New Straits Times: Testing Azerbaijan patience counterproductive for regional peace

New Straits Times: Testing Azerbaijan patience counterproductive for regional peace

Baku, March 8 AZERTAC

The Malaysian New Straits Times newspaper has posted an article “Testing Azerbaijan patience counterproductive for regional peace” by consul of the Azerbaijani embassy in Malaysia Elsevar Salmanov.

On the Environmental protests of various NGOs of Azerbaijan on the Lachin-Khankendi road that has been going on since Dec 12, 2022, the ambassador said: “The fact that the gold, copper and other precious metal deposits in the regions where the temporary Russian peacekeeping force is located are operated by mafiatic groups in violation of the laws of Azerbaijan, caused enormous damage to nature and has mobilized NGOs. In addition, before Dec 12, the necessary inspection attempts of the officials of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan were prevented by the gangs in Karabakh in front of the Russian peacekeeping force.”

The consul emphasized that in line with the Declaration dated Nov 10, 2020 signed between the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Armenia, and with the humanitarian gesture of Azerbaijan, a temporary Russian peacekeeping force had been deployed in the region of the Armenian minority living in the Karabakh region of our country.

“The reason why Azerbaijan made this possible was the hopes for the establishment of an atmosphere of confidence in line with the integration of the Armenians living in the Karabakh region, like the minorities living in other regions of Azerbaijan in the country. However, it was not foreseen that the opportunity offered by Azerbaijan to keep the Lachin-Khankendi road open as a goodwill and humanitarian gesture, would be abused. Many provisions of the Declaration dated Nov 10, 2020 have not been fulfilled by Armenia to date. Instead, weapons and mines were smuggled to Karabakh, where the temporary Russian peacekeeping force was located, from Armenia while illegal armed groups there haven`t left Azerbaijan,” Salmanov added.

“Extremist and racist separatist groups were encouraged and reinvigorated and the Armenian minority there was held captive by the separatists. In addition, the mafiatic figure of Armenian origin, Ruben Vardanyan, was mysteriously enriched and "raised" to the level of "oligarch" in Russia and was involved in smuggling activities to the said region. Azerbaijan is following all these patiently and is making an effort to follow diplomatic paths for the sake of peace in the region. But, this patience is not unlimited.”

“This situation created a highly desirable environment for transnational criminal organizations in these regions. The lack of control of the state and relevant international institutions allowed many serious crimes, especially narcotic production, storage and money laundering, to be hidden easily. The illegal use of underground and aboveground resources of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan for nearly 30 years by mafiatic groups under the control of various states was a major problem in itself. If we relate the abovementioned facts, the Republic of Azerbaijan will never allow the creation of a new "closed dark territory" within itself. The fact that there has been free passage of vehicular traffic there for the past two months clearly demonstrates this,” the article reads.

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