In October, all domestic and foreign policy in Azerbaijan was associated with military operations to vacate the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Everything for the front, everything for the victory
In October, all domestic and foreign policy in Azerbaijan was associated with military operations to vacate the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh. With the outbreak of hostilities, all opposition parties, including the most radical-minded organizations like the Popular Front Party and Musavat, declared their full support for the army. In the statements of the parties, it was separately noted that internal issues were postponed until the end of the hostilities, the government should not worry about the rear and should focus on the liberation of the territories.
Since the start of the military operations, the Azerbaijani army liberated 4 regional centers (Fizuli, Jebrail, Zangilan, and Gubadli, all of them were occupied by the armed forces of Armenia in 1993), 3 small towns, and 192 villages. Besides, Azerbaijan completely restored its state borders with Iran, some of which have been under occupation since 1993. The State Border Service of Azerbaijan placed border guards in the liberated outposts. And duty at these outposts has already begun.
Also, on October 29, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the organization of a special department in the liberated territories. According to the decree, in these areas, the Ministry of Internal Affairs creates commandant’s offices which will coordinate their work with the Ministry of Defense and the State Border Service.
“According to the working group on the assessment of losses and casualties as a result of the occupation, the damage from the occupation and war in Karabakh amounted to $819.15 billion.”
The government is developing economic plans for the liberated territories
Military operations also affected some economic plans. The government decided to start economic recovery in the liberated territories. The State Agency for Roads began to restore roads leading to the liberated villages of Talysh and Sugovushan, Terter region.
According to the working group on the assessment of losses and casualties as a result of the occupation, the damage from the occupation and war in Karabakh amounted to $819.15 billion. This list includes losses from the death of the population, servicemen, destroyed cultural and historical objects, natural resources taken out by the invaders, and destroyed enterprises, farms, etc. To compare, the gold and foreign exchange reserve of Azerbaijan as of August 1, 2020 is estimated at $57.1 billion.
Adviser to the Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan Emil Majidov told TASS that the government plans to attract foreign investments to restore the Karabakh economy: “Azerbaijan has platforms for working with international financial institutions, international investors, and its own citizens with some capital abroad,” he said.
Third-party forces’ intervention in the conflict is unacceptable
In October, the intensity of foreign policy actions rose sharply. Military operations and ways of peaceful settlement of the conflict became the only topic of discussion between President Aliyev and the Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov with their foreign colleagues. In the early stages of operations, telephone conversations were the main format of negotiations. President Aliyev in his numerous interviews with the foreign TV channels, agencies, and newspapers, as well as in his television appeals to the people, harshly criticized the OSCE Minsk Group activities. The President accused the members of the group by saying that during the years of the conflict they did not insist on sanctions against Armenia, the aggressor, and did not achieve from Armenia the implementation of four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Besides, President Aliyev stressed that the phone calls to him were mainly related to the desire to save Armenia from the imminent collapse. Also, Aliyev repeatedly touched upon the statements of the French President E. Macron about alleged Syrian jihadists’ participation in hostilities on the Azerbaijani side.
“Several times I have asked Mr. Macron to provide us with the data they have to investigate this issue together. However, no evidence has yet been provided,” President Aliyev said.
Ilham Aliyev also accused the French side of violating neutrality, since France, together with Russia and the United States, is one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
In addition, Aliyev said that Russia and Iran illegally send arms supplies to Armenia. He stated that, if necessary, the Azerbaijani side can provide documentary evidence of such supplies.
As for Turkey’s participation in this conflict, Aliyev focused on political support and said that Turkey should play a more active role in resolving the conflict. At the same time, the head of the state Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is against the involvement of third forces in the conflict and the military intervention of Russia.
The first talks at the level of the foreign affairs ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia took place on October 10, with the mediation of Russia. As a result of ten-hour negotiations, the parties reached an agreement on a humanitarian truce. However, the agreement was violated within a few hours. The second agreement on a truce between the parties, mediated by Russia, was reached on October 17. However, it was also broken after a few minutes. Azerbaijan announced the shelling of settlements by the Armenian armed forces.
After two attempts by the Russian diplomats to achieve peace between the parties, their American colleagues got down to business. On October 23, the Americans invited the foreign affairs ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Washington, DC. Following the ministerial meetings with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, an agreement was reached to meet in Geneva on October 29. Then the meeting on the initiative of the Azerbaijani side was postponed to October 30. However, the final statement of the co-chairs demonstrated that the parties could not agree on a truce.
In October, Azerbaijan informed about numerous shellings of settlements by the Armenian armed forces. The largest of these attacks was rocket attacks on Barda and Ganja, the country’s second largest city, which, to make matters worse, was outside the war zone. As a result, 39 civilians were killed, including two children aged 2 and 7 years. International human rights organizations “Amnesty International” and “Human Rights Watch”, based on the evidence provided by Azerbaijan, stated that Armenia used banned cluster bombs against the civilian population.
Meanwhile, on October 30, the Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev announced that 10 foreign citizens participating in hostilities on the side of the Armenian Armed Forces in Karabakh were out on the international wanted list. Among these mercenaries there are several French citizens of the Armenian origin, as well as some citizens of the United States, Greece, Georgia, Lebanon, Syria, also of the Armenian origin, and one citizen of Belarus.