Q: In early March, commenting on the plans to build a village of Araxavan in the south of Artsakh, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry described this step as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. At the same time, according to the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan, the statements regarding Araxavan are “a blatant attack against the multi-year negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs”. How do you assess such statements by the Azerbaijani side?
A: The comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan is nothing more than an attempt to shift its responsibility for the situation in the process of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement to the other sides’ shoulders. The greatest damage to the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict has been caused by Azerbaijan’s destructive approaches towards the negotiation process , rejection of the implementation of a full-fledged mechanism of international control over the cease-fire, the unwillingness to prepare its society for peace, the torpedoing of public peace initiatives, the propaganda of war, the state policy on disseminating xenophobia and encouraging hate crimes against Armenians, the attempts to isolate Artsakh, etc.
The accusations of the Azerbaijani side about the alleged violation of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocol are equally unfounded. This issue has long been a subject of extensive speculations by official Baku, which have been repeatedly refuted.
The question of Araxavan should be viewed from the point of view of ensuring human rights and decent living conditions for the Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan and internally displaced persons from the occupied territories of the Republic of Artsakh. These people became victims of the ethnic cleansing and deportations carried out by the Azerbaijani authorities as part of a broader policy of solving the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict by force. The decision of the Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan and internally displaced persons from the occupied territories of the Republic Artsakh to settle in new territories cannot be criticized, taking into account, inter alia, the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities not only refused to pay compensation to them for their material and moral damage but also continue to violate their rights, hampering visits to Artsakh by specialized international organizations dealing with refugee issues.
As a whole, the allegations of official Baku about the violation of the Geneva Conventions are more than hypocritical, given the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities are pursuing a state policy of settling the occupied territories of the Republic of Artsakh, in particular, the Shahumyan region and part of the Martakert region.