The year 2020 has been full of challenges – starting with the pandemic and ending with the global slowdown in the global economy. But one episode gave hope that one of the oldest and bloodiest conflicts in post-Soviet territory would finally be resolved: the second Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which resulted in the liberation of all. the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Armenian occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan, which began on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, continued until September 27, 2020. It was on this date that the Azerbaijani army launched a counterattack in response to the new policy of the Armenian leadership, formulated when the Armenian Minister of Defense declared: “new war for new territories”.
The new conflict ended after 44 days of war. On November 10, 2020, Baku time, under the mediation of Russia, the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia signed a historic document – a joint declaration – which interrupted the military confrontation and opened up new opportunities for the peacebuilding process in the region.
The Second Karabakh War closed a page of flagrant violation of international law caused by Armenia, which invalidates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan with the tacit consent of the international community. Ignoring four UN Security Council resolutions adopted in 1993 calling for the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Azerbaijan’s lands and creating the conditions for internally displaced persons to be able to go home.
Armenia, using the strategy of “negotiations in the name of negotiations”, also opposed the position of international mediators vis-à-vis the Minsk group represented by Russia, France and the United States. Azerbaijan has never tolerated this tactic and has always insisted on its legitimate right to restore territorial integrity and protect its internationally recognized border by all legal means enshrined in international law, and the action of the year last produced this result.
Even before and after the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan was supported by its justified position by sister nations – such as Turkey and Pakistan – and by several international organizations. Today, we are beginning to rehabilitate the liberated lands in order to create the conditions that will allow the displaced people to finally return to their homes. Unfortunately, the Armenian occupation left nothing but ruins, havoc and destroyed natural resources in these territories and Azerbaijan will have to build everything from scratch.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in his appeal to the nation said that all Armenians – inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh – after obtaining citizenship of Azerbaijan will receive the same rights and privileges as all citizens of the country in accordance with the Azerbaijani Constitution.
Today Azerbaijan calls for the constant implementation of the Joint Declaration of 10 November and this process has already started with new opportunities beneficial not only for Azerbaijan and Armenia, but for other countries of the region. We look to the future, when all communications in the region are restored, people will return to their lands and begin to live without fear of future conflicts. We believe that together we will succeed!
Elkhan Polukhov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan, PhD