijan were compelled to take counter measures, acting in its own soil and in full compliance with international humanitarian law, to defend its positions as well as to ensure safety and security of civilians residing along the front line and beyond. Azerbaijan does not occupy territory of another state and all its efforts are directed towards restoring historical justice. It is Armenia that occupies our internationally recognized territories.
Azerbaijan demands Armenia to withdraw its military forces from the territories of Azerbaijan and proceed immediately to substantive negotiations for the settlement of the conflict. The Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly brought to the attention of international community that the continuation of Armenia’s aggression and its unlawful presence in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is the main cause of the war.
Unfortunately, regardless of the UN Security Council Resolutions, which recognize that Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent regions as an integral part of Azerbaijan and demand immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Armenia does not want to withdraw from the territories of Azerbaijan and with all means strives for secession of the Nagorno Karabakh region from Azerbaijan.
The lack of adequate reaction of the international community to the provocations, aggressive actions and unlawful activities by Armenia, notorious double standards and selectivity with regard to the universally recognized obligations and commitments under international law only contributes to Armenia’s sense of impunity and permissiveness. Impunity only encourages further crimes, leading to vicious cycle of violence.
The achievement of peace, security and stability demand, first and foremost, full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions, the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders and the return of the internally displaced persons to their homes and properties.
“The position of the United Nations is based on four principles which have been mentioned in the different resolutions of the Security Council. The first principle is the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The second principle is the inviolability of the international boundaries. The third principle is the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory. The fourth principle is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”.
As a country with long multicultural traditions, Azerbaijan has historically been safe place for representatives of different cultures and confessions. We have lived in harmony and peace for centuries and will continue to do so. Azerbaijan has always been known to the international community as a tolerant country. Today, when Armenia launched aggression against Azerbaijan, representatives of different religions such as Muslims, Christians and Jews are protecting our Motherland from invaders.
Ed.’s Note: Elman Abdullayev is the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Ethiopia. He has been in that position since December, 2014. The Ambassador emailed the article to The Reporter. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter.
Contributed by Elman Abdullayev