By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) – Azerbaijan "fully supports" the normalization of relations between neighboring Turkey and Armenia, the Azerbaijani foreign minister said on Monday.
Speaking at a year-end evaluation of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, Jeyhun Bayramov said Azerbaijan and Turkey favor relations with all countries on the basis of international law.
“The basis for the normalization of interstate relations can only be international law,” he said. “Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have always shown this attitude. We’re in favor of improving our relations with all countries and neighbors on the basis of international law, and we are doing this. The exception so far on this list has been Armenia. We offer the same proposal to Armenia.”
He added: “I would like to stress the importance of the historical Shusha Declaration signed on June 15, 2021. With this declaration, the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey were raised to the level of an alliance.”
The declaration affirms joint efforts by the two countries’ armies in the face of foreign threats. It also pledges a wide range of bilateral cooperation in other areas.
- Damage done to Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenian occupation
Bayramov emphasized that Azerbaijan's foreign policy is based on continuity and a systematic and logical approach.
“We have conducted and will conduct a transparent, international law-based, and independent foreign policy,” he said.
Noting that Azerbaijan in 2021 continued its independent, active, open and national foreign policy, Bayramov stressed that they are working to consolidate the diplomatic gains of the fall 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and to make the world aware of the new reality in the region.
“We’re in favor of the normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations on the basis of the principles of international law. We even declared that we’re ready to work on a peace agreement. We believe that this can form the basis for the normalization of relations between the countries of the region at a wider level.”
Bayramov also said Azerbaijan telling the world about the damage caused to the Nagorno-Karabakh region by the 30-year occupation of Armenian forces before its liberation is among the priorities of Azerbaijan's foreign policy.
Both countries filed cases against each other in the International Court of Justice, he said, adding that most of Armenia's "baseless claims" were rejected by the court.
Underlining that Azerbaijan will continue its fight in the international judiciary, he said: “We will soon bring several international conventions to international courts for the first time to address the environmental damage and the illegal use of natural resources. This issue is among our duties in 2022.”
- Liberation of Karabakh
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the nearly three-decade occupation.
On Nov. 10, 2020, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
On Jan. 11, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It included the establishment of a trilateral working group on Karabakh.
The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.
Before the victory, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory had been under illegal occupation for nearly 30 years.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara