Azerbaijan hopes Armenia-US joint military drills will not raise tensions in region
Foreign Minister Bayramov urges Armenia to avoid provocations on borders, withdraw military forces from territory of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said on Wednesday that he hoped the current joint exercises being conducted by Armenia and the US would not increase tensions in the region.
Responding to a question by Anadolu on the exercises that began on Monday in Armenia, Bayramov noted that it is not something directly related to the position of Azerbaijan, however, he said: "We are hoping that these, let's say, actions will not be used by Armenia in order to raise the tensions in the region."
His remarks came during a briefing at the UN office in Geneva with members of the Association of Accredited Correspondents at the UN, ACANU.
Designed to prepare the Armenian forces for international peacekeeping missions, the 10-day exercises began at a time when tensions between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan were running high.
Bayramov reiterated Azerbaijan's call to Armenia to avoid provocations on borders, not to feed separatism in the territory of Azerbaijan, immediately stop financing and other types of support to the illegal military presence of Armenia, and fulfill its obligation under the trilateral declaration and withdraw military forces from the territory of Azerbaijan.
Regarding the progress on a peace agreement, Bayramov said there are a number of articles where the positions of the parties were "very close," but also, there are several clauses where the positions were "quite different," which require more discussions.
"Another round of negotiation could achieve the agreement," he added.
He underlined that the peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be non-controversial, reciprocal, and simple, based on the universal norms and principles of international law.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.
Despite ongoing talks over a long-term peace agreement, tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia rose in recent months over the Lachin road, the only land route giving Armenia access to the Karabakh region, where Azerbaijan established a border checkpoint in April on the grounds of preventing the illegal transport of military arms and equipment to the region.
Since then, Yerevan has accused Azerbaijan of causing a “humanitarian crisis” in the region. Baku has vehemently denied Armenia’s claims and has proposed the use of the Aghdam-Khankendi road for shipments to the region.
On the humanitarian aid sent by the International Red Cross Society (ICRC) in Russia, the minister said that ICRC is ready and so is Azerbaijan, but the "only missing point" is the Armenian side's readiness as their local representatives are blocking the pass.
"We should not politicize it and allow all routes for use of ICRC," Bayramov said.
The truck carrying food supplies sent by the Russian ICRC arrived in Khankendi on Tuesday after a 48-hour blockade.