ArmInfo. It is obvious that the complete blocking of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan is aimed at the consistent implementation of its policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh and the realization of the policy of completely emptying Nagorno-Karabakh of Armenians. Armenian Ambassador to Iran Arsen Avagyan stated this in an interview with Rahbord-e Moaser" in response to the question why Azerbaijan seeks to close the Lachin crossing.
Below is the full text of the interview, which is available on the "Rahbord-e Moaser" news analysis website. Contemporary strategy: After the siege of Lachin Pass, tensions are on the riseNagorno-KarabakhIt got deeper. How do you evaluate the probability of new encounters in this field?
Avagyan: On April 23, the Republic of Azerbaijan established a checkpoint in violation of Article 6 of the November 9, 2020 statement and officially blocked the Lachin crossing located in the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces. This action was taken while the Azerbaijani side had illegally blocked the crossing since December 12, 2022, under fake environmental pretexts. Undoubtedly, the aim of this action of the Azerbaijani side is ethnic cleansing and the realization of the policy of completely emptying Nagorno-Karabakh of Armenians. These actions are realized despite the explicit declarations of the international community and especially the judgment issued and enforceable this year by the international court. These illegal actions of the Republic of Azerbaijan cause tension in the region and provide a suitable platform for widespread use of force and violence. Also, the Azerbaijani side continues its aggression against the territories under the official rule of the Republic of Armenia. The proof of this claim is the artillery and mortar attacks of the Azerbaijani military units on April 11 and 12 of this year against the Armenian positions in Sotek, Got, and Upper Shurzhai. The Armenian side has always declared its commitment and adherence to the establishment of peace and security in the region, but Yerevan's position does not meet with a proper response in Baku, which continues its aggressive and non-constructive policies. We believe that the purpose of these actions is to fail and not get results from the negotiation process and increase tension in the region. Contemporary strategy: Not long ago, negotiations between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan were held with the mediation of the United States. How do you evaluate the result? Does the American mediation not contradict the initiatives taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Avagyan: Negotiations are conducted at several levels. In recent days, negotiations were held in Washington and Brussels, and on May 19, a meeting was held between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ararat Mirzoyan and Jihun Bayramov held talks in Washington from May 1 to 4 and met with Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan, the US Vice President and National Security Advisor. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan expressed their views on the current situation and presented their positions in relation to the resolution of existing issues. The two sides had progress and understanding regarding some articles of the bilateral agreement "Establishment of peace and relations between the two governments" and at the same time they emphasized that there is no convergence in some positions on the core issues. On May 14, a tripartite meeting was held in Brussels between Nikol Pashinyan , Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, and Elham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, and the issues related to the removal of the threat to regional transport and economic infrastructure, border demarcation and maintaining border security were held in Brussels. The two countries, the agreement to establish relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the need to pay attention to the rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh , as well as the issue of prisoners, missing artifacts and other humanitarian issues were discussed. It is necessary to emphasize this issue, the Armenian side is fundamentally against the conflict of interests of different forces and the creation of tension and clashes in the region. In addition, in our opinion, the joint efforts of colleagues are interested in establishing peace and security in the South Caucasus, which will eventually lead to solving problems and resolving existing conflicts. In this context, the Republic of Armenia attaches great importance to declaring the clear position of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the highest possible level regarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia . Contemporary strategy: For some time now, in some media, there have been articles about the dissatisfaction of the Republic of Armenia with the Russian peacekeeping forces. What is your position in this field?
Avagyan: The Republic of Armenia has officially announced its concerns in this regard, and the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020 has also clearly defined the scope of responsibilities of the Russian peacekeeping forces. Despite this, since the signing of the statement, we have seen cases of violations in this field, the most obvious example of which is the illegal blocking of Lachin crossing. First, under the fake name of "Environmental Activists" and then since April 23, this process has been continued by the armed forces of Azerbaijan. As stated, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia has asked Russia in this regard to fulfill its duties by removing the illegal blockade of the crossing and withdrawing the Azeri forces from the security strip of the Lachin crossing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia has also asked the member states of the United Nations with the Charter of International Security to clearly react to the measures that undermine regional security by Azerbaijan and in line with the unequivocal implementation of the Supreme International Assembly's decision. do an action Contemporary strategy: How is the process of negotiations between Armenia and Turkey followed?
Avagyan: The current process of normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia started at the end of 2021. With the aim of normalizing the relations between the two countries, the special representatives of Armenia and Turkey have met four times, and high-level contacts have been made between the leaders of Armenia and Turkey, the ministers of foreign affairs and the presidents of the national assemblies of the two countries. In the shadow of the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, direct flights between the two countries have been resumed, and the previous problems in the way of air cargo transportation have been resolved. In addition, agreements have been made to open the land border to citizens of third countries and persons with political passports. Unfortunately, Ankara has taken a step back and prevented Armenian Airlines planes from passing through Turkish airspace. In any case, the Armenian side is very hopeful that the existing problems will be resolved quickly and that all agreements reached will be realized. Armenia, with a very high understanding of the fear and terror resulting from natural disasters and remembering the destructive earthquake of 1988 in the city of Spitak, did not take a passive position regarding the February 6th earthquake in the southeast of Turkey. Following the phone conversation between the Armenian Prime Minister and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 7, the members of the Armenian Intelligence and Rescue Team were dispatched to the earthquake-hit area and played their role in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake well by saving human lives. In those days, the Armenia -Turkey land border was opened after decades of blockade, by which Armenia sent shipments of humanitarian aid to Turkey on two occasions. On February 15th of this year, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey reached an agreement in Ankara in order to use a joint effort to rebuild the Ani bridge located on the border of Armenia and Turkey. Contemporary strategy: The Armenian side has protested many times about the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage by the Republic of Azerbaijan . Historical and religious works of Armenians in Trkiye are also not in a good condition. Considering that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not spared any efforts to protect Armenian historical monuments, how do you evaluate the attitude of the three countries regarding this issue?
Avagyan: When it comes to the Armenian cultural heritage, it is impossible not to appreciate the compassionate attitude of the Iranian government towards the Armenian historical heritage. Dozens of churches and other famous buildings have been restored with the assistance of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran . The leadership of the Republic of Armenia and all Armenians are grateful and support the friendly nation of Iran. Iran's compassion towards Armenian culture is a witness and document of civilizational relations and thousands of years of historical dependence of two governments and governments. Also, the document of this claim is the reconstruction of the Gohar Agha Mosque in the city of Shushi with the assistance of the Iranian side before the 44-day war. Despite this, Azerbaijan's policy of brutalizing Armenian historical monuments is quite clear and, unfortunately, it is not a new issue. In the not-so-distant past, the rulers of Azerbaijan, with extreme measures, destroyed the medieval Jolfa hermitage on the banks of the Aras River in Nakhchivan. Until the 20th century, there were hundreds of Armenian monuments and historical buildings in Nakhchivan, but today all of them have been destroyed. Azerbaijan continues its criminal policy in Nagorno-Karabakh. Everything that is possible is destroyed, but when it comes to famous works whose destruction will probably have a wide reflection, Azerbaijan hides its Armenian identity and attributes it to "Albanian architecture" born of its own thinking. The arrogance of the Azerbaijani side in this action has reached such an extent that the President of Azerbaijan orders the removal of Armenian writings from the walls of the church in front of the cameras. It is worth mentioning that Azerbaijan has not allowed UNESCO to enter Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani side constantly, especially in organizations where Armenia is not present, tries to make the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict look religious and introduce Armenia as an enemy of Islam and abuses the sensitive ideology of Islamic unity and solidarity, and fake documents about the destruction of a number of mosques in Nagorno-Karabakh by the party Armenia offers. Parallel to the policy of destruction and destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, Azerbaijan is trying to apply the same policy to Iran. Especially that last year and in the framework of the "Supreme Session of the European Parliament", Azerbaijani representatives present in Yerevan called the Blue Mosque of Yerevan an Azerbaijani mosque by spreading false announcements, and also at the highest government level in Baku, continuous efforts are being made to introduce famous Iranian writers as poets. Azerbaijanis have done and continue to do.