London, May 12, AZERTAC
Public hearings were held at the British Parliament about the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict, the April battles and its reasons.
Bob Blackman, Member of Parliament read the letter of the Minister of State for Europe David Lidington about the conflict. Lidington highlights his concern over recent tensions in Nagorno- Karabakh and casualties in recent battles. He signed the statement which called both sides to ceasefire on April 2.
Britain does not attend directly in negotiation but supports the efforts of international community and organizations such as the UN, OSCE for the solution of the conflict. The UK believes that settlement of the peace in the region is important for the region and will pave the way to strengthening of relations between Azerbaijan and Britain. Britain hopes for the solution of the conflict within the framework of basic principles of Minsk Group and returning the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Representatives of the UN Minsk Group co-chairs visited the region recently and direct consultations have been conducted with both sides. We will continue to call Azerbaijan and Armenia sides for strengthening peaceful negotiations.
Looking at the history of the conflict, Javansir Feyziyev, Member of Parliament stressed the division of Azerbaijan between Iran and Russia in XIX century and Armenians’ settlement in Azerbaijani lands after the division. Those Armenians were mainly settled in Yerevan and Karabakh. Afterwards, Armenians made claims for the territories with their insidious efforts and occupied 20 % of Azerbaijani territories taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet Union. Since that time, the conflict is a severe danger for the security and welfare and also the obstacle for economic and social development. We believe that the conflict will be resolved, peace will be restored and refugees and IDPs will return to their lands.
He noted that Azerbaijan will use all means to return its internationally recognized territories. He also called the British government to increase its efforts on the solution of the conflict.
Talking about the tolerant environment in Azerbaijan, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United Kingdom, Tahir Tagizade highlighted habitation of other nations and religious confessions in a friendly and sincere environment for a long period of time. On contrary, Armenia is mono-ethnic country and Azerbaijani people became refugees and IDPs by Armenian force. Azerbaijan has never conducted any historical, cultural and ethnic cleaning as Armenia. The existence of the Armenian church in the center of Baku can be a good example despite continuing conflicts.
Ambassador stated that Armenia accomplished something in conflicts throughout the history. It also had problems with its neighbors. After 4-day battles in April, they accused Russia of selling weapons to Azerbaijan. If you are in the conflict with all neighbors, the reason needs to be searched in yourself, not others.
Although sometimes the information was false, the situation in April was in the interest of Western media. It has one simple answer that the international community cannot force Armenia to peaceful solution of the conflict. The clashes occur in internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan as a result of Armenian provocations. It is our natural right to defend our internationally recognized territories and answer the threats against our sovereignty.
Tagizade told that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the UN called on the sides to ceasefire that lasted 3 days in April battles. This proves the ineffective position of the body which only monopolizes the peace process. The silence of the international community to Armenia’s unfair behaviors leads to Armenia’s insistence on its unconstructive position. In April war, Armenia not only violated the ceasefire constantly, but also started to shoot the civilians. During the 4-day war, we did not intend to get strategic altitude from Armenia and we made this step for the safety of civilians.
Ambassador also emphasized that the international community hopes to have an active role in long lasting Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, especially after April war.
Ambassador stated the acclamation of fair position of Britain in the conflict. The UK and other countries may play a bigger role in the resolution of the conflict considering their historical relations with the region.
Armenia needs to understand that they cannot accomplish anything by violence and force. Restoration of peace and sovereignty, commerce and economic development as well as establishment of well-grounded relations is related to this. Then participants’ questions were answered.