Farid Shafiyev: "Azerbaijan was forced to protect the civilian population and resolve the conflict through force"
For the sixth day, the escalation of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which began in the Armenian attack on Azerbaijan, continues. To suppress the fire and ensure the safety of the civilian population, the Azerbaijani army launched a counter-offensive operation, destroying military equipment, military infrastructure and manpower of the enemy. To date, seven villages in Dzhabrail and Fizuli regions, as well as Murovdag mountain, have been de-occupied, key heights around the Talish village have been taken. Farid Shafiev, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Analysis of International Relations, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the progress and external assessments of what is happening.
- How do you assess the counter-offensive actions of the Azerbaijani army?
- As for the legal part, according to Article 51 of the UN Charter, we have every right to self-defense. Our territories are occupied, and this is their international status, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution.
As for the diplomatic part, we have been negotiating for 28 years under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. A consensus document was developed, which is called the Madrid Principles, and which the Armenian side abandoned in March 2020. Moreover, the Armenian side declared Nagorno-Karabakh a part of Armenia on October 5, 2019. Nikol Pashinyan demanded a change in the negotiation format. Thus, on the diplomatic front, we have reached an impasse created by Armenia.
As for the front, on March 30, 2019 in New York, Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan announced a new military doctrine "New war for new territories." Therefore, the actions of the Armenian side, the Armenian provocations led to the current situation. Azerbaijan was simply forced to protect its civilian population and resolve the conflict through the use of force. This is permitted by international law. Moreover, all three co-chairing countries of the MG - France, the USA and Russia - often themselves use force to regulate their national interests. In the absence of prospects on the negotiating front, Azerbaijan will continue the operation until it ensures the safety of its population.
- To what extent can today's statements of international actors on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh be considered fair?
- I think that this is more double standards than not knowing the problem. Everyone knows the problem well, but they turn a blind eye to many things. The absence of references to UN Security Council resolutions in such statements is a very serious omission. Many statements are of a neutral, formal nature, they talk about the suspension of hostilities and the resumption of peace talks. This is a standard diplomatic formula. However, the question arises - what kind of negotiations should we resume. After all, it was Armenia that refused to negotiate. In these conditions, the Armenian side must clearly declare that it refuses any preconditions and is ready to take substantive steps to de-occupy the Azerbaijani territories. Until that happens, hostilities will continue.
- How can you comment on the statement of French President (member of the OSCE Minsk Group) Emmanuel Macron, who criticized Turkish diplomatic support for Azerbaijan's efforts to liberate its lands?
- Macron's statement casts doubt on France's status as a mediator. Therefore, if Macron does not personally explain the attitude to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, to the provocative actions of Armenia, then our return to the negotiation process within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, will be futile.
- Why are the Armenian military shelling the civilian population?
“They want to inflict not only material damage on Azerbaijan, but also moral damage. This tactic was also used in 1992-1993 to clear the Azerbaijani territories of ethnic Azerbaijanis. Elements of provocation can also be seen in the fact that Armenia is also carrying out military operations from its territory. For example, Azerbaijan is being shelled from Goris. Shamkir was fired upon today. This is done in order to draw the Azerbaijani armed forces into its territory and thereby attract third forces.
- How would you describe the statement of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Armenia is fighting international terrorism that threatens the United States, Iran, Russia, France?
- Everyone knows that Azerbaijan has made great efforts in the fight against terrorism, supporting the US and NATO operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan helps international structures and foreign partners with intelligence. Therefore, apart from a propaganda trick, Pashinyan's statement has no foundation whatsoever. But if you remember history, then everyone knows the connection between Armenian nationalists and terrorism.
- Why did reputable publications decide to post fakes about Syrian mercenaries?
- The biased coverage of the conflict did not start today or yesterday. These traditions are deeply rooted in history. The events of 1905-1906, when there were clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, were covered in the same way. I explain this by the stereotypes of Islamophobia that exist in the West, to which Turkophobia has also been added recently. This phenomenon is well known to historians and social anthropologists.