Russian military expert: "Armenia should return the Azerbaijani lands regardless whether they want it or not"

  • 13:17 27 March 2019

Russian military expert: "Armenia should return the Azerbaijani lands regardless whether they want it or not"

"Armenia cannot retain the lands of Azerbaijan under occupation forever, and irrespective of whether Yerevan wants it or not, the occupied territories must be freed", chief editor of the “National Defense” magazine, Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko told ONA.

Speaking about the foreseen meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders in Vienna, the Russian military expert said that this time he expects a constructive position at the negotiation process by Armenia: “But I still hope for less. Today, we see the Armenian leadership striving to include the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh regime to the negotiating table. Armenia's proposal is both contrary to international law and hampers the conflict settlement process. We will see if Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will behave more constructively in this meeting. In all cases, I can say that we need a dialogue. We welcome the dialogue. But I do not have the hope that official Yerevan will exhibit a constructive position in the current situation. If Armenia wanted truly to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it would have started this process by first freeing five occupied regions around Nagorno-Karabakh. Later, under the guarantee of placing peacekeeping contingent, Armenia could withdraw troops from two more occupied regions of Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani side would also guarantee to provide the corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Measures taken by Armenia that I mentioned will speed up the process of conflict settlement. Because nobody has any doubts about the status of the seven regions around Nagorno-Karabakh. Even Armenia itself admits that these regions are the territory of Azerbaijan. In my opinion, the Nagorno-Karabakh problem should be solved in this sequence. Initially, the Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons should return to the seven occupied regions, and the peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization should monitor the peace process in that area, Nagorno-Karabakh should be completely demilitarized and cleared from Armenian armed groups. There should be a joint police force, consisting of Azerbaijani and Armenian nationals, and this police force must control the peace in the region. Later, parliamentary elections should be held in Nagorno-Karabakh under the supervision of international observers, Nagorno-Karabakh should be given an interim status within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. These steps must be taken to start the peace process”.

Speaking about the attitude of the international community towards the Karabakh problem, I. Korotchenko said that the co-chairing countries are trying to prevent the conflict to revive and transform into war: “The co-chairs are well aware that a major compromise in negotiation and demonstration of a goodwill should be made by Armenian side that has occupied Azerbaijani lands. The start of Armenia's real negotiations, that is, the return of territories will also help the process of lifting the economic blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Similarly, the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh will also be economically advantageous. Azerbaijan is a rich country. Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians can also benefit from this wealth”.