- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not an internal affair of Azerbaijan. What do you think of it?
- I’d like to note that the whole international community recognizes and supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. With regard to the peace process, the negotiations mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, is an international platform for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the norms and principles of international law. In connection with the settlement of the conflict, international organizations have adopted numerous decisions and resolutions based on the norms and principles of international law.
The most important documents on the resolution of conflict are four resolutions of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions - 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993), 884 (1993), which condemn in a strong manner the use of force against Azerbaijan and the occupation of its territories. The resolutions also reaffirm the UN Security Council’s respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, reconfirm Nagorno-Karabakh an integral part of Azerbaijan and demand the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
- The Russian foreign minister touched upon the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as well. What can you say about these views?
- In his latest interview to Sputnik news agency, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev once again clarified the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status .The President stated that there can be no compromise on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, however, a compromise is possible on matters of local self-rule of Nagorno-Karabakh. If we agree, Nagorno-Karabakh can become an autonomous republic in the future.
- Sergey Lavrov also underlines Russia’s role in achieving a ceasefire during the April battles.
- The April battles and the armed incident that took place at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on December 29, 2016 once again demonstrated that the presence of Armenian troops in the occupied Azerbaijani territories remains the main source of tension in the region. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have repeatedly declared at the level of heads of state that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. Azerbaijan commends Russia’s efforts to achieve a ceasefire during the Moscow meeting held on April 5 last year at the level of chiefs of the General Staff of the Armenia and Azerbaijan Armed Forces. However, the April escalation once again demonstrated that Russia, as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country and a neighboring country, should intensify its efforts for soonest resolution of the conflict. I remain fully assured that if Russia engages in this issue with all seriousness, the status quo will change, stability will be restored in the region and the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories will be ensured.
- What can you say about the comments by the Russia foreign minister on the issue of releasing blogger Alexander Lapshin?
- This issue should be addressed only within the legal framework. In accordance with the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a criminal case has been initiated against Lapshin, who illegally crossed the state border of Azerbaijan and demonstrated disrespect to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Lapshin has been put on Interpol’s wanted list. All relevant documents have been submitted for the extradition of Lapshin, who was detained in Belarus in accordance with the Chisinau Convention of 2002 on the legal assistance and legal relations on civil, family and criminal cases. I believe Russia’s law-enforcement authorities would have taken similar steps in respect of a person who committed a similar action in relation to Russia and illegally crossed its state border.