Azerbaijan's MFA: Proposals for the text of the peace agreement with Armenia show tendencies to drag out the process

# 29 December 2022 18:30 (UTC +04:00)

"Against the background of increased tension in the system of international relations, and interrelated emerged challenges, our foreign policy is aimed at ensuring the national interests of our state, strengthening the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as well as creating a favorable external environment for national security and socio-economic development, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law," noted in the press release of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the results of 2022, APA reports.

Noted that as a result of the end of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the trilateral declaration of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia dated November 10, 2020, the establishment of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and state borders was one of the main directions of the foreign policy in 2022:

"During the year, as a result of continuous, consistent and resolute steps, the peace agenda promoted by Azerbaijan was acknowledged by the international community, during this period contacts with the mediation and organization of international partners were advanced in the format of direct bilateral negotiations with Armenia on the basis of the agenda promoted by Azerbaijan.

The normalization agenda is based on three main directions, such as the preparation of a peace treaty that will determine the basis of bilateral relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the delimitation of the state border, and the restoration of transport and communication links between the two states. In this vein, based on the 2021 proposal by Azerbaijan to sign a peace treaty, preparation and submission by Azerbaijan of the basic principles on the peace treaty to Armenia in February of this year, Geneva meeting between the delegations of Azerbaijan and Armenia held on October 2, 2022, which laid the foundation of practical negotiations on the peace treaty constituting the main foundation of future bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as the establishment of border delimitation commissions in both sides and meetings of this commissions on the bilateral basis, could be mentions as major developments.

The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia met on 6 April, 22 May and 31 August in Brussels with the participation of President of the European Council Charles Michel, on 4 February in a virtual format and on 6 October in Prague with the participation of Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron, and on 31 October with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation in Sochi. In total, 7 meetings were held.

Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia met on 16 July 2022 in Tbilisi, on 2 October in Geneva and on 7 November in Washington - in total 3 meetings were held. Moreover, on 11 and 23 April 2022 Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia had twice direct phone conversations, and on 4 October 2022 with the participation of US State Secretary. Furthermore, Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia met on 12 May 2022 in Dushanbe and on 14 October in Astana with the participation of Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, on 19 September in New York and on 7 November in Washington with the participation of the Secretary of State of the United States.

As the major outcomes of the Brussels meeting held on 31 August, the leaders agreed to prepare the draft peace treaty with a view to advance the peace agenda and to take tangible steps on the border delimitation issues. In line with this agreement on 2 October 2022 Azerbaijan submitted the elements of peace treaty to the other side and 2 meetings (Geneva and Washington) were held in this direction. The third meeting scheduled to take place in Moscow on 23 December was cancelled due to the absence of Armenian side.

As a result of discussions held during the year, state commissions on border delimitation and demarcation were established in both sides, and the commissions held 3 meetings - on 24 May, 30 August and 3 November accordingly on the provisional border between 2 states, in Moscow, and in Brussels. On 3 June and 6 December 2022 Trilateral Working Group on opening of regional communications held its 10th and 11th meetings in Moscow.

The matter of special importance was the confirmation of commitment undertaken by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in their meetings held on 6 October in Prague and on 31 October in Sochi on mutual recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of all disputes. This, as reflected in the basic principles put forward by Azerbaijan, constitute the foundation of normalization of relations between two states, and acceptance by Armenia of this commitment was an important development of this year in the advancement of post-conflict agenda.

In line with commitments reflected in the Trilateral Statement, Azerbaijan has finalized new Lachin road earlier than scheduled, illegal Armenian residents were taken out of Lachin city, Zabukh and Sus villages, and these territories were returned to Azerbaijan.

Moreover, during the year necessary measures have been undertaken to counter illegal economic activities in the territories of Azerbaijan, where the Russian Peacekeeping contingent is temporarily deployed. The Government of Azerbaijan has taken steps through dialogue to prevent the illegal exploitation of natural resources in these territories and its grave environmental consequences. On 3 and 7 December 2022 relevant authorities of Azerbaijan met with the command of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent to identify the provisions for monitoring and assessment by Azerbaijani experts of the environmental consequences of the illegal exploitation of Gizilbulag and Demirli reserves.

After an agreement was reached, the visit of a delegation of Azerbaijani specialists, organized by peacekeepers, was disrupted as a result of pre-planned and organized actions of a group of people. This caused a legitimate protest of the Azerbaijani society, and a group of civil society representatives began a peaceful demonstration on the Lachin road to protest against the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan’s natural resources, the transportation of these resources from Azerbaijan to Armenia and the prevention of the abuse of the Lachin road, which was intended only for humanitarian purposes. In this direction, diplomatic efforts were continued to prevent unfounded and biased claims against Azerbaijan.

In the context of the restoration of transport links in the region, in accordance with the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020, and ongoing measures within the relevant working group to ensure unhindered travel between the mainland of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, due to the non-constructive position of the Armenian side, it was not possible to achieve serious progress in this area.

In general, despite the partial dynamic of bilateral contacts towards the normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the post-conflict period, the progress achieved in all three directions of normalization fell short of expectations. The main reason for this is Armenia’s failure to show the necessary political will for real steps towards the normalization of relations, 11 its contradictory and inconsistent position, its constant attempts to evade the implementation of the agreements and assumed obligations, and especially its political and military provocations to undermine normalization efforts. At the same time, the proposals for the text of the peace agreement show tendencies to drag out the process".

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