Azerbaijan said on Thursday that it is open to dialogue with Armenia and if India comes up with some proposal to bring stability in the region, Baku will welcome such initiatives, hours after the two arch-rivals believed to have negotiated a cease-fire to end the recent hostilities between them.
“We are open to dialogue and we welcome all the initiatives which come up to normalise relations (between the two sides), which come up with the intention to build durable peace and stability in the region,” Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva told PTI in a video interview while talking about the recent crisis with Armenia.
Responding to a question, she said if India comes to help or comes up with some proposal, Azerbaijan is always ready for such initiatives.
“Azerbaijan has good cooperation and bilateral relations with India in different fields, in the economic field, in humanitarian, cultural and tourism. With India, we are also cooperating within international fora organisations like the biggest one United Nation, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM),” she said.
“Well, if there is an intention by the Indian side to help or to come up with some proposal, as I said, Azerbaijan is always ready for such initiatives,” Abdullayeva added.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in a military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a strategically located mountainous enclave.
Nagorno-Karabakh is known to be a part of Azerbaijan. However, the majority of the people living in the enclave are Armenians.
Armenia took control of some parts of the territory in the 1990s. The situation deteriorated in September 2020 after Azerbaijan attempted to recapture certain areas.
Earlier this week, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of unprovoked aggression, which resulted in the death of dozens of soldiers on both sides.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Tuesday that India believes that bilateral disputes should be settled through diplomacy and dialogue.
“We believe that bilateral disputes should be settled through diplomacy and dialogue. There can be no military solution to any conflict. We encourage both sides to pursue talks to arrive at a lasting and peaceful solution,” Bagchi said.
Abdullayeva noted that in his comment the Indian foreign ministry spokesman called up the two sides to settle the issue peacefully via dialogue.
Commenting on the Armenian side’s announcement of a fresh cease-fire, Abdullayeva said the situation at the border is “relatively calm right now.” “We are ready for dialogue. We have proved not only by statements but also by our actions taken at the unilateral level that we are for peace and normalising relations with Armenia but only based on the norms and principles of international law – the fundamental principle of recognising each other’s territory,” she said.
Asked whether the truce has the potential to hold on in the wake of an earlier one brokered on Tuesday by Russia which failed quickly, she accused Armenia of violating the cease-fire. If the truce fails again, Azerbaijan will take only “responsive measures” to the aggressive destructive activities by the armed forces of Armenia, she added.
“On 13th September, a cease-fire was agreed but hours later it was violated by Armenia. So we cannot guarantee that the Armenian side will be respecting the agreement reached on the humanitarian cease-fire but let me be clear…Azerbaijan is not interested in the escalation,” she said.
“We are ready to normalise relations with Armenia. Azerbaijan was the initiator of normalising relations with Armenia after the November 2020 trilateral statement was signed… We have even presented five principles on which it should be based. But unfortunately, these proposals and these initiatives have not been reciprocated by Armenia,” she said, claiming that Armenia is not ready to accept post-2020 war reality.
“We have declared many times that we don’t have any intention for any territorial claims to other countries, which is not the same when it comes to Armenia,” she said, calling Armenian claims over the Karabakh region as “disturbing.”
She said Azerbaijan and Armenia can sit together on a bilateral dialogue and settle this issue, but “we cannot see any political will from the Armenian side to settle this issue, settle this problem bilaterally in an open dialogue.” She said Russia has been active in mediating between the two sides and this time also Moscow has asked to settle the issue peacefully via dialogue.
“Azerbaijan’s stance is clear. We are open to dialogue and we welcome all the initiatives which come up to normalise relations (between the two sides),” she added.