The letter of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in connection with the continued attempts of Armenia to deploy its armed personnel to the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan in flagrant violation of international law and the trilateral statement of 10 November, sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 1, 2021, has been circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The letter reads: “With reference to my previous letters conveying serious concerns over Armenia’s actions and statements undermining the realization of the joint statement of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia signed on 10 November 2020, I am writing to draw your attention to the continued attempts of Armenia to deploy its armed personnel to the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan.
According to credible information available to the Azerbaijani side, which is also validated by the reports of independent mass media sources, members of the armed forces of Armenia, wearing civilian dress, are transferred to the territory of Azerbaijan through the “Lachin Corridor” in civilian trucks, including disguised among construction cargo, in an attempt to escape the control procedures of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
It is also evident from the report, which is not the only one in this respect, that the deployment of Armenian soldiers to the territory of Azerbaijan causes anger among the parents and relatives of the military personnel, who reject serving in the territory of another State. Moreover, Armenian servicemen and their relatives have voiced serious allegations of human rights abuses, in particular torture and other inhumane treatment, against the personnel deployed into the territories of Azerbaijan.
The deployment of armed personnel to the territory of Azerbaijan is a gross violation of Armenia’s obligations under international law to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.
It also seriously contravenes that country’s commitments under the trilateral statement of 10 November 2020, which envisages the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan concurrently with the deployment of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, under the trilateral statement, the “Lachin Corridor” was established to facilitate the movement of civilians, trucks and cargo exclusively for humanitarian purposes. Such a misuse of the corridor for military purposes is a gross violation of the trilateral statement. It undermines peace efforts and demonstrates the true intention of Armenia.
It should be recalled that it was the transfer of Armenian conscripts into the territory of Azerbaijan in late November last year that eventually led to serious military tension. Thus, the sabotage group of 62 Armenian servicemen committed a series of attacks on the Azerbaijani military and civilians, causing casualties and injuries, before being detained as a result of an anti-terror operation. The group is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
To avoid the further re-occurrence of these incidents, Armenia must stop sending its military personnel into the territory of Azerbaijan. In this regard, it should be noted that the deployment of armed personnel into the territory of Azerbaijan, while being in itself a gross violation by the sending State of its obligations under international law, also entails individual criminal liability under national legislation. Azerbaijan is determined to continue to take all necessary measures stemming from its rights under international law, as well as the requirements of its national legislation.
The transfer of Armenian military personnel to the territory of Azerbaijan, which is reportedly being organized against their will, is also a blatant violation of the human rights of the servicemen, as reflected in international human rights law. By forcing its servicemen to engage in military activity in the territory of another State, not necessitated by legitimate national defence, and putting their safety in danger, Armenia is violating its commitments stemming from numerous documents adopted by regional organizations of which it is a member, such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The above-mentioned by no means constitutes an isolated case. Armenia consistently resorts to destabilizing actions and statements, some of which I have previously brought to your attention, which run a risk of torpedoing the fragile process of peace and the healing of the wounds of the war.
Being fully committed to the process of eliminating the consequences of the almost three-decades-long conflict, Azerbaijan continues to be of the strong belief that there is no alternative to the full normalization of inter-State relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of mutual recognition of and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders on the way to sustainable peace, security and economic development in the region and beyond.
It is on this understanding that I appeal once again to you with a request to take all measures at your disposal to persuade Armenia to cease its destabilizing actions and statements, abandon revisionist claims and focus all its efforts on the realization of the trilateral statement of 10 November 2020.”
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